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Why Dangote, BUA got land export waivers- Customs

The Federal Government has confirmed granting Dangote, BUA, and gas supply waivers for land exports.

Spokesman of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), DC Joseph Attah, explained that the three firms were exempted on account of what they produce in other West African countries.

Attah, who doubles as a spokesman for Operation En-Swift Response, the operational arm coordinating the border closure enforcement, noted: “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 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 others, the image-maker declined comments.

“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 a concession to export their products with a 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, 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 Apapa terminal, while plans were on to commission Port Harcourt export terminal before the end of this year.

For the quarter, Dangote Cement exported only 69 kilotonnes of cement via land, compared to 180 kilotonnes it undertook before the closure.

Also reacting to the Bloomberg publication, Group Chief, Branding and Communications, Dangote Group, Anthony Chiejina, said the report was “misleading and mischievous because it focused only on Dangote Cement as the sole beneficiary of the waiver.

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

However, Managing Director of BUA Cement, Yusuf Binji, said his organisation does not have any blanket approval to export since the Nigerian borders remain closed.

He added that the firm was granted a limited approval to export the product to the “Niger Republic (which is 100 kilometre from our plant), and this was disclosed in our half-year results and presentations to the investing and general public. “

Binji continued: “During the month of June, we received approval for limited export to the Niger Republic from our so-called plant through the Illela border which we carried out successfully. The Nigerian land borders still remain shut.

“So this was a one-off thing we received, but we hope to get more subsequently during this quarter. Regarding the optimisation of the energy mix, we have signed a contract with a company to convert our production facilities in Sokoto for the production of liquefied natural gas.

“This is going to come from Port Harcourt in LNG tankers and we are bidding a re-gasification plant in Sokoto that will convert the liquid back to gas and that will be used in both our power plant and also our kiln. The kiln is the furnace that produces our intermediate product called clinker. So these two areas will use LNG in the very near future.”

However, the founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Atedo Peterside, has said that legitimate exporters and importers should be allowed to move their goods across borders.

“Allowing legitimate exporters and importers to move their goods across the border should be a no-brainer,” he added.

The Guardian.

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