Media men had a piece of Aliko Dangote last weekend. And when they
were done many appreciated why he is one of the richest in the world. In
an interactive session with senior editors Dangote discussed state of the
nation while explaining some details in his businesses that are geared
towards a better life for Nigerians.
His tremendous knowledge in many areas awed the audience. But what
moved them most was his patriotism. He called on Nigerians to invest at
home and create jobs. “Five to 10 people can make Nigeria a great
economy,” he said. And what with the power situation in Nigeria? “We’ll
not have meaningful development until we sort out power problems in
the country,” he tells government.
Dangote spoke from his heart. Here’s Africa’s richest man who doesn’t
own a house abroad. His is about how to make Nigeria a better place.
And, again, his humility thawed many especially those meeting him for
the first time.
Below are just a few of the things he said on the night, his own words as
captured by ONOCHIE ANIBEZE
On oil subsidy
The issue with subsidy is that government needs to block all loopholes. If
there’s no subsidy, it will affect our foreign exchange, we’ll end up
buying a dollar at N500, because there’s no VAT on petroleum products.
That’s why the import of petroleum products is taking about 30% of our
foreign reserve. We just need to make sure that there’s no siphoning of
The refining business requires volume. If you don’t have a massive
volume, there’s no way you’ll make money. Most of the refineries in
Africa are running at a big loss.
It’s not possible for government officials to successfully manage oil
businesses. It’s good enough if they remove the subsidy, but you can
check with neighbouring countries like Senegal.
If a poor person in Senegal can afford to pay subsidy, why can’t a poor
person in Nigeria afford to pay. I think there must be something for the
masses, which should be in terms of power, social insurance, good
education system, good roads etc.