By Raheem Akingbolu
Sona Group of Industries said it has built strong businesses in Nigeria.
Group Chief Operating Officer,Â Sona Group of Industries, Ashok Manghnani said the company believes that one of the factors that accounts for the its success is because of its believe in the Nigerian project which has enabled it to build strong brands in Nigeria where all its resources are sourced locally.
Speaking at the Nigerian Manufacturing & Equipment Expo (NME Expo) held recently,Â Â Manghnani said: â€œThe promoters of the companies under the group are Nigerians by hearts who have spent many years in Nigeria and who believe in Nigeria.
â€œMost of the people in our management team are people who have spent many years in the country to know what Nigerians want, that is why for many years we have operated in the country building products sourced with local materials.
â€œWe started with about six breweries and now we have diversified into Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), packaging, power and gas, manufacturing as well as in real estate.
â€œWe are also into manufacturing of biscuits. We also have wine, soft drinks all made in Nigeria.â€
He added: â€œWe produce sorghum in large quantity which we get from the north.
â€œWe have nine industries under the group though it is supposed to be 10, but the tenth is investment banking, which presently investment banking is not very lucrative in the industry.
Asked how challenging it has been doing business in Nigeria, Manghnani said in Europe, the government subsidise their industries and would want to see the same situation applied in the country.
â€œSome of the challenges we face here is high cost of manufacturing coupled with poor power situation and high interest rate which revolves between 22 and 26%.
â€œYou find out that importation is always cheaper compared to growing locally, however, we have found ways to get our materials locally though expensive but available. Gestation period in Nigeria is high part of which is based on raw materials which are sourced locally. After production we export our products to Ghana and other African countries,â€ he said.
Explaining the reasons for the groupâ€™s participation at the Expo, he disclosed that the Expo helps the group to showcase its products and services to customers and other stakeholders directly and the feelers gotten from last yearâ€™s event for example led to the production of paper cup, an addition to the innovative products of the group.
Â â€œLast year when we participated in the trade fare the feelers we got was what resulted to the production of paper cup which is part of what we brought to this yearâ€™s Trade Fair,â€ Manghnani posited.
He added that: â€œWe want our clients to expect quality products from us. Even if we compete with people who are into importation, we can only assure them of quality and affordable productsâ€.