The federal government has reportedly given approval to Dangote group to resume exports across the Nigerian land border despite, coming over a year since the border was shut.
Recall that Nigerian authorities closed borders with neighbouring countries including Benin and Niger to curb smuggling and boost local production. Although the blockade encouraged the consumption of locally grown produce such as rice, it hurt factories across West Africa, which rely on Nigeria’s market of 200 million people.
Bloomberg reported that President Muhammadu Buhari‘s administration gave its authorization for Africa’s biggest producer to export cement to Niger and Togo in the third quarter for the first time in ten months.
It was learnt that the Michel Puchercos, chief executive officer of the firm said the export was made possible “through authorization given by this administration” during an investor call in Lagos.
Puchercos also revealed that they plan to grow the trade using the sea channels.The Lagos-based company’s plan to buy back some of its shares has been delayed by market volatility and low liquidity, which have affected valuation, Guillaume Moyen, acting chief financial officer said at the same conference call.
It is speculated that the exemption to Dangote Cement is a softening of the government’s position on a border closure that started in August last year, and could open the way for other businesses to fully resume exports across the country’s land barriers. It has has also reignited hope of Africa’s most populous nation reopening trade with neighbors after a year-long blockade.