The Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), a non-profit organisation, has called on the federal government to intervene in the ownership dispute between HealthPlus, a pharmaceutical firm, and Alta Semper Capital (ASC), its investment partner.
HealthPlus has been in the news over the ownership of the pharmaceutical firm, following the appointment of Chidi Okoro by ASC as the new chief transformation officer (CTO) to run the company.
There was also an announcement of the sack of Olubukunola Adewunmi (Bukky) George as chief executive officer (CEO) of the company.
In a statement signed by Ifeanyi Oputa, director-general of NASSI, the association called on the federal government to intervene, as part of efforts to promote and protect businesses founded by Nigerians.
“We are not fully appraised of the facts and would thus not be drawn into aspects of this case, which George is fully capable of defending. NASSI is, however, calling upon the federal government to wade into this matter and indeed other questionable private equity (PE) transactions across Nigeria as a matter of urgency,” NASSI said.
The association noted that governments around the world have always identified key business players on the local scene and provided appropriate support for them to grow into multinational corporations.
“Some countries have sent out gunboats and gone to war to protect the interests of its key business players because of what they represent to the people and the nation-state,” it said.
It made reference to Google, Apple, Amazon, Procter & Gamble (P&G), PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, which have been “supported by the American government to the point where the respective US embassies and agencies wade in to resolve commercial disputes in favour of their nationals”.
NASSI said these firms get support because the government of their countries believe that such backing is in the interest of their nations.
According to the association, HealthPlus has played a unique role in the pharmaceutical industry and has the potential to becoming a leader in Africa, especially with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
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