Really…Federation of Informal Organization of Nigeria?
Read that the general secretary of FIWON Mr. Gbenga Komolafe wrote a letter asking that Walmart not be encouraged to come into Lagos. I am just stuck here shaking my head.
Caveat- I am not an economist so I am not trying to be one here but lets break down the argument.
I commend FIWON for pulling some data from research to make their argument, however I would prefer they use data that is relevant, i.e lets compare Apples to Apples. The research used is based on a study from 2013 conducted by Bill de Blassio, then public advocate for the city of New York.
The report is based on three key arguments — that Walmart actually means fewer jobs, less small businesses and more burden on taxpayers from a medicaid perspective.
Firstly, Lagos is not New York, despite what we try to tell ourselve. The report spoke of how Walmart stores kill 3 local jobs for every 2 it creates. Can FIWON show me where the 3 local jobs are today. From the establishment of Shoprite stores we have seen that large scale operations create significant more jobs than they kill.
Secondly, the report talks about several businesses going out of business because Walmart opened in the neighborhood, again this is based on the assumption that this small businesses exist. On FIWON’s affilate website it states the workplace of members are — street/open…..so really we want to keep our youth working on the streets rather than work in establishments that offer them benefits.
Chiago Alderwoman talks about Walmart’s value to community
Thirdly, the report talks about Walmart workers relying on Medicaid which is funded by taxpayers…..please what welfare do the current FIWON members or non-working Nigerians have?
In addition, it talks about Walmart avoiding taxes, while this should and will not be acceptable the report does not cover the taxes the store chain pays, which in Lagos’s state case will be all net new.
In my view, while this report should be considered and the issues raised be examined and applied in all discussions with Walmart, we have significantly more to gain from stores and businesses like Walmart coming to Nigeria than pushing them out. Like Jim O’Neill once told an Indian business man, who was pushing back on foreign investment because local business men acting as middle men between farmers and push cart and hence controlling the prices were skepical “this short term thinking is regretable”
My hope is that we see the big picture of things and consider the number of Nigerians that can benefit from foreign direct investment like this and improve the quality of life, goods and services Nigerian experience.