Expert Decries Dearth of Indigenous Computer Manufacturing Firms

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The President of Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Prof. Adesina Sodiya has expressed dissatisfaction over the drop in the assembling of local computers and manufacturing of their accessories in Nigeria, while calling on the federal government for immediate bailout.

Sodiya told THISDAY that the government needed to come to the rescue of indigenous computer brands like Zinox, Omatek, Brian, SpeedStar, among others, that are gradually going into extinction, occasioned by unfavourable policies and harsh business environment.

According to him, “Nigerians are doing well in the area of software development because it is less capital intensive, but facing serious challenges in hardware manufacturing and assembling. Our indigenous Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) need a lot of support from government in order to address the issues.”

The likes of Zinox, Omatek, Brian, etc., came up to compete with foreign brands like HP, Dell, Apple, Asus, Lenovo, etc, and they were doing well in local assembling and manufacturing of computer accessories, but such competition is becoming weak, paving way for the influx of foreign brands of computers in Nigeria, Sodiya said.
He explained that hardware manufacturing does not just require technical competences but huge financial support because it is capital intensive.

“That is why we are thinking that government should provide our indigenous brands with more supports. Production of hardware components does not come cheap all over the world. We have seen a situation some components of a particular system are manufactured in different countries by different organisations. In addition, we need to get to that level of production of durable hardware.

“Before we can get to the level where Zinox, and Omatek can compete favorably with foreign brands, government must come in by introducing incentives for them. These OEMs can’t compete when bank loans are at double digits and electricity supply is not at its best to support full manufacturing and assembling processes,” Sodiya told THISDAY.

He, however, said government should formulate policies that would encourage foreign brands to set up production factories in Nigeria for onward technology transfer, and to further strengthen the production capacity of indigenous brands.

He said recent survey showed that the level of patronage of foreign computers by Nigerians, runs into millions of naira every month.

“We conducted a study on the number of foreign brands of computer that Nigerians buy monthly and the numbers are high, running into millions of naira every month. The huge patronage should be encouraging enough for the foreign brands to consider manufacturing from Nigeria.

“By so doing, they will be creating opportunity for our people to venture into manufacturing of different components of the computer systems. I am aware that Transsion Group has taken up the challenge to build a factory in Nigeria for the production of Tecno and Infinite brands of mobile phones, and from available information, the group has commenced the construction of the factory and would complete it in no distant time. We want such replicated in computer manufacturing in Nigeria by the foreign computer brands,” Sodiya said.

He listed key challenges facing indigenous OEMs in Nigeria to include lack of access to Forex, high cost of importing computer parts, high import duties, and poor electricity, among others. “If these challenges are addressed, indigenous OEMs can remain in business and favourably compete with foreign OEMs,” Sodiya said.