Nigerian businessman, Aliko Dangote was in the news this week for controversial reasons. Dangote has been eulogized by new generation Nigerian musicians such as Burna Boy and Teni in songs that became successful, cementing the sexagenarian as a role model among Nigerian youths. However, the admiration for Dangote’s success did not stop his fellow countrymen from expressing their displeasure over the government’s decision to exempt his cement company from export restriction.
The federal government had in August 2019 shut its land borders, thereby restricting flow of goods into and out of the country.
This action by the government was applauded by certain sections of the economy as it would improve revenue of the local manufacturing businesses. H owever, the federal government received backlash from businesses that depend on imported goods from neighbouring countries.
Also, the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo met with President Muhammadu Buhari in the UK to make a case for his country’s businesses that depend on the Nigerian market for their export. The border has remained closed, so we thought, until recent revelation by Bloomberg left Nigerians both confounded and upset by the double standard at play in the enforcement of the border closure.
Dangote Cement CEO, Michel Puchercos disclosed this during an investor call on Monday. According to Puchercos, the cement manufacturer resumed its export operations to Niger and Togo in the third quarter of 2020. The National Public Relations Officer of Customs, Joseph Attah, stated that BUA Group, and an et to be named gas firm were also granted waivers to export.
Here are Top 7 Things To Know About FG’s Controversial Land Border Waiver For Dangote, BUA Group and Gas Firm
#1: The Land Border Export Exemption Arrangement Has Been in Effect Since July, 2020
According to the CEO of Dangote Cement, the company resumed exporting activities through land borders in the third quarter of 2020. The borders through which the products are exported include Ilela land border in Sokoto State and Ohumbe land border in Ogun State.
Also, Managing Director of BUA Cement, Yusuf Binji said that the company was granted limited approval to export the product to the “Niger Republic (which is 100 kilometre from our plant), and this was disclosed in our half-year results and presentations to the investing and general public.
#2: Customs Spokesman Gives FG’s Reason For Granting Waiver To Dangote, Two Other Firms
The closest to an official response from the federal government so far was a statement credited to the National Public Relations Officer of Customs, Joseph Attah he stated that, “The Presidency, in its magnanimity, has approved the exemption of three companies, Dangote Cement, BUA and a gas supply firm from its border closure restrictions due to what they export to other African countries.”
#3: Dangote Group Reacts To Bloomberg Report
The Group Chief, Branding and Communications, Dangote Group, Anthony Chiejina, described the report as misleading and mischievous because it focused only on Dangote Cement as the sole beneficiary of the partial special dispensation.
#4: Atedo Peterside Spoke Against FG’s Unfair Practice
Stanbic IBTC Bank founder, Atedo Peterside, reviled the decision of the federal government granting preferential treatment to Dangote and BUA Group. In two separate posts on his Twitter page, Mr. Peterside stated that, …“the Nigerian economy is rigged in favour of a handful of well-connected persons”.
#5: Unnamed Gas Firm Also Benefiting from Arrangement
The identity of the third company granted a waiver to resume export still remains a mystery. The only detail about the firm is that, it is a gas company.
#6: Volume of Export By Dangote Cement Through Land Border in September 2020
Dangote Cement exported 69 tons through land borders in the period, which is below 1 percent of the 11,741 tons of cement sales in the nine months through September.
#7: Togo, Niger Export Destinations For Dangote Cement
The Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Cement, Michel Puchercos revealed that Niger and Togo were the destinations for its product, suggesting a political intervention by the leaders of both countries facilitated the exemption deal.