US embassy cable - 01ABUJA1918

NIGERIA: SECRETARY EVANS LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBASANJO SUPPORTING PROCTER & GAMBLE

Identifier: 01ABUJA1918
Wikileaks: View 01ABUJA1918 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2001-08-01 15:11:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: ETRD ECON EINV NI
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 001918 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
STATE FOR AF/W, EB/CBA AND EB/OIA 
COMMERCE ALSO FOR ADVOCACY CENTER 
 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ETRD, ECON, EINV, NI 
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: SECRETARY EVANS LETTER TO PRESIDENT 
OBASANJO SUPPORTING PROCTER & GAMBLE 
 
 
REF: (A) USDOC 4307 (B) WALLACE-KAPLAN EMAILS 7/17- 
     7/18/01 
 
 
1.  Action request, para 4. 
 
 
2.  Department of Commerce requested Post input on the 
efficacy of sending a Secretarial letter on behalf of Proctor 
& Gamble (P&G) to President Obasanjo.  The Mission believes 
P&G's interests would be best served by approaching Chief 
Kolawole Babalola Jamodu, Minister of Industries, who remains 
the primary force behind GON reticence to meet all of P&G's 
requests.  President Obasanjo on several occasions has 
expressed displeasure with being drawn into commercial issues 
and has made it clear that, in this case, he will act upon 
the recommendation of his Minister. 
 
 
3. Moreover, any message delivered to the GON should explain 
how P&G's investment in Nigeria will assist the country to 
revitalize its manufacturing sector.  Nigeria seeks more 
foreign investment, but not at the cost of its existing, 
rather limited manufacturing base.  Unfortunately, P&G's 
domestic competition can readily portray a tariff reduction 
on European-manufactured Ariel detergent as an attack on 
domestic Umo-brand detergent production.  P&G's Nigerian 
partner reportedly concurs in our view that a letter from 
Secretary Evans to President Obasanjo would not be helpful. 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
4.  Mission therefore recommends that Secretary Evans send a 
letter instead to his counterpart Minister Jamodu and that 
the letter to President Obasanjo not be delivered.  Mission 
offers a proposed text in para 5, which might serve as the 
basis for a final letter by the Secretary.  Please advise. 
 
 
5. Begin Text of Letter: 
 
 
Dear Mr. Minister: 
 
 
I wish to bring to your direct attention an important 
opportunity for Nigeria to raise its profile with potential 
investors in the manufacturing sector.  As you are aware, the 
U.S. firm Procter & Gamble is currently discussing with the 
Nigerian Government a proposal to upgrade its production 
facilities in Ibadan that would generate substantial 
employment in your country.  To make that investment 
financially viable, Procter & Gamble seeks duty reductions on 
certain equipment and raw materials for its proposed 
manufacturing plant, and on one finished product, Ariel 
detergent. 
 
 
In the past, Nigerian-made products could be found abundantly 
throughout West and Central Africa.  Proctor & Gamble's 
proposal offers an opportunity towards restoration of 
Nigeria's regional manufacturing dominance.  The 
liberalization sought would contribute both to creating a 
more competitive marketplace in Nigeria and to expanding 
Nigeria's exports to other countries. 
 
 
Mr. Minister, as you have pointed out many times, attracting 
non-oil investment is vitally important to create meaningful 
employment and diversify the Nigerian economy.  I understand 
your government has already agreed to some of Procter & 
Gamble,s duty reduction proposals.  We would strongly urge 
Nigeria to look favorably on the remaining requests.  These 
changes would benefit ordinary Nigerian citizens by providing 
and expanding the market for high-quality, 
competitively-priced products.  They would also send a 
strong, positive signal to investors that the moment has 
arrived to invest in Nigerian manufacturing.  A robust and 
growing manufacturing sector will position Nigeria to take 
fullest advantage of trade liberalization and of specific 
trade preferences for developing countries, such as the 
African Growth and Opportunity Act. 
 
 
In closing, I again urge you to look favorably on Procter & 
Gamble,s requests.  This win-win situation would constitute 
a valuable vote of confidence in Nigeria and would be 
interpreted positively by the international business 
community. 
 
 
Sincerely yours, 
Donald L. Evans 
 
 
End text of letter 
Jeter 

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