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Why Foreign Investors Are Leaving Nigeria – Peter Obi

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By Eric Elezuo

A former governor of Anambra State and Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate in the 2023 elections, Mr. Peter Obi, has given reasons foreign investors are shutting down their operations and leaving Nigeria.

He attributed the trend to a negative medium to long-term prospects strategy, unattractive investment profile and a continuous deteriorating business environment, among others.

Obi, who voiced his concerns in a series of tweets on his verified X account on Friday, tasked governments at all levels to take immediate steps towards reversing the trend and keeping strategic international investors in the country.

He said he is saddened to hear the news that multi-national consumer goods giant, Procter & Gamble (P&G), is leaving Nigeria.

The manufacturing conglomerate had announced a limited market portfolio restructuring which includes pulling out of Nigerian and Argentinian markets.

While reacting to the news, the former governor of Anambra State explained that Nigeria is scaring away multinational companies, at a time the purchasing power of most Nigerians nose-diving, the absence of the rule of law and lack of a conducive business environment, which ultimately makes it difficult to retain iconic companies let alone attract new ones.

“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,” Obi wrote.

“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.”

“National greatness and development cannot be pursued in an atmosphere that is scaring away strategic international investors,” he added.

Recall that in August, pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline packed up its businesses in the country with a promise to treat its staff fairly.

A statement to the effect, and signed by the Company Secretary, Frederick Ichekwai, stated in part, “In our published Q2 results we disclosed that the GSK UK Group has informed GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria PLC of its strategic intent to cease commercialization of its prescription medicines and vaccines in Nigeria through the GSK local operating companies and transition to a third-party direct distribution model for its pharmaceutical products.”

The company, whose primary activities include marketing and distribution of consumer healthcare and pharmaceutical products, said that its parent company, GSK Plc UK, had revealed its intent to cease commercialisation of its prescription medicines and vaccines through its Nigerian subsidiary.

A few days ago, the Chief Financial Officer of P&G, Mr. Andre Schulten, announced at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer & Retail Conference that, “we have announced that we will turn Nigeria into an import-only market, effectively dissolving our footprint on the ground in Nigeria and reverting to an import-only model.”

Schulten, attributed the P&G’s decision exit Nigeria to the prevailing foreign exchange rate situation in the country, saying that Nigeria and Argentina were difficult to do business in because of macroeconomic environment.

He stated that, “the other reality that arises in some of these markets is that it gets increasingly difficult to operate and create U.S dollar value. So when you think about places like Nigeria and Argentina, it is difficult for us to operate because of the macroeconomic environment.

“So with that in mind, we are announcing a restructuring program with the intent to adjust operating model and adjust the portfolio to ensure that we maintain the portfolio discipline that has brought us to this point.

“The restructuring program will largely focus on Nigeria and Argentina. We’ve announced that we will turn Nigeria into an import-only market, effectively dissolving our footprint on the ground in Nigeria and reverting to an import-only model.”

He explained that Nigeria was a $50 million net sales business which would not make any significant marginal impact on the P&Gs overall portfolio worth $85 billion.

Mr. Peter Obi has been in the forefront of critiquing the policies of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration.

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High Society Present As Rotimi Akeredolu’s Laid to Rest in Owo

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By Eric Elezuo

The ancient town of Owo, Ondo State on Friday was a beehive of activities as it played host to dignitaries and citizens from all walks of life who stormed the town to grace the final burial ceremony of the late former governor of the state, Alakunri Rotimi Akeredolu.

The funeral service held at the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Anglican Church, Imola, Owo, Ondo State.

Akeredolu died on Wednesday December 27, 2023 during a protracted illness in German hospital.

The Vice President, Kashim Shettima, was among the dignitaries, who attended the funeral service at the church, and thereafter.

Other dignitaries whose presence were noted are the Ondo State Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa; Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Ganduje among others.

Others were former governor of Ondo State, Segun Mimiko; governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun and members of the Ondo State House of Assembly, federal law makers among others.

The late former governor was interred at a burial ground in the town, at a brief ceremony that was strictly attended only by the immediate members of the Akeredolu family before a grand reception was held.

In his speech at the burial, the state Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, who was Akeredolu’s deputy, said his former boss always stood for good governance and the rule of law.

“You are all here because he stood for something: good governance and the rule of law. He means a lot to different people, and that is why he has been described in different words. He was a courageous leader, a fighter, and a warrior. How can we forget him so soon? It is not possible because he lives on.

“He used the instrument of governance to intervene in different sectors of the state, including education, health services, and infrastructural development and security, among others,” he said.

Photos: Koya Adegbite

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Osun Gov, Adeleke, Loses Brother-in-Law

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A brother-in-law of the governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, Alhaji Tohir Aderemi Sanni, has died.

Alhaji Sanni is the husband of Governor Adeleke’s sister, Chief (Mrs.) Modupeola Adeleke Sanni.

Meanwhile, the Osun Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has commiserated with the bereaved, Mrs Sanni over the loss of her husband.

In statement signed by the state party chairman, Hon. Sunday Bisi, the party  described the news of the death as extremely sad and shocking, adding that the late business mogul was too good to depart at this time.

The statement reads:

“Osun PDP is really in short of words over the loss of a loving father and friend of our great party, Alhaji Aderemi Sanni, whose carriage exuded love beyond borders. He was a friendly father, so accommodating to a fault!”

“Alhaji Sanni would not hold back words of advice to anyone, no matter the societal disparity in class or status. Baba lived like a friend to all. He was an embodiment of humility in greatness”

“While we continue to grasp with the reality of the demise of Alhaji Sanni, our thoughts are with his wife, Chief Mrs Modupeola Adeleke, the children and members of the immediate family the great icon left behind”

“May Almighty Allah repose his gentle soul and grant him jannatul firdaus.”

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Lagos Country Club Appeals to Members for Calm

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The Lagos Country Club has appealed to its members and well wishers to remain calm and exercise restraints in the face of the current developments at the Club.

The appeal is coming on the heels of the illegal moves by the Registered Trustees of the Club to suspend the Management Council and constitute an Interim Management Board.

The Management Council made the appeal in a Special Statement to members and staff urging them to go about their activities in the Club without fear.

The Statement assured them of their commitment to upholding the Constitution of the Club, resolving the issues as soon as possible, and providing a safe and enabling environment.

The Chairmen of eight out of the ten sections of the Club have rejected the Interim Management Board arrangement and called on well meaning members of the Club and elders to wade in and explore avenue for peaceful resolution and allow peace to reign.

Meanwhile, His Lordship, Hon Justice Lewis Allagoa of Federal High Court of Nigeria in the Lagos Judicial Division has granted an Interim Injunction restraining the Trustees of Lagos Country Club from dissolving the Management Council of the Lagos Country Club and constituting a Caretaker Committee howsoever called or described.

In line with the order of Court for the status quo to remain, the Management Council remains in charge of the day to day running of the Club.

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