In this interview, Mrs. Temitope Iluyemi, Director, Government Relations and Public Policy, Procter & Gamble (P&G) Africa Operations, spoke about the company’s commitment to supporting Federal Government’s backward integration agenda as it focuses on developing local partners to international standards.
P&G recently organized a meeting with suppliers of raw materials in the country, convened by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN). What were the objectives of the meeting?
P&G’s global strategy is to manufacture her products as close to the consumer as possible. With this business insight, it was important to support Government’s backward integration agenda. P&G is focused on developing local partners to international standards. We also encourage our global partners to invest in Nigeria and this will promote technology transfer.
We will work with pre-qualify local suppliers for materials used in the production of consumer packaged products and by extension, build capability of local manufacturers to compete effectively in regional value chains and further strengthen the diversification efforts of the Nigerian government.
According to recent reports, a large percentage of industrial raw materials for manufacturing of products in the country are imported; how is P&G enabling its business towards backward integration compliance?
The company is committed to doing business with more locally owned businesses and we appreciate Federal Government’s role towards improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria. As a Responsible Corporate Organization, we will continue to foster a strong partnership with them to boost this effort.
We currently source 100% of the packaging materials for our products locally and are working rigorously towards increasing the local sourcing of the raw materials we use where available. We will continue to partner with the Nigerian government in our quest to achieve this.
At the commissioning of the new always manufacturing production line, P&G announced that it had invested approximately $300 Million dollars in Nigeria. A bulk of these funds has been deployed into the construction of two manufacturing plants. How has this investment impacted the growth of Micro and Small Medium Enterprises?
Our investments in Nigeria have created thousands of employment opportunities and continue to contribute to the creation of hundreds of Small and Medium Enterprises. P&G’s operations in Nigeria have created over 300 new SMEs with sustained training and development programs in the last few years.
We have a strong network of distributors and agencies that have grown with the company, creating thousands of jobs and building their capabilities to international standards. Today, P&G employs about 5000 people directly and indirectly and our latest investments are providing opportunities for SME development.
For example, in 2015 we partnered with the Federal Government to train hundreds of local MSMEs. We also continue to do this through our supplier diversity program targeted at building capability of women owned businesses and creating opportunities for them to do business with P&G. We are growing these MSMEs not for Nigeria alone but also for the global value chains.
What are the plans of the company to further grow the capabilities of SMEs in the country?
Nigeria remains a focus area for P&G and our investments continue to contribute to economic growth. We believe SMEs are the bedrock of any economy and they are an integral part of P&G’s business.
As an organization, we will continue to grow the capability of SMEs in the country and work towards building their capabilities to international standards through trainings and professional placements in our fields of expertise. We will also continue to partner with the Government in building these capabilities.
To support the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business project, P&G dedicated resources to work closely with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) team by providing supply chain experts towards the project. Are the decisions made in the council already impacting on the business community in Nigeria?
From a business standpoint, P&G is committed to working with the government to provide value addition; we have done this by sharing our expertise and knowledge towards this project. Our dedicated resource is working with the team on various projects that will benefit both international and local businesses operating in the country. We are however proud to be associated with Nigeria’s success in moving up 24 points in the 2017 World Bank ease of doing business rankings.
What role is a company like yours playing in stimulating employment and creating training programs to sharpen the skills and expertise of women entrepreneurs in the country?
Through our understanding of women and girls, we are leveraging our insights to promote gender parity in several ways, this include- leveraging our voice in advertising and media to tackle gender bias and taking action to spark conversations and set new expectations that motivate change. We believe that a gender-equal world is a better world for all. We have also helped in removing gender-based barriers to education and economic opportunities for women. We are doing this through brand and corporate programs and policy advocacy efforts. We are walking our talk, we aim to achieve equal representation in all parts of our company and an inclusive environment where everyone – men and women – can deliver their full potential.
Recently, select Women Owned Business Entrepreneurs (WBEs) were trained in Ibadan, Oyo State. The programme was designed to improve the entrepreneurial potentials of women and expand the supplier development programmes through connections and trainings. This was done in partnership with WeConnect International.
We have other citizenship efforts in Nigeria focused on girl and women empowerment, this includes our P&G Always partnership with UNESCO to educate over 110,000 Girls and Women through ICT in the Federal Capital Territory and Bauchi State. This is the second phase of the initiative. The first phase commenced in 2014, and over 60,000 girls were trained in literacy, numeracy and vocational skills.
When does P&G expect to increase its localization efforts?
P&G has been operating in Nigeria for over two (2) decades. We recently celebrated our 25 years anniversary. We are committed to Nigeria and are here for the long haul. Given this position, we will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to localize wherever possible as this also supports our business and social objectives.
We have equally invested in local manufacturing while building technical capacity through investment in contract manufacturing. We are working closely with the Government, key stakeholders and qualified local raw material suppliers.