The management of Dangote Group has described as misleading reports that the company was granted sole approval to export cement through the land borders.
In a statement Tuesday, the company said it was not the only company enjoying such privilege to move goods through the land borders.
An international newspaper, Bloomberg had reported on how the Nigerian government allowed Dangote Cement to resume cement export across its land borders despite the border closure policy put in place.
According to Bloomberg, 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.
The revelations were made by Michel Puchercos, chief executive officer of Dangote Cement, on an investor call in Lagos.
Bloomberg reported Mr Puchercos to have claimed that the development was made possible “through authorization given by this administration.”
But in his reaction to the Bloomberg publication, the Group Chief, Branding and Communications, Dangote Group, Anthony Chiejina, said the report is misleading and mischievous because it focused only on Dangote Cement as the sole beneficiary of the partial special dispensation.
“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,” he said in a statement Tuesday.
The statement said 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.
“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,” the statement said.
“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.”
On Tuesday, the development was met with criticisms among Nigerians on social media.
In his reaction, Chairman of Stanbic IBTC, Atedo Peterside, noted that allowing legitimate exporters and importers to move their goods across the border should be a no-brainer.
“Why refuse everybody else & allow only one company (Dangote)? This is why some of us argue that the Nigerian economy is rigged in favour of a handful of well-connected persons,” he said in a tweet.