Dangote: Lower Fuel Price from Our Refinery Will Help Reduce Inflation

•Upbeat about turnaround of nation’s economy  

•Restates commitment to Nigeria’s industrialisation 

•President congratulates Africa’s richest man on his 67th birthday

Deji Elumoye in Abuja and Gideon Arinze in Enugu

Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, yesterday, stressed that when the Dangote Petroleum Refinery becomes fully operational and starts selling diesel at significantly discounted prices, it would provide relief to Nigeria’s inflation woes.

Speaking with newsmen after visiting President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Lagos, Dangote expressed optimism about the economy, stating that the naira exchange rate has improved significantly in recent times, dropping from around N1,900 to the dollar to the current level of between N1,250 and N1,300.

Tinubu  on his part had earlier congratulated Dangote on the occasion of his 67th birthday yesterday.

The president, in a statement by his media adviser, Ajuri Ngelale, joined the family and friends of Dangote to celebrate the founder of the largest industrial conglomerate in West Africa and one of Africa’s business lodestars.

Referencing the many industrial feats of the business colossus, Tinubu extolled Dangote’s famed dauntless and inventive spirit, as well as his quest for excellence in any venture.

The president commended the chairman of Dangote Group for his interventions and support for Nigeria’s young entrepreneurs, describing him as one of the industrialists who have kept the country on the global map as a haven for enterprise.

As Dangote marked his birthday, Tinubu also wished him many more prosperous years in his endeavours in Nigeria, Africa, and the world.

Speaking during the visit to Tinubu in Lagos, Dangote revealed that his refinery had been selling diesel at 1,200 naira per litre, compared to the previous market price of N1,650-N1,700. He added that he was expecting dramatic reduction in fuel costs to help drive down inflation in the coming months.

Dangote said, “There’s quite a lot of improvement because if you look at it here, one of the major issues that we’ve had was the narrow devaluation that has gone very aggressively up to about N1,900. But right now we’re back to almost N1,250 or N1,300, which is a good improvement.

“And you can see quite a lot of things have actually gone up. Even people now when you go to the market, for example, something that we produce locally, like flour or whatever, people will charge you more.

“Why? Because they’re paying very high prices on diesel. And what we did, for example, in our refinery, we started selling even diesel about N1,200 for N1,650. And I’m sure, you know, as we go along, things will continue to improve quite a lot.”

He added, ”Well, even now it’s a lot of impact. If you look at it now, when you are buying N1,650 or N1,700 for a litre of diesel, and that one has been cut off by almost one third to now be paying diesel at N1,200.

“And, may be, eventually going forward, even though the crude prices are going up, even with that, I believe people will not get it much higher than what it is today.

“N1,200, it might be even a little bit lower. But that can help quite a lot. Because if you are transporting locally produced goods, rice and other stuff, you are paying N1,650. Now you are paying two thirds of that amount, N1,200. It’s a lot. It’s a lot of difference. People don’t know.

“That can actually help to bring inflation down immediately. And I’m sure when the inflation figures are out for the next month, you see that there’s quite a lot of improvement in the inflation rate.

“So one step at a time. And I’m sure the government is working round the clock to make sure that things get much better.

“Because it’s in their own interest. It’s in the interest of everybody, it’s in our own interest, and I just want to thank everybody.”

Dangote urged captains of industry to partner with the government to improve the lives of Nigerian citizens.

His said, “You can’t clap with one hand. So, both the entrepreneurs and the government need to clap together and make sure that it is in the best interest of everybody.”

In a related development, Dangote Group restated its commitment to industrialisation of the country. It said that was the key to diversification of the Nigerian economy. South-east Regional Director of Dangote Cement Plc, Abayomi Shittu, made this known yesterday, in Enugu during the company’s Special Day at the 35th edition the Enugu International Trade Fair.

In his address, Shittu said the theme of this year’s fair, “Made in Nigeria products for Global Competitiveness,” resonated with the company, which was focused on domestically manufactured goods that were hitherto imported, despite the abundance of raw materials for such products in Nigeria.

He stated that Dangote’s passion for Nigeria and Africa’s economic development and overall growth was seen in his industrial strategy of Production, Prosperity, Power, and Pride.

“Our target is to ensure that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in all the sectors where we play: cement, agriculture, mining, and oil and gas,” he said.

“Our passion for industrialisation, creation of linkages and value addition informs our investment decisions,” Shittu added.

He stated that Dangote Cement, one of the company’s business units, had helped in making Nigeria self-sufficient in local production of cement and now exported clinker to other countries.

Shittu added that through its multiplier effect, Dangote Cement provided direct and indirect employment to millions of people across Africa.

Earlier in his address, President of Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Odeiga Jideonwo, thanked Dangote Group for consistently sponsoring the fair.

“As part of its continued support to our economy, Dangote has also moved its sponsorship from Bronze to Gold,” Jideonwo said.

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