Aliko Dangote, the Chairman of the diversified Dangote Group, the country’s biggest conglomerate and one of the biggest in Africa, says 98 per cent of all dairy products consumed in the country is imported.

Making this assertion when he addressed students of the Executive MBA class of the Lagos Business School during a visit to the Dangote petrochemical refinery here Monday, he said that the nation faced a food security risk in the next few years if the mass importation of food was not checked.

“Ninety-eight per cent of all the milk and dairy products we consume in Nigeria are imported. This is why Dangote Group has planned to develop dairy plants, and develop home-grown milk production, to reduce importation,” he added.

“By 2020, it is estimated that the Nigerian population would have risen to between 207 million and 210 million. If we do not make efforts to grow and process our own foods, God forbid, we will go hungry.

“We have been in talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on ways we can add value to our local produce, and we have marked massive dairy production for the next three years.

“We cannot solve all Nigeria’s problems, but at least we can embrace and add value to areas where we have comparative advantage.”

He said the Dangote Group was the most well-capitalised company on the Nigerian stock exchange, with investments which include six ongoing projects which would create not less than 250,000 jobs across the nation.

He added that the refinery, which primarily majored in gas plants, petrochemicals and fertilizer production, could generate an annual foreign exchange savings and earnings of 15 billion US dollars annually.

He said it would also generate up to 1,500 direct jobs and 15,000 indirect jobs in support services and logistics, which would also include up to 22,000 housing facilities.

Dangote also said that the East-West Onshore Gas Gathering Section (EWOGGS) pipeline of the refinery was a three-billion USD investment specially dedicated to generate 12,000 megawatts (MW) of electric power for industries.

He urged the students and other potential entrepreneurs to endeavour to venture into businesses that they are familiar with.