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Ex-commissioner says exhibiting old plants will benefit small manufacturers

A former commissioner of Commerce in Kano State, Ahmad Rabiu, is encouraging companies in the manufacturing space in Nigeria not to hoard old equipment and industrial plants that are no longer in production or in business. Rather, he said they should showcase these equipment during exhibitions so that small scale manufacturers who may be in need of them could acquire them and put them to good use.

He also encouraged exhibitions organisers to consider putting up such events to promote manufacturing and support small scale manufacturers so as to improve the country’s economic fortunes.

“Used technology that use manufacturing plants and equipment should be promoted,” Rabiu said.

“People abandon what they are using due to a few reasons: they desire to modernise because efficiency sets in with more modern technology. And equipment that has been produced 10 years ago may not be efficient in terms of energy consumption, in terms of speed, in terms of yield than a technology produced 10 years after,” he said.

This idea emanates from the used technology exhibitions that take place in countries like Germany which showcase many used production plants at low costs. Many of this equipment would have been used for only three years, some for five years, and some for 10 years, before being put up for sale at exhibitions when they are not in use.

But speaking to BusinessDay’s correspondent at an industrial expo held in Lagos recently, Rabiu said what is obtainable in Nigeria when a company stops production, is that they shut the gates and do not go back to it sometimes, for generations.

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He noted, for instance, that many companies have been shut down for almost 30 years and the plants have been lying in waste and nobody saw the need to immediately sell them, since they were not in production.

Rather than lose maybe 10 percent to 30 percent, Rabiu argued that these companies incurred a total loss having kept their production plants dormant for too long, and they have to be removed because they cannot be applied to anything as the companies that produce with them are no longer in production.

“There is just no value attached to them except the cost for evacuation,” he told BusinessDay.

Further speaking, he submitted that used technology is key in a growing economy like Nigeria’s because if one starts as a small-scale rice manufacturer, using equipment that is producing 25 tons per day and he eventually develops the capacity to acquire equipment that produces 200 tons per day, the old equipment could be crated and sold.

Therefore, exhibition organisers like Zenith Exhibitions, according to him, can then take it up and provide a platform where people can come and see that this is used equipment. And if the new one sells for 10, 000 USD, the old one you’re selling could go for as low as 4,000 USD.

“If somebody is starting a business and it’s certified by an engineer that these equipment are good, and in good conditions, then it benefits everybody.

“Used tech will help everybody, and it’s going to be a win-win situation. The one that is selling has won by getting a buyer, and the one who is starting a business, rather than needing a 100, 000 USD to start, can start with 50, 000 USD,” he explains.

Meanwhile, during his keynote address, Rabiu, who is also the managing director of Dala Inland Dry Port, called on indigenous manufacturers to consider investing in Kano State where he had once served as commissioner.

He made this call because he believes that production is key and more important which also explains the significance of the recent Equipment and Manufacturing West Africa (EMWA) exhibition, where brands gathered to showcase new tech trends in the manufacturing space.

“When you go into manufacturing, you employ more people. But when you only trade, you employ a few numbers of persons,” he said.

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