There are indications that improvements in fixed and wireless broadband services in Nigeria will boost the demand for Personal Computers (PCs) over the next few years – opening up a new vista of opportunity for local equipment manufacturers, industry analysts say.
Broadband penetration currently stands at an abysmal 6 percent with only 28 percent of Nigerians having access to the internet, according to Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communications Technology. She however promised that the recently approved broadband policy would increase internet penetration by attracting investments required for build out requisite infrastructure needed to move available bandwidth capacity across the length and breadth of the country.
Reliable statistics from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) reveal that PC penetration remains very low at 7 per 1, 000 Nigerians. High cost of equipment acquisition is a major factor slowing penetration. The Nigerian market for PCs is already growing rapidly, with the draft Information Communication Technology (ICT) plan projecting that it will expand at a rate of 21.5 percent per year between 2009 and 2014. It will be sustained by increasing awareness levels in the population, especially the youth, spurred by education and the internet.”The main driver for acquisition of PCs by the broader population will be broadband penetration”, Austin Okere, group, chief executive officer, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) was quoted in a report.
The hardware market is divided among several local Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), such as Zinox and Omatek Computers, and multinational firms operating in Nigeria. In 2011, about 690,000 computers were shipped into Nigeria, with the local OEMs accounting for only about 30 per cent while their foreign counterparts accounted for 70 per cent, a development that underscores that foreign players dominate the market. The Minister is pushing a broad-based technology initiative to ensure that the 50:50 parity between local and foreign PC brands is achieved by 2015. Whether the ministry has the where with all to achieve this is yet to be seen.
Tunji Balogun, chief executive officer, Brian Computers, urged to the federal government to improve their participation in the computer hardware market by making requisite funds available for indigenous OEMs. “If OEMs are empowered, it will do two things. It will reduce the cost of ownership of systems and make things easier for people to buy because we can do installmental payment over a period of time.” Leo Stan Ekeh, chairman, Zinox Technologies, strongly believes that governments at all levels must support indigenous computer manufacturers through policy and preferential patronage.
This, he added, was if government intends to make headway regarding increasing the number of Nigerians who have access to PCs. Zinox, recently said, it has completed the installation of a digital PC and assembly plant. With an installed capacity and digital certification of 1250 PCs daily, the Zinox digital plant is expected to open new vistas to the entire IT sector – nurturing new brands, improving the quality of existing brands, and introducing new levels of flexibility with product design and architecture, all at reduced costs.