The Dangote Group has announced its plan to expand its operations into the steel sector and that it would soon stop going to the Central Bank of Nigeria to source foreign exchange for its operations.
The Group Managing Director of the Group, Mr. Olakunle Alake, disclosed this during a panel discussion at the Infrastructure Solutions Summit organized by the African Finance Corporation (AFC) in Abuja, today.
Only two weeks, the federal government reversed its original plan of completing the multi-billion dollar Ajaokuta Steel Company, as it announced it would now rather give it out to a private operator on concession.
Mr. Alake revealed that Dangote was planning to invest heavily in the steel, sector of the economy.
According to him, “Apart from the oil and gas project that we are doing, we are also one of the key stakeholders that has support the government in terms of infrastructure tax credit scheme and we are using local banks to build that capacity across Nigeria.
“We do have something right now that we are trying to complete. I think this is the major project and that is our major focus right now. In another couple of years, we will not go to Central Bank for foreign exchange for any of our activities, because at the end of the day, it’s a double situation, you import product which means you are creating jobs outside Nigeria and you struggle to get the FX.
READ ALSO: Dangote Refinery‘ll be ready before end of Buhari’s tenure — Dangote
“You drill for oil, you export oil, you don’t refine it. That way you are just killing employment. Our focus is two things. One, we make sure we look at things that can be produced locally, we create employment that way and we create value that way.
“For us, steel is one of the key areas. You recall that years back government decided that steel was major and set up Ajaokuta Steel and Delta Steel.”
In his address, the Chairman of the AFC, Board and the Deputy Governor (Economic Policy) of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Kingsley Obiora said that energy and infrastructure were germane to the growth of the continent.
According to him, “Climate Change demands greater robustness in our buildings and infrastructure and as energy transition requires rethinking of power supplies, transportation and living.
“The key is unlocking new sources of funding both international and domestic. Be assured such capital is available. It is locked in pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds and mutual funds. We are limited only by our ability to reduce risk for investors and provide stable, steady and competitive returns.”
“In fact the reason that we are all here today brought together by the African Finance Corporation is a case in point. The CBN deployed an initial $500m in investment in AFC.
“Fifteen years on, the corporation has a balance sheet of over $10bn in investments in 35 countries. Last year, the CBN together with the AFC and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority under our Vice President launched the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria, focused on a world class infrastructure development vehicle focused on tackling Nigeria’s $100bn annual infrastructure needs.”
Elumelu stresses the need to end insecurity
In his remarks, the Chairman the United Bank for Africa, Mr. Tony Elumelu urged concerted efforts to end the insecurity in the Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta, which has recently recorded a high rate of oil bunkering.
He described insecurity as a disincentive for foreign investors whom the nation’s economy needed very badly.
AFC to raise $2 b for African economic recovery
Meanwhile, the AFC) has launched a $2billion facility to assist African countries in their efforts towards recovery from the impacts (of COVID-19 pandemic.
The AFC has promised to provide half of the facility and help mobilize the balance from the international