By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has said that considerations by the South African supermarket chain operator, Shoprite, to sell of all or a majority stake in its Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited may be an opportunity for Nigerian investors.
NIPC Executive Secretary, Ms Yewande Sadiku, disclosed this at a webinar held by the NIPC management team, clarifying that the announcement by the South African retail shop did not imply the closure of Shoprite stores in Nigeria, although the full details have not been provided.
“But we understand that the structure of the planned transaction will give an opportunity for Nigerian investors to take up a controlling interest in the business entity,” the NIPC scribe said.
She further said that retail distribution and related sectors were necessary for Nigeria to reach her investment ambition.
Ms Sadiku explained that retail value chain was useful for providing deeper market access for producers of local products and connecting Nigerian businesses to not only national value chain, but regional.
“The retail market is a material driver for the growth of the Nigerian economy and accounts for 16 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“From the work we do in NIPC, we know that Shoprite, which operates 25 outlets in 11 states and FCT are responsible for direct and indirect employment of about 4,500 people whom vast majority are Nigerians,’’ she said.
She revealed that the work Shoprite offered provided market access to over 500 Nigerian farmers and small businesses helping many of them to get local produce to millions of Nigerian consumers.
According to her, the commission remains committed in the context of its mandate, saying “we have intervened for Shoprite several times and over the last two years in engagement with other government agencies.”
“I believe that government commitment in progressively improving business environment for domestic and foreign investors will remain,’’ the executive secretary added.
She emphasised the importance of strategically pitching Nigeria’s investment prospects on the basis of the competitive advantages of the states and positioning investible sectors and projects, in spite of the ravaging impact of the present global Coronavirus pandemic.
Despite projections from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that most economies would face economic challenges as a result of the slowdown in foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in 2020/2021, Ms Sadiku said she remains optimistic about the growth of local investors and businesses.
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