LCCI, MAN seek level playing ground for all

By Chikodi Okereocha and Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie



Members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) yesterday reacted to the controversy generated by the preferential treatment allegedly given to Dangote Cement Plc and BUA Group to export goods through the nation’s closed land borders.

The OPS, including Lagos Chamber of Commerce & industry (LCCI) and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), in separate interviews with The Nation, said a review of the land border closure was long overdue; that the policy has become unsustainable.

Recall that the Federal Government had in October 2019, ordered the complete closure of the Nigerian borders, placing a ban on both legitimate and illegitimate movement of goods in and out of the country, ostensibly to curb smuggling.

However, the Federal Government was said to have allowed Dangote Cement and BUA Group to resume exports across its land borders which have been closed for over a year. This did not go down well with some Nigerians particularly businessmen.

Many of them kicked, insisting that allowing only Dangote Cement and BUA Group to export cement through the land borders, despite the closure, amounted to preferential treatment.

For instance, Chairman of Stanbic IBTC, Atedo Peterside, on Tuesday, said: “This (the alleged preferential treatment) is why some of us argue that the Nigerian economy is rigged in favour of a handful of well-connected persons.”

However, reacting to the controversy, LCCI Director General, Dr. Muda Yusuf said a fair and equitable policy regime demand that there should be a level playing field in the policy and regulatory environment.

According to him, the absence of level playing field for economic players is detrimental to investors’ confidence and inimical to economic recovery aspirations of government.

Yusuf added that the said preferential treatment to the two majors also negates the principles and spirit of competition policy and competition law.

“Our plea is that the land border should be opened and institutional capacity strengthened for better compliance with the trade policy rules. Legitimate import and export activities should be allowed to resume for economic players, whether small or big,” Yusuf told The Nation.

The LCCI chief asked for a review of the land border closure, noting that it was long overdue.

Also speaking, the Acting Director General of MAN, Mr. Ambrose Oruche, said the Association’s position remains the same which is that the closure of the borders has become unsustainable.

Although, he declined to comment on the alleged preferential treatment to Dangote Cement and BUA Group, Oriche said MAN will make its position on the matter known today.






Source: Latest Nigeria News, Nigerian Newspapers, Politics

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