“It will discourage investors” – LCCI and MAN condemn closure of Dangote Cement plant in Kogi
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) says the closure of the Dangote Cement plant in Obajana, Kogi State sends negative signals to potential foreign investors.
Chinyere Almona, managing director of LCCI, said this on Thursday in reaction to the Kogi government’s decision to close the company’s factory in the midst of an “ownership battle”.
The company had alleged that Kogi government security agents shot seven employees during the invasion.
According to Almona, the attack is a reflection of the mishandling of investment protection issues in our country.
She said the LCCI believed that there were more decent ways to deal with regulatory and legislative issues affecting business in Nigeria than resorting to violence.
“The invasion of the Dangote Cement factory by youths that led to the killing of factory workers is unfortunate, misinterpreted and preventable,” Almona said.
“We advocate a win-win situation for business and government. We will therefore call on all parties to exercise caution and protect jobs, production assets and government revenues from businesses such as the Dangote Cement plant.
“The Federal Government and the Kogi State Government have so far benefited from business revenue and social investment.
“It is therefore expected that the government will be interested in creating a conducive business environment that can attract both local and foreign investors.
“And where there are breaches, their handling must be consistent with best practices and the rule of law that protects investors’ rights and human lives.”
The CEO of LCCI recommended a meeting of all government agencies related to the acquisition of the cement plant to resolve any disputes.
She said the process can be undertaken without necessarily shutting down the factory and putting jobs, products and government revenues at risk.
“This point is critical because poor handling or unprofessional approaches to resolutions can send negative signals to potential foreign investors,” Almona said.
She said the growing mining industry in Kogi State has benefited from the production activities of the Dangote Cement factory, which offers both infrastructure and corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects for improve the standard of living in the state.
Almona further urged the President’s Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Nigerian Investment Protection Commission (NIPC) to intervene quickly to resolve the dispute.
In a related development, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) also condemned the Kogi government’s decision to forcibly shut down the Dangote Cement factory.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Mansur Ahmed, chairman of MAN, said it was alarming that a state government could take steps to shut down a factory that had provided jobs and supported huge-scale economic activities. due to alleged non-payment of taxes and land ownership issues.
He said if the government had a dispute with someone in the industry, the appropriate thing to do was to sue the company.
“You can’t use heavy-handed tactics to shut them down or put very severe restrictions on their operations just to force them. It’s illegal. And I believe what happened will not happen in a well-run economic environment,” Ahmed said.
“We have taken this matter to the Ministry of Industry and hope they will take it up with the relevant authorities. I believe the government will take action to resolve the issue.
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