Sir Chigozy Chukwoodi Okafor (KSC, JP), chairman of the Dynatech group of companies, talked with DEBO OLADIMEJI about local production and how to develop the economy.
How many of your products have been developed by you and which of them are in the franchise?
In general, about 90 percent of the products that we distribute under the auspices of the Dynatech group belong to the group. All of our products are owned by us through franchise or direct ownership on the basis of applicable rights and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in relation to the Nigerian Chambers of Commerce and Trade. Virtually all of our products are registered and distributed exclusively in Nigeria and West Africa, many of which come to us with us.
How is your work in these countries?
I know that we are engaged in Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, the Republic of Benin, Togo and others. I will tell you that our products have a remarkable presence in these countries. Most of our products, such as the Wisdom 212 Smokers toothbrush, Tiger razor blade, Tiger razor blade, razor razor blade, top glue, Dento toothbrushes and others, even Dynatech generators and industrial Dynatech machines.
Are you also in the generators?
We import generators. Ninety percent of our products are manufactured here in Nigeria, only some of them are imported from China and the United States. Generators are among the products we import from China.
What are the barriers to trade in the West African subregion?
The weak interest of the government in infrastructure development is one of the main barriers to trade in Nigeria and in the West African subregion. Nigeria is a big economy; I will say that we are not doing this because we are still a developing economy.
To the extent that we have corruption here and there in almost all sectors, the government should focus more on research and infrastructure development so that we can reach a level where we can be compared to a country like China, Taiwan, South Korea and others who control most of the global economy.
The government must be accessible to people, and people must bring their views to the government to assess in order for the economy to be sustainable.
There are only a few obstacles to our relations with other countries of the subregion, since Nigeria and most West African countries belong to ECOWAS. We have a common border with them, and we have a big advantage as a country with more than 200 million people. I know that there is power in our population. Our labor costs are very affordable. We have every opportunity to become a developed country if we believe in ourselves.
We in the industrial sector do not do anything bad, because every new day we experience steady growth in one way or another in what we do in our products. We do not complain. Every month we pay our employees. I think the government is doing everything possible to improve the economic situation, as far as I know.
What is your annual turnover?
Our annual turnover ranges from 5 to 10 million dollars a year. I will say that we are recording consistent growth in our business. We have achieved steady growth in our production line business. In our sales and investments, we do not do anything wrong.
How did you manage to withstand the recession storm that the country recently learned about?
I have always said that recession is mind. You cannot be in a recession when in fact you are experiencing an increase in your turnover and overall standard of living. At the end of each month, you pay wages to your employees, and local products are sold even without too much profit, you can balance the company's expenses. We all experienced an economic obstacle, but we are no longer in a recession. We can handle the recession because we have invested heavily in local production.
We will do better, if we produce locally, the government must have a way to support production 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 product on the market for sale that does not have fakes. The policy of each company is to create its own fight against piracy. Like our company, we have various ways and methods of working with these frivolous businessmen who are engaged in the counterfeiting of our products. We also recently contacted SON and NAFDAC to help us raid various markets to get rid of these counterfeit products. I believe that many large companies are making every effort to combat piracy with the help of the government.
What are your marketing strategies?
We have a presence in the market. We have showrooms and marketers in different markets. Anyone who wants to buy the products of our company, knows where to get it, if only they do not want to resort to pirated ones. If they want to buy original products, they know where to get them. Because we have a website where you can get more information about us.
We have corporate offices in the north, in the southeast and in the west. We have marketers who buy our original products there.
How available are your products?
I can safely say that our prices as a production company are unsurpassed because we work with the lowest cost in the market. I do not think that there is a corresponding product on the market that can be compared to our price. We have the best pricing mechanism that makes our prices in the market unbeatable. I can confirm this. Our prices are affordable compared to other similar products. Even with unstable energy supply, we still manage electricity, which is a key factor in pricing, because we have our private power plant, which is sustainable for our products, and we still keep up with it.