Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, says although he suggested the sale of some National assets as measures to get out of the current economic recession, he is not interested in buying any. Dangote in an interview with CNBC last month, suggested the sale of some National assets to revive the ailing economy.
His suggestion however received some level of backlash from many Nigerians as they felt he was planning to “buy up Nigeria”. In an interview with ThisDay, Dangote said even if NLNG or any other national asset is offered to him on credit, he will not buy.
“Why did I suggest that we should sell some of the assets? I know the touchy one is the NLNG. I want to make it categorically clear that even if the government is selling NLNG on credit, I am not interested in buying. I don’t have any interest in NLNG and I will not buy it. It is not a business that I want to invest in. It is a mature business; that is what people don’t understand. You see, we should have invested heavily in all these Brass LNG, Olokola LNG, etc, when former President Olusegun Obasanjo started work on the projects, but we missed the opportunity. Today, you have massive LNG projects that have been done by Qatar, Australia and the United States is also exporting. But right now, all the gas that we have is even in the ground. Even Mozambique has a massive amount of gas and also Tanzania, and they are nearer to the markets than we are. So, if somebody is even going to invest in LNG, he would go to those areas and invest there and not here in Nigeria, because the investment here daunting. So my own suggestion is that even if we must sell, it doesn’t have to be 100 per cent of our interest in NLNG.” “People are just saying it is better to go and borrow, but I don’t know where they are coming from. You see, with borrowing, if I have issues with my business today, the bankers who would lend me the money would want to see me doing something first to see how the business can survive. There would be conditionalities. But if you are not shedding weight, how do you expect somebody to help you with funding? You have to start first by trying to shed weight and showing the person (lender) who wants to help you with the assets you want to sell”.