Following the ownership dispute trailing the largest retail pharmacy chain in West Africa, HealthPlus Nigeria, the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists, NASSI, has revealed reasons why it is imperative for the Federal Government to intervene in the conflict, which has generated a lot of concerns among local business founders in the country.
The association maintains that there was a need for the Federal Government to promote and protect businesses founded by Nigerians who, in spite of the country’s notoriously difficult business environment, had created thriving concerns.
NASSI revealed through a statement signed by its Director General, Ifeanyi Oputa, on Sunday, titled: “HealthPlus crisis: NASSI urges FG to intervene”, that the onus is on government to urgently wade into the HealthPlus issue and other controversial equity transactions involving Nigerian-owned businesses, to prevent the nation from losing indigenous businesses to foreign firms.
Although the association noted that it was yet to get details of the events that led to the sour relationship between HealthPlus and Alter Semper, it however insisted on government’s intervention to restore a peaceful business relationship between them.
Oputa said, “We are not fully apprised of the facts and would thus not be drawn into aspects of this case, which Mrs George is fully capable of defending.
“NASSI is, however, calling upon the Federal Government to wade into this matter and indeed other questionable private equity transactions across Nigeria as a matter of urgency.”
He noted that governments around the world had always identified key business players on the local scene and provided appropriate support for them to grow into multinationals.
“Some countries have sent out gunboats and gone to war to protect the interests of these firms because of what they represent to the people and nation-state,” he said.
He further explained the unique role HealthPlus had played in the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry, saying it has the potential to become a leader on the continent, especially with the imminent implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Earlier last week, HealthPlus had disclosed that its founder and CEO, Mrs Bukky George, owns 48.9% of HealthPlus Africa Holdings and that she is the only Nigerian registered Pharmacist shareholder and director in the company.
This was revealed in a statement by HealthPlus on Tuesday, in a bid to educate the public on the controversy going on between it and Alta Semper Capital over the alleged attempted hijack of HealthPlus by Alta Semper.
The company said HealthPlus Africa Holdings is owned by Mrs Bukky George (46.2%) and Idi Holdings ( 53.8%), Idi Holdings is Alta Semper’s investment vehicle”
“In essence, Mrs Bukky George owns (directly and indirectly) 48.9% of HealthPlus and is the only Nigerian registered Pharmacist shareholder and director in the company”, it stressed.