Asian Investments In Nigeria: The Good, The Bad (3) | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Asian Investments In Nigeria: The Good, The Bad (3)

Posted: Jun 10, 2015 at 2:13 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

An estimated N15 billion is lost annually to fake or counterfeit products in terms of tax revenue to the government, income to local manufacturers and employment generation to Nigerians. Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says that about 99 per cent of the fake products circulating in Nigerian markets came from China. Meanwhile, the high volume of counterfeit and sub-standard products in the domestic market is a threat to Nigeria’s economy, raising serious doubts on efforts by the federal government to resuscitate the real sector to contribute meaningfully to the gross domestic product (GDP). In continuation of this special report, Andrew Airahuobhor; Bamidele Ogunwusi; Oyeniran Apata, Nkasiobi Oluikpe, Akinwunmi King, examine both the positive and negative impact of Asian investments-particularly the Chinese-on Nigeria’s economy over the past decade and how the country can reappraise its bilateral relations with Asians, with a view to effecting some review that take the national interest into cognizance, which will ultimately revamp local industries that have gone comatose.

Africa Rises for Standards

It has been stated that about 80 percent of counterfeit products in African countries were those imported from various countries outside the continent.

This was the position of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) on the occasion of the stakeholders launch to announce a three-day expo for Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of all African National Standards Bodies (NSBs) which is holding this June.

The President of ARSO, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, who is also the Director-General of SON, described the situation as unfortunate, saying that some people do this deliberately to undermine the African markets and diminish the value of the currencies used in buying such products.

Odumodu explained that the idea of the expo which comes up in Abuja was to create enough awareness in the global trading community on the determination of the African regulatory agencies in charge of standards to ensure the continent’s integration by breaking technical barriers to trade through standards unification.

According to him, this will improve the industrial and economic empowerment of the continent.

Odumodu said, “We do not have a problem with products made in Africa. Africa only has an issue of sub-standardisation due to lack of requisite technology and absence of the capacity to produce at the highest level in terms of quality. Currently, we are having issues in trading among ourselves and we are looking at building an intra-Africa trade, to take the volume of trade within the continent beyond the current precariously low level of five per cent”.

He added, “I believe if we all stick together and form a powerful force, it may be a lot easier to actually check the excesses of those who have made Africa to remain on its knees all these years. This forum which we have tagged “Africa Rises for Standards” which is to hold in Abuja, will among other expectations, bring about the strengthening of the standardisation capacity of Africa through dialogue, information and experience sharing to form the key elements that will promote and sustain Africa’s productivity and trade.

“We believe that the present membership of ARSO, which is 34 countries today, may not serve the purpose the Heads of States have set for us as a target. It is imperative that we must bring all African countries under the umbrella of the ARSO so that in 2017, when the CFTA starts, we will be on the same page and raise the volume of intra-Africa trade from the current five per cent to 30 per cent yearly, moving forward.


Vox Pop

Independent Newspapers Limited (INL) went to town to sample the views of Nigerians on impact of the operations of Asian investors in Nigeria. Here are the views asserted:


Sam Ibekwe, Laboratory Scientist

These Asians have this low salary orientation mentality. They will prefer you to do a work for them at the barest minimum pay. If they employ you, they will pay you peanut and subject you to a harsh working condition. Most Nigerians that work in this plastic companies owned by them, don’t have liberty. There are usually no air conditioners in the offices of the Blacks that work with them, they will do everything to minimize cost and maximize their profit, just to suit their selfishness.

The government should critically look into it, especially, the casualisation. Even though they are very good at investing, but government should make sure that as they come, they give some key positions to Nigerians and that they should ensure they don’t casualise anybody.

They are very, very fraudulent, they will always want to lobby their way through any law, especially the Chinese and Indians. If Nigerians were to be a country that is very strict and has the interest of her citizens at heart, she will ensure that whenever these guys are coming to Nigeria, they will adhere to laid down rules or they go back.

Their products that are not meant for the African market are very good. There is a Kia vehicle I saw that was shipped from the USA, the quality of that Kia is like five times what they ship to Nigeria.

Because of low labour cost, most of these Apple phones are shipped from China and Shanghai. It is the quality that America wants that they will produce.  Take for instance, to manufacture a phone at Los Angeles might be costing me $100 while in Beijing it will cost about $40, so Americans will prefer it to be produced according to their specification and quality in China and shipped to their own country.


Kenneth Dike Nwamuo, Businessman

I want to thank you very much for bringing up this issue because it has been of much concern to me. In the first place, what they are doing to Nigerians, nobody can do it in their own country. To be honest, they have been a huge burden to this country and have succeeded in destroying our values. The conditions of service they subject Nigerians to, is something that is unheard of elsewhere. Can you believe that when they employ our people, they will lock the workers inside the factory and go away with the keys? That was what happened at Ikorodu, when the factory caught fire, the workers couldn’t escape because the owners have gone home with the keys. Where did you see that kind of thing happening anywhere else in the world? Besides that they don’t pay well. If I tell you how much they pay a staff per day, you will marvel.  I think the government of Nigeria should wake up to their responsibilities by checkmating these outrageous acts.

Another thing is shipping down substandard products to Nigeria. I have bought three filament bulbs from a guy which got burnt the same time. When I took it back to the guy I bought it from, he said, he too bought it from these Chinese people.

