Dangote’s Moves to Generate 32,000 Jobs Commendable, By Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi

It is no more news that Dangote Cement Plc. is one of the two companies that made the first batch to receive their Tax Credit Certificates issued by Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in line with the Executive Order Number 007. The Executive Order is for the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme that was earlier in the year signed by President Muhammadu Buhari. 
It would be recalled that the Scheme is an initiative of the Federal Government to incentivise private investment of over N205 billion in critical roads and bridges nationwide. Therefore, the essence of the Scheme is about encouraging private sector partnership or investment.
Following the encouragement for private investment in the core Nigerian infrastructure development which is also in line with the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme, Dangote Group has so far proposed to expand its domestic revenue generation drive from USD$4billion to USD$30 billion annually from 2021, to boost the nation’s economy.
The above plan by Dangote has attracted the government’s commendation which Mrs. Zainab S. Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, recently gave during an inspection of the Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals, Fertilizer Projects and the Deep-water Jetty at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos. 
It was the pursuit of the huge projects, despite various challenges, and the foresight and tenacity of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President of the Dangote Group, that attracted the government’s commendation.
Ahmed had pledged the government’s continued support for local businesses to thrive and attract investors. “Dangote Group is creating a large export industry that will help to bring in foreign exchange into the country reserves, and as a business, he will be growing his revenue base. We are very confident that once Dangote Refinery commences operations, it will save us over USD$10 billion that Nigeria was spending on importing crude oil and it will also help us to build local capacity and create jobs,’’ she said.
Ahmed further said that the savings from such an investment would strengthen Nigeria’s macro economy to attract more investors, adding that the opportunities were good for the Dangote Group, but would be better for the country for enormous benefits.Considering the level of commitment, she said that since Dangote Group has the capacity to fund the infrastructure needs of the ambitious projects, the company would continue to enjoy government’s waivers which are also available to other businesses in the nation. 
She further added that the project has so far begun to create thousands of jobs and bringing several specialisations and skills to Nigeria.
In his address, Alhaji Dangote noted his firm’s adopted measures that would help it to expand its revenue base. He said that the firm was ready to transform the nation’s domestic market by providing forex through expanded operations capacity of its group in the refinery, petrochemical, fertilizer and other supporting projects.
According to him: “Our refinery can meet 100 percent of the Nigerian requirements of all liquid products such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene and aviation jet. It will also have surplus of each of these products for export.’’ He added that the ongoing projects at the Lekki Free Trade Zone has the capacity to generate about 32,000 direct and indirect jobs during and after completion.
“With the new areas of investments, we are doing just four billion dollars of revenue now. By the time we finish and beginning from 2021, we will be having UD$30 billion of revenue because we will by then have the refinery, petrochemical and fertilizer all coming on stream, and also over a million tons of rice. We will have about 600,000 tons of locally made sugar by that time and our cement will have gone further. 
“And beginning from January next year, 8million export facility of our cement company to other African countries to generate foreign exchange will commence operations,’’ he said.
Dangote disclosed that the firm was targeting to meet the nation’s forex needs through its huge investment by turning around the group’s entire USD$20 billion investment. It is his understanding that this would yield the annual USD$30 billion domestic revenue. He said that the firm had been able to meet its energy needs and called on other private sector investors to partner the government in power supply to have a meaningful Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.
 “By the time we finished this refinery and other projects, for us as a company, we are going to record a major change. We are looking at moving from USD$4 billion revenue to USD$30 billion revenue. That will strengthen us to invest more money in our domestic economy. We don’t want Nigeria to be an import-based economy but rather an export-base economy. We have tried that in cement and it has really worked in the sense that we are looking at exporting almost USD$500 million worth of cement in the next one or two years,’’ he disclosed further.   

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