In keeping with its commercial development strategy, the Dangote Group said on Thursday that it was diversifying into the steel sector due to its huge potential.

  The corporation also stated that it will soon stop relying on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for foreign exchange to maintain its operations. Mr. Olakunle Alake, Group Managing Director of Dangote Group, made the announcement during a panel discussion at the African Finance Corporation's Infrastructure Solutions Summit (AFC).

  Last week, the federal government announced that it will outsource the multibillion-dollar Ajaokuta Steel Company to a private investor under a concession agreement. “Aside from the oil and gas project, we are also one of the major partners that has assisted the government in terms of infrastructure tax credit program, and we are employing local banks to create that capacity across Nigeria,” he added.

  “Right now, we are attempting to finish things.” This, I believe, is the key initiative, and it is our primary emphasis right now. We will not go to the Central Bank for foreign exchange for any of our operations in the next couple of years because, at the end of the day, you import items, which means you are generating employment outside of Nigeria, and you struggle to acquire the FX.

  “You drill for oil, export it, and do not refine it.” You are simply eliminating jobs in this manner. We have two goals in mind. One, we make certain that we look at goods that can be manufactured locally, since this creates jobs and value. Steel is one of the most important sectors for us. You may recall that the government decided that steel was important and established Ajaokuta Steel and Delta Steel.

  Dr. Kingsley Obiora, Chairman of the AFC Board and Deputy Governor (Economic Policy) of the Central Bank of Nigeria, stated in his talk that energy and infrastructure were critical to the continent's progress.

  “Climate Change needs increased resilience in our structures and infrastructure, and energy transition necessitates reconsideration of power supply, transportation, and lifestyle,” he says.

  “The goal is to find new sources of money, both domestic and foreign.” You may rest confident that such funding is available. Pension funds, insurance firms, sovereign wealth funds, and mutual funds are all invested in it. We are only limited by our capacity to decrease risk for investors while providing reliable, consistent, and competitive returns.

  “After 15 years, the firm has a balance sheet of more than $10 billion in investments in 35 countries.” Last year, the CBN, in collaboration with the AFC and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, unveiled the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria, a world-class infrastructure development company aimed at addressing Nigeria's $100 billion annual infrastructure requirements.

  Also addressing, Mr Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Transcorp Group, called for the annihilation of the insecurity monster now scorching the Niger Delta, which has manifested itself in unprecedented levels of oil theft that have shattered the nation's economy.

  Elumelu stated that insecurity was a complete deterrent to foreign investment needed to direct the nation's ship from the storm to calmer waters.


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