• Monday, May 20, 2024
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Why Nigerians must be optimistic despite the present harsh economy – Joseph

Why Nigerians must be optimistic despite the present harsh economy, by Joseph

Alex Joseph, chief executive officer (CEO), FORGO Battery Limited, in Ilorin Kwara State, in this interview with SIKIRAT SHEHU spoke on the current economic downturn and how it is affecting industrialists; how raw materials are sourced and pledged better products to customers. Excerpts:

As chief executive officer of FORGO battery, what are the challenges peculiar your company?

Challenges are there, starting from sub-standard products influx into the country, although the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has risen to the challenge to curb them to some extent; however, the harsh economy is not making things easier; it is not allowing people to buy what they desire to have.

Unfortunately, adulterated products are still all over in the market as people can no longer afford the real thing. We also have number of problems with the economy; people that wish to drive can no longer do so due to cost of petroleum products and cost of maintaining their vehicles. Generally, the economy is low, but as a company, we are offering value for money and we hope the economy is going to bounce back shortly.

Why are you sourcing raw materials for producing battery in other countries when we have them here in Kwara?

The real problem we have is technical knowhow; you may buy machinery but if you don’t know how to operate them, they mean nothing to you. The Chinese are exploring the minerals in Africa to keep us in perpetual poverty and then in Kwara State here as an example, we do not have efficient ministry of mining, even to approach investors that minerals are here, nobody knows.

There are imbalances here and there but going forward we pray the government will be more committed to balance things to some extent. We are also aware of technological transfer and that is why we are thinking in a couple of months our solar battery assembly will come up before it is fully manufactured. Technology is a problem in Africa and most of European and Asian countries that should come and help us here are not doing it because they are benefiting more when they carry the raw materials away; process them and return same to us when they have added value to it at higher price.

But we won’t stop; we are going to be freed as Africans – as Nigerians, we are going to develop our economy. Therefore, from our end; we are hoping to ensure that our products get better and offer more value than what our consumers used to know.

How do you see new policies by the current administration?

All the policies may be good; it depends on how they are being implemented. From my view; the President has come up with the policies and he has trusted team and people that have capabilities but how those policies can transform we cannot say.

We wish that they really work out for the good of Nigerians because we can’t all be travelling by the road. If the air transportation is improved, the water ways are expanded, they make movement easier and effective too; so, we hope it will translate to growth and ease the populace situation.

Considering the economic woes Nigerians are confronted with; what will be your advice to them?

Tough time never last; we hope that this is a passing moment for the new government to balance her policies and Nigerians should be patient.

We hope that the plan of Mr. President and his team will yield positive result. It is a very tough time, no doubt, but there is hope that given the assurance by the President and his team, it can’t be this rough in the near future; we hope that something has to come up if not; people will no longer cope.