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 money.
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.
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