Africa’s richest man and Chairman, Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has said that Northern Nigeria would continue to remain poor, except its states governments move to close the development gap between the North and the South.
Speaking at the 4th edition of the Kaduna Investment Summit (KadInvest 4.0) in Kaduna on Wednesday, Dangote berated Northern state governors for doing little to end poverty in the region.
“Nigeria is ranked at 157th out of 189 countries on the human development index. While the overall socio-economic condition in the country is a cause for concern, the regional disparities are in fact very alarming.
“In the North-western and North-eastern parts of Nigeria, more than 60 per cent of the population live in extreme poverty. It is instructive to know that the 19 Northern states which accounts for over 54 per cent of Nigeria’s population and 70 per cent of its landmass, collectively generate, only 21 per cent of the total sub-national IGR in the year 2017.
“Northern Nigeria will continue to fall behind if the respective states governments do not move to close the development gap. And that is why we are always saying that, the biggest challenge we have and what we have been praying for is to have 10 governors like Malam Nasir el-Rufai to move the Northern Nigeria forward.
“Closing the gap requires multi years investment, and goverment will not be able to raise the required capital funding, only the private sector can raise the capital to fund the level of investment that this country needs. Therefore, government must create the conducive environment that will trigger a huge inflow of private capital into attractive sectors of the economy.
“Private investment will create jobs and will ameliorate the twin problem of poverty and unemployment. As more people are gainfully employed, you will witness a very sharp decline in some of the disturbing social vices prevailent in our society, especially among the youths.”
The business mogul urged other Northern states to emulate Kaduna state goverment in the investment drive, Dangote said, aside the over $500 million investment that el-Rufai’s goverment has attracted to Kaduna, Dangote Group is patnering Peugeot of France and Kaduna state government to establish multi-billion naira automobile assembly in Kaduna state.
“This investment was pushed very hard by Governor el-Rufai, and I must also thank Mr. Jimi Lawal for putting so much pressure to ensure this comes to reality.”
Dangote who rolled out his group’s investment plans in the North and Nigeria at large, said, with conducive atmosphere provided by the state governments, the private sector will address unemployment in the country.
He also disclosed that, Dangote Group would be considering investing in dairy production in Kaduna state, saying that, the trend of importing 98 per cent of milk consumed in Nigeria at the rate of $1.3 billion was unacceptable, coupled with the fact that the imported milk is unhealthy.