Nigerian Economy: See How We Hurt Ourselves

Nigerian Economy: See How We Hurt Ourselves

Sunday, January 24, 2021 2:00 pm

Front page of Daily Times on 1 October 1960


By Babafemi Ojudu

The Nigerian economy is one of the largest in Africa but would have been on the same scale with China and the USA had we combined foreign and indigenous economies to push up economic sustainability.

Below is a list of companies operating in Nigeria in the early 60s.

1. African Timber & Plywood ( Nigeria ) Ltd, Sapele
2. Paterson, Zochonis &Co. Ltd
3. Hazlehurst & Sons ( W. A.) Ltd
4. Unilever Export Ltd
5. Anglo French Trading Company
6. The West African Lines Conference
7. Kingsway
8. Nigerian Breweries
9. Esther Beauty Parlour
10. C.F. A. O
11. Grizi ( Nigeria ) Ltd
12. Engineering & Metal Industries Ltd
13. Pepsicola
14. Bhojsons Departmental Store
15. BP ( West Africa ) Ltd
16. Sick – Hagemeyer ( Nigeria ) Ltd
17. Buck ( Nigeria ) Iron & Steel Merchants
18. Lion of Africa Insurance Co. Ltd
19. Texaco Africa Ltd
20. Bank of West Africa Ltd
21. BOAC – British Overseas Airways Corporation
22. Brazendale & Co Ltd
23. Cow & Gate Milk/ Food
24. Nigeria National Line
25. Lennards ( Lagos ) Ltd
26. Elder Dempster Lines Ltd
27. Air France
28. Lea & Perrins
29. Nigeria Tobacco Company Ltd
30. UTC
31. M. El -Kalio Transport Ltd
32. Mitchels ( Nigeria ) Ltd
33. The Shell- BP Petroleum Development Company Of Nigeria
34. Palm Line Ltd
35. Rolls – Royce Limited ( Oil Engine Division )
36. J. Allen & Company Ltd
37. Nigeria Hotels Ltd
38. Hercules Bicycle
39. A.G Leventis & Company Ltd
40. Apapa Chemical Industries Ltd
41. Gulf Hotels Ltd
42. Federal Palace Hotel Ltd
43. Guinea Construction Company Ltd
44. The Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd
45. Leventis Motors Ltd
46. Usha ( Makers of Sewing Machines & Fans
47. Chellarams
48. Ovaltine
49. Boots Pure Drug Company Ltd
50. Bewac
51. SCOA Motors
52. Glaxo Allenburys ( Nigeria ) Ltd
53. Thomas Wyatt & Son ( W.A. ) Ltd
54. G. Gottschalck & Co
55. Caleb Brett And Son ( Nigeria ) Ltd
56. Daimler- Benz A.G. Stuttgart
57. Armel’s Transport Ltd
58. Hawley Russel & Baker Ltd
59. G. Cappa Ltd
60. Nigeria Cement Company Ltd
61. Pimms
62. Development Corporation ( W.A.) Ltd.
63. Bhojsons & Co
64. W. Biney & Co. ( Nigeria ) Ltd
65. John Holt & Co
66. Cambridge University Press
67. S. Nassar & Sons ( Nigeria ) Ltd.
68. Heinekens ( Nigeria ) Ltd.
69. The Nigerian Plastics Company Ltd
70. Wiedemann & Waters ( Nigeria ) Limited
71. Electrolux Limited
72. Assan Umbrella Factory
73. Lucky Drinks
74. Taylor Woodrow
75. Total Oil Products ( Nigeria ) Ltd.
76. Lever Brothers ( Nigeria ) Ltd.
77. Messrs J. T. Chanrai & Co. ( Nigeria ) Limited
78. Shell
79. Motoren & Craft Wagen Fabriken ( Manufacturers of “ Krupp” Range of Vehicles)
80. Carl F. W. Borgward ( Manufacturers of “Isabella “ car )
81. The Nigerian Technical Company Ltd
82. Semperit Tyre Manufacturers
83. G. B. Ollivant ( Nigeria ) Ltd.
84. Guinness ( Nigeria ) Ltd.
85. Alagbon Industries Ltd. Aba
86. Leventis Motors Ltd.
87. Fiat S.P.A
88. Oredola Okeya Trading Co.
89. Vivian , Younger & Bond Ltd
90. United Africa Company
91. Barclays Bank D.C.O.
92. Strabag ( Nigeria ) Ltd
93. J. Allen & Co.
94. Fraissinet & Fabre Line
95. UAT
96. C. F. C Furniture ( W.A. ) Co. Ltd.
97. Law Union & Rock
98. Cope’s Pools Ltd.
99. Cappa And D’Alberto Ltd.
100. Royal Exchange Assurance
101. Mobil
102. Beck’s Beer

Mentioned above are the elite companies that put out adverts in the Daily Times at Independence celebration on October 1st 1960 congratulating the government and people of Nigeria .

Today so many of those companies are no longer in existence. Over time they have been victims of mismanagement brought about by indigenization and other hare brained policies not well thought out before implementation .

Foreign owners and managers of the companies were hurriedly sent away and the companies handed over to Nigerians many of whom may not have had the know how to manage such organizations . Today we are the worse for it. Here we are saddled with mega unemployment and majority of our people looking for job where they do not exist.

When these decisions were taken we were blinded by nationalism or outright selfishness and greed. We wanted to own what we didn’t create. Blue chip companies that would have grown to employ millions of our people were sacrificed on the alter of ‘we must take over’. Imagine what Daily Times would have been today if we have not taken it from the original owners. It would have continued to set professional and ethical standards, a standard that would have rivaled The New York Times. Other businesses and organizations would have sprung from it. The Times Institute for training journalists would perhaps have by now become world class rather than being history. Maybe by now DT would have had a newsprint manufacturing plant and a big tree plantation to feed it. Its property development arm that owned several buildings in Ikoyi and mainland would have gone into real estate and developed estates.

Growing up in the 60s and 70s my holiday trip from Ekiti to Ibadan was not complete without visits to Kingsway. Well stocked, a sparkling clean environment and an ever functioning escalator, With my cousins we took trips there daily going up and down the escalator with stories to tell my school mates in Ado Ekiti when school resumes. Imagine having Kingsway since then and with presence in all towns in Nigeria. There perhaps would have been no need bringing Shoprite and Spar from South Africa. Imagine the spin of effect of that on agriculture and manufacturing as well as distribution , and stock management , and supply chain expertise. Millions of Nigerians would have had direct and indirect employment. Don’t mind me , just having random thoughts.

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