President Muhammadu Buhari has urged entrepreneurs and investors to channel ideas and resources into areas of the economy that stimulate growth, with long-term effect on job creation and poverty reduction.
The president, who stated this when he received Chairman of Dangote Industries Ltd, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and Board members of the Group at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday, assured that fixing infrastructure remained government’s top priority.
The president said the challenges in transportation and energy would continue to attract attention for a turnaround.
He, therefore, urged entrepreneurs in the country and foreign investors to focus on areas that would leave lasting legacies of transforming lives.
“Mr Chairman, Let me again, thank you and your board for the courage and foresight that enabled you to embark on these mega investment projects which will have enduring benefits to generations of Nigerians.
“Entrepreneurs such as Alhaji Aliko Dangote are unique gifts to their societies and the institutions they build, and they often become the pillars of stable enduring prosperous economies.
“I, therefore, urge other Nigerians in the business sector to emulate this iconic entrepreneur by investing in such enterprises that will in time become worthy legacies as national assets which will continue to benefit their people for generation after generation, creating firm anchors of enduring prosperity for their citizens,’’ he said.
The president told the delegation, which was on a courtesy visit, that reforms were already going on in the public sector to reposition it into a more effective and result oriented engine room that will encourage more investments.
“I am keenly aware of the many challenges in the business environment and the investment climate despite the sustained efforts by this government to bring about improvements.
“I want to assure you, however, that Government will do everything possible to enhance the development in infrastructure, especially in energy and transportation sectors.
“We will also continue to implement needed reforms in the public service to significantly improve the ease of doing business,’’ he said.
Buhari lauded Dangote for always investing in areas that bring the highest benefits to Nigerians.
“I recall, with great pleasure, my visit to the Dangote Free Zone just about four weeks ago, to commission the Group’s new 3 million metric ton fertilizer plant.
“Let me, once again, congratulate you and your Board for a very successful commissioning ceremony.
“As I said at that event, the coming on stream of this plant was a huge opportunity to ramp up the productivity of our agricultural sector.
“It is, therefore, a most welcome booster to our government’s strategy for achieving food security and reducing poverty.
“Given recent developments globally, especially the effect of the ongoing war in Europe on world-wide food supply chain, I must commend your foresight for bringing the plant into operation at the time you did.
“I note that market realities will bring pressure to bear on Dangote Fertilizer Limited in seeking to meet the demands of your export customers.
“However, given your group’s well known patriotic vision, I am confident that your Board will continue to accord priority to meeting local demands of our farmers,’’ the president noted.
Buhari also commended the Dangote Group for extending investments to other African countries, while highlighting the vision behind the refinery.
“Mr Chairman, I must specially commend you and your Board for the development of the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical complex.
“I had a good view of this incredible city of steel and concrete when my helicopter circled over it during my visit for the commissioning of the fertilizer plant,’’ he added.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Dangote Industries Ltd, said the Board was at the State House to express profound appreciation to the president for the great honour to the Dangote Group when he inaugurated the new 3m MTPD Fertilizer plant.
The plant was the latest subsidiary company of the Dangote Fertilizer Ltd.
Dangote said: “We also seize the opportunity to reiterate our immense gratitude for the sustained effort of your administration through various policy initiatives aimed at progressively improving the business environment and investment climate, in spite of some unprecedented challenges our economy has been confronted with over the past decade.
“We are also deeply grateful for your direct interventions at various times when our operations were challenged by some unintended consequences of economic policy positions.
“Your interventions have not only helped to resolve business challenges, but have been a source of great encouragement in our determination to continue to invest in our economy for the benefit of our country and our people.’’
According to Dangote, the Board looks forward to the return of President Buhari to inaugurate the Oil Refineries and Petrochemicals project, which would transform the Nigerian economy.
“Through the outputs of our various businesses, our Group is proud to be making significant contributions to the diversification and growth of our nation’s economy, which is second only to Federal Government in the size of our workforce,’’ he added.
He expressed the hope that with more investments in agriculture and Oil and Gas sectors more impact will be made on the economy.
Dangote submitted that the group of industries will always hold on to the president’s mantra on the economy to “produce what we consume and consume what we produce.’’