In this interview, Alhaji Sani Dangote; Vice President Dangote Group, Chairman Dansa Holdings Limited speaks on non-oil export and need to develop Nigeria economy on 2nd November 2016 at the Nigerian-Belgian Chamber of Commerce Breakfast meeting, tagged “Processing and Packaging of Food – to Benefit the Export to Europe” at the Signature restaurant – Eko Hotels and suite in Lagos.
Can you please share your view about today’s event?
My view is, the event has been good. What I have heard today from different speakers, stakeholders, is excellent because many issues have been enumerated. Solutions has been discussed and put on the table. It is now for all participants, both public and private to engage one another and come up with execution time plan and then we can see results coming.
With the situation of the country now, we are gradually digressing from the oil to the non-oil export. Do you think Nigeria is non-oil export ready?
I think by circumstances we have no choice but to look at the other alternatives. My only prayer is that I hope we are looking at the second alternative or another alternative where it is more reliable and more sustainable not just because the oil prices has crashed, but because we believe it is the right thing to do. If we are only going there because the oil prices have crashed, oil may come back at a high price we don’t know when. If it does! so what are we going to do? Are we going to abandon the new drive and move to the old drive? We are not saying oil is not good but we should use the oil for quick infrastructural development that will enable us produce from the alternative that can be more sustainable where millions of millions of people can own their businesses.
What do you think is the importance of Packaging to Export business?
Well, importance of packaging cannot be overemphasized because without a proper packaging, you may lose the produce, quality, standard and trust in the consumer. So you need a proper packaging that preserves the product in a good state and make sure the product have traceability, good presentation for consumer patronage. Packaging is very critical and it’s the most important thing.
Looking at rejection of Nigeria made products in developed countries. What do you think can be done that our locally manufactured products can be globally competitive?
We just should understand that whoever is handling, producing or processing the products needs to understand that there is a standard that is required, not only for export, even in Nigeria we need to have a standard. If we can process based on a good standard, that culture in us will now translate in what we want to export. Also, we should look at that aspect of processing and production for the right quality, customer and the right market. Unless we have that mindset, you can do anything, even yourself if you don’t process and package yourself well you will not get a partner that would want to be with you. So, it’s the same, you have a good quality product presented in a best state where consumer will always look for it and ask for it.
What advice can you give to people out there?
If they are in business or they are consultant, whatever they are, they should also have this mindset that we need to work and develop our own economy. We need to produce what we can produce, add value, source of sustenance and efficiency force. We talk about export, I am not saying we should not export, but we should put the culture in our mind that there are so many things we can produce. We can do it locally am not saying that export should not be allowed, but we should look at our advantage first. Once we can develop that, then we can talk about investors. Once investors see that we have a huge market, we are developing in our own consumption, then we have a lot of investors that will come and invest. we have 180 million people in Nigeria, we have ECOWAS with almost 350-400 million people. It’s a huge market, export is good but we also have a huge demand. So, people should look at adding value to products and services.