The multi-billionaire business mogul has been receiving torrents of backlash from Nigerians on social media after he stated in a recent interview with CNBC Africa that the only way for the country to get out of this recession is to move into action quickly by selling some of its assets, which includes the NLNG.
According to Dangote, “If I had challenges in my company, I would not hesitate to sell assets, to remain afloat, to get to the better times, because it doesn’t make any sense for me to keep any assets and then suffocate the whole organisation. What we need to do now in my own thinking…we have a lot of assets to sell. We can sell part of the joint venture; part of the shares. You know government normally owns 60 percent. We can sell in an open tender be it Chinese. We can change the term and make it an operating one, just like what we have in NLNG. We also have another asset I think we don’t really need. The African finance corporation; it can fetch them $800million easily. My own suggestion before was that they should even sell 100 percent of NLNG. I don’t think government should be in any business of investing in sectors of LNG. A company like that, with earnings of $1.5 billion on the average, they should get anywhere between $12 billion and $15 billion.”
He continued that “You will not believe that the crisis that we have today, if we have $15 billion, adding it to our $25 billion, that is $40 billion reserves. That will give confidence, confidence will come back, then government will back it up with proper economic policy, where people can see the roadmap. Latest by fourth quarter we will be out of recession. It should be a partnership between government and private sector. We have all the answers; Nigeria falling into recession does not really scare me, if we take action.
“Once we can sell assets, and put $15 billion together, you’d be very shocked at how much the dollar will actually drop, you can easily see 250. What is happening today is mere speculation. To currency, everybody will speculate, banks will speculate, companies will speculate, individuals will speculate, because if you have money you want to send in from abroad you will keep sending in trickles. If you know that CBN has $40 billion in reserves today, if you have $100,000, you might even sell it forward because you know that this rate is going to crash and you must quickly sell it.”
But in swift reactions, Nigerians raged that Dangote’s comments and advice are simply a result of greed and his desperate desire to acquire the NLNG, a move that would subsequently catapult him to the position of an unquestionable dictator of the Nigerian economy.
A Nigerian who identified himself as Dread233 posited that “this is madness. You (Dangote) want to buy everything in Nigeria. Why not ask the FG to sell Nigeria to you? You joined hands with Buhari to cripple Nigeria’s economy so that you will end up buying the oil companies in the country…why not come take all the oil in Niger Delta and go plant it in the north… you planned with your so called Buhari to start growing genetically modified rice which is harmful to human beings.”
In his own words, Enaibe Samson said “The Federal Government should even sell the whole country to you so that you will become the richest man in the world. Then later you will buy the whole of Africa and become the richest man in heaven and earth. G.R.E.E.D.Y Man.”
Cyril Harry believes that “What happens when the proceeds of such a sale is mismanaged? Just don’t imagine. Now we have a small foam cushion, then we will have hot rock for a bed! Bad advise that is not environmentally astute.”
Also, Idowu James noted that “But Buhari said he inherited nothing from PDP for their 16 years of rule. Even if you put $100billion in Buhari’s hands, he will still rock the boat with his crude, ancient and body language mentality of governance. Until Buhari humble himself and do away with his acclaimed self righteous mentality and unite Nigeria in love and not with guns and bullets, nothing will work. Humility and love attracts God’s help, grace and favour but pride, vindictive and judgemental spirit distances God from a man. What Nigeria needs now is God’s mercy and favour and not the way Buhari and APC is going about the issues in the country.”