Commissioning Of Kimberly-Clark West Africa’s Huggies Diaper Manufacturing Plant On 25/02/2022

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Video Transcript





Let me thank the management of Kimberly Clark West Africa for the kind invitation to be here to join you at this official commissioning of the new Kimberly Clark Huggies Diaper Manufacturing Plant. This plant I am told will serve Nigerian consumers with affordable high-quality diapers. And I’m told it will produce something in the order of 600million diapers every year.

I’m told that with 7million babies born every year, we are just 2million behind the Chinese.  So, we are really the largest possible market for diapers in the world; coming only second to the Chinese. I think Kimberly-Clark has chosen a very good place.

We are told also that this will provide thousands of jobs.  I believe the first thousand or so is already in place and we expect a further couple of thousands in the next three years.

For the Federal Government, every new manufacturing plant is an important step towards our belief that it is private investment, both local and foreign, that must be the pathway to rapid economic growth with jobs and prosperity. This article of faith is the subtext that runs through our new National Development Plan 2021-2025 to which the Hon. Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba has already spoken.

The Plan envisages an investment commitment of something in the order of about N348trillion over the plan period and we expect that government at all levels will come up with about N49.7trillion or about 14% while the private sector is expected to invest N298trillion  or about 86% of the entire sum.  So, the success of the plan, therefore, depends greatly on a conscious reliance on private enterprise and initiative.  It only makes sense that the private sector is given every encouragement to play that role.

This commitment of the Federal Government is expressed in the strategic objectives of the National Development Plan,  which includes establishing a strong foundation for a diversified economy, investing in critical infrastructure roads, rail, power and broadband; enabling human capital development and improving governance and strengthening security.

The implementation of the plan is expected to be supported by a range of fiscal, monetary and trade measures, including more intentionally promoting productivity and value addition.  I think the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu alluded to that already.  The central thought behind the plan is that we must improve productivity and value addition.   This will, of course, mean loosening generalised restrictions on trade.  Blanket import restrictions are a dampener on economic activity because a lot of items that might be needed in the manufacturing process might be affected with a consequent negative impact on value addition in the economy.

It would also mean moving away from our instinctive demand management approach, managing limited resources to produce and creating more in a competitive and sustainable manner.  This is especially so for foreign exchange, where we all agree that a more market-driven, managed float approach will attract more dollars and relieve the pressure on foreign exchange.

Continuing our work more aggressively on improving the business environment is also critical. So, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC)—and the Special Adviser, Dr. Jumoke Adewole is here—has now commenced the 7th 60-day National Action Plan (NAP 7.0) on Ease of Doing Business. NAP 7.0 started on 7th of February and will go on till the 7th of April, 2022. It aims to deepen the reforms delivered over the past 5 years with a focus on agro-exports, process automation, improvement in regulatory practices, judicial reforms and Executive Order 01/ReportGov.NG compliance.

We have highlighted key action items in all of the focus areas to ensure that they do not unravel and to ensure we drive sustainability.  We’ve spent the past six years working on the ease of doing business.  Yes, we’ve reported considerable improvements, but at the same time, there have been serious drawbacks as well, which is why NAP 7.0 is important because it is absolutely critical for the success of our economy that our ease of doing business reform do not unravel.

Some of the targets include removal of regulatory constraints around agro-exports, driving electronic filing of taxes and publication of insolvency regulations pursuant to the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020.

We are optimistic that a diligent implementation of the plan and especially its underlying fiscal and monetary policy measures will be a real game-changer for business and commerce in Nigeria.

Let me again appreciate  Kimberly Clark for their work in Nigeria. In just about a decade since you opened your doors in Nigeria, and with over $100m invested, Kimberly Clark West Africa has grown from being just an investor in Nigeria to a formidable partner in the actualisation of Nigeria’s economic objectives by adding value through diversification from our non-oil sector. But also you have commendably made important social investments.  And we’ve heard quite a few already, including your almost immediate acceptance to sponsor the Dream Catchers who danced a moment ago.

Your championing the cause for women and girls across the country through your  “She SABI” Initiative is one such remarkable contribution.  I am also informed that the Kimberly-Clark Foundation has made an impressive investment commitment of $1,000,000 dedicated to improving sanitation and hygiene in Lagos State. There has also been an effort to reach vulnerable girls in some of Nigeria’s poorest communities through the distribution of menstrual hygiene materials.  One such outreach has been done in Bauchi State, although I’m told that you are in ten states. Thank you and well done indeed.

This factory I trust will only signal the beginning of greater investments in this and other sectors. With at least seven million babies born every year in Nigeria, I think there is a real market here.

In a few minutes, I will have the special pleasure and privilege to officially Commission the Kimberly-Clark West Africa’s Huggies Diaper Manufacturing Plant in Ikorodu, Lagos State.

Thank you very much.

God bless Kimberly-Clark.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.