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Probe unfair competition by airline operators, IOCs, Reps tell FG.

2nd July 2024

Babajimi Benson
Babajimi Benson

The House of Representatives on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to investigate what it called the exploitative and predatory pricing practices against Nigerian businesses by their foreign counterparts operating in Nigeria.

The motion moved by the member representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency, Lagos State, Babajimi Benson, noted that International Business Ethics and Standards like the United Nations Global Compact, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and ISO 26000 for social responsibility, among others, “Require businesses to operate in a fair, healthy, and efficient manner while ensuring competitive trade practices in the operation of their businesses at home and abroad.”

Benson noted that a fair and healthy competitive market promotes economic efficiency and protects the interest and welfare of consumers by providing wide options of high-quality products and services at competitive prices

He said, “Some Nigerian businesses have suffered harsh and unfair competition and business relations with their foreign business counterparts,” stressing that “Before the commencement of the Lagos-London route by Air Peace Airlines below one million Naira, foreign airlines like British Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, etc. sold their one-way air tickets for as high as four million Naira.

“As soon as Air Peace Airlines commenced the sale of their tickets at a lower price, other airlines dropped their prices far below that of Air Peace Airlines, supposedly with the intention of frustrating Air Peace Airlines’ London route operations.”

The lawmaker also alleged that Dangote Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals Company “Is also currently being frustrated by International Oil Companies in Nigeria by denying them crude and other unfair business practices, thereby threatening its survival.

He also noted that “Whenever they agree to sell crude to Dangote Refinery, the IOCs sell at high premium prices far above the market price, thereby forcing Dangote to import crude from countries as far as the United States, with its attendant high costs.”

He continued, “Apart from these predatory pricing practices and other unethical business practices adopted by the foreign airlines and IOCs, Nigerian businesses have also been subjected to other unfair treatment both home and abroad to disrupt their smooth operation.

“The House is concerned that it appears that the objective of these foreign multinationals is to ensure Nigeria remains at their mercy by patronizing only their services or exporting crude oil and importing refined petroleum products, thereby making Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa perpetually facing unemployment and poverty, while they create wealth for themselves at our expense.

“We are worried that these acts of unfair and unfavorable businesses have led to the closure of some erstwhile thriving businesses that provided better alternatives to Nigerian customers at cheaper prices,” adding that if left unchecked, “Nigerian businesses like Air Peace Airlines will continue to suffer these unfair competitive practices that will adversely affect their operation and the ability of customers to get quality services at affordable prices.”

Following the adoption of the motion, the House at a plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, urged the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to immediately halt the unfair business practices perpetrated by certain foreign businesses operating in Nigeria.

It also mandated the Committees on Aviation, Commerce, and Petroleum (Upstream and Downstream) to investigate the circumstances surrounding the predatory pricing practices and unethical business competitive behaviors by foreign airlines and IOCs and report within four weeks for further legislative action.

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