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The exit of foreign firms is part of political and social discourse

The exit of foreign firms is part of political and social discourse

Social Listening 21 June 2024

The exit of foreign firms is part of political and social discourse.

The exit of many foreign firms continues to attract serious discourse on social media. One trending contribution is an infographic that captured the narrative from 2020 to 2024.

As it trended, news of more exits followed.

The counterpoise of other firms taking up the spaces left by the departing firms has not received similar traction. A Bloomberg report across many platforms captured the situation.

Below is a perspective similarly shared across platforms

Exit of firms in nigeria

Another Perspective lifted from a different platform.

Microsoft left Nigeria for Kenya, but I can safely say they will leave Kenya in 3-5 years, too. Ghana was the Cinderella of foreign investment in the West African subregion not long ago, but now foreign businesses are leaving in droves.

Standard Chartered Bank has left almost all the countries in which it operates on the continent except Nigeria and South Africa. But Access Bank is buying its assets.

Why are they leaving, and why are other more organic businesses in Africa buying them off?

Diageo is leaving Nigeria, not Guinness, the brand. They are leaving because they claim that doing business in Nigeria is almost impossible.

Like many multinationals before them, they now realise that their business model is outdated. Loading foreign inputs and not investing in developing local supply chains cannot be profitable forever. Those who know know.

They are right that doing business in Nigeria is not for the weak and ordinary.

But who is buying their stakes?

You see, Tolaram Group, the manufacturer of Indomie, is also building a deep-sea port in Nigeria. They have been in Nigeria for over 50 years and are deepening their investments.

For 60+ years, none of Shell, Exxon Mobil, Chevron or Total built a refinery in Nigeria. For everyone’s information, they have no significant economic asset in Nigeria beyond their production rigs since Shell started drilling in Nigeria in the late 50s.

They milked our raw crude and did not help stop our bleeding from importing finished products, which were the finished product of the more profitable part of the value chain of oil and gas production.

But Shell and Exxon went to Singapore in the 1960s and built their biggest refinery in a country that did not have any crude oil.

Could they have done better in developing the O & G value chain?

The refinery they did not build, Dangote has built one bigger than the most significant Shell and Exxon refineries in less than ten years, which they did not do in over 60 years of milking Nigeria’s crude.

Shell just sold its Nigerian operations to Aradel, a wholly Nigerian company managed by a friend, a First-Class UI alumnus, one of our brothers, and a Baptist. They are doing very well.

A consistent trend is emerging: these colonial economic systems are gradually waning in their ability to build their economies. They harvest our raw materials to create jobs and an economic value chain through value chain processing.

Now they are leaving; Indians, Asians, Israelis, and some Nigerians are taking over these assets, and they cannot believe how profitable they are and can still be.

No foreigner can develop our African economies as their stakes are not permanent, and they will always look to advance their interests rather than ours.

Do we need to work on the ease or unease of doing business in Nigeria? Most certainly, we do. A lot has to be done to change how Nigeria kills businesses. But many of these foreign-owned companies were feeding fat on the inefficiencies of our economic production and using different transfers, pricing, and FX strategies to make profits; no, bilk us.

Now that they sense that we are woke, albeit not well organised, they are off. Good riddance.

The bottom line is that we need homegrown solutions to our peculiar socio-economic challenges in Nigeria and Africa.”

Did South Africa insult President Bola Tinubu?

Social platforms buzzed on Wednesday, 19 June and continued on Thursday, 20 June, following President Bola Tinubu’s attendance at the inauguration for a second term of President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.

Two videos were at play. A set of interpreters concluded that Mr Ramaphosa shunned our president. Others disagreed.

Here are some of the issues raised
1. President Tinubu was not in the front row, and some interpret that as a deliberate snub of Nigeria.

2. Mr Ramaphosa did not extend a hand to President Tinubu.

3. These actions mean Nigeria has fallen from its perch in the African pecking order.

4. Given our historical contributions to the country, South Africa should not be among those insulting Nigeria.

Here are some views.
• Doc. Thanks for your views on this matter. I would also like to view it from several perspectives:
1.⁠ ⁠A diplomatic failure on the part of SA. They have several business interests in Nigeria that may be at risk if the slight was deliberate, notably MTN and DSTV.

2.⁠ ⁠⁠Intelligence failure on the part of our High Commissioner and the entire embassy in SA. They should have gathered information on how well disposed or otherwise Ramaphosa was to Nigeria and the President.

3.⁠ ⁠⁠A reflection of how Nigeria is sliding in the power and influence equations of the continent.

Finally, if it were deliberate, Nigeria would officially demand an explanation and apology from SA for Ramaphosa’s cold shoulder towards PBAT. Additionally, PBAT should ideally be on the front row if our protocol team did their job well.

• Bilateral discussions and agreements, for instance, on many areas of our economy. Or do you think it’s just a meet and greet, drink, and eat? Some agreements that need signing by the heads of governments are concluded at such events.

It saves time, resources, and energy. These talks would have been concluded previously. What’s left will be signatures to seal them. Or other African countries are not important to do business with?

Does Mr. President drink or smoke? Does he look and act like a wayward person? Mr. President has class. I don’t understand why you underrate your President.
He is there to push the Renewed Hope agenda to all nooks and crannies of the continent. That’s why he’s not alone on the trip.

• Let’s get real, please. Nigeria and South Africa are great trading partners. Whether you like the president or not, South Africans will be happy to have him there. It cannot be said that South Africa is doing the inauguration of its president, and Nigeria’s president is not in attendance. It sends the wrong message. South Africa has many investments in Nigeria.

• Nigerians have come under homophobic attacks in South Africa. There will be sessions when Nigerian residents will have an audience with Mr. President to discuss their challenges and how Nigeria can intervene.

• Many will be forgiven for considering the trip a waste, but I can tell you that intelligent Alecs are brainstorming over these issues and more in Abuja. Mr. President, you are advised accordingly.

• You can be excused for your opinion because the workings of government are tremendous and complex.
President Ramaphosa later visited President Tinubu’s hotel suite after the ceremony as NTA captured it. All well that ends well, right?

The huge TikTok lie about public sector salaries

A TikTok video trended listing five public sector agencies paying huge salaries. The video listed “Top 10 highest paying federal government jobs in Nigeria”.

The agencies were Nigeria in Diaspora Commission, NCC, BPE, NIMASA, Federal Inland Revenue Service (Tax accountants supposedly earn N5m monthly), Bank of Industry, and NNPC (Petroleum engineers earn N5.8mmonthly), Energy Commission of Nigeria, Central Bank of Nigeria where Office Clerks allegedly earn N400k per month, and Nigerian Ports Authority where Deck Cadets earn N3m monthly salary.

This column did a simple check. A Director at BPE debunked the claims by noting that BPE does not have a position such as “Investment Analysts”. That non-existent designation supposedly fetches N1.8m monthly.

Caveat emptor, again: consume social media with discretion and discernment.