Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, admired and commended Nigerians for their resilience the face of the prevailing economic challenges, saying they had made sacrifices that would soon see the nation out of the woods.
Addressing a group of small and medium enterprise operators who met with him in Lagos during the festive period, Dangote said that Nigerians had demonstrated the capacity to face challenges and tackle them headlong.
According to him, some countries have been thrown into upheaval at the slightest economic downturn rather than joining hands together to overcome those challenges.
He explained that though Nigeria was going through a painful period, at the end of the day the nation would become a self-reliant economic power house.
He urged the people to continue to join hands with the government in finding lasting solutions to the problems, adding that Nigeria would be better for it.
Dangote added that most countries in the world that had attained economic buoyancy had at one time in their history faced economic hardship.
He said, “Thank God, in our own situation, we know where the problem lies and as such, we only need to muster the courage to apply solutions. Nigeria needs to look inward and produce what we consume as opposed to incessant importation, which takes away our forex.
“This is one of the fundamental problems of our country; we import just anything and the reality is dawn on us now that we have to change this habit; this is why the Federal Government has been emphasising the need to go back to agriculture and total manufacturing so that we also can produce what we need and even export rather than import them.”
Dangote said until Nigeria became a producing nation and reduce imports, her economy would continue to grope in the dark, noting that his companies would continue to take the lead in any sector that required the nation to look inward.
According to him, Nigeria has no business with the importation of some products, which it has abundant raw materials to produce.
He gave an example of milk, lamenting that 80 per cent of the milk being consumed in the country was being imported, a situation he described as unacceptable, given that the nation had all it takes to produce milk locally and even feed other countries.
Dangote promised that he would be venturing into diary production to reverse the trend, saying Nigeria could produce the volume of milk needed by the citizenry.
He urged the people to continue to be patient and cooperate with the government at all levels, adding that all hands must be on deck to bring Nigeria back to a path of sufficiency and economic buoyancy.