If you go to the computer village where I work, you will see what is happening. Buy a product today, tomorrow it will pack up. Even where the products come with warranty, they hardly respect them. When you ask them, they will tell you, that is what Nigerians want, probably because of the poverty level.

I think the authorities should do something about it because they are destroying the Nigerian economy. If we allow it to continue this way, people will be made to believe it is the standard. The same Asians are the ones manufacturing these things for the American market and the standards are very high. Why are they bringing rubbish to Nigeria?.

I am thinking its high time Nigeria live up to the responsibility of protecting her citizens. Even this workman compensation insurance, the Chinese pay absolutely nothing of that levy. If you work for them and their machine chop off your hand, they will pay you off with a peanut. The new administration should put up a policy to protect millions of Nigerians working under this kind of horrible situation.


Tunde Ajayi, Printer

I don’t buy their products because everybody knows that Chinco, that is Chinese products are substandard. They make use of inferior materials to produce.  Personally, I go for authentic Tokunbo (fairly used) product which I know is either coming from America or UK.

In terms of their conditions of service for their workers, it is beyond imagination. They use Nigerians as slaves. If you go to the one that is behind LASCOFIS at Ogba, you will see the way they treat Nigerian workers. And most of these people that come down here to establish do not have any known qualifications. You can imagine a Nigerian graduate working under a Chinese stark illiterate.

It’s just that what we are looking for is how to have our three square meals on the table. If the new administration can come up with a policy on staff welfare, it will be good because these people can’t treat their countrymen like slaves the same way they treat Nigerians.

How can you lockup your workers and go away with the keys when they are not slaves. How can people be working where there is no exit?

Because there is no taskforce monitoring the activities of these people, they believe that they can do and undo in our own country. My brother works in Hong Kong and he always phones me to say that they are very strict, any slight mistake, you will get fired. But this is our own mother land, they come here and at the same time, they ride on us.

If the new government will be able to set up a body that will regulate the activities of these Asian companies, it will be good for all of us.


Ifeanyi Ebenezer, US-based

For reasons best known to me, I never used their products while in Nigeria.  Here, in the USA, the Chinco products are of good quality, so I use them because you only manufacture things in the USA according to standard specifications.

You don’t completely rule them out, because they are doing a great job in Nigeria, which the government of Nigeria could not do for her citizens. They are providing jobs while at the same time, mortgaging the lives of Nigerians. I also want to believe the way they treat Nigerian workers is by agreement with the Nigerian government, if not, why will they turn the other way while Chinese maltreat their own citizens. Here in the USA, as long as you have a work permit, a right is attached to that permit.

The government should call the Asians to a fresh agreement, and set up a committee that will not be bought over by the Chinco people, to monitor compliance to rules.


Christian Nwogwugwu, Businessman/Analyst

The dearth of manufacturing industries in Nigeria since the ‘90s has been a cause for worry for an average Nigeria worker. This vacuum has led to an invasion of our market with all sorts of fake products across the globe. The manufacturers of goods abroad would have cashed in on this development to locate their industry here, but for unstable electricity and other political considerations.

As we know, there is no industry that runs on generator and remains competitive in the market. For this and other reasons, some overseas companies have capitalized on the attitude of our past government to push in all manner of product upon Nigerians.

It is only in Nigeria that standardization is not taken seriously. This is because; Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has failed in its duty to check products before they are sent to the consumers. Again, some of our people can be regarded as accomplices because those of them that import goods from oversea have often time, as we are told, asked the manufacturers abroad to reduce the quality of products in other to suit what they call the Nigerian market. That is the reason why you have all kinds of fake products in Nigeria today.

In terms of their remuneration to Nigerian workers, we cannot really blame them, because there is this adage that says, ‘he who pays the piper, dictates the tune’. As we know, there are no jobs in Nigeria, and most companies that operate here have moved away due to the reasons we adduced earlier, hinged on power supply. Many school leavers are willing to take peanuts from these Asian companies.

For instance, I have the opportunity of employing two marketers and I advertised the position. The volume of applications I got, I will not be able to finish interviewing them for two consecutive days. It is that bad in the country. So, we cannot really blame the Asians who are willing to weather the storm of Nigerian economy.

But all these boils down on the corruption pervading our nation, the bulk of which lies on the table of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) because if these companies are not ‘settling’ them, I believe they would have been doing their jobs by stopping these substandard products from invading our market.

I believe if we have what is called a change now; the federal government will look towards this end to sanitise our Nigerian market. This can be effectively done by directing the Custom, SON, NAFDAC and other relevant agencies to stand up to their duties.

Another aspect is the attitude of our people towards fake products. Most Nigerians are not willing to pay for authentic products, even when they know, because of the harsh economic situation we are experiencing today.

The dearth of manufacturing industries in Nigeria, the lack of responsibility of the SON to its duties, the attitude of Nigerians and the general economic climate are the main reasons for these messy situation we find ourselves.

The onus lies on our government to rise up to the occasion so that our people can have what they deserve. Stability of power is of utmost importance so that some genuine companies can come in. There and then, we will be able to have good value for our money and of course, those who go abroad and tell them to reduce the quality of products should be punished and their products impounded.