By Princewill Ekwujuru
UNILEVER West Africa’s Vice President, Supply Chain, Siddharth Ramaswamy, said the company has concluded plans to increase its investment portfolio in the country, thereby enhancing local manufacturing. This reiterates the company’s commitment to contribute to the growth of the Nigerian economy.
Ramaswamy said this during the courtesy visit and factory tour by the Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, to the manufacturing firm.
According to him, the company which has been operating in Nigeria for almost 100 years, would continue to invest in the country, despite the prevailing economic challenges. “Nigeria is strategic to our business operations. This is why we remain committed to the country’s socio-economic development. We currently operate two manufacturing hubs in Nigeria, and we are already taking actions to increase our local manufacturing capacity.
There are ongoing investments which will not only provide additional employment opportunities for Nigerians, but will deliver further economic value through the development of a sustainable supply chain structure consisting of local manufacturers”, he said.
Responding, the minister commended Unilever for its long serving history in Nigeria, and re-affirmed the government’s commitment to support Unilever in its operation.
According to him, the government is working hard to move the nation’s economy from a resource based to a knowledge based economy and the government is looking up to partner with organisations such as Unilever to achieve this, through synergy with several research institutions under the Ministry of Science and Technology. He said visits such as this, is to create an avenue to see how the government can assist organizations such as Unilever to overcome challenges by providing enabling environment to grow its business either through incentives or enabling legal framework.
“We want companies to use more of local raw materials in production processes. Because when this happens, new jobs will be created, and our Gross Domestic product, GDP, will grow- thereby, reducing poverty. This can only happen if we work with you and other responsible companies”, he said.
Onu urged Unilever to show more interest in local research in order to improve its production process. He charged Unilever to work more closely with FIIRO and other research center sunder the Ministry of Science and Technology.