Obasanjo restates commitment to privatisation

Obasanjo restates commitment to privatisation
Published: 14 February 2005

Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed his administration’s commitment to it’s Privatisation Policy saying a private sector-driven economy is the only solution to Nigeria’s economic problems.  President Obasanjo who made this remark Wednesday during his facility tour of Obajana Cement factory in Kogi State noted that no nation can grow economically without the private sector assuming a leading role and therefore enjoined Nigerian industrialists to take advantage of the privatisation policy. 

The President, who arrived the factory in a helicopter commended Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman of Dangote Industries Limited, owners of the Cement factory reputed to be the largest in Africa for his love for Nigeria.  "This is a Nigerian investing in Nigeria. If we have ten of Dangotes in this country, Nigeria will be a better place to be". 

President Obasanjo stressed that he was highly impressed by what he saw on ground and the level of work done at the cement factory which he said calls for celebrations by all Nigerians, noting that the project will have a strong and positive impact on Nigeria’s economy when completed.  He directed the Managing Director of NEPA, Engr. Joseph Makoju to ensure a speedy completion of 250 megawatts Power Plant being constructed in Kogi to compliment the efforts of Dangote Group in the area of power generation. 

In his welcome address, Alhaji Dangote disclosed that his decision to embark on cement production started three years ago when President Obasanjo questioned the rationale for continued dependence on imported cement when Nigeria is abundantly blessed with all necessary raw materials for it’s production. 

Alhaji Dangote said that he ventured into cement terminal operation in 2000 through which it presently provides 38 per cent of cement consumed in the country saying that his diversification into manufacturing is aimed at launching the country into cement self-sufficiency. 

He said the Obajana cement factory will eventually produce 5Mta of cement. This he said will bring the total production of Dangote Cement to 7.7Mta with the completion of the new production line at Benue Cement Company. Obajana Cement factory according to him will provide employment for thousands of people both directly and indirectly, noting that the factory will require 2500 trucks to move it’s product with a direct employment of 7500 Nigerians (3 per truck) and a whole range of economic activities.