Managing Director of Coleman Wires and Cables Limited, Mr. George Onafowokan, has condemned the importation of fake and low quality cables into the country, saying it remains a huge disincentive for the country’s local content law.
Onafowokan who stated this during an interactive session with select media in Lagos at the weekend attributed the company’s growth to several factors, including strategic planning, commitment, perseverance, training, skilled workforce, Nigeria Content Law and support from the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
“I tell them to look inwards, apparently because we have the capacity to meet domestic demand with high quality products. The government agencies should do more to curb the massive importation of fake and low quality products into Nigeria.
Indeed there are many challenges, including inadequate and unstable power. The bad state of the roads also affects our operations in many ways.”
We also need to continue to encourage local content, not only in the oil and gas industry, but also in marine industry.
“Coleman was established in 1975 to ensure we deliver quality cables and wires to consumers in Nigeria. Actual operations started in 1976. We started with the importation and selling of coolers and other products. Later, we went into production. With perseverance, we succeeded in starting our production line in 1996.
We are a “one-stop-shop” that produces a wide range of cables such as house wire cables, distribution cables, armored and non-armored cables,communication cables, control cables, solar cables and high voltage cables, thus making us the only producers of high voltage cables in West Africa. We also produce high voltage cables, thus making Nigeria the 6th country on the continent to do so.
We have grown and will continue to grow from one level to another, apparently because we believe in long term and strategic planning. If you check, cables have been manufactured in Nigeria for over 50 years, but no establishment has achieved what we’ve achieved in these 50 years. What we’ve achieved was all in duration of less than 20 years.”
He explained that, one of the major driving force has been ‘ourselves and the team,’ adding that, as a team lead, he believes in the Nigerian dream, and that, the company should not sell imported cables because Coleman has a standard rule; which is;it does not sell any cable it cannot produce.
“We are highly committed to the Nigerian dream. Already, many people and organisations have commended us for such commitment. Our emphasis has always been on training Nigerians to take over, believing that Nigerians have the ability to play even technical roles that we think we can’t. So, it’s all about training, and capacity building.”
Onafowokan, who acknowledged the positive roles of NCDMB said the financial support it gor from the Bank of Industry (BOI) has been a great impact on the company’s development.
“Without the BOI, we would not have grown to the extent that we have because if you depend solely on the commercial banks, you will not make much progress because they charge very high interest rates. In fact, the interest rates will kill you because even if a commercial bank gives you a five-year loan, charging you 25 per cent per annum, you’ll pay more than double the money by the time you finish paying.”
He said NCDMB, under the current Executive Secretary, Engr. Simbi Wabote has extremely impacted the industry within a short period of time, stressing that,the industry has gone from one level to ten levels in the past two years.