The President Muhammadu Buhari Federal Government, has allowed Dangote Cement, owned by Africa’s Richest Man, Aliko Dangote, to resume cement export across the land borders of the country, despite the closure of the borders, .
The exclusive exemption is being frowned at among the Nigerian Business Community.
President Buhari‘s administration gave its authorisation for Dangote Cement to export cement to Niger and Togo, in the third quarter of 2020, for the first time in 10 months.
The revelation was made by Michel Puchercos, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of Dangote Cement, in Lagos.
Recall, that Puchercos claimed that the development was made possible “through authorisation given by this administration”.
Although, the reason for the concession remains sketchy, the new development however, raises hope that Nigeria may be opening up trade with neighbouring countries, after a prolonged blockade.
Puchercos explained that Dangote resumed land export with “restricted volumes”, and plans to grow the trade, using the sea channels.
Last year, the Federal Government closed borders with neighbouring countries, including Benin, Togo, and Niger, to curb smuggling of rice and other goods.
The government also said that the move would boost local production of rice and other goods.
The border closure policy became effective shortly after Nigeria signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCTA.
The AfCTA agreement is projected to boost trade across the continent, host to a total population of about 1.2 billion people, and a combined GDP of $2.4 trillion.
Reacting to the development, the Founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Atedo Peterside, criticised the move by the President Buhari government.
He tweeted: “Allowing legitimate Exporters and Importers to move their goods across the border, should be a no-brainer.
“Why refuse everybody else, and allow only one company (Dangote)? This is why some of us argue that the Nigerian economy is rigged in favour of a handful of well-connected persons.”
More news later…