Aliko Dangote, president of Dangote group, says his conglomerate should be selling foreign exchange to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by 2020.
Dangote, who is the richest African alive, also said the problem with Nigeria should not be blamed on oil, seeing that oil traded at $9 per barrel in 1998. Speaking at The Nigeria Summit hosted by The Economist, Dangote said his company should generate 12,000 megawatts of electricity for Nigeria by 2018.
“We are looking at a situation that by 2020 we are the one selling FX to CBN. Our projects are mainly import substitution. We are working to be self-sufficient to grow about a million tonnes of rice over the next five years,” he said.
“Our gas project would have our gas pipelines on the sea bed. The output should be able to provide about 12,000MW power. We see a lot of transformation when we are done with most of our projects by 2018. “We have 15 countries in the ECOWAS community that is duty-free.”
Export market is big and profitable if you have capacity. Players in the manufacturing should be encouraged to export if they have the capacity. We must also meet local consumption.”
He called on the leaders of the economy not to forget diversification of the economy even when oil bounces back to the $80 region. “Diversification of the economy should be given priority, if we do not do it now, maybe we never will. People sometimes underestimate the economy of Nigeria by simply looking at the FX situation.
“Lower oil prices does not spell doom. In 1998 oil price fell to $9. There are opportunities in every ‘crisis’ situation. Once oil gets back to $80, we forget about diversifying the economy.
Now is the time to diversify the economy.” Dangote was recently rated by Forbes Magazine to be richer than Republican front runner, Donald Trump; Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea football club and Oprah Winfrey, richest black woman, put together.