Paul Polman visits, departs Nigeria with positive impression

As part of his business tour around Africa, Unilever CEO, Mr. Paul Polman visits Unilever Nigeria, declaring it could be Unilever’s its biggest market operation.

Unilever believes in Nigeria and Nigerians and will be investing over One Hundred Million Euro in Unilever Nigeria within the next 2 to 3 years, Paul Polman, Unilever Global CEO, said during his visit to Nigeria 7th and 8th July.

At the end of it all, Paul concluded that there are enormous opportunities in Nigeria that Unilever can double its business in the country and make Nigeria the biggest and best Unilever business in Africa by setting standards on how business is done and being passionate about consumers and customers. Unilever will continue to do little things daily to improve the lives of the people and grow its business applying the best standards. Everyday Unilever will be a little bit better than competition in quality, cost, environmental impact and other parameters.

Paul Polman, who was accompanied on his visit by Harish Manwani (President Unilever AAC) and Frank Braeken (SVP Unilever NAMCA) and others, said further that about 50% of Unilever’s global business growth is in the Emerging Markets of which Nigeria represents a key player in the African continent. Unilever Nigeria, which grows in double digits ahead of competition has been rolling out innovations that meet consumers’ needs and improve their lives.

Paul Polman also declared that: “Unilever believes in doing the right thing for the long time to be sustainably successful” as a business and that this applies to all the company’s businesses all over the world. As such Unilever has increased investments generally in Nigeria and especially in the areas of research and development, human capital development, advert and promotions, capacity improvement etc. This is geared towards introduction of new and better products that are performing and affordable. Unilever Nigeria is in line with Unilever Global standards in processes and brands and its products are in almost all Nigerian homes.

As a person who likes to operate in a mindset of realism, Paul accepts that Nigerian business environment is highly challenging, but since Unilever has been surviving in this environment for the last 87 years, the company will continue to work with the government and other stakeholders to make Nigerian environment more business friendly.

In line with Unilever’s believe in the principles of open and free market, Unilever Nigeria will continue to produce products that are good for the people and also affordable in order to achieve its’ Win objective.

He emphasised the need for all stakeholders to also work together to curtail the impact of fake products because of its negative effects on consumers, government s (loss of tariff) and infringement on intellectual property rights of genuine businesses.

In his various interactions with customers, retailers, and consumers in the open market, Locked-Up Neighbourhood shops and homes, Paul asked the crucial and pertinent questions on pricing, performance of products during usage, sales turn over, what are the suggestions of the customers, retailers and consumers on what improvements they want in product performance, uptake in the market and how to further make Unilever products first choice of consumers.

Unilever, in its 87 years of business in Nigeria, has impacted positively on the people in the areas of wealth creation, health and hygiene promotion, development of small scale businesses, educational and manpower development, etc. To Paul, Unilever Nigeria: “sells smiles and not Close-up" as the toothpaste encourages Nigerians to smile genuinely and confidently.

Major items on Paul’s visit Agenda were visits to open market and neighbourhood lock up shops, media interaction, consumer immersion, consumer fair, town hall with employees, factory visit and a dinner party. In all these Thabo Mabe; Managing Director Unilever Nigeria and his Leadership Team members played the roles of very efficient and hospitable hosts to Paul Polman and his team.

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