President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has stated that the devaluation of the naira will not affect the food fortification targets set by leaders in the Nigerian food industry.
This statement was made by Dangote while speaking at the 3rd Annual Nigeria Food Processing and Leadership Forum, which he chaired alongside Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
According to Technoserve, international nonprofit promoting business solutions to poverty in developing countries, the average cost of fortification in developing countries is $0.15 per person annually.
With the recurrent devaluation of the naira against the dollar, there are concerns that the fluctuations in the local currency could derail the food industry’s plan to attain 100 percent fortification soon.
Reacting to this, Dangote said the devaluation “is not going to affect our target regardless of the dollar exchange rate because as we speak, we are actually doing the fortification — not making the consumers pay.
“It is not part of our cost, we take it as a service and we are not charging for fortification. It will not affect our target.
“But the naira will be stable as we go along; I don’t think the naira will go more than where it is today.”
Fielding questions from TheCable on the impact of the pandemic on Nigeria’s fortification plans and the reported hoarding of food items in warehouses, Dangote said that the pandemic did not stop the food fortification and distribution process.
“The issue is that the pandemic did not stop us from distributing food items; if you look at it, during the lockdown, government allowed some food items to be distributed. Essential commodities.
“We did not stop fortifying food items. But you know there is what you call the RUTF [ready-to-use therapeutic food], which we as Dangote Foundation are launching and we are going to spend a lot of money [on].
He said his foundation is working with BMGF to make sure that children are not malnourished.
“On a corporate level, I can assure you that food items are all over the place; even during the pandemic, we supplied. Yes, we have had challenges at the beginning because most of the states were closing their borders,” he added.
“Mind you, we had warehouses all over the place and those warehouses were able to feed most of the states before they started opening the borders. For now, we are doing very well, food items are moving freely.”