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Senate seeks protection of indigenous business in organised retail sector

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Senate seeks protection of indigenous business in organised retail sector

Senate in session

Senate has urged the federal government to review the Indigenisation Act, other extant policies to protect indigenous retail  businesses investors in the country.
It also called on 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.
These  resolutions were sequel to the  adoption of a motion on urgent need to investigate the economic and security implication of an unregulated Nigerian retail  sector and consider appropriate legislative measures to incentivize and protect indigenous retail traders.
Sponsor of the motion, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP Anambra South), in his lead debate noted that Nigerian retail sector remains unregulated with dire economic and security implications.
Ubah pointed out that the Chinese, Indians and Lebanese companies have taken over the retail business from indigenous retailers in markets like Balogun, Trader  Fair, ASPAMDA, Alaba, Coker, Computer Village and Dei -Dei market, among others .
According to him, the foreign investors have shifted from production and wholesaling to retailing.
He observed  that since Independence, Nigerian retail business had  been  offering  employment to Nigerians and providing  revenue to government via taxes.
The lawmaker said many African countries including ECOWAS member states, such as Ghana have policy 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 any minimum protection to indigenous retail business operators.
Ubah said the implication was that the organised retail business in Nigeria made up of multiple branch supermarkets, shopping malls was  dominated by foreigners through their popular retail outlets.
He therefore expressed concern that if measures were not taken via enactment of extant protective laws and policies, foreigners may continue to dominate the sector.
The Senate, in its further resolutions on the motion also mandated its Committee on Trade and Investment to engage Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, other stakeholders to receive brief on extant policy on retail trade in the country.
Similarly, the upper legislative chamber mandated the committee to engage local retailers on ways to protect their interest and also invite the foreign retailers to ascertain their legal status.
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