I walked into KFC Asokoro at lunch time two days ago. It happens to be the closest place to buy food to my place of work. I asked for fries but the ladies behind the counter pointed at a notice and it read something like “due to government policies, we cannot sell fries at the moment”. I asked what the policy was and they reminded me of the ban on certain imports. I burst out laughing and asked almost rhetorically, why local potatoes were not good enough to be used.
I looked at the menu wondering what else I could have, then I asked for a zinger burger but was told again that there were no burgers. I was shocked this time and asked rhetorically again, if Nigeria lacked bread. I asked the ladies what they had to offer and was told rice and chicken. I was in no mood to eat rice, fries were top on my list as I had not had any in such a long time! I thanked the ladies for their time and I left KFC for another place that had fries and are happy to work with what is produced locally, but that left me literally in shock and I spent the whole day wondering.
From a business perspective – Is importing most of the things that are used a good way to run a business?
– Costs must be incurred with the imports and clearing, then when there are delays, some of those goods could get damaged/bad.
– On the other hand, when a government takes a decision to ban certain imports as is the case in Nigeria at the moment, the business can run down as there will be little or nothing left to serve customers with.
– Even if there must be imports, I find it odd that there will be no back up plan put in place for mishaps.
Nigeria happens to be a country that’s rich in agriculture and the products in questions, potato and bread, could be sourced locally. Plateau State probably has the best potatoes in Nigeria so why not get some from there?
One other thing I believe international brands try to do is to give back to the country they operate in. So apart from those already employed, this is a way for KFC to have a very high number of employees by encouraging the use of local products/produce and probably this could serve as a way to empower more people to spend time investing in local products/produce which would compete with products/produce anywhere else, some form of CSR, no?
When I narrated this to my colleague, it annoyed her and her only comment was “so they are willing to take our money but not use local products? She concluded by saying the government can continue to ban such imports so that only companies ready to use local products/produce can remain”.
Are these thoughts mine alone? What are your thoughts on this?