Monday, 15 April 2013

Boko Haram not Nigeria’s worst evil - Dangote

Despite its bloody impact on national psyche currently, sectarian killings by extremist group Boko Haram, is by far, not Nigeria’s worst evil, Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote believes.

peaking somewhat more of a businessman, keener about growing his expansive business empire than the insecurity around him, Mr. Dangote said Nigeria’s notorious deficient infrastructure is far more of a headache than Boko Haram.

“I don’t have any issue with government raising money, that is, loan, so long as it is spent well. Beyond the issue of Boko Haram and insecurity, the greatest threat that confronts us is the threat of decaying and decayed infrastructure. And this is not just in Nigeria but in all of Africa, the greatest threat is infrastructure,” Mr. Dangote told journalists last Wednesday, his 56th birthday.

“Somebody was asked how he would operate in government and the person said he would face only two things – infrastructure and education. And he was asked what about the rest. He said with infrastructure, other things would follow. This is what I think confronts us as the greatest danger even beyond Boko Haram”.

Mr. Dangote said nothing hurts the economy more-and by extension jobs, security and others-than obsolete roads, railways, ports, power and others. He cited a dysfunction at the port:
“To clear a container in Lagos it would take about $1000 but in Brazil where they are not even efficient, it costs less than $100 to clear the same container.

“The issue which people seem to forget is that the last port we built in Nigeria, the Tin Can Island Port, was built in 1978 – look at the population of Nigeria at that time, the size of the economy, crude oil was being sold for about $9 and compare with the expansion of the economy and the population and people think we should still manage with the same facility?

“God forbid, some people were expressing fears about Third Mainland Bridge; God forbid I say, should something happen to that bridge, how would people move around in Lagos? Look at how difficult it is for people to move around now and it is being said that by 2020 Nigeria’s population would be about 200 million.”

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