How my regime made Dan­gote, oth­ers bil­lion­aires – Obasanjo

Sunday Trust - - NEWS - From Hamisu Muham­mad & Sun­day Michael Ogwu, Bali, In­done­sia

For­mer Pres­i­dent Oluse­gun Obasanjo has said the bank­ing con­sol­i­da­tion car­ried out dur­ing his regime made it pos­si­ble for Nige­rian banks to fund Aliko Dan­gote and other en­trepreneurs’ busi­ness ideas in ce­ment and other sec­tors.

Obasanjo made the claim while speak­ing at the Babacar N’daiye Lec­ture by the Africa Ex­portIm­port Bank (Afrex­im­bank) on the side lines of the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund/World Bank meet­ings in Bali, In­done­sia.

The for­mer pres­i­dent along­side Pro­fes­sor Jef­fry Sachs chaired the sec­ond Babacar Ndi­aye Lec­ture se­ries, which was cre­ated to hon­our Dr. Ndi­aye, who was pres­i­dent of the African De­vel­op­ment Bank from 1985 to 1995.

Speak­ing on who will de­velop Africa, Obasanjo said: “Africans will de­velop Africa and we have to get that right.

“In Nige­ria, Aliko Dan­gote who is the ce­ment mag­nate and the rich­est man in Africa said to me, if we had not had the bank­ing re­form, all the ideas he had about ce­ment would not have come to pass.”

“We had 87 banks and none of them had enough cap­i­tal to be able to sup­port him but when we re­duced to 25 banks, they had enough cap­i­tal to be able to sup­port him. To­day, not only is Aliko pro­duc­ing over 30 mil­lion met­ric tonnes of ce­ment in Nige­ria, he is do­ing the same out­side Nige­ria and the price of ce­ment has come down. If we can do that in ce­ment, we can do it in steel and any other area of our de­vel­op­ment but we must get it right, no­body will do it for us.”

He said Africa can­not over­come fears of trade wars un­til it achieves 50 per cent in­tra-Africa trade.

“We now have the Con­ti­nen­tal Free Trade Agree­ment which is a good idea and I can as­sure that Nige­ria will soon sign. Hope­fully we will soon have a pres­i­dent who will be able to sign be­cause the pres­i­dent that is there now, his hands are too weak to sign.”

He said the fu­ture of Africa trade and ef­fec­tive­ness of poli­cies to achieve macroe­co­nomic sta­bil­ity in Africa will largely de­pend on the strength and re­silience of AfricaSouth trade.

PHOTO:

A Boko Haram’s anti-air­craft gun truck that was dam­aged when Boko Haram mem­bers at­tacked troops of the 118 Bat­tal­ion in Arege, Borno State. The troops cap­tured one-gun truck, three anti-air­craft guns, two AK- 47 ri­fles, one RPG bomb and some mor­tar bombs, while three-gun trucks were burnt Army head­quar­ters

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