Friday, June 3, 2016

Don’t source forex from black market- Manufacturers advised

By Moses Nosike

Nigerian manufacturers are groaning under strict forex access, yet there are companies that had mbibed the habit of using local materials for production. Today they are at advantage. Felix Aighobahi, Sales & Marketing Director, Euro Global Nigeria Limited, advised entrepreneurs and others on the advantage of using local raw materials for production. Excerpt.

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Aighobahi

Aighobahi

We import definitely few items we don't have in Nigeria. Most of our raw materials are sourced locally, but there are still some we cannot source locally, we have to import, especially the machineries' and some other items we cannot develop in Nigeria, we import. We use 70 percent of local raw materials tentatively.

Forex access and raw materials

It is not easy at all for companies. For us Foreign Exchange is not affecting us. We already have items which is 70 percent locally sourced. Any item we import are those that are allowed by law. The problem companies are having is fund. One, we are not getting forex. When you go to the  banks, the banks say they don't have, from the little they have.

Imagine asking for 100 percent, and they are offering you 10 to 15 percent of what you want. For me, I am not even encouraging manufacturers to go to the black market. Forex is not even in the black market. It is a constraint that we  really cannot allow us meet up with demand, because of Forex scarcity.

Economy and international standard 

It's in two ways, when we say economic crunch. I think for now Nigerians have their priority. It's supposed to be an advantage to us if money was in circulation, for the little in circulation every Nigerian now knows that they have to use it wisely. You have to use your money on made in Nigeria goods, because if you still want to depend on imported goods definitely you will spend more because of the exchange rate, you spend more because of the scarcity of Forex. You spend more because of the banned items we don't need in Nigeria.

So it's in two ways. One way, I will tell you that patronage has been good. Nigerians now know their right that they have to buy made in Nigeria goods, because what we are producing here is of international standard, people take our products outside this country. We even service nearby countries, they come in here to buy goods.

They find out that what we have here is comparable to international standard and in most cases they prefer our products to what some companies are importing into the country.

Made in Nigeria campaign

I think government campaign on made in Nigeria goods is on. I watched on television where government officials were making efforts at encouraging Nigerians to imbibe the culture of buying made in Nigeria products. We on our own are campaigning round the markets, undertaking market storming, showcasing our products for Nigerians to see.  We are telling distributors and consumers alike to buy made in Nigeria goods. We are sampling the market  to show that what we have is equivalent to what is obtainable in the international market and even better off.

We know the taste of Nigerians, we know what Nigerians need.  Some time ago I was discussing with a foreign company. We were talking of one or two of their products. Well I said to them that the sugar content is too high, I told them that in Nigeria we are running away from cholesterol. So in these things we maintain what we need in Nigeria and we know what we want.

Major challenges   

We belong to the manufacturers association. We have been singing this for a long time that accessing forex is a problem, even market women are crying,  the skilled labourers (the formal and informal) are asking for high wages because of the high living standard in the country. Logistic is a serious problem, our roads are bad,  vehicles traveling from Ogun state to the north take more days, and we have to pay for the extra days. Sourcing for vehicles, pump price of petrol is another problem that is militating against logistics.

Nearly, in every aspect of life it has become highly challenging. When we meet situations like this, we try to make amends and see how we can carry everybody along. So, these are serious barriers in the manufacturing industry, and we cannot increase prices because we understand that consumers' purchasing power is low. If I shift our overhead to the consumers' many will not meet up or buy the products, it will drag down our profit margin.

We are among those that say stop the importation of foreign goods and we are here to satisfy Nigerian consumers' that is why we won't sabotage our efforts and that of the government in making sure Nigerians patronise Nigerian goods, and for this reason we can't increase our prices.

Faking and adulteration

Luckily enough for us no one has been able to fake our products, because we have taken a punitive measure because we know people will fake our products, there are security measure we have put in our packaging and corking system, with these measures it will be very difficult to fake our products.


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