The fallout of ShopRite leaving Nigeria will worsen unemployment

ShopRite Leaving Nigeria

Africa’s biggest grocery retailer, ShopRite, has hinted an exit in its operations in Nigeria. In 2005, the retail brand bought its way to many Nigerian homes with a promise of ease shopping and at a discounted price.

Shoprite Holdings Limited made the announcement on Monday in its operational and voluntary trading update for the year ended on June 28, 2020.

The retail group, which announced a 6.4 per cent increase (R156.9billion) in total sales of merchandise for the outgoing year despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, announced that it took the decision to discontinue its Nigeria operation “following approaches from various potential investors, and in line with our re-evaluation of the group’s operating model in Nigeria.”

ShopRite, however, is not the first retail outlet to pull out of Nigeria in recent times. Mr Price, Leventis, Kingsway Stores, Vlisco, and a host of other foreign retail brand had over the years taken a bow in the Nigerian business and market space. In recent times, firms like Mr Price blamed their exit on the ripple effects of the pandemic in business. But for other firms which exited before the pandemic, the one thing they had expressed is how difficult’it is to work and do business in the Nigerian business space.

For ShopRite, their reasons for exiting the retail space may be attributed to the same as Mr Price. However, that is not the case – the retail firm recorded a 6.4 per cent increase (R156.9billion) in total sales of merchandise for the outgoing year which ended in June 28th. So what exactly is making this giant retail brand take a bow in Nigeria?

For many, government policies may have played a major role for the retail brand to reach the conclusion even though the statements released didn’t readily suggest that government policies informed the decision to exit Nigeria.

The news, however sparked a conversation on Twitter over the effect of ShopRite exiting Nigeria. Many shared their concerns on the fact that many people will be rendered jobless if the brand successfully pulls out of Nigeria. Others shared their interest on what the government may have done or needs to do to prevent the ultimate effect of the retail store leaving Nigeria, which is unemployment.

Unemployment rates skyrocket yearly, and with no meaningful jobs to engage young people, they turn towards crime and become mercenaries to politically perpetuate self-serving mayhem and chaos. These young people are also breadwinners of homes, and with no jobs to feed families, the situation devolves into food insecurity.

ShopRite is responsible for an ample number of employed Nigerians across regions, and their exit of the brand will not only worsen the everlasting issue of unemployment, but will also affect Nigerian in some world business ratings. It’s also an indicator that Nigeria is one of the least favourable places for investors, as we have seen with the departure of transport services like Gokada.

Although Nigerians are calling for the government to set measures in to prevent this demise, some are also debating that the exit of these international brands from Nigeria should be a wake up call for Nigerians to invest in their creativity and business prowess.

 

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