Nigerians believed that most of the substandard products in the country came from Asia particularly China, what is your take on that and in what ways do you think government can checkmate the influx of counterfeit products in the country?
I must commend the past and present leadership of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), I think they are doing a good job, last time the immediate past Director General of SON , Dr. Joseph Odumodu, visited China, he told those of us over there that the purpose of his visit was to ensure that quality products are been exported into the country from China. In China, some of their billboards, read: “China feed the world” another one you will see on it, “China create for the world”. When you want to make an order from China, they will ask you where are you coming from, if you said that you are from America, they will give you American standard, if you tell them that you are coming from Europe, they will give you European standard, but if you say you are from Africa, they will lower the quality, believing that Africans are poor and do not have enough fund to purchase good quality products.
But, with this sensitization of the SON on importers now, l think that the feelings of Chinese manufacturing companies that Africans are poor and therefore cannot afford standard products are changing and they are now supplying good quality products to Nigerians.
Apart from what SON is doing, the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is also making sure that Chinese manufacturing companies supply only standard products to Nigerians because recently l saw some of their officials in China and when l asked them their mission, they said that they are taking the war against counterfeit products to Chinese manufacturing companies so that they will stop exporting substandard products to Nigeria.
The fact is that 99 percent of what the world consumes globally is from China. In terms of quality, China is number one.
There is speculation that most of the importers specifically ask manufacturing companies abroad to lower the quality of the products they are importing into the county to maximize profit, how truth is that?
I do not think that is true because no importer that wants to continue in business will want to be associated with fake brands. As soon as people discover that you are into importation of counterfeit products, they will stop buying from you. The fact is that importers from Nigeria will order products based on good quality, the manufacturers over there will want to give them a lesser quality because you mention Africa, so they feel that if they give you quality products you will not be able to pay, they assume that Africa is a place dominated by poverty, so for that reason you make an order and leave, they will supply you substandard products, this has been the problem we importers face continuously .
How would you describe the activities of Small Scale industry in Nigeria?
We still have big challenge in Nigeria that is discouraging small scale industry and that has resulted in many Nigerians fleeing to abroad to live because we do not have that conducive environment, for instance, the issue of steady power supply. In China, they have 24 hours steady power supply, that is a good environment. In China, once you indicate interest for manufacturing, the accessibility to that land will be given to you by the government.
There is motivation in terms of interest, for instance, when you export goods worth of hundred thousand naira, 10 percent interest will be given to you, but it is not like that in Nigeria.
In China, three out of ten families are into production,making China the highest producing nation in the world and the highest exporter in the world followed by the United States, but in Nigeria most of the profits being made by these small scale industries go into the fueling and maintenance of generators.
There is need for this administration to ensure regular power supply, l have been campaigning for this for a long time now because l know that with regular power supply in the country, the Small Scale industries will perform very well and you will see that Nigerians abroad will come back home to invest massively.
How would you rate the contribution of Diaspora Nigerians towards the nation’s economy?
l want to start from China where l reside, most of my days, l spent it in China, we have contributed a lot. Some years ago, when our former President, Goodluck Jonathan visited China before then l had taken a bold step by sourcing for potential investors from China. In China there is this group called African/ China Investment Forum, the objective of this forum is to source for potential investors in China that are willing to invest in Africa and through this forum a whole lot of Chinese captains of industry have declared interest to invest in some African countries having little knowledge of Nigeria. What l did was to visit this group in Beijing and persuade them to invest in Nigerian being the largest economy in Africa and they also believe in the population, the opportunities abound in Nigeria and they listened to me. Last five years, l was able to bring about 21 investors that came and we visited some states and some of these investors are interested in stabilizing electricity in Nigeria, which is the biggest challenge we have. We have investors who are willing to invest in Agriculture. As of today, five out of the 21 investors have started work in Nigeria, these are the areas Diaspora Nigerians are contributing towards the economy development of the nation. Probably those in the United States are doing something else, but l am sure of what we are doing in China because China being the largest economy in the world, the largest exporter in the world, a whole lot of good things come from China. It is good we partner with them.