Multinational companies (MNCs) play an important role in the economic development strategies of many developing countries. They have great impact on the environment and on the economy. There are good numbers of them in Nigeria. Experience has shown that there has been long and terrible record of environmental degradation and destruction, economic exploitation and human right violations in some areas/regions of Nigeria. Multinational companies among which include the multinational oil-producing companies like SHELL Oil Company, have grown in power and visibility and are seen in recent times to have come to be viewed more ambivalently by both government and the citizenry of Nigeria.
There are many of such MNCs in Nigeria that cut across the major four (4) sectors of the country – Oil and Gas, Telecommunication, Manufacturing and the Banking sectors. There are lots of things to be considered in respect to these MNCs and these include their contributions so far in the country, their benefits to the Nigerians and to the country as a whole, their impact (negative and positive), etc. All these will go a long way in determining or assessing the MNCs and be able to draw a conclusion as to whether they are blessings or curses!
Before the independence in 1960 and thereafter, more and more international companies continue to find their ways into the Nigerian economy. Even till now, more of these large organizations are still being encouraged to come and invest in Nigeria. Multinational companies have remained a part of the business scene throughout the history of Nigeria. In some cases, these Multinational companies form joint ventures with the citizens of the country or with home firm(s) to further facilitate the realization of their goals.
With no one doubt, the economic success and pervasiveness of MNCs, their motives and actions have been called into question by social welfare, environmental protection and labour organizations and government agencies in Nigeria. Nigerians now worry about the impact of these companies on the Nigerian economy as many turn to become in-formidable, challenging and provoking.
The presence and activities of MNCs in Nigeria has been subject of controversy in discussions on development policy. In recent times, the impact of MNCs in Nigeria has been adjudged more unfavourably. MNCs have a conflicting interest entirely and this is a great problem in our economy. It could be safe to say that the conflicting interest is the bedrock of MNCs problems in Nigeria.
MNCs is a commercial enterprise whose sole aim is profit optimization and which seeks to pursue its own corporate objectives such as achieving an acceptable rate of return on investment capital, gaining market share, or ensuring its long term competitiveness, rather than supporting the host country’s economic and social development objectives. The result is that MNCs and host country authorities have diverging opinion on very fundamental issues such as repatriation of profits, licensing, research policy and location policy.