By Fenny Fwa
If there is a business mogul I cherish in Nigeria, then it has been Dangote. Aliyu Dangote who has the blood of his maternal uncle Aminu Dantata(a well known highly successful businessman) flowing in his vein, has cut his teeth as a National and international businessman. He is reputed as the richest businessman In Africa and adjudged the 100th richest man in the world. That is not the subject of this missive, but the purpose is assess the impact of his wide range of businesses to economic well being of the country.
I had said the blood of his maternal uncle flows his vein because there is a story is that he requested for a loan of N50,000 from his uncle which he ploughed in small business. He promptly paid his uncle and from there he never looked back. He started as a small trader distributing goods such as sugar, cement and thereafter he graduated to a net importer of the same commodities.
It was alleged he used crooked ways to undermine competitors to enable him be the main suppliers and thereafter the consumers are left at his mercy in prizing of commodities. Whether that is true or not is a story for another day.
From being a net importer, he saw the wisdom in the establishment of industries in the country which created jobs, stop the bleeding of our foreign reserves thereby making our currency strong and stop the outsourcing of our jobs to workers of countries we are importing from.
He started with the establishment of cement factories in Nigeria. So far he established Obajana cement factory from the scratch and is reputed to one of single largest cement producers in the world with a capacity of 13m tons per annum. Others are Ibese and Gboko with 6.0m Mtpa and 4.0m Mtpa respectively. With that Nigeria has now become self sufficient in cement production.
Dangote didn’t stop there, he has established cement factories in other African countries namely Senegal, Zambia, Congo, Cameroon, Tanzania, South Africa, Ethiopia and others. Dangote Cement is the biggest quoted company in West Africa and the only Nigeria company on Forbes global 2000 companies.
Dangote has also gone into aggressive production of sugar with his sugar being produced in Apapa Lagos and savannah sugar company in Numan, Adamawa State.
The Company is also into the production of salt having acquired National salt company of Nigeria, PLC which produces 60% of the salt needs of the country. Similarly, Dangote produces flour for domestic consumption in three towns namely Lagos, Kano and Calabar with a combined capacity of 5000 metric tons per day.
There is also the production of macaroni and spaghetti which is put at 30000 metric tons per day which is being consumed locally.
Now these are only appetizers. The main dish is the break through of Dangote in industrializing this country is the establishment of a refinery of petroleum products. Not only that, the refinery is also to use the byproducts of the crude oil to produce fertilizer to meet the farming needs of the country. This refinery established in Lekki, Lagos state which will start production in early 2020, is capable of refining 650000 barrels of crude per day which will not only meet the daily needs of the country but, the balanced is to be exported. The refinery is the largest in the world. The fertiliser plant will produce 3m tones per annum and will be the second largest urea plant in the world. The gas project has the largest subsea pipeline infrastructure more than any country in the world as it boasts of 1,100km to handle 3.8m SCF gas per day. Gas from the pipe will generate 12,000mw electricity for the nation. Presently, the company will employ 3580 Nigerians, in addition to indirect jobs provided by contractors and distributors. The man and his technical partners have invested $18b on this project when fully operational. The foreign savings from this project is put at $5.7b, while additional forex income is put at $7.5b.
If Nigerians don’t celebrate this man and give him the greatest honour to be bestowed to citizens, then we need to examine ourselves. Yes he has used his relationship with government to get waivers or to out do competitors using both fair and foul means. But here is a man that doesn’t engage in government contracts, or you will never here his name being mentioned in fraud called petroleum subsidies where our elites close to the powers had used their companies to shortchanged the nation with phantom supplies and are being paid in hundreds of billions of Naira. Neither is his name mentioned in oil block allocations where our unpatriotic elites get such blocks and invite their European friends and collect billions of dollars as commissions and keep such funds in foreign account without investment in Nigeria. Where they invest in Nigeria, they don’t go in to high risk business. The just go for easy way of making money where within a short time, they get their returns. It’s either they build hotels, filing stations, build private schools for the rich, build housing estate to be rented to big companies etc.
But this Dangote goes for businesses that will increase our productivity, giving jobs to the teaming masses, increase our GDP, engage in local production that will stop the importation of foreign goods, the bleeding our foreign reserves and thereby weakening our currency. Apart from cement, sugar, salt and food processing, the refinery alone will result to foreign savings of $5.7b and bringing additional forex of $7.5b.
Now who amongst our rich men could take the risk Dangote had taken to bring this refinery to fruition. He took loan worth $4.5b. There are other small loans from African export import bank $650m, African Development bank $300m, CBN guarantees N575b loans for 10years. Now despite all these, Dangote contributed 60% of the total cash committed to the project. What a risk by patriotic capitalist. Everybody knows before he starts making profit it will take a minimum of 10 years and by then he would have been 72 years.
The closest business mogul to Dangote that believes in establishing businesses that will industrialized and develop the economy is Michael Aneniyi Adenuga. He ventured into highly technological business by establishing Globacom, a telecommunication provider. He is now the second largest telecommunication provider in Nigeria and the only Nigeria that has ventured in such a complex business. By 2006, his subscribers base has reached 30m and is now providing network in Ghana, Benin and now reaching out to Ivory Coast. He did a very ambitious project which was successful, spending $800m to build a fibre optic cable, known as glo1, a submarine cable from United Kingdom to Nigeria, first its kind by an African company. The company net worth is $9.4b as at 2019. He was the first network provider too introduce per second billing which decreased the exorbitant cost incurred by customers when it was per minute billing. The man therefore deserves a pat in the back for this project that improved our GDP and the economy. Mike was also the first indigenous company to have struck oil. He received drilling licence in 1990 and by 1991, his company known as con oil struck oil in the shallow waters of South western ondo state and it was in commercial quantity. From there he joined the league of companies producing oil which has been the exclusive preserve of foreigners. His company exports 200000 crude oil on daily basis thereby contributing to the economic growth of the country by the way of earning foreign exchange and ploughing such earnings in our economy.
Innocent Chukuma is another business colossus who has contributed immensely to the industrial growth of the country.
He founded innoson motors that produces cars, buses and trucks. It is the first indigenous company that has been involved in this highly technical, expensive venture and he has been quite successful, providing jobs and reducing the bleed of our foreign reserves.
The import of this missive to call our rich compatriots, especially those that had gotten rich through the pilfering our resources to invest in businesses that will increase our productivity, contributing to our economic growth, reducing our dependent on foreign goods, earning forex to be ploughed in our economy and creating jobs for our millions of our youth rooming the street. For the sake of the majority of people that are pauperized in the midst of plenty, our rich people should kindly emulate the Dangotes, the Adenugas and the Chukumas by investing in highly productive businesses that will grow our economy with the attendant benefit accrued to the generality of the populace.
Prince Fenny Fwa