Despite persistent calls for the breakup of Nigeria, there are many more Nigerians who believe in the unity of the country and they exhibit their belief in different ramifications. BODE GBADEBO, Abuja and OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos present three Nigerians who are committed to industrialisation, wealth and job creations in places other than their native lands.
Economic activities contribute to changes in the level of development in the country through generation of employment, direct creation of wealth and reduction of poverty by contributing to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
This can be seen in the various investments by indigenous business conglomerates like manufacturing, petrochemical and others, which Dangote Group, BUA Group and Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited are into as they continued to drive the economic development of the country in their own modest ways.
The Dangote Group was established as a small trading firm in 1977, the same year Dangote relocated to Lagos to expand the company.Today, it is a multi trillion-naira conglomerate with many of its operations in Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and Togo.
Dangote has expanded to cover food processing, cement manufacturing, and freight. The Dangote Group also dominates the sugar market in Nigeria and is a major supplier to the country’s soft drink companies, breweries, and confectioners.
The Dangote Group has moved from being a trading company to be the largest industrial group in Nigeria including Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Cement, and Dangote Flour.
In July 2012, Dangote approached the Nigerian Ports Authority to lease an abandoned piece of land at the Apapa Port, which was approved. He later built facilities for his flour company there.
In the 1990s, he approached the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with the idea that it would be cheaper for the bank to allow his transport company to manage their fleet of staff buses, a proposal that was also approved.
He also donated money to the Nigeria sport ministry to renovate the national stadium, Abuja.
In Nigeria today, Dangote Group with its dominance in the sugar market and refinery business is the main supplier (70 percent of the market) to the country’s soft drinks companies, breweries and confectioners. It is the largest refinery in Africa and the third largest in the world, producing 800,000 tonnes of sugar annually. Dangote Group owns salt factories and flour mills and is a major importer of rice, fish, pasta, cement, and fertiliser. The company exports cotton, cashew nuts, cocoa, sesame seeds, and ginger to several countries. It also has major investments in real estate, banking, transport, textiles, oil, and gas. The company employs more than 11,000 people and is the largest industrial conglomerate in West Africa.
Dangote has diversified into telecommunications and has started building 14,000 kilometres of fibre optic cables to supply the whole of Nigeria. As a result, Dangote was honoured in January 2009 as the leading provider of employment in the Nigerian construction industry.
He has said, “Let me tell you this and I want to really emphasise it … nothing is going to help Nigeria like Nigerians bringing back their money. If you give me $5 billion today, I will invest everything here in Nigeria. Let us put our heads together and work.”
The brain behind Dangote Group is Aliko Dangote, who holds the second highest national honour of GCON and he was born on April 10, 1957.
His most ambitious business adventure is probably the Dangote Petroleum Refinery located in far away from his native Kano State, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State.
The refinery is a 650,000 barrels per day (BPD) integrated refinery project under construction in the Lekki Free Zone. It is expected to be Africa’s biggest oil refinery and the world’s biggest single-train facility.
The project is expected to cost up to $15 billion in total, with $10 billion invested in the refinery, $2.5 billion in the fertilizer factory, and $2.5 billion in pipeline infrastructure.
Abdul Samad Rabiu established BUA International Limited in 1988 for the sole purpose of commodity trading. The company imported rice, edible oil, flour, and iron and steel.
In 1990, the government, which owned Delta Steel Company, contracted with BUA to supply its raw materials in exchange for finished products. This provided a much-needed windfall for the young company. BUA expanded further into steel, producing billets, importing iron ore, and constructing multiple rolling mills in Nigeria.
A few years later, BUA acquired Nigerian Oil Mills Limited, the largest edible oil processing company in Nigeria. In 2005 BUA started two flour-milling plants, in Lagos and in Kano. By 2008, BUA had broken an eight-year monopoly in the Nigerian sugar industry by commissioning the second-largest sugar refinery in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2009 the company went on to acquire a controlling stake in a publicly-listed Cement Company in Northern Nigeria and began to construct a $900 million cement plant in Edo State, completing it in early 2015.
The founder of BUA Group was born on August 4, 1960 in Kano. His late father, Khalifah Isyaku Rabiu, was one of Nigeria’s foremost industrialists in the 1970s and 1980s.
His daring business adventure became public earlier in the year when BUA Group, entered the country’s and West African crude oil refining and petrochemical playbook with the announcement of plans to build a 200,000 barrels per day plant in Akwa Ibom State.
According to the project promoters, BUA Group, the multi-billion-dollar integrated refinery and petrochemicals plant aims at producing Euro-V fuels and polypropylene for the domestic and regional market.
