Border Closure: Criticisms Trail Selective Exemption for Dangote, Bua by FG

Border post, sourced from Premium Times

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*Policy casts doubt on credibility of govt on policy issues, execution, says LCC DG
The selective treatment given to Dangote Group, Bua Group and another gas firm to be exempted from the border closure has been condemned by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and founder, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Mr Atedo Peterside.
The Director-General, LCCI, Dr Muda Yusuf, said the action of the government has cast doubt about the credibility of the government on policy issues and execution.
Yusuf said what was fair would have been for government to create a level playing field in such policy issues.
According to the DG, the action of the government “negates the principles and spirit of competition policy and competition law,” according to a report by Punch Newspapers.
Similarly, Peterside in a Tweet said it was wrong for government to allow a selected few to move goods through the border while failing to give others equal treatment.
He said what government should have done was to allow all legitimate exports to have access to the borders.
He said in his Tweet “When will the FG consider small honest businesses that are not so well-connected?
“I have since learnt that BUA Group was also allowed to export goods through Nigeria’s “closed” land borders. FG should please accept that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.”
“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.”
Similarly, exporters who spoke to SHIPPING DAY under anonymity have condemned the action of the federal government, saying it was a demonstration of lack of regard for other legimitate businesses whose owners have no opportunity to reach out to people in government.
One of the exporters said it was unfortunte the federal government could introduce such selective treatment.
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had Tuesday confirmed the exemption for Dangote, Bua and one other company.
The border has remained closed for almost a year now over government claims it was meant to fight against smuggling.
Manufacturers had on several occasions called for the reopening of the borders for genuine businessmen but the Customs Service has insisted all goods for export remained banned.
The closure of the border on claims of fighting smuggling is interpreted by many as failure of the Customs Service to do its job.

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