Okafor: Government should make sustainable policies for local production
The Chairman Of Dynatech Group Of Companies, Sir Chigozie Chukwudi Okafor (KSC, JP) spoke with DEBO OLADIMEJI on local manufacturing and how to grow the economy.
How many of your products were designed by you and which of them are on franchise?
Basically, about 90 per cent of the products we distribute under the umbrella of Dynatech Group belong to the group. All our products belong to us by way of franchise or direct ownership based on the applicable rights and laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria in relationship with Nigeria Chambers of Trade and Commerce. Virtually, all our products are registered and solely distributed in Nigeria and across West Africa, with many of them coming to transact business with us.
How is your performance in those countries?
I know we cover Ghana, Ivory Coast, Republic of Benin, Togo and others. I will tell you that our products have remarkable presence in these countries. Most of our products like Wisdom 212 Smokers toothbrush, our Tiger razor blade, Tiger shaving razor blade, Tip top shaving razor blade, super glue, Dento toothbrushes and others, even Dynatech generators and Dynatech Industrial machineries.
Are you also into generators?
We import generators. Ninety per cent of our products are produced here in Nigeria just a few are imported from China and United States. Generators are among products we import from China.
What are the obstacles to trade in the West African sub-region?
Poor government interest in the development of infrastructure is a key obstacle to trade in Nigeria and in the West African sub-region. Nigeria is a big economy; I will say we are not doing so badly, because we are still a developing economy.
In as much as we have corruption here and there in virtually all the sectors, government should focus more on research and development of infrastructure to enable us get to a level where we can be compared to a country like China, Taiwan, South Korea and others that control most of the world economy.
Government should be accessible to people and people should bring their views for the government to evaluate so that the economy can be sustainable.
There are just few barriers to our relationship with other countries in the sub-region because Nigeria and most West African countries belong to ECOWAS. We have a common border with them and we have a great advantage as a country with over 200 million population. I know there is strength in our population. Our labour cost is very affordable. We have every opportunity to become a developed country if we believe in ourselves.
We in the industrial sector are not doing bad because every new day we are experiencing sustainable growth in one way or the other in what we are doing in our production. We are not complaining. Every month we pay our workers. I think the government is doing its best to improve the economic condition as far as I am concerned.
What is your annual turnover?
Our annual turnover is between $5m to $10m yearly. I will say that we are recording successive growth in our business so far. We have achieved sustainable growth in the business of our production line. In our sales and investments, we are not doing bad at all.
How did you manage to weather the storm of the recession the country recently witnessed?
I have always said recession is a thing of the mind. You cannot be in recession when you are actually experiencing growth in your turnover and general standard of living. At the end of every month you pay salaries of your workers, and your locally manufactured products are selling even without too much profit, you are able to balance the expenditure of the company. We all experienced the economic hurdle but we are no more in recession. We are able to manage the recession because we invested heavily in local production.
We will do better if we produced locally, government should have a way of supporting manufacturing companies to make sure that we are not out of business.
What are you doing to prevent your products from piracy?
There is no good selling product in the market that wouldn’t have counterfeits. It is a policy of every company to set up their fight against piracy. Like our company, we have various ways and methods to work on those frivolous businessmen who go as far as doing counterfeit of our products. We have also recently been associating with SON and NAFDAC to assist us in raiding different markets to get rid of these counterfeit products. I believe that so many big companies are doing their best to fight against piracy with the help of government.
What are your marketing strategies?
We have presence in the market. We have display showrooms, and marketers in various markets. Whoever that wants to buy the products of our company knows where to get it, unless they want to resort to the pirated ones. If they want to buy the original products they know where to get it. Because we have a website that you can consult for more information about us.
We have corporate offices in the North, Southeast and the West. We have marketers who are out there to buy our original products.
How affordable are your products?
I can confidently tell you that our prices as a manufacturing company are unbeatable, because we work with the barest cost in the market. I don’t think there is a related product in the market that can compare to our price. We have the best pricing mechanism that makes our prices in the market unbeatable. I can attest to that. Our prices are affordable as compared to the prices of other similar products. Even with the erratic power supply, we still manage power, which is a key factor in pricing because we have our private power generating plant that is sustainable for our production and we are still keeping up with it.
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