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Senate tasks FG on protection of indigenous businesses

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The Senate has urged the Federal Government to review its policies to ensure protection of indigenous businesses and investors in the country.

This followed the adoption of a motion by Sen.Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP-Anambra) on the need to investigate the economic and security implication of an unregulated Nigerian retail sector and consider appropriate legislative measures for incentives to protect indigenous retail traders.

Ubah in his lead debate, noted that Nigeria’s retail sector remained unregulated with dire economic and security implications.

He said that Chinese, Indians and Lebanese companies had taken over retail business from indigenous retailers in markets like Balogun, Trade Fair, ASPAMDA, Alaba, Coker, Computer Village, Dei -Dei market among others .

He said the foreign investors had shifted from production to retailing in the country.

He said that since independence, the country’s retail business had been offering employment to Nigerians and providing revenue to government through taxes.

Ubah said many African countries, including ECOWAS member states such as Ghana have policies and legislative measures in place to offer minimum protection to indigenous retail traders.

He, however, said in Nigeria, extant policies and legal frameworks at both national and sub-regional levels do not offer protection to indigenous retail business operators.

He said the implication was that the organised retail business in Nigeria, made up of multiple branch supermarkets, shopping malls have been dominated by foreigners through their popular retail outlets.

The Senate thereafter, urged governments at all levels to put in place acceptable measures to protect traditional or open market retailers to avoid contravention of environmental and health safety standards.

It also mandated its Committee on Trade and Investments to engage with Ministry of Trade and Investments, other stakeholders to receive brief on extant policy on retail trade in Nigeria.

It also mandated the committee to contact local retailers on ways to protect their interests and also invite the foreign retailers to ascertain their legal status.

Kingsley Okoye

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