In a strong appeal to Nigeria’s business, banking, and political leaders to promote non-oil exports, Aliko Dangote, the founder, chairman, and CEO of the Dangote Group, the largest industrial conglomerate in West Africa, cited the Dangote Petrochemical Plant as an example of a facility that will increase non-oil export earnings for the nation.
Speaking in Lagos at the 2022 Zenith Bank International Trade Seminar on Non-oil Export, Dangote called attention to Nigeria’s low non-oil export level in comparison to other top oil-producing African nations.
In 2021, non-oil exports made up only 12 percent of Nigeria’s export value, compared to 46 percent in Algeria and 16 percent in Angola.
He said that before the discovery of oil, Nigeria had grown cotton, cocoa, rubber and palm oil.
“If we had continued with these things they would have given us much more money than the oil,” he asserted.
“When you import, you are importing poverty into your country… When you export you are creating jobs here and exporting poverty to them. Whatever we can export we should do so,” said the business tycoon.
“Why don’t we do something creative. We have the resources,” he added.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), according to Dangote, is aiding in this expansion with its RT200 FX initiative, which intends to increase non-oil export income to $200 billion over the following three to five years.
The program applies to the export of finished and semi-finished goods and mandates that they be exported through the Investors & Exporters FX window.
The CBN offers a quarterly incentive of N65 for each dollar repatriated and sold for the use of a third party and N35 for each dollar repatriated and sold for its own use.
Dangote cited the example of his company’s $2bn Petrochemical Plant located at Ibeju-Lekki in Lagos State, which when fully operational will position Nigeria as one of Africa’s largest petrochemicals hubs and boost non-oil export earnings for the country.
The 900,000 tonnes per annum capacity plant, which is being built alongside the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Petroleum Refinery, will produce polypropylene to cater to the growing plastic processing downstream industries, not only in Africa but also in other parts of the world, the firm says.
He also said that the company’s recently commissioned 3m mtpaFertiliser Plant has “commenced export to India, North America and Latin America. At steady state, will export two million tons per annum after meeting domestic consumption.”