Jamaica’s paper products company looks to expand to Nigeria
Jamaica paper products company, Sanmerna, is upbeat about expanding into the Nigerian market and is expected to send a delegation to the African country to early next year to finalise arrangements with an investor.
Members of Sanmerna, on Friday, met with Minister of Industry, Commerce and Investment Audley Shaw; State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Investment Norman Dunn; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson-Smith; and newly appointed Charge D’affairs of Nigeria Emmanuel Oguntuyi.
The Sanmerna team outlined plans and prospects for the Nigerian sojourn with the government members promising to facilitate the process.
According to Sanmerna’s managing director, Robert White, the former Nigerian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Janet Olisa, made the recommendation that the company expands to Nigeria after she used the products while in Jamaica.
He said there is a business partner in Nigeria waiting for the Sanmerna delegation, which was an important aspect of the investment.
“Once you are going into someone’s country, it would be good for someone who knows the country, knows the business, knows the area to be a partner with us that it can work much better because they would know the know-how, they would know the language and everything, while we have the expertise.
“This investor does a lot of different things. Not just paper products. This investor deals with chemicals and deals with medical issues and all of that and I am 100 per cent sure that it will come through,” White said.
According to White, the investment will be a partnership with the Government of Jamaica, which he is expecting to help in facilitating the expansion by giving the necessary support to complete the deal.
“Sanmerna today is working as a partner with the government because whatever our government can do for us, will motivate us and help to give us the strength to move with our plans and to put them in place,” White said.
Shaw called the expansion amazing and inspiring and said that it is good that Sanmerna is looking beyond the COVID-19 pandemic that is impacting the world.
“It’s a moment of inspiration because for us to really take off in industry and investment we have to target the export market and that is precisely what you (Sanmerna) are doing and there are many opportunities in the export market, some of them COVID has in fact revealed,” Shaw said.
Johnson-Smith said that her ministry would be sending a trade mission to the joint commission meeting between both governments next year. She said the plan is that Sanmerna will be a part of the trade mission and at that time, will be able to finalise what must be done.
According to Oguntuyi, Sanmerna will not encounter many problems in Nigeria, as the Government of Nigeria has established the ease of doing business, which is a one-stop-shop for direct foreign investment.
“Our government has a policy of inviting foreign direct investment and this is one thing that we think can help us promote economic development and trade participation between our two countries.
“So as the mission, what we are going to do is to make sure we interact with our counterparts in Nigeria and make sure that this process is seamless without any challenge and all the benefits that are expected for this company (Sanmerna), we make sure they are accorded,” Oguntuyi said