Foremost industrialist and richest man in Africa, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has restated his commitment to assist the Federal Government in turning around and diversifying the country’s economy.
He said this in Lagos on Friday where he was honoured as “Man of the Year 2015’’ by The Guardian Newspapers Limited.
He said that he was working hard with his company to take Nigeria to the next level and that within the next two and half years, Nigeria was going to excel in some critical areas.
“We want to do that by looking at critical areas where Nigeria is not doing well in terms of local production and tackle the problem areas.
“Number one is refinery, Dangote Group is building a refinery which will produce 650,000 barrels of petrol per day; the current capacity that we have as a country now, both the ones that are working and the ones not working, is just 450,000 barrels per day.
“Our petrochemical is ten times that of Eleme, we are at 1.3 million, Eleme is 120,000, so it will be the largest petrochemical industry in Africa.
“In fertilizer production, we are not only trying to satisfy the market, but our size is three million tonnes which is ten times more than what is available in Nigeria today.
“We are trying to make sure we satisfy the local needs and also export and we thought about how to address our power issues, the only way we can address power issues is to have enough gas and sort out distribution.
“Distribution is important because unless you collect money from the consumers, you cannot grow.
“There are two sub-sea gas pipelines coming from Bonny which will produce about three billion volume of gas which is exactly about the same size of LNG.
“We are committed to turning around the economy of Nigeria and in the next two and a half years, Nigeria will be the highest oil petroleum products export country, will be the highest in terms of fertilizer export, will be the highest in petrochemicals export.
“Nigeria will also be the highest in terms of cement export in Africa,’’ he said.
Speaking on bailouts for the states, Dangote said: “I don’t believe the Federal Government should continue to be bailing out the states, the states have to sit down and plan to cut costs instead of looking for bailout and being lazy.
“They can create jobs and give incentives to people to come and invest, they should assure people that they are not going to be slammed with various taxes which is what some of them do.’’
Dangote added that the current situation of the economy would push people to work harder, to work in terms of diversifying the economy.
Earlier, the publisher of Guardian Newspapers Limited, Lady Maiden Ibru, had said that they were honouring Dangote because of his impact on the lives of Nigerians and Africa.
She restated the role of the newspaper in the society as working for the enduring benefits of the people and being critical and identifying as well as publicizing heroes as a way of redirecting the values of the society.
The first “Man of the Year’’ award was presented to former president Olusegun Obasanjo in 1987.
Some of the guests at the event were former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, Bishop Alexander Gianniris of the Diocese of Greek Orthodox Church, and former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Chris Ali.