Businesses need to build capacity to produce locally’

Chief Executive Officer, Pointek, Mr. Emeka Oguchi said in Lagos that forex issue has presented Nigerians especially businesses with an opportunity to look inwards and build enough capacity to produce locally.

Oguchi reiterated that it is necessary to use hard earned money to create jobs in one’s country rather than create wealth for foreigners.

Excerpts

Policy Formulation

Policy formulation has to be an all-inclusive process. It would be difficult to formulate policies without the direct input of the stakeholders. We should work towards a solution that ultimately leads to products being produced in Nigeria. It’s always better to use our hard earned money to create jobs in Nigeria instead of overseas.

The government needs to take some tough decisions and our current President has shown that he can make these decisions. We need to create jobs for our ever expanding population and one of the best ways is to focus on developing the real sector. ‎I am so passionate about job creation – that is the only way we can solve all these social problems.

Lack of Communication

It is very important for the government to interact with stakeholders when they make these policies. A town hall meeting with people in the real sector will help the government fine tune the policies that they have already planned. The business people should be told the long and short term effects of these policies. They in turn can suggest ways these policies will work in the real sector. It’s important that business men hear directly from the government and are actively engaged in the process. A lot of out of the box thinking is required to fix this economy and we all have to take some calculated risks. I like the fact that this government has the guts to make tough decisions. However, the process that creates a policy is as important as the policy itself.

Assembly plants

We can achieve the same level of success that the electrical cable industry achieved in the ICT sector. These Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) can set up manufacturing plants here; even if we don’t want to start big, we can start from assembling, Semi Knockdown, and Complete Knockdown. The government can give tax holidays for a period of time to counter balance the power challenges that manufacturers face. It’s an urgent decision that we must take, we can phase the process so that over time we won’t need to import these products again. Importation is not what every serious minded business man wants to do for a long time, they want to manufacture so that they can control whatever business they are doing. If I manufacture this product and I know it is my product, I know that I am building a sustainable business that can be handed down to the next generation. On the other hand, with importation, you have little control, because anybody can import same product.

Importation

Consumers would buy whatever is available in the market. Look at Nigerian cables, is it not the best around? I am confident Nigerians can manufacture high quality products under the right atmosphere. We have a very valid unique selling proposition which is the size of our market. We have the largest market in Africa because of our population. We can position ourselves as a hub to the entire African continent. And this will go a long way in solving our forex issues as there will be less demand on it.

What is the palliative measure?

The palliative measure is for government to come up with policies that give incentives for people to produce locally. What they are doing in agriculture is commendable; we need to develop the agricultural sector, but agriculture evolution is not something that would happen overnight, besides, agriculture alone cannot sustain us. We need to industrialize the nation. With the right policy and implementation, industries will spring up, within the shortest possible time. It can happen faster that you can even imagine if the government is ready to take some difficult and quick decisions. Business men/importers have to know that if they produce here, they are going to create jobs, and when they create jobs, the money will stay within the economy and it solves a lot of problems. Government would have more money, more income through tax would be generated, new infrastructures would be built and everyone would be better for it. Foreigners would want to come here and do stuff. It is the same thing we do abroad too, when we see a developed country, we want to identify with them; we want to take their citizenship. It is not happening in Nigeria because of the lack of infrastructure, until we see a visionary leader that shows empathy, passion, and a will to do the right thing. I believe that this forex issue has presented us with an opportunity to look inwards and build our capacity to produce locally.

People shouldn’t have to worry about power, government should make policies that take into cognizance the power issue, and with the right policy, everything will fall into place. Overtime government should begin to do massive investment in the power sector, so that the goods produced in Nigeria without government support can compete in the international market. Once we put those things in place, there would not be a huge dependence on forex again. _

Look at the way we have done our traditional attire, if someone had told you 10 years ago that Nigeria would fall in love with Ankara, would you believe it? But do you know how much has been saved from it? Do you know the volume of jobs it has created? You can still do same in other sectors.

Even in the same textile industry we have not even scratched the surface, because the volume of importation in that sector is still high, and that is why we are still having these forex issues, this trade deficit is the reason we are still having shortage. My heart broke when I spoke to an industrialist, who lamented that his company might fold up any moment from now; since he doesn’t have access to forex and has not been bringing in raw materials, therefore he can’t operate. I then ask myself that, if these industries cannot operate and do not have access to forex, that means over time they would begin to shut down, that would be a total collapse. There must be urgent steps to protect and ensure that industries already producing do not collapse.

Software development

Software development is a serious but not an urgent need for this market, considering the fact that we have about 100 million connected mobile phone lines. Most companies that produce the hardwares and access softwares of these devices are overseas. Android and Windows that are mostly used on these devices are all developed in the United States, whereas, most manufacturers are based in China.

What makes Pointek unique?

Pointek’s value proposition is our focus on excellence; we stand above industry’s competition by providing cost effective, high quality products and exceptional customer care. We are very conscious of our brand, so from the moment you walk into any of our stores, you see our attention to details; the transaction doesn’t end with the sale. We are the only brand for now that offers our customers Theft/Loss Insurance with free screen damage replacement; other vendors shy away from this because of the risk associated with such policy. Our after sales service is top notch, because for us, the customer is at the centre of our business. Recently, we introduced consumer electronics in our stores and right now we are the only brand that has full experience store for mobile phone, computers and electronics.

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