By Stephen Ubanna
Barely two months after the British Multinational pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline, GSK, exit Nigeria after 51 years of operation due to increased competition from local companies and imports from the big economies of the Asian countries of India and China, which was said to have forced a drop in its half year sales from N14.8 billion to N2.75 billion, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu could heave a sigh of relief as a new door has opened for other foreign investors to come in.
Although the British pharmaceutical company may have tried to convince the Nigerian public that its intent of leaving Nigeria to their home country, Britain, is to increase its Commercialisation of its prescription medicines and vaccines through the Nigerian subsidiary, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nig.plc, Beecham Limited and other GSK local operating companies and transition to third party direct distribution model for its pharmaceutical products was not enough for the Nigerian government to open its door for other foreign investors to come into the country.
Elumelu , CFR, a multi-billionaire business mogul and established investor, who incidentally is the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa, UBA plc, a pan African bank, and Heirs Holdings Group who was said to be among the Nigerian President entourage that had traveled to New Delhi, Capital of India , on the invitation of Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister to attend the G20 meeting , may have used the opportunity of the meeting to woo the Asian country investors, during the Nigeria -India Presidential Roundtable and Conference, jointly organised by the High Commission of Nigeria to India, the Confederation of Indian Industry, ICII, and the Nigeria -India Business Council on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, telling them that ‘’this is the best time to invest in Nigeria’’.
Elumelu, who was an invitee of the Tinubu, to the New Delhi G20 meeting, in India and as co-Chair of of the B20 Action Council focussing on African economic integration , the private sector counterpart to the B0, in a keynote address at the Business roundtable Conference that was said to have been joined by the private sector leaders and other global investors was said to have urged them to move fast in accessing, the rapidly evolving Nigerian economy which is home’’ to 20% Africans and one of the largest Consumer populations globally put at about 200 million people’’.
Speaking as one of the major investors in Nigeria who has built a pan African financial service business empire and now controls significant power and natural resources operations, he had said that the Companies in the Group’s investment portfolio demonstrate the huge opportunities in the Nigerian economy, urging the Indian private sector leaders ‘’to take advantage of the track record and success of the companies in the Group to invest in the Nigerian economy’’ .
The Nigerian business mogul keynote address at the Presidential roundtable and Conference hosted by Tinubu, President of the most populous African country, Nigeria, may have strike the right chord, as the Indian investors were said to have assured the Nigeria President of their readiness to facilitate fresh $14 billion investment into the West African country.
Many believe that the Nigerian President had accepted the invitation of Modi, the Indian Prime Minister to attend the G20 meeting holding in New Delhi, the Asian country’s capital, from September 9th and 10th, 2023, as a non -member of the Group, which is a forum for International economic Cooperation, with a mindset to attract Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, of private capital from India for the development of the nation’s critical infrastructure
The Nigerian President was said to have focused attention on meetings with the Indian private sector leaders and other business executives of the world’s most valuable companies to discuss investment in the critical sectors of the nation’s economy involving steel development, electricity generation, transmission and distribution, shipyard building capacity, for the creation of employment.
Ajuri Ngelale, Chief Pres Secretary to the President on Information, Communications , Media and Publicity , had listed the new investments to include Indorama Petrochemical Limited, which was said to have pledged the North American country of the United States, US, eight billion dollar in the expansion of its fertilizer production and petrochemical plant in Eleme, Rivers state, Jindal Steel and Power Limited, believed to be one of the India’s largest private sector steel producers and which was said to have also pledged to investment 3 billion in Nigeria.
The Presidential spokesperson also disclosed that Jitender Sachdeva, another Indian private sector leader and notable investor also gave his words and promised to stand by it o going to invest $1.6 billion in the establishment of a 20 100MW power generation plants across the i9 states in northern Nigeria , amounting to 2,000MW of new power within the next four years.
He did not stop there. He had said that another Indian firm, Bharti Enterprises, described as one of the major first generation Corporations in the Asian country , with investments in telecom, pace Communications, digital solutions, Insurance , processed foods, real estate and hospitality, had expressed its commitment to invest an additional $700 million in the Nigerian economy , with work set to start immediately.
The Presidential Aide further disclosed that the Nigerian President has approved the finalisation on a new $1 billion agreement to bring to bring the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria , DICON, to 40% self-sufficiency in local manufacturing and production of defence equipment in the country by 2027, through a comprehensive new partnership with the Managing arm of the Military -Industrial complex of the Indian government, which should the Nigerian military Chiefs.
. An appreciative Nigerian President, who could not hide his feelings was said to have commended the Indian investors for the significant investment pledges amounting to $14 billion ‘, reassuring the India private sector leaders that the Nigerian government will give them ‘’the best returns for investment possible as obtained in any part of the world and even better.
The Nigerian President who could beat his chest that there is nowhere like his home country, insisting that that West African country offers best returns for investment today,’’. urging them alongside Eumelu, the Nigerian business mogul, who has dominated the Nigerian business environment over the years ‘’to invest now’’.