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Dangote allegedly cripples soap industry with price hike after FG gave him soda import monopoly

How FG gave Dangote soda import monopoly that crippled soap industry

Soap manufactures in Nigeria are currently wailing and counting their losses as they could not longer freely do business as before owing the recent astronomic hike in the price of caustic soda.

A soap manufacturer based in northern Nigeria, who spoke on condition of anonymity, disclosed the recent hike to ElombahNews in a short message, as well as the reason behind the hike.

According to the businessman, the trouble started when the Federal Government granted billionaire businessman and the Chairman Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, monopoly to import caustic soda.

Following the importation monopoly, the price of soda rose sharply from N1,800 per kilogram to N15,000 per kilogram, thereby crippling the soap manufacturing industry.

The reason, he explained, was because it was discovered that caustic soda is also used in manufacturing Improvised Explosive Device (IED) by Boko Haram terrorist and their Islamic State of West Africa Province [ISWAP] counterparts.

An intelligence officer recently confirmed same to this medium during a telephone chat, explaining that it is the reason behind the abrupt end to bomb blasts and suicide bombings across Nigeria.

To ensure that the chemical does not fall into the hands of the terrorists, he explained, the Federal Government resolved to monopolise the importation, handing it over to Dangote.

Following the monopoly, however, the billionaire business saw in it an opportunity to enrich himself further and pauperise Nigerians even farther, which has crippled the soap manufacturing industry in the country.

The soap merchant, after introducing himself, wrote:

“The Federal Government gave Dangote caustic soda import monopoly and it has crippled the soap manufacturing industry as the price of soda rose sharply from N1,800 per kilo to N15,000 per kilo.

“The result is that we cannot buy caustic soda which is the raw material for soap manufacturing. Please write a report and pass it on, maybe reprieve will come our way.”

ElombahNews, upon receipt of the message, ElombahNews contacted Dangote Group via email and sought its response to the allegation.

The email reads:

“Good day sir. This is ElombahNews [Elombah.com].

“I just got the following message from a soap manufacturer and wish to reach Dangote Group for a response before we go on air. It reads:

“The Federal Government gave Dangote caustic soda import monopoly and it has crippled the soap manufacturing industry as the price of soda rose sharply from N1,800 per kilo to N15,000 per kilo.

“The result is that we cannot buy caustic soda which is the raw material for soap manufacturing. Please write a report and pass it on, maybe reprieve will come our way.”

“How would you respond to that sir? [END]

Dangote Group is yet to respond to the allegation as at the moment of this publication.

Incidentally, this is not the first time Dangote is enmeshed in goods import monopoly and price hike scandal.

ElombahNews had reported on April 9, 2021, about a major war raging in the Nigeria sugar industry between Aliko Dangote and billionaire BUA Group’s chairman, Samad Rabiu.

According to the report, Dangote petitioned the Federal Government asking the Ministry of Trade to shut down BUA Group’s Sugar Refinery located in Port Harcourt.

Dangote accused BUA of operating with impunity by contravening the laws as laid down in the National sugar policy by selling its products locally instead of producing for export alone.

BUA, in its own defence, alleged that the attack was because of the connivance of the two major sugar manufacturers to hike the price of Sugar during the Ramadan period.

Alhaji Rabiu noted categorically that at the centre of this fight to force the Federal Government to close BUA Sugar Refinery down is the price war.

He explained that the previous year, before Ramadan, sugar sold for around 18,000 Naira per bag.

However, as Ramadan fasting started the price jumped to 30,000 per bag. Usually the increase happens about one month to commencement of fasting.

The people had no choice but to buy it because they needed a lot of it during the period. So the manufacturers were smiling to the bank.

BUA group noticed the trend and decided that it had to change, saying there was no reason to increase the price during Ramadan simply because the demand is high.

When the other manufacturers got across to BUA, Samad Rabiu refused.

They put pressure on him, saying it was the right time to make good money but he put his feet down.

After failing to do that, they petitioned the Federal Government that he was breaking the law by selling sugar locally instead of for export.

Consequently, the Trade and Industries Minister, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo issued a directive banning sugar importation in the country from free trade zones.

Mr. Adebayo, it was gathered, was acting on a controversial petition written to him by Aliko Dangote and the Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC, Mr John Coumatros.

He wrote a letter which he copied the Managing Director Nigeria Ports Authority, Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation prohibiting the sugar importation from the country’s Free Trade Zones.

Observers noted that the move was targeted at BUA sugar refinery as well as its investments.

BUA group, however, would not take it lying down as it dragged the Trade Minister to court.

The move, BUA said was to ensure that the operations of the sugar refinery is not tampered with at all because of the desperate attempt by Dangote Group to monopolize the sugar trade in Nigeria.

Soon, Adebayo realized his goof and reversed the directive on sugar importation from free trade zones into Nigeria.

Barely days after he sent out a letter to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed prohibiting the importation of sugar from free trade zones, the Trade Industries and Investment Minister backtracked and reversed himself.

Dangote was also fingered in another war with the chairman of Innoson Motors, Chief Innocent Chukwuma over some alleged monopoly tussle.

The case, ElombahNews was informed, is still lying fallow in court.

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