By David Ejeh
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Tuesday kicked over the exemption of just three firms from the border closure policy despite many businesses struggling to stay afloat due to the effects of the policy.
Recall that the spokesman for Operation Ex-Swift, the border closure operational arm, DC Joseph Attah earlier on Tuesday revealed to Tribune Online that three firms, Dangote, BUA and a gas firm have been exempted from the border closure policy of the Federal Government.
Speaking exclusively to Tribune Online on the development, Director General of the LCCI, Dr Muda Yusuf explained that a selective approach to policymaking by any government tends to create credibility problems for such government.
According to the LCCI DG, “Selective approach to policymaking and execution creates serious credibility problems for policymakers and the government. A fair policy regime demands that there should be a level playing field in the policy and regulatory environment.
“Our plea is that the land border should be opened and institutional capacity strengthened for better compliance with the trade policy rules. A review of the land border closure is long overdue.
“Absence of level playing field for economic players is detrimental to investors confidence and inimical to economic recovery aspirations of the government. It also negates the principles and spirit of competition policy and competition law.”
The Federal Government had exempted Dangote, BUA and a gas supply firm from its land border closure policy which came into force on August 19, 2019.
Disclosing this to the Tribune Online exclusively, spokesman for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), DC Joseph Attah, explained that these three firms were exempted due to the need for what they produce as export to other West African countries.
In the words of DC Attah, “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.”
Recall that it had been reported that businesses and revenue-generating agencies located in the South West have suffered a dip due to the border closure policy that is in its 16th month as of November 2020.