Leading businessman and Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has challenged the government to muster the will to provide critical infrastructure that will make the nation’s environment conducive to commerce and industry.
Dangote made this appeal while delivering the third Eminent Persons Business lecture and inauguration of the Aliko Dangote Complex, a N300 million naira ultra-modern building donated to the University of Ibadan, School of Business, at the Ajibode University extension, Ibadan.
He said his foundation will continue to prioritize education as a means of raising entrepreneurs that will change the face of the nation’s economy and lead to real growth and development.
He told his audience comprising of academia, students, royal fathers and businessmen that Nigeria has got the potential s to be among the most industrialized countries in the world and required only the right policies to propel the investors into taking the lead in industrialization efforts.
Delivering his paper titled “Industrialization – Backward Integration as a strategy for National Development: The Story of the Dangote Group”, Dangote whose lecture was delivered by Engr. Ahmed Mansur, the Group Executive Director of the Dangote Industries Limited, stated that for the nation to breakthrough industrially, the leadership and the people must have the political will, the courage and perseverance to succeed.
Dangote was of the opinion that backward integration is one of the fine policies of the government that has helped Nigeria’s economy and that he had led in this regard as a private sector operator, advising that the policy could be replicated in other sectors of the economy.
Highlighting the advantages of the backward integration, the business mogul stated that there would be increased control and efficiency as companies are better able to control quality and coordinate the delivery of raw materials or other supplies.
According to him, this level of control allows companies to increase their supply chain efficiency. Stock outs and over-stocking are better avoided, raw material supply is better managed, and delivery schedules can be better guaranteed.
He pointed out that going by his own experience as leading cement producer using backward integration, there will be cost control as costs can be better managed all along the production process.
Citing instances of countries that have used backward integration to climb the industrial ladder key sectors, Dangote said “Several countries have involved backward integration in some of their industries. Examples include Brazil, Ghana, Malaysia, Norway, and Russia. China and the United States of America probably have the most vertically integrated firms given their size and industrialization focus. This typically start with local content requirements for extractive industries and then includes consolidation across product value chains.
“Norway successfully managed the transition from a country with no direct capabilities in the oil and gas sector on the discovery of oil in the late 1960s to become a competitive producer of a variety of oil field services and equipment. Today, more than half of the capital inputs used in the sector are sourced locally, along with 80% of the sector’s operational and maintenance inputs..
“Similarly, oil and gas firms operating in Brazil were awarded more points when tendering for contracts if they demonstrated commitment to purchasing higher shares of goods and services from local Brazilian suppliers. Specific local content targets were set for onshore projects (70%) and offshore projects in shallow (51%) or deep (37%) water.”
For Nigeria, Dangote stated that using backward integration was not just full of bed of roses as Nigerian businesses face major challenges in developing backward integration.
These according to him include difficulties in obtaining adequate and reliable energy and power supply; lengthy, costly and politically sensitive processes of gaining access to land; poor-quality transportation infrastructure; the high cost of capital; long lead times before backward integration efforts yield rewards; sensitivity to external shocks and unforeseen costs;
“Inconsistency of policy implementation; lack of inter-sectoral policy coordination; inadequacy of knowledge and skills in the workforce; and lack of foreign exchange. Most of these challenges relate to the poor quality of the overall business enabling environment, rather than due to local content policies.”
Nevertheless, he argued that the policy had helped Nigeria in the cement sector pointing out that as at 2002 before the backward integration policy “local installed cement production capacity was about 3 million metric tons per annum (while actual production was under 2 million metric tons). Cement demand was approximately 9 million metric tonnes per annum and the supply gap was filled by cement imports. Imported cement accounted for over 70% of local cement consumption.
“Conservative estimates of the cement import bill as at 2002 placed it at between US$500 – US$600 million annually. More importantly, it essentially exported jobs to other countries and exposed the national economy to risk. Nigeria was one of the largest importers of cement in the world despite its huge limestone deposits. To build the nation’s capacity in the cement sector.”
However, with government introducing the policy in 2002. “It restricted cement imports into Nigeria while the issuance of cement import licenses were tied to investments in local cement production capacity with strict monitoring to ensure compliance. Sector specific incentives for the cement industry, in addition to other more general incentives e.g. tax holidays, capital allowance etc. were also an important part of the policy.”
According to him, “the impact of the policy was felt within the first decade of its implementation as Nigeria became self-sufficient in cement production. Installed cement production capacity that has now grown from 3 million metric tons in 2002 to 44 million metric tons as at December 2017. The country has successfully transitioned from being a net importer to self-sufficiency and then to a net exporter since 2017.”
In his remark earlier, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka thanked Alhaji Dangote for the building describing it as a legacy that would forever be cherished generation yet unborn and by the donation, Dangote has become the first largest individual donor to the university.
He explained that Dangote was to donate N250 million to the university but they prevailed on him to build the complex rather than giving money and that the decision has paid off for the university.
Governor Isiaka Ajimobi of Oyo state, who is the Guest of Honour on the occasion urged Nigerian youths to learn a big lesson from Dangote’s humble beginning but with hard work has become one of the greatest entrepreneur in Africa.
The Governor who was represented by the state Commissioner of Education, Prof. Joseph Adeniyi Olowofela, lamented that most youths of today do not cherish hard work but want to get rich quick which explained the increase in social vices in the country
“We need to shift the paradigm shift from the get rich quickly at all cost to hard work that leads to wealth”, he stated.
The Director of the University of Ibadan, School of Business, Prof. Nike Osofisan said the institution owed Alhaji Dangote a huge debt because the complex was more than a building.
