The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has commended Secure ID’s investment in sim card production, noting that this move by the company would go a long way to save Nigeria’s hard earned foreign exchange spent on products it has the capacity and potential to produce locally.
The Minister, Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, explained that the company is an intersection of three key sectors that is vital for the nation’s development effort while also commending the firm for adding value to the nation’s resource endowments in the production of the sim cards.
Enelamah during the commissioning of Secure ID’s new sim card manufacturing line, said the fact that the company is also doing export is commendable, maintaining that with the current scarcity of foreign exchange in the country, companies such as Secure ID can help to earn foreign exchange for the country.
In his words, “I want to commend the company’s entrepreneurial vision, drive and zeal to make this investment and we need more of these companies. As a country and as a government, we must support more of our entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams and realise it. This is the only way Nigeria can reach its full potentials. Nobody doubts the zeal of an average Nigerian, it is the environment and how challenging it can be that can often get in the way. I can truly say that this company is world class and to make the investment, continuing to upgrade and improve on it over time, it is something to be celebrated.”
”This shows that these things can be done in Nigeria if we provide the right support and I want to assure you that we will continue to support you to produce more and more here locally. Both in terms of jobs, import substitution and the value added process. The fact that the company is also into export is commendable, because one of the biggest challenges we have as a country is the foreign exchange situation where our supply is limited and we plan to increase the supply thorugh export,” he added.
He said the present administration is looking to partner with the private sector to realise its vision and goals for the country in areas of diversification, job creation and industrialisation.
“We have to build this relationship in a practical way by understanding what companies are actually experiencing , understanding what they will need to do better and what it will take for them to be worldclass, I believe Nigerians do well when they are given the enabling environment . One of the most important thing we have to get right is creating an enabling environment, the right investment climate, business climate, ease of doing business for the private sector and the Nigerian business community. We are seriously committed to doing everything possible to creating the right enabling environment,” he stressed.
He commended the Bank of Industry (BOI) for its role in financing industrialisation, reassuring the bank of its full support to assist in the nation’s quest to industrialise. “We know financing is a major component of industrialisation and I can assure you that we are going to be backing the likes of BOI and other Development Finance Institutions (DFI’s) to have more of the resources they need to support manufacturing in the country,” he added.
The acting Managing Director, BOI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, said the bank does not only look at the financial viability of such projects, but focuses on the strategic nature, the potential development impact and multiplier effects before supporting development projects in the country.
According to him, “The facility we have commissioned today is the first of its kind in Africa, the production of sim cards that were hitherto imported been imported. That speaks to import substitution which means that we will be conserving foreign exchange by embarking on a project like this. In Africa, there are about 700 million sim cards that are connected where they have been importing sim cards from outside the continent. This means we can also export sim cards to these African countries and generate foreign exchange,” he said.
He said the investment would also provide in-country technology and know-how that would be transferred, creating more jobs will be created and more businesses for companies like Secure ID.
“When this is done, the employees will earn to pay taxes to the government while the company pays more tax to the federal government. These are the developmental impacts that we look at. Job creation, ability to conserve foreign exchange and also to earn foreign exchange,” he said.
The Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Secure ID, Mrs. Kofo Akinkugbe, said the investment was a vision that made a DFI to support the opportunities ahead, pointing out that the BOI has been extremely instrumental in its starting up.
She added that the DFI has played a role of a true development bank by not only in providing finance, but also providing advisory services.
“The bank has remained a very key stakeholder to us and we will continue to rely on that credible support from the bank. We have been in business for 10 years and we have backward integrated over the years. Our major backward integration was made possible by the support of the BOI. We have added to our manufacturing line to provide by investing in the manufacturing of sim cards to the telecoms sector. Our capacity is scalable and we are currently doing about 200 million sim cards per annum. We are also in partnership with global sim card manufacturers, so it is bringing the same technology that the telcos are used to, but manufacturing it locally. This is definitely in line with the present administration’s import substitution policy thrust,” she said.
She said the investment is in response to the need to diversify the nation’s economy away from oil by exploiting all the non-oil resources using manufacturing activities in the country.
“If there is one sector of the economy that has done relatively well in the last ten years is the telecoms industry. Over $18 billion has been invested in the telecoms industry since the inception of GSM in Nigeria, but very little of that investment has been in the local manufacture of some of the key inputs what we call the consumables,” she said.