Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections, has expressed concern over the proposed departure of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a British pharmaceutical giant, from Nigeria.
Obi’s remarks come in response to GSK’s recent decision to cease operations and shift to a third-party direct distribution approach for its pharmaceutical products within the country.
GSK, known for well-known products like Augmentin, Neosporin, Panadol, and others, disclosed its intention to withdraw prescription medicines and vaccines from Nigeria after operating there for 51 years.
The company has assured its workforce of over 290 employees and shareholders that it will comply with all necessary legal procedures pertaining to their rights and entitlements.
However, Obi reacted to their imminent departure via Twitter, saying: “Today, I was saddened to hear that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is exiting Nigeria after 51 years of operation.
Their reason for leaving Nigeria is even more disheartening; they no longer perceive a prospect for the country as a business environment that would be anchored on productivity.
“We have painfully come to that point in our nation’s journey where multinationals are leaving the country and the local ones are closing down. These are some of the consequences of the cumulative poor management of our economy.
“As a result, millions are losing their jobs and our poverty index is worsening, even though we’re already being perceived as the world’s poverty capital. The multinationals that are leaving our country have not only created jobs but have created immeasurable training that contributed immensely to our human capital development over the years.
“Now they are leaving our shores one after the other. GSK which has a manufacturing facility in Agbara, Ogun State on over 25 hectares of land had directly employed over 400 highly technical workers like pharmacists, microbiologists, biochemists, chemists, dentists, doctors etc, and also employed over 1000 other staff.
“It indirectly provided jobs and business opportunities for thousands of Nigerians across the nation. They are now leaving all these behind, and pushing more people back into unemployment.
“I have consistently maintained that in turning our nation around, we must move the economy from consumption to production, part of which included encouraging and supporting local and foreign investments, like GSK, in the country.
“The creation of an environment that creates and sustains multinationals to invest in our country is key to our dream of greatness. In the new Nigeria that we seek to create, the emphasis on production will encourage investors to stay and expand on our shores.
“Our people will keep their jobs and grow their prosperity. – PO”