She explained “the fully air conditioned complex has 9 lecture theatres, 10 lecturer offices, four Executive Director Offices, One Canteen, 250 KVA dedicated Transformer, and male and female conveniences”
2020 US Election: What Defeated The Incumbent? Any Take For Nigeria? By Abdulmumin Jibrin
We cannot just watch the US crisis and laugh. We must learn from it and act to avert such from happening in our country that is far more vulnerable to such dangerous anti-democratic manipulations that can throw a country into anarchy.
We are not immune to having any president in the future that may react like the incumbent president of the US. So what measures can we put as a matter of urgency in our laws to tighten the screw, strengthen our institutions and system against such if at all it ever happens?
I disagree with the opinion that the US has lost its leading role globally in advancing democratic culture because of the 2020 election saga and specifically the unusual refusal to accept defeat by the incumbent. The principal actors in the crisis did all they could to subvert the will of the people, but it was the strong INSTITUTIONS and SYSTEM that defeated them.
The US democratic institutions and system have proven to be stronger than any individual or group and in this case, rose above even the incumbent President. That, in my opinion, supersedes other considerations. Beyond the razzmatazz of negative individual behavior in the 2020 election, the strong US democratic institutions will continue to be a lead point globally.
In contrast, in many countries around the world including Africa and Nigeria, individuals are still stronger than the institutions and system. That has always been the foundation of our problem. So long as our institutions and system are not strong enough to overpower individual interest or ambition, we will continue the endless search for answers to many of our problems that can be solved easily.
Knowing when to let go is one of the fundamental pillars of democracy. A leader must be smart enough to know that letting go and at the right time may compensate for whatever loss he suffers. He can also ride on that to salvage his career, or at least retain some respect.
Now, the major problem of the defeated incumbent in the US election is no longer how to stop the winner from being sworn in, it is how to get out of the present dilemma of violence and insurrection he is being accused of having instigated and which had led to the desecration of the pre-eminent symbol of democracy, the Capitol, and the death of 4 people. Many Americans are demanding that the president must be held accountable. Who knows where it will end, with investigations, panels, etc, that are like to follow?
Narrowing it down to power transition, I remember during one of our think-thank meetings of the speakership campaign in 2019, the then-candidate and now Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, raised serious concern about the lack of proper and detailed transition laws from incumbent to incumbent and from an incumbent to a non-incumbent whether of the same party or not. He wanted a bill to that effect as part of the 9th assembly agenda.
We didn’t consider his foresight necessary at the time. I am guilty of that as well. Now, I can see why we need a law with clear details and timelines of activities specifically for power transition and severe consequences for whoever breaches the law.
Some of the issues include announcing the winner, accepting victory, conceding defeat, and timelines for constituting transition committees from both the incumbent and the president-elect. Details of the kind of briefings from the outgoing and the president-elect, including timelines for announcement of cabinet members and many other details that can ensure power transition or transfer is done peacefully and continuity of governance is not halted in any way.
This is the time for the National Assembly to look at this matter and act with urgency.
Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin Kofa
7th January, 2021
BREAKING: Reps Suspend FG’s 774,000 Jobs Scheme
The House of Representatives has called for the immediate suspension of the controversial Special Works Scheme of the Federal Government.
The National Assembly and the Federal Ministry of Labour, Employment, and Productivity had clashed over the recruitment of 774,000 workers for the scheme.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the House asked the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning not to fund the scheme, which is billed to take off in January 2021.
The National Assembly had appropriated N52bn for the exercise in the 2020 Appropriation Act. It was to begin in November.
The House also faulted the removal of the Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment, Dr Nasiru Argungu, who had backed the parliament in the controversy.
The House urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to reverse himself on Argungu’s sacking.
The Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, had since appointed Argungu’s replacement in the order of the President.
NDLEA Arrest Brazil Returnee With 14.4kg Of Cocaine At Abuja Airport
Officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Special Area Command, Abuja, have arrested Elechi Kingsley (39) for attempting to smuggle cocaine from Brazil.
The suspect, who is planning to marry in January 2021, was promised N3 million for the job.
Kingsley was arrested during the inward clearance of Ethiopian Airline flight Et 911, according to NDLEA’s Principal Staff Officer (Public Affairs), Jonah Achema.
Achema said Kingsley, an indigene of Umulolo Local Government Area of Imo State, has lived in Brazil for 13 years.
“I am an adult and I am fully aware of what I was going into. I agree that somebody gave it to me but I offered to carry it,” Kingsley was quoted as saying.
A 23-year-old Brazilian, Da Silva Mailson Mario, was also arrested for being in possession of a suitcase containing cocaine during the inward clearance of the same flight.
According to Achema, Mario, who spoke through an interpreter, decided to be silent on all questions put to him. He was only inquisitive about the jail terms his offense may attract in Nigeria.
Achema said 14.4 kilograms of cocaine were seized from both men.
The statement reads: “In the first operation, the command intercepted four packets of chocolate sweets of white substances which tested positive to Cocaine, weighing 7.2 kilograms, while 12 parcels of cellophane wrappers with whitish substances, which also tested positive to Cocaine, and weighing 7.2 kilograms, were recovered in the second operation.
“The first operation involved Da Silva Mailson Mario, a Brazilian (23), who was arrested with a suitcase containing packets of chocolate sweet during the inward clearance of Ethiopian Airline ET 911 which originated from Brazil en-route Addis Ababa to Abuja. The second operation involved Elechi Kingsley (39) who was arrested with a bag containing cellophane bags during the inward clearance of the same flight.”
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