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Ike, Nigerian lawmaker, blames Dangote, Govt for economic hardship, artificial scarcity, unhealthy/imbalanced market competition



Hon. Augustine Ike blames Nigerian government for economic hardship, artificial scarcity

A Nigerian lawmaker in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Augustine Ike, has blamed the duo of Dangote Group and the federal government of Nigeria for the current economic hardship ravaging the country.

Hon. Ike made the remarks on Thursday, February 22, while granting an interview to the state-owned television, the National Television Authority (NTA).

The lawmaker also accused Dangote and the government of collusion over artificial scarcity of commodities and unhealthy and imbalanced competition between major market players.

The unhealthy and imbalanced market competition in the market arena, he said, results to the economic turmoil evident in the country.

Speaking, Ike said amongst other things: “The truth is that we are operating a dangerous monopoly in Nigeria.

“We are operating a dangerous monopoly whereby it is beginning to become clear that Dangote PLC. is the only company across Nigeria.

“Today we practically cannot buy fuel but the president removed subsidy maybe angling on Dangote refinery.

“The issue is even Dangote refinery was built with a loan given by CBN.

“In a layman’s language, what actually happened was that he was given five hundred Naira at two hundred Naira.

“What he needs to do the job was five hundred Naira but he was given two hundred Naira to refund the two hundred Naira… at the rate he was given (foreign exchange).”

He further expressed angst that the government will aid an individual to build a refinery while state-owned refineries are left to rot.

What did Augustine Ike say about exorbitant price of cement?

On the scarcity and exorbitant price of cement, Ike blamed the government of aiding Dangote to monopolise the cement sector.

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He stated that the government is subsidising forex for Dangote while forcing other players to source for forex at the parallel market.

He said: “Somebody built a cement   factory and then you could not give him money; you cannot give him loan.

“You cannot give him Dollar at the rate he needs it so that he can operate. You now send the person to black market to go and look for money.

“Who does that? Which country wants to operate and will be operating like that?”

On the ever-rising cost of cement, he asked: “We have lime in Nigeria; why is cement increasing price?

“Are they buying the lime in Dollars? …cement is still manufactured locally in Nigeria.

“Everything they need to manufacture cement is in Nigeria.

“It is our collective resources and raw materials that are being donated to you to do production but when Dollar increases in price, you increase your own prices!”

“The problem of Nigeria is artificial”

Ike further stated categorically that Nigeria’s problem is artificial and manipulated.

He said: “Let’s not be blind to the problem of Nigeria. The problem of Nigeria is artificial.

“It is created to benefit some people that have benefitted in certain PLCs.

“They are trying to use monopoly to keep us perpetually hungry.”

“Open up the market; share licenses.”

On the way out of the problem, Ike said: If you feel that some people are hoarding the Dollar, open up the market; share licenses.

“Bring in foreign rice, bring in local rice. If I go to market and choose to buy foreign rice or I choose to buy local rice.

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“If cement is the problem, give licences to anyone that can import cement; bring in the imp0rted one, bring in the local one.

“If I go to market, I choose the one to buy.”

According to Ike, the whole gamut lies on the notion that Nigerians are not enjoying healthy competition in businesses.

He stressed: “We are not enjoying healthy competition… Nigerians must be allowed to enjoy healthy competition.”

Watch a video clip of the interview granted by Ike below:

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