He said, “This is the right moment to pursue the diversification of the economy, which we have been talking about. I know that once oil gets back to $80 per barrel, we will go back to the same misbehaviour.
“But I think this is the right time for that. Government must come up with the right policy, because if we don’t do it now, we may not do it. But low prices do not mean doom. In 1998-1999, the price of oil was $9. What we need to do is just to block the leakages and pursue diversification.”
According to Dangote, the monthly revenue inflow from oil, which used to be $3.2bn, is now around $1bn, and this has caused a number of challenges for businesses in the country.
“There are some areas where we are facing serious challenges and there are some where we are not. It depends on your business model. If your business model is to import 100 per cent, definitely, you will be facing challenges, because the inflow of foreign exchange is not where it used to be a year and a half ago,” he added.
Dangote, who spoke in Lagos on Monday at the Nigerian Economic Summit organised by Economist Events, an arm of The Economist of London, said, “We are looking at a situation that by 2020, we will be the one selling FX to the CBN. Our projects are mainly import substitution. We are working to be self-sufficient to grow about a million tonnes of rice over the next five years.
“We have 15 countries in the ECOWAS community that are duty-free. The export market is big and profitable if you have the capacity. Players in the manufacturing (sector) should be encouraged to export if they have the capacity. We must also meet local consumption.”