President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has assured Nigerians that topmost on his priority is how to contribute his own quota towards reducing the high rate of un-employment in the country.
Speaking in Okpella, Edo State last week at the ground breaking ceremony of its new 6 million metric tons capacity cement plant, Dangote said with more of his cement plants ready for inauguration in the next few months, more qualified youth will be gainfully employed.
“The high rate of un-employment in the country is worrisome. No doubt, the government is trying by creating an enabling environment for private businesses to grow and employ people and with the right policies, I am optimistic that the high unemployment rate will soon be significantly reduced”
Noting that the Okpella Cement Plant will employ a minimum of 45,000 Nigerians in both direct and indirect capacity, he said the number of Nigerians that would be employed in its ongoing fertilizer and petrochemical plants, would be far more than the cement plants figure.
He urged the youths to shun unpatriotic acts, assuring them that the country is surely on the right track of growth and development.
Earlier, the Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomole lauded Dangote Cement for investing in Edo State. He urged other rich Nigerians to take a cue from Dangote and invest in the country.
The new six million metric tons cement plant is coming on the heels of similar arrangement for another 6 six million mtpa cement plant in Itori, in Ogun state where the company is currently running a 12million mtpa cement plants at Ibese, in Yewa division of the state.
By this investment, Dangote’s production capacity will go up further to 41m mtpa, in Nigeria alone.
Impressed at the continuous investments in cement production despite having met local demands, the federal government said the gains of the backward integration in the cement sector of the construction industry, as championed by the Dangote group is saving the nation huge billions of foreign exchange.
The Minister for Solid Mineral Development, Dr. Kayide Fayemi and his counterpart in Trade and Investments, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said government was pleased with the exploits of the Dangote cement in ensuring that the nation freed itself from the shackles of endless importation and becoming net exporter.
This development, they stated, tallied with the change agenda of the present government that all hands must be on deck to substitute importation with local production and consume only products that are produced locally.
They stated that the volatility in the international oil market and the excessive dependent on importation have both combined to put pressure on the naira, adding that the government is putting in place strategies to free the naira from such pressure.
The Ministers commended Dangote for believing so much in the nation’s economy and has continued to invest even where others have contrary opinion.
They therefore called on other investors to take a cue from Dangote’s firm commitment and support to turn the nation’s economy around through active production.
In his remark, Dangote said he would never shy away from investing in Nigeria saying Nigeria still remains the best place to invest in the world.
According to him, “a key factor that drives investments in an economy is the presence of an investor-friendly business climate. Indeed, Edo State today, is one of the most attractive investment destinations in Nigeria.
“The economic reforms in Edo State especially in the area of tax, innovations in rural finance and investment on infrastructure, have produced an enabling environment that has further provided a platform for future growth. All these factors made us consider investing in the State.
“Nigeria is a growing economy. Our developmental challenges are quite enormous and will require the combined efforts of government and private sector to overcome them. It is in this light that we are here to contribute our own quota to transforming the economy of Edo State as we have done elsewhere.
“This project is only one of our several successful projects presently ongoing in parts of the country and outside in more than 15 other locations in African countries, in line with our Pan African investment strategy. Last year June, we commissioned our cement plant in Ethiopia, and in August of same year in Zambia and Cameroon. We commissioned our plant in Tanzania in October. We plan to commission very soon, some of our other African plants in Senegal and South Africa.