The current economic realities have changed the way many Nigerians perceive products that are made in the country.
Speaking in an interview in Lagos, Nnamdi Asomugha, head of sales at Winning and Synthetic Textiles Nigeria, said many Nigerians now patronise the textile products of his company, which he said are high in quality.
He said that the company manufactures textile materials that are used to sew the Nigerian Army camouflage, Nigerian Navy uniform, Nigerian Police uniform, Nigerian Air Force uniform. He also added that his company manufactures fabrics that are used to make the uniforms of paramilitary organisations in the country.
“We manufacture uniforms for schools in the 36 states of the federation, we manufacture fabrics for uniforms for more than 2000 schools in the country,” he said.
Speaking on the challenges the company faces, he said it has to contend with foreign exchange issues, saying, “we do not have enough foreign exchange to buy yearn and other raw materials that are essential to our operations.”
He said the quality of the products of the company is high compared to imported fabrics, but said that Nigerians have been conditioned to believe that imported products are better than those manufactured in the country.
However, he stated that many Nigerians have realised that most of the imported fabrics get torn after they are used for a short time and have come to embrace made in Nigeria products because of their high quality.
“Our prices are higher than the prices of imported fabrics but Nigerians are buying our products because of their high quality. We have not dropped our quality in order to be competitive with fabrics from China. Quality is our watchword. If we reduce quality because we want to compete with the Chinese materials, it will affect us in the future, and that is why we have not allowed the quality of our products to drop,” he said.
However, he said infrastructure is very poor in the country, “electricity tariff is high and cost of gas is also high in the country,” adding that if government can resolve these issues, the cost of production will come down.
According to him, “the cost of production is very high because we have to generate our own electricity and provide other infrastructure ourselves and this has led to reduction in the number of workers.
The sales executive said the firm uses raw materials that are made in Nigeria; “it is yearn that we import because the local supply cannot meet our demand.”
Speaking on the response of Nigerians to the products of the firm, he said it has been positive, adding that the invasion of Chinese products has not helped matters.
He said that before the inception of the current administration, there was a lull in the patronage of products, which he said has changed now because the government stopped the importation of those cheap fabrics and Nigerians are now patronising the products of the company.