His Excellencies, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and Lagos Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo – Olu, on Friday, February 25, 2022, commissioned the state-of-the-art Kimberly Clark manufacturing plant at Odogunyan in Ikorodu Division area of Lagos State, Southwest, Nigeria.
The manufacturer of Huggies Diaper has invested over $100m in the country till date and expected to provide 6, 000 direct and indirect employment in five years.
Kimberly – Clark has also reached 1.65 million mothers through its Huggies hospital outreach program and educates 5000, 000 girls annually on menstrual hygiene and period stigma eradication through its ‘She SABI’ Initiative in secondary schools.
Speaking, VP Osinbajo, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the commissioning, said that Nigeria, which is the second highest country in the world in terms of number of babies born annually, is a good market for Kimberly – Clark’s Huggies Diaper.
“This plant, I am told, would serve Nigerian consumers with affordable high-quality diapers and I am told it will produce something in the order of about 600 million diapers every year.
“I am also told that with our seven million babies born every year, we are just two million behind the Chinese, so, we are really the largest possible market for diapers in the world, coming second only to the Chinese”, VP Osinbajo said.
“So, I think Kimberly – Clark has chosen a very good place. We are also told that this will provide thousands of jobs and I believe that the first thousand are already in place and we expect a further couple of thousands in the next three years”.
He said that development of manufacturing companies in the country will boost economic developments, adding that the new plant being commissioned, is a path towards achieving the government’s National Development Plan.
“For the Federal Government, every new manufacturing plant is an important step towards our belief that it is private investment, both local and foreign, that will be the pathway to rapid economic growth, with jobs and prosperity”, he said.
‘’This article of faith is the subtext that runs through our national development plan 2021 to 2025 to which the honourable minister of Budget and National Planning has already spoken.
“The plan envisages an investment commitment of something in the order of about N348 trillion over the planned period.
“We expect that the government at all levels will come up with N49.7 trillion or about 14 percent of that entire sum while the private sector is expected to invest N298 trillion or about 86 per cent of the entire sum’’, VP Osinbajo added.
Also speaking, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu commended Kimberly – Clark’s all – women management policy, adding that it is a recognition of the capability of what women are capable of doing.
He commended the company’s management for their resilience and determination in building the company during the period when the world was faced with COVID pandemic and serious economic challenge.
“It gives me a great delight, a very unique opportunity to once again welcome you to the centre and nerve center of our country; to welcome you to the state that controls 50% of the economic, commercial, telecommunications and infrastructures of our country. I welcome you to the centre of excellence and welcome you to the Kimberly – Clark facility in Ikorodu”, Sanwo – Olu said.
“Ikorodu, today, happens to be one of the fastest growing organized sector in our country; Ikorodu, today, remains home to millions of Nigerians, and not only Lagosians, who are indeed want to have a place where they can call home.
“The community is detribalized; the community is accommodating and welcoming to all foreigners. Thumbs up to our Ikorodu citizens.
“Indeed, they made very difficult choices. They say to themselves that they have identified a market; identified the people that are truly in need of their products and they stay the course to ensure that this facility was developed, built on time and they stood against everything that could go wrong.
“Here we are today to commission and hand over the facility to the citizens that will be using its products”.
Sanwo – Olu, who acknowledged the support that the company gave the government by supplying its diapers that were shared during the COVID pandemic and support for the school children, said that the presence of the company in Ikorodu will not only bring about further developments but also impact on its residents.
“We are excited as a government and happy that we can bring development to this part of our country and state and we will probably be inviting the President before the middle of the year to come and commission the biggest rice mill in the country which is 32 metric tonnes facility”, the governor said.
“I want to join everyone to thank and congratulate Kimberly – Clark for this great feat and for another first in this part of the country and for ensuring that it made the right investment.
“Like everyone has said, it is a product that will gain a lot of market share and we can see that the numbers will speak for itself.
“The amount of families, young ladies and young mothers that this will help is boundless. I want to thank you and commend you for this initiative”.
He pledged his government’s support for businesses by creating an enabling environment.
“For us as a government, we would continue to open up all of our businesses, we would continue to give opportunities to everyone.
“For me , we need others like Kimberly – Clark in other sectors to bring about development for our people, growth in terms of job opportunities for our citizens and to continue to make Lagos the investment destination of choice and of course, Ikorodu to continue to remain the cynosure of these investments”.
In his remarks, Rep. Babajimi Benson, the Chairman, House Committee on Defense, who is representing the Ikorodu Federal Constituency, welcomed Kimberly – Clark to his constituency which he described as a gender friendly community and commended the company for its commitment, tenacity and care.
“Ikorodu Federal Constituency is the Miami of Lagos and the best constituency in Nigeria. We have two Universities, the biggest power plant in Egbin, two seaports and we have the people and vision that will take you to the next level”, Hon. Benson said.
“We are also very gender sensitive like Kimberly – Clark. We love women in Ikorodu. They made the world go round. They are productive, family – oriented, dynamic, tenacious and I can go on and on.
“For Kimberly – Clark to have invested over a 100million dollars in Nigeria speaks to their commitment to Nigeria. For them to have built the factory during the period of pandemic, speaks to their resilience and for them to partner with various hospitals and schools, speaks about the importance of giving back and caring for the community that they operate in”, the lawmaker said.
Like others that spoke before him, he also pledged the government’s continuous support for the company.
“We are so proud of what Kimberly – Clark is doing and we will continue to support their operations in Nigeria”, he said.
“I am sure that this company’s presence here will also further attract support infrastructurally and enhance the business eco – system to enable the Odogunyan Industrial Estate, the biggest in West Africa, regain its eminence.
Speaking earlier, the General Manager Kimberly-Clark, SSA-West, Vani Malik, said that the company has been enjoying support since the beginning of its operations, adding that the company will continue to strengthen its investments in the country.
Other dignitaries at the commissioning ceremony were His Royal Majesties, Oba Kabir Shotobi, Ayangbure of Ikorodu, Oba Semiudeen Kasali, Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, Oba David Raji, Eweye of Isiwu, Prince Clement Egba, Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dame Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Dr Claudiana Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, First Lady, Lagos State, Claire Pierandelo, U.S. Consul General and Fernando Baticon, acting Vice President, Chief Finance Officer, Kimberly – Clark, Middle – East & Africa.