Almost seven months into the Bola Tinubu’s administration, conflicting signals of despair and hope have continued to dog the Nigerian economy. There have been varied reactions from investors; while some are pulling out, others are signing memorandum of understanding for future investment in Nigeria, thereby bolstering confidence. On a cheering note, the much-awaited Dangote Refinery,
Almost seven months into the Bola Tinubu’s administration, conflicting signals of despair and hope have continued to dog the Nigerian economy. There have been varied reactions from investors; while some are pulling out, others are signing memorandum of understanding for future investment in Nigeria, thereby bolstering confidence.
On a cheering note, the much-awaited Dangote Refinery, triggered hope that multifaceted-problem associated with importing petroleum products into the country may soon come to a terminal end, as the refinery received its first consignment of of 900,000 barrels of crude oil which signals and ignites commencement of local refining of petroleum products. With Dangote refinery coming on stream, it is expected that fuel supply situation may improve, prices may be better and Nigeria has the prospect of earning foreign exchange while spending less on importation of fuel.
Stirring debate on the economy, Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of Labour Party in the 2023 general election gave a scathing remark on the exit of Procter and Gamble, a multinational firm in the personal care and household items blaming its departure on the favourable economic climate in the country, but others disagreed.
One of them, Reno Omokri said Obi’s postulation is far from the truth: “Before leaving Nigeria, GlaxoSmithKline left India in November 2022. India has one of the best economic management teams on Earth. Next, GlaxoSmithKline left Kenya in October of 2022. Kenya is on a sound financial footing. Finally, they announced their pullout from Nigeria this year at about the same time Standard and Poor rated Nigeria’s economy a high stable B rating” he said in a rejoinder to Mr. Peter Obi’s statement on his X handle.
The details of Peter Obi’s statement are as follows: “A few months ago, I lamented the exit of one of the top global Pharmaceutical giants, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) from Nigeria. GSK remains a top global pharmaceutical manufacturer and has had 51 years of operations in Nigeria. The reason for their exit was that there was no longer a perceived growth in Nigeria anchored on productivity.
“Today, Procter & Gamble (P&G), the world’s largest personnel care and household products company, makers of iconic brands like Pampers, Gillette, etc, is again leaving Nigeria, for the same reason GSK left.
“Following this also are French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis, and top Energy firm, Norwegian behemoth Equinor which has sold off its Nigerian business development associates Fifteen years ago, P&G, as they are commonly called, viewed Nigeria as a strategic country of importance and invested millions of dollars in an ultra-modern chain supply structure in Agbara which, sadly, is now up for sale.
“The presence of these iconic companies in any economy is not only that they signify trust and confidence, as well as belief in the medium to long-term socio-economic prospects of such countries, but they massively create jobs, invest in Research and Development, as well as pieces of training which smaller players in the industry learn from and adapt. They help, to a great extent to develop local talents for both local and global jobs. The exit of these top global companies shows that our medium to long-term prospects strategy is in the negative. Our investment profile is not attractive and our business environment is deteriorating continually.
“The purchasing power of most Nigerians is nose-diving every day. In the face of the absence of the rule of law, and a conducive business environment, it will be difficult to retain such iconic companies and talk more about attracting new ones.
“Governments at all levels in Nigeria must therefore take immediate steps to ensure that institutions of governance are put in place and actively engaging to show that the situation is reversed.
“National greatness and development cannot be pursued in an atmosphere that is scaring away strategic international investors”
In his response through his X handle, Mr. Reno Omokri, who has never disguised his dislike for Mr. Obi accused the politician of lying. “Peter Obi lied: Before leaving Nigeria, GlaxoSmithKline left India in November 2022. India has one of the best economic management teams on Earth. Next, GlaxoSmithKline left Kenya in October of 2022. Kenya is on a sound financial footing. Finally, they announced their pullout from Nigeria this year at about the same time Standard and Poor rated Nigeria’s economy a high stable B rating.
“These pullouts are part of GlaxoSmithKline’s global strategy. They had nothing to do with the management of Nigeria’s economy. The global supply chain crisis, coupled with the antics of some unpatriotic Nigerians who import fake and substandard products, has made it more profitable for them to manufacture in England and export to Nigeria, India and Kenya. – Reno Omokri
It is reported elsewhere that in the second quarter of 2017, GSK had actually announced to exit most Sub-Sahara African countries as they’re changing their models to advancing market with the aim of using distributors (third-party).
The company told Bloomberg that it would maintain its manufacturing sites in Kenya and Nigeria and will keep offices in Ivory Coast and Ghana. Its business in South Africa will continue to be managed by South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare Holdings.
Presently, GSK has exited their manufacturing operations from Kenya, South-Africa and Nigeria. They’re not manufacturing in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
Government is yet to respond to Mr. Peter Obi, but one thing that cannot be denied is that Nigerians are going through excruciating pains due to the economic policies of the Tinubu’s administration. Prices of goods are soaring daily with so much unpredictability in economic indices. With the exchange rate of the dollar to Naira now at N1,200.00, deepening scarcity of the Naira at withdrawing points and emerging scarcity of fuel in several filling stations, Nigerians look forward to year 2024 with expectations that government would make their lives better.