FOBTOB Raises Alarm Over Multinational Exits, Warns of Economic Collapse


The Food, Beverage, and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) has expressed serious concerns about the increasing departure of multinational companies from Nigeria, highlighted by the recent closure of Kimberly-Clark, the producer of Huggies diapers and sanitary pads.

During the association’s 15th National Delegate Conference in Asaba, Delta State, President Jimoh Oyibo emphasized the urgency of addressing this issue. The conference, themed “Rescuing the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco Industry from the Danger of Collapse – Role and Expectations of Stakeholders,” underscored the challenges faced by the industry.

“We have seen and heard of some corporations departing our nation due to the difficult operating environment,” Oyibo stated. “It is said that if the flood sweeps away the baobab tree, the iroko tree should become wary.”

Oyibo highlighted several factors contributing to the challenging business environment, including political instability, controversial government policies like the naira redesign, and the abrupt removal of fuel subsidies. He noted that these issues have been exacerbated by frequent national grid failures, rampant corruption, and a culture of impunity among political leaders and law enforcement agencies.

“The incessant epileptic nature of our electricity is due to numerous collapses of the national grid,” Oyibo remarked. “The unrelenting corruption among our political class is an albatross the nation has found difficult to shake off.”

He lamented Nigeria’s decline into extreme poverty despite its natural resources, citing recent statistics from the World Poverty Clock and the National Bureau of Statistics that indicate over 71 million Nigerians live in extreme poverty, with a total of 133 million classified as multi-dimensionally poor.

Oyibo also pointed out the severe economic impact of rising inflation, which hit 33.69 percent in April 2024, significantly higher than the previous year. Food inflation reached 40.53 percent, driven by increased food prices.

Regarding the subsidy removal, Oyibo criticized the lack of tangible benefits for citizens despite claims of increased government revenue. He noted that the move has instead led to higher inflation and recurring fuel shortages.

“The removal of the petroleum subsidy has not had any significant positive impact on the citizens. Rather, it has led to an increase in inflation,” Oyibo observed.

He praised the labor protests that prompted the National Assembly to halt a proposed electricity tariff hike, warning that such increases would further strain Nigerians’ finances, impacting essential expenses like food, transportation, and medical care.

“With increased electricity bills, Nigerians will be forced to make difficult decisions about other essential expenses,” Oyibo said. “It is crucial that the government considers the concerns of its citizens and ensures that its policies do not disproportionately affect the most vulnerable members of society.”

Mike Ojo

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