The profit of global consumer goods maker, PZ Cussons Plc, has continued to be negatively affected by lower sales in its Nigerian market and elsewhere. Reuters reported earlier today that the British company’s half-year 2019 profit was quite low due to this problem.
The company’s Nigerian subsidiary is PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc, which manufactures soap brands like Premier and Imperial Leather. Once upon a time, these soap brands moved market in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the story has been different lately.
The problem: The company’s reported lower sales in Nigeria has always been blamed on weakened consumer spending due to the bad economy that has affected the disposable incomes of millions of Nigerians. But then again, soap is an everyday essential, which people buy no matter how bad the economy is.
What this means, therefore, is that lower demands for PZ Cussons soap brands may not have been caused entirely by the economy. There is also the possibility that stiff competition between the company and other soap makers might have been a contributing factor.
To address this problem, the company, earlier this year, went about improving and rebranding its Premier Soap brand. As Nairametrics reported in August, the company unveiled two new variants of the Premier Soap brand in a desperate bid to re-capture the market. It has embarked on major campaigns to this effect, albeit with the help of some B-list celebrities. This effort probably has not paid off.
Note that this is not the first time the British company is blaming its Nigerian subsidiary for its declining financial performance. Last year, the company published several trading updates informing stakeholders that unfavourable economic situation in Nigeria was hampering its overall growth.
But Nigeria is not the only one to blame
It is important to clarify that weaker sales by PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc is not the only reason its parent company’s H1 profit was low. As the Reuters report indicated, demand for the company’s products in Britain also reduced because many Britons cut down on expenses.
Across much of the company’s operation in Africa, performance was also low. In the meantime, the company is optimistic that its financials will improve by the time full-year financials are ready.
“A stronger second half is expected subject to no further worsening of the economic and trading environments across our key geographies.”
US Elections: Chaos, as Trump and Biden hold first Presidential debate
Trump and Biden held their first debate to convince Americans ahead of the forthcoming Presidential election.
US President, Donald Trump and former Vice President, Joe Bidden held the first debate of the upcoming US Presidential elections, which was characterized by insults and interruptions. Both candidates covered topics like the state of the US economy, COVID-19, and other pressing national issues.
The debate was anchored by Fox News host, Chris Wallace during the early periods of the morning in Nigerian time, and lasted for about 90 minutes.
Reuters says the moderator failed to establish control of the debate, as Trump interrupted Biden nearly every time he spoke and accused the Democratic party of trying to steal the elections through mail-in ballots. Both candidates talked over each other and barely passed their points across.
Joe Biden, obviously irritated by Trump’s interruptions said at a point “Will you shut up, man? This is so unpresidential.”
The debate comes after months of racial protests in America, due to police killings of African Americans, notably George Floyd, which has also caused clashes between left-wing and right-wing Americans.
Trump said he is willing to bring measures to ensure peace, however, “This is not a right-wing problem. It is left-wing,”
He added that the mail-in ballots would be used to manipulate elections against him, and called it fraudulent. He also refused to comment if he would accept the results of the elections if he lost.
“If I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that. This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen.”
On the pandemic, Biden accused Trump of valuing the stock market more than American lives, due to the fact that the virus has killed over 200,000 Americans.
“He panicked or he looked at the stock market,” Biden said.
“You should get out of your bunker and get out of the sand trap and … the golf course and go in the Oval Office and (put) together Democrats and Republicans, and fund what needs to be done now to save lives.”
Trump replied that America has done a great job in its response.
On tax returns, Biden has recently published his 2019 tax returns and has urged for President Trump to do the same. This comes 2 days after the New York Times reported that Trump only paid $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017, and paid no income taxes in ten of the last 15 years.
Biden said Trump “pays less tax than a schoolteacher makes,” and Trump responded that he has paid millions in taxes before, but could not release until an audit has been conducted, citing tax laws that enabled businessmen to pay less.
“Like every other private person, unless they’re stupid, they go through the laws and that’s what it is,” he said.
On the US Supreme Court ruling to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat with Judge Amy Coney Barrett after her death; Biden says the seat should be replaced after the election, after its clear who the President would be, citing that a stronger conservative supreme court would hurt the implementation of the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.
