President of the Amalgamated Traders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Bature Abdul-Aziz, has urged the federal government to come up with a deliberate policy that would give indigenous businessmen adequate protection in view of the prevailing dominance of Chinese business men in the state.
“Already, traders in Kano are groaning under the yoke of foreign investors’ dominance and soon the problem will spread to other parts of the country if allowed to continue without any check,” the president said, adding, “we have been relegated to the background and our businesses are under threat of Chinese monopoly”.
The president, who spoke in an interview with our correspondent in Kano said, “the way things are going, there is no businessman in the state that can stand the technological advancement of foreign investors particularly the Chinese who are on the verge of taking over the sector”, the president warned.
“Now the Chinese are in control of business activities in the state, what we need the federal government to do is to put in place proper regulatory mechanisms that will guarantee protection of the indigenous businessmen and keep the penetration of the Chinese businessmen in check, he said.
According to him, “traders are vulnerable and we cannot match the Chinese who came in with a higher technology and can bring substandard products en mass that will appeal to our people since they don’t have the economic power to buy high quality product.
“Our business interest is under great threat and we need government to help us out of the situation”, the President said.
He explained that the lurking danger in the country was already posing serious threat to traders in Kano, adding that the state which was known for commerce and industrial development had become a shadow of its former status. “There is a turn of fortune as a result of Asians emerging on the business arena in the state. They always bring substandard products to the market and because our people lack the purchasing power, they always rush to grab such low quality products in order to meet their needs,” he said.
“There is no way we can match the power of the Asians. They have the technology and the resources to meet the need of our people. We are mostly toiling to catch up and we are vulnerable without government’s protection,” he said.
The president also commended the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Custom Service, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde, over the manner he has been handling affairs since his assumption of office and called on him to ensure that the operations of customs personnel in Kano are done with full regards for the law of the land.
But according to Alhaji Sanusi Umar Ata, one of the leaders of Kantin Kwari, the biggest textile market in the North, the Chinese dominance is not entirely a bad idea. “It comes with some blessings. They have been empowering the small-scale traders and contributing to the growth of the economy of Kano State. Some of them even give loans to banks and the local bureau de change all over Kano and beyond.”
Ata also added that the solution lies in the federal government, which he believes should “empower our business men and get them to produce goods of high quality and at affordable prices. That is the only legitimate way to dislodge the Chinese and reduce their dominance of trading in Kano.”