“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.”—-Atedo Peterside
Dangote Cement given approval to export through land borders
The Nigerian government has given Dangote Cement the approval to export Cement to West Africa through Nigeria’s land borders, which have been closed for over a year. The cement manufacturer is the only company given such approval to export across the borders.
This was disclosed in a report by Bloomberg on Monday evening after an investor call by Michel Puchercos, Dangote Cement CEO.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported in October 2019 that the Federal Government of Nigeria ordered the complete closure of the Nigerian border, placing a ban on both legitimate and illegitimate movement of goods in and out of the country.
The Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service, retired Col. Hameed Ali said all import and export of goods from the nation’s land borders are banned until there is an agreement with neighboring countries on the kind of goods that should enter and exit Nigeria.
In December 2019, RenCap, an investment and securities firm declared that the closure of Nigeria’s land borders could lead to a slow-down in Nigeria’s economic growth in 2020.
Nigeria’s trade sector is about the second largest contributor to Nigeria’s GDP but has suffered from poor economic growth since Nigeria’s economic crisis began in late 2014. “We believe the border closures contributed to the decline in wholesale and retail trade in 3Q19,” RenCap said.
Dangote Chief, Pucheros, said the cement exports were made through “authorization given by this administration,” allowing Africa’s largest cement company to export to Niger and Togo during the 3rd quarter of the year.
He added that the volumes allowed for export were restricted and the Company group plans to export through seaports.
The exemption to Dangote Cement is seen as a softening of the government’s position on a border closure that started in August last year, and could open the way for other businesses to fully resume exports across the country’s land barriers.
Why this matters
With the reduced government earnings due to the pandemic, this could be a signal that the FG is experimenting with border trade again. Secondly, Nigeria has already assured African members that it would be ready to ratify the African Continental free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) by 2021.