Trump said, “elections have consequences, I will tell you very simply that we won the election. We have the Senate and White House, and we have a phenomenal nominee respected by all.”
Over 1.3 million Americans have already voted through the early ballots, a few weeks before the November 3rd election.
More debates are scheduled in October, with VP Mike Pence and Kamala Harris squaring up for a debate next week.
US government to ban WeChat and TikTok from app stores
Chinese-owned social media apps are facing a ban in the US over national security concerns.
The United States government says it will ban the services of Chinese tech giants, WeChat and TikTok, from online mobile application stores in the U.S. It also plans to prohibit any funds transfer/payment services through the WeChat mobile application.
This was announced by the U.S Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, in a statement on Friday, following President Donald Trump’s Executive Orders (E.O.) 13942 and E.O. 13943, on the 6th of August.
“In response to President Trump’s Executive Orders signed August 6, 2020, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) today announced prohibitions on transactions relating to mobile applications (apps) WeChat and TikTok to safeguard the national security of the United States,” said Wilbur Ross.
He added that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), has proven it has the means and the motive to use Chinese tech apps, to threaten America’s national security foreign policy, and the economy of the U.S.
He said the following transactions will be prohibited from September 20th for WeChat and November 12th for TikTok
- Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates, through an online mobile application store in the U.S.
- Any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application, for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.
Mr. Ross said that with the Executive Order, the US government has taken a ‘significant action’ in fighting China’s malicious personal data breach on American citizens, and also promote democratic rule-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.
The U.S government announced that further prohibitive measures, relating to both companies may be announced in the future.
“Should the U.S. Government determine that WeChat’s or TikTok’s illicit behavior is being replicated by another app somehow outside the scope of these executive orders, the President has the authority to consider whether additional orders may be appropriate to address such activities.”
President Trump has given until November 12, to resolve the TikTok security concerns of the US. He added that the prohibitions may be lifted, if they are addressed.
WTO: Okonjo-Iweala still in contention as 3 candidates depart race for DG
Okonjo-Iweala and the remaining 4 other candidates hope to succeed the current DG, Mr Roberto Azevêdo.
Three candidates running for the post of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation have fallen out of the race after failing to secure enough votes in the first rounds of voting, leaving only 5 candidates left, including Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
This was disclosed by Bloomberg on Thursday, before the meeting on Friday. The Candidates that are out of the race are Jesus Seade (Mexico), Tudor Ulianovschi (Moldova), and Hamid Mamdouh (Egypt). The candidates were not able to secure the support needed for the first round of 3 rounds of voting.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweal joins 4 other candidates for the next round of voting. The candidates are; Liam Fox (UK), Amina Chawahir Mohamed Jibril (Kenya), Yoo Myung-hee ( South Korea), and Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri ( Saudi Arabia).
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala disclosed last month some of her plans for the Organization if made President. Nairametrics reported she noted that part of her vision is to build a trade institution where there is greater trust among its members. She also stressed that the WTO, at this critical time, is needed to ensure that trade and global markets remain open.
On healing the rift between the US and China, Okonjo-Iweala admitted that it is going to be challenging and not be easy. She said:
“Well, this is not going to be easy, if it was easy, it could have been done a long time since. So it would be very challenging but it is not an impossible job. It is very clear that both the US and China have been helped and benefitted from the multilateral trading system in the past. Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty. They have experienced shared prosperity in the economies and their countries.’’
She added she would listen to both countries to find out what really are the issues causing distrust among them. She said that she will not want to be involved in the larger political problems, but will rather separate the trade issues and focus on them and build this trust.
“You need to begin to find areas where there can be confidence-building and trade. Building trust is not talking about it, you have to have areas where both can work together and agree and we have a golden opportunity in the fisheries subsidies negotiations that are going on now because the US is a party to it, China is a party, the EU, all other members,’’ she said.
Okonjo-Iweala and the 4 other candidates will present themselves to the members of the global trade body for the later stages of voting in the hopes of securing the highest number of votes to succeed the current DG, Mr. Roberto Azevêdo.