Dangote expressed concerns about the increasing poverty in the region, noting that the north will continue to lag behind if the state governments do not take steps to tackle development challenges.
The president of Dangote Group said more than 60 per cent of the population in the north-west and north-eastern parts of the country live in extreme poverty.
His words: “Our country human developmental indicators rank poorly when compared with global averages. Nigeria is ranked at 157 out of 189 countries in the areas of human development index,” Dangote said.
“While the over all social economic considerations in the country is a cause for concern, the regional imperative are in fact, very alarming.
“It is instructive to know that the 19 northern states which account for over 54 per cent of the country’s population and 70 per cent of its landmass collectively generated only 21 per cent of the total sub-national internally generated revenue in 2017.
“Northern Nigeria will continue to fall behind if respective state 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 are always praying for is to have 10 governors like Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.”
The president of Dangote Group said closing the gap requires multi-layer investment and government will not be able to muster the needed funds.
He said only the private sector can raise the amount of capital required to find the kind of investment required.
According to Dangote, private investment will create jobs and go a long way to erase the challenge of unemployment and poverty.
“Government must create a conducive environment that will trigger a huge inflow of private capital into the private sector of the economy,” he said.
“As more people get employed, you will notice a sharp decline in some of the social vices now prevalent in our society.”
The president of Dangote Group said while several states are taking steps in this direction, only a few are making visible progress, citing Kaduna as an example.
“As the capital of the former northern region, Kaduna continues to lead on several matrix. Kaduna currently has the highest WAEC pass rate in the north and second highest IGR generation in the northern part of the region after Kano,” he said.
“We have what it takes to turn around our fortunes and I pray all the 19 governors of the northern states will wake up and follow the footsteps of Kaduna State government.
“As private sector investment propels an upsurge in economic activities, the financial viability of state governments will also improve. State governments will have more money to invest in human capital development and the rampant cases of insecurity as we have it now will subside.
“The north must focus on harnessing its massive Agric potentials in terms of both production and processing. No region with such Agric potentials should be this poor.
“Given the vast tracts of arable land and conducive condition, I think in the next ten years, Agriculture can generate more revenue and prosperity than oil that we have now if we have the right commitment.
“At Dangote, we are ready to partner with any government that creates enabling environment,” he added.
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— Muhammad Umar Ajingi (@Mu_Ajingi) April 3, 2019
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