Aliko Dangote Details Losses in Nigeria’s Textile Industry

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, recently recounted the significant challenges and financial losses his company faced in Nigeria’s textile industry. Speaking at the 2024 Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) summit in Abuja, Dangote shared how the lack of government protection led to the collapse of his textile ventures, resulting in the loss of billions of Naira.

During his keynote speech, Dangote explained that his company invested heavily in the textile sector during its boom in the 1960s. He noted that the Dangote Group had established Dangote General Textile Mills in Kano and acquired a foreign shareholder of the Nigeria Textile Mill, a project initially set up for the Western Region by Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1960.

Despite the substantial investments, the absence of supportive government policies forced Dangote to shut down both factories. The shutdown was particularly challenging due to the financial burden of paying pensions and gratuities to long-term employees of the Nigeria Textile Mill.

“To pay off the workers’ pensions and gratuities, I had to sell Liberty Merchant Bank for N1.2 billion,” Dangote said. “The industry consumed N985 million just to settle these payments, which led us to exit the textile business entirely.”

Reflecting on the experience, Dangote highlighted the financial strain and the lessons learned from the venture. He revealed that even when former President Olusegun Obasanjo later encouraged him to reinvest in the textile industry, he declined due to his previous negative experience.

“Even when Obasanjo asked us to come back and invest in textiles, I told him no, thank you,” Dangote concluded. This statement underscored the lasting impact of the losses on his decision-making regarding future investments in the sector.