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Border Closure Policy: FG Justifies Concession For Dangote Cement, Others

The Federal Government has confirmed granting Dangote, BUA and a gas supply firm special dispensation to export from the land border.

Making this clarification during a media chat on the export trade channel concession granted the three beneficiary companies, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) spokesperson, DC Joseph Attah, explained that these three firms were exempted due to the need for what they produce as export in other West African countries.

According to Attah, who also doubles as the Spokesman for Operation En-Swift Response, the operational arm coordinating the border closure enforcement.

He expatiated: “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 the need for what they export to other African countries.

“I cannot remember the name of the gas supply company now, but the company supplies gas to Niger and other West African countries. So as of now, these companies will be allowed to export their goods through our land borders to neighbouring countries.” On whether the goodwill might be extended to other firms, the Customs Spokesman explained that he cannot comment on that since he is talking on what is currently available as of now.

“For now, only these three companies have been exempted. On whether the goodwill will be extended to others, I cannot talk on that since I am not in the Presidency. Ours is to carry out policies of government as regards the land border closure policy.”

Dangote Cement and other companies in July, 2020 got partial special dispensation to export their products with certain sequence of crossing at Ilela land border in Sokoto State and Ohumbe land border in Ogun State, the company clarified.

Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Cement, Michel Puchercos, in his presentation on investor call held this week explained that the company is continuously focused on exporting cement to West and Central Africa by sea through its export terminals.

He added that six vessels of clinker were exported in the third quarter of 2020 via the Apapa export terminal, while plans are on track to commission the Port Harcourt export terminal before the end of this year.

For the quarter, Dangote Cement exported only 69 kilotonnes of cement via the land borders, compared to previous volumes of 180 kilotonnes before the border closures, which indicates just 38 per cent of the export volumes.

The management of the Pan-African conglomerate, Dangote Group has described Bloomberg’s report of sole exemption for Dangote as fallacious and mischievous.

Reacting to the Bloomberg publication, the Group Chief, Branding and Communications, Dangote Group, Mr. Anthony Chiejina, said the report was misleading and mischievous because it focused only on Dangote Cement as the sole beneficiary of the partial special dispensation.

He clarified: “Dangote Cement is a publicly quoted company and
complies strictly with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) full disclosure clauses and regularly update transparently our transactions to our shareholders and it is disheartening that such honest disclosure is being interpreted negatively.”

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