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Nigeria’s computer makers blame inadequate funding

Nigeria’s local electronic manufacturers have blamed inadequate funding as a major obstructer towards making high quality computers.

Mrs. Florence Seriki, the Group Managing Director, Omatek Computers Plc, said indigenous firms have inadequate funding and this looks down on the government’s noble move.
Seriki made the statement during a tour of the Lagos-based facility Friday by Nigeria’s minister of communications technology Omobola Johnson.

Seriki said Omatek is heavily affected by inadequate funding and the government should intervene to bolster local capacity and products by helping them overcome such challenges.

“Funding is a local challenge as banks cannot fund hardware makers and besides, the interest on loans starts from 20 percent. While abroad, it is 3 percent, which makes foreign products to have a competitive edge. Government can intervene by driving the local content and local patronage policy to generate demand and strengthen the local companies,” Seriki was quoted by the Punch as saying.
She further asked the government to reduce duties for local computer manufacturers as it would give them competitive margin over foreign products.
The minister later remarked that there was such a plan given the huge potential among the indigenous manufacturers.

Omatek produces its own computer chasses, speakers and cases.
This comes barely five months since the Federal Government of Nigeria made a statement pushing for the ‘buy-made-in-Nigeria’ initiative.

The Federal Government of Nigeria, through director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Cleopas Anganye had in May this year reportedly made the declaration at a 2-day NITDA IT Hardware Standards Development retreat on draft guidelines for homegrown IT hardware products.

Anganye had asked government agencies to spend their government-funded budgets on locally made high quality Nigerian computers. This protectionist budge was a step towards helping the indigenous manufactures in the country benefit from higher sale volumes.

The director however later argued that banning was not what he had meant as “competition is healthy even if Nigerian PC manufacturers deserved a position of advantage and control.”
Buying Nigerian PC shouldn’t be a loyalty issue just because they are local or foreign but the standards of performance and quality have to be maintained by both the producers, he further explained.

“I insist that local products should be patronised. NITDA did not announce the ban on foreign products. What we said was the protection of local products in the midst of foreign products. I said completion is good,” the minister had said.

Nigeria has vibrant local PC manufacturing industry with brands such as Zinox, Omatek, SpeedStar, Beta Computers, Briam Computers, UNITEC, Pragmatic, Geniac and Veda computers.

With Nigeria’s population of about 150 million with nearly 23 million accessing Internet on both PC and mobile, hardware manufactures see a huge market for their products.

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