How To Solve The Alhaji Problem
Feyi Fawehinmi
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Feyi, a good post, I must say. But, I think we are missing the point as to why Dangote is making such supernormal profit. The main reason: an embargo on foreign cement. Even if Dangote pays the full taxes to the taxman, it still doesn’t stop Dangote from reaping supernormal profit. This profit is coming from the average Nigerian that is paying much more than the ‘world price’ for a house; and the government paying much more for infrastructure (as cement is a big constituent in any infrastructure).

You may say that pioneer status is improving investment in the country; I will contest that. Foreigners and locals with money will invest (in factories, business — not portfolio flows) in the country, especially considering the very large market that Nigeria is. What is needed is policy certainty; effective bankruptcy laws; and lower cost of doing business (fix electricity and roads). How do I know this? Corporations will lobby the government to grant them favourable tax deals. These usually come at the expense of the MSMEs.

In conclusion, the idea that the protection of a national champion (Dangote) is good for Nigeria — in the long-run — is falling proving false. Capacity expansion by Dangote and their local competitors has not significantly improved to cater for Nigeria’s growing needs, while prices have not come down for consumers.

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