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Peter Obi Reacts To P&G’s Exit From Nigeria, Reveals Why Foreign Investors Are Leaving

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Labour Party’s presidential candidate in the February 25 election, Peter Obi, has adduced reasons why foreign businesses are shutting down operations in Nigeria to include negative medium to long-term prospects strategy, unattractive investment profile and a continuous deteriorating business environment.

Obi, who spoke against the backdrop of the exit of Procter & Gamble (P&G), American multinational consumer goods company in Nigeria, tasked government at all levels in Nigeria to take immediate steps towards reversing the trend and keeping strategic international investors in country.

Prime Business Africa reports that in a 39-minute webcast posted on its website on Wednesday, Procter & Gamble announced plans to terminate its on-ground operations in Nigeria, transforming the country into an import-focused market.

P&G Chief Financial Officer, Andre Schulten, spoke at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer & Retail Conference in New York, citing challenges operating as a dollar-denominated organisation in Nigeria’s complex macroeconomic environment.

Reacting in a series of posts on his X handle on Thursday, Obi pointed out that with the purchasing power of most Nigerians nose-diving everyday, absence of the rule of law and lack of a conducive business environment, it will be difficult to retain such “iconic companies” and talk more of attracting new ones.

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He wrote: “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.

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“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.”

The former governor of Anambra State, therefore, urged the government to take immediate steps to ensure that institutions of governance are put in place and actively engaging to show that the situation is reversed.

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

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