Abdulrazaq Isa Kutepa
Kutepa is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, the operator of Ibigwe marginal oil field in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 16 in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria.
Waltersmith is a Nigerian independent petroleum producer which commenced commercial production and export of crude oil in June, 2018.
Born on February 7, 1961 in Lokoja, the present-day Kogi State, Kutepa is currently spearheading the Waltersmith Modular Refinery in Ohaji/Egbema local government areaarea in Imo State.
He said the project’s first phase would create several direct and indirect jobs for the host community.
For the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, N.J. Ayuk, “This project is crucial for the development of the refining sector on the continent. Alongside the Dangote refinery which is slated for completion in early 2021, Nigeria is quickly setting an example for the role private investment stands to play in the development of the industry’s capabilities.
“Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude producer, yet it lacks the refining capacity to meet its own fuel needs and through projects like these, the country is effectively making the move towards addressing this issue,” Ayuk added.
Meanwhile, stakeholders have commended the unparalleled contributions of Dangote Industries to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
A former president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr. Babatunde Ruwase, said the Dangote Group has added a lot of value to the growth of the Nigerian economy pointing out that if Nigeria would have fared better if the country could have two Dangote group.
He specifically commended the company’s investment in Refinery, Fertilizer, Cement, Flour and every sector and still expanding and going strong. He described the Dangote brand as a critical enabler to provide locally made goods for Nigerians and the African Continent.
“The Dangote Group is a Nigerian company managed by Aliko Dangote. We are very proud of this company, which is people oriented,” Ruwase said.
He added that the activities of the Dangote Group show high degree of vision, creative thinking, research, innovation, hard work and industry, which he added, have culminated into what one can describe as the Dangote business and industrial empire today.
Meanwhile, Dangote Cement, one of the subsidiaries of Dangote Group has taken Nigeria from being a big importer of cement to self-sufficiency, and now an exporter.
Also, BUA Cement boost its total production capacity to eight mmtpa, increasing Nigeria cement production capacity, reduced drastically importation, improve export and foreign exchange.
At the listing of BUA Cement on Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the managing director of BUA Cement, Engr. Yusuf Binji said, “The Company is poised to add even more value to the Nigerian economy as a whole through this listing. Over the past few years, we have significantly ramped up capacity and currently boast the most efficient and integrated operations in the Nigerian Cement Industry. This new publicly listed company will continue to deliver exceptional value to all stakeholders in the foreseeable future.”
According to the Company, BUA Cement further alluded that the proposed merger provides a compelling opportunity to capture significant synergies and create value for the benefit of the shareholders of both companies in the form of stronger competitive position of the enlarged company, economies of scale, enhanced operations and administrative efficiencies that will accrue.
In 2012, Dangote Group diversified its business empire by venturing into the oil sector, having already established itself in cement, flour and sugar industries. Dangote Group announced that its refinery would be commissioned by the end of first half in 2021. The Group Executive Director, Dangote Group, Devakumar Edwin, explained that when commissioned, the facility would meet 100 per cent need of the country and export balance.
When production starts, the refinery will be able to process 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day into refined petroleum products. This will help Nigeria become an oil refining country and oil exporter as the country’s refineries are in dilapidated state. The capacity of the Dangote Refinery would eliminate fuel import from other regions into Nigeria.
Waltersmith Petroman Oil has reportedly disclosed its plan to increase the output of its 5,000 barrel a day capacity mini-refinery in Ohaji/Egbema, Imo State to 30,000 barrels a day by 2022. The refinery, which is 98 per cent completed, is expected to be commissioned in September 2020.
The CEO of the company, Chikezie Nwosu, according to Bloomberg discussed this. “We expect that by September we should be ready to test-run the refinery, now at 98 per cent completion. We are going to grow its capacity by an additional 25,000 barrels a day to make it 30,000 barrels,” he said.
Nwosu explained that the earlier plan to commission the refinery, which was built by Houston-based VFuels, in May was hampered by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The refinery, which is expected to primarily serve the South-Eastern part of the country, is expected to contribute about 271 million litres of refined products including Diesel, Naptha, HFO and Kerosene annually to the domestic market and create both direct and indirect jobs particularly within the host communities.
According to him, the crude processing plant is part of a bigger industrial energy park that will serve as a manufacturing base for oil and gas components. The project includes a 30-megawatt power station, which Waltersmith will expand to about 300 megawatts.
The NNPC attributed the abysmal operational performance of the refineries to an ongoing revamping process aimed at further enhancing their capacity utilisation once completed.
In conclusion, these companies in the country and outside have contributed to changes in the level of development in the country.