Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is on a mission to ensure that Nigerian consumers are availed access to consumer credit facilities. According to him, this is a good step towards eradicating corruption in the country.
Dangote, who is currently the President of Dangote Group, disclosed this, yesterday while discussing with some select economic stakeholders in Lagos during a forum tagged Going for Growth.
Dangote’s Argument: He used the occasion to urge Nigeria’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, to develop consumer credit facilities targetted at low-income earners in Nigeria. This, he said, would enable people who earn the least money in the country to easily access soft loans.
Loans for what exactly? Well, according to Aliko Dangote, most Nigerians need to access soft loans so as to enable them to purchase basic products and services. According to Investopedia, consumer credit is personal debt taken on to purchase goods and services. A typical example would be the credit cards which are widely used in most advanced countries.
Understanding Dangote’s Position: Now, looking at the scheme of things, it is easy to understand why a lot of consumers in Nigeria need consumer credits. For example, most working-class Nigerians earn very little salaries per month. With their limited financial powers, therefore, they are unable to purchase basic goods and services. This is not good for either the consumers or for manufacturing companies such as those that are majority-owned by Alhaji Aliko Dangote.
From the foregoing, it is easy to see that Dangote also had his interest in mind when he made the call yesterday. But most importantly, he believes that the provision of credit facilities for consumers would help curb corruption. While he did not explicitly explain how this is so, it is easy to deduce from his point of view that many of those who commit crimes in Nigeria do so out of the need to survive; or not.
Will Dangote’s plan work? It is difficult to figure out the feasibility of this plan. How would people with limited income means be able to repay loans that were collected not for investment purposes, but for consumer purposes? This is quite problematic. But we believe Aliko Dangote already figured it all out.
His position on the economy: During the stakeholder forum, Dangote also spoke about other aspects of the economy. He made a case for adequate electricity supply, arguing that the lack of policy implementation has been the biggest problem bedeviling Nigeria’s power sector. Unfortunately, no economy can grow without adequate power supply. This is why all hands must be on deck towards providing a solution to the problem, he said.
“How do you have economic growth without power? So, no power, no growth because without power there can’t be growth. Egypt increased its electricity by 10 gigawatts, which is equivalent to 10,000 megawatts in 18 months.
“In Nigeria, we have been struggling for 18 years without adding 1,000 megawatts and we have spent about three times above Egypt, why? So, I think we all need to be concerned about that.”
Furthermore, Africa’s richest man made a case for import substitution. He also called for partnerships aimed at boosting the non-oil sector as a means of ensuring all-round economic development. He specified three key areas the Government must focus on which are:
- The manufacturing sector,
- The Agric. sector, and
- The financial sector.