Stanbic IBTC founder Atedo Peterside has responded to the land border export permit granted by President Muhammad Buhari to Aliko Dangote, the founder of the Dangote Group, Dangote Cement’s parent company.
Peterside opposed the President’s decision, stating that it should be for all legitimate traders to trade enterprises across Nigeria’s land border.
Since October 2019, Nigeria has closed its land borders and refused to export or import goods. The decision to close the land border caught many traders by great shock,
as no prior notice was given by the government, resulting in a loss of investment for some Nigerian companies, such as foreign companies.
President Buhari stated that decision was to make sure that the porous border problem in the country was resolved in order to avoid the smuggling of items into Nigeria, but one year later,
the government identified Dangote, the wealthiest man in Africa, as the only businessman to be permitted to export his
goods outside Nigeria.
Reports from Flashywap confirmed that the waiver against other Nigerians is an abuse of constitutional authority.
The permit granted to Dangote will enable him to export his cement products to the markets of Togo and Niger via the land borders.
Note that Dangote is in the sugar , salt and tomato business as well. In 2019 , the company also said it was joining the production of rice.
For Favoring well-connected people, Atedo Criticizes Buhari
While responding to Dangote’s waiver, Peterside stated that Nigerian economy is biased in favor of individuals who are well connected to the government.
He questioned why, while disregarding several other companies, the government would choose to open the border to only Dangote’s company.
“It should be a no-brainer to permit legitimate exporters & importers to move their products across the border.
Why refuse everyone else & allow only one business (Dangote)? That’s why some of us argue that the Nigerian economy is rigged in favor of a handful of well-connected people.”
The way the Nigerian economy is organized was also condemned by Peterside last year, stating that tax theories are not being initiated to support the growth of small businesses or young people.
Instead of extending it to the whole country, Peterside also said economic gains are limited only to a few people in Nigeria.
Constitutional Support Towards Peterside’s Comment
“While the Nigerian Constitution gives President Buhari the power to manage the major sectors of the economy, it also states in Section 16 of Chapter II (1999 Constitution), subsection (1b),
that the state (government) should” control the national economy in such a way as to ensure the maximum well-being,
freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equal status and timely status.
(c) without prejudice to its right to operate or participation in business sectors other than those of the major economic sectors, to manage and operate the major sectors of the economy;
(d) Protect the right of every citizen to engage in any economic activity outside the major sectors of the economy,
without prejudice to the right of any person to participate in areas of the economy within a major sector of the economy.
In the meantime, subsection (2c) states that the State shall direct its policy to ensure ‘that the economic system
is not operated in such a way as to allow the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of a few individuals or of a group.’
President Buhari narrowed his border policy to favor Dangote Cement in a Democratic and capitalist country , despite these provisions in the constitution.
The cement market does not consist of Dangote alone, as BUA Cement and Lafarge Cement compete with the company.
BUA Cement, Lafarge Cement and companies from other sectors were denied their right to equal economic opportunity by President Buhari’s decision, as Dangote Cement is not the only company shipping goods outside Nigeria.