Some shareholders of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc have called on the government to provide a better environment for businesses to operate.

The shareholders spoke at the 52nd annual general meeting of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc in Lagos.

They expressed worries that the fortunes of the company as a core manufacturing organisation was dwindling in Nigeria, given the continued scaling down, sales of assets and shortage of GSK drugs in the Nigerian market.

According to them, despite the approval of a N657.73m dividend by the shareholders, GSK Nigeria’s claim that the non-availability of foreign exchange to settle their transactions with their international partner was not sufficient to cure the worries of the shareholders, who were agitated about the future of their investment in the company.

Mr Nonah Awoh, one of the shareholders, noted the drastic drop in the workforce at the company’s plant was a warning indication that things might not be going well with GSK’s continued presence as a manufacturer in Nigeria.

He said, “Looking at this account on Page 79, we have brought the strength of production from 25 men and women to just nine. Even factories that produce pure water in Ikorodu where one of my friends stay, had more than nine men in production.”

Coordinator of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr Moses Igbrude, warned that if the Federal Government of Nigeria did not address issues related to the ease of doing business, it may be difficult to challenge the intentions of GSK International as been speculated.

The board Chairman of GSK Nigeria, Mr Edmund Onuzo, had during his speech said “The challenges ahead are quite significant, as some of you may have read reports from a few media houses regarding the supply constraints on GSK drugs in the market.

“We must mention that it continues to be very challenging with foreign exchange non-availability affecting our ability to settle foreign currency-denominated trade payables with product suppliers. As a result, it remains difficult to maintain consistent supply to the market.”

To clear the air on speculations that GSK Nigeria may seize to be a manufacturing company and become a distributor, Onuzo explained that “We have also received communication from GSK UK and Haleon, the brand owners of our consumer healthcare products regarding the continuation of existing business relationships that necessitates the board of directors having further engagements with the GSK Global and our advisors regarding the best way to navigate the current circumstances.

“We will let you know as the discussions progress.”

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