Importation of Substandard Products Identified as Bane of Local Manufacturers

As Cutix PLC Announces N661.6M Profit

By Jude Atupulazi and Ikeugonna Eleke

The importation of substandard products into the Nigerian market has been identified as the major challenge faced by local manufacturers.

The Chief Executive Officer of Cutix PlC, Mr Ifeanyi Uzodike, revealed this to journalists during a press conference to precede the Annual General Meeting of the company.

Uzodike who bows out as the CEO of the company next week after running the indigenous electrical cable manufacturing company for 10 years, told journalists that government policy on importation was contributory to the hardship faced by local manufacturers in Nigeria.

He lamented that substandard cables imported from other countries flooded the market, and were sold at very low prices, whereas indigenous companies that manufactured durable cables were left with their wares, just because some regulatory agencies looked away while importers got past the nation’s borders.

He said, ‘We have the capacity to produce better cables here in Nigeria, but substandard cables are imported into the market and sold at a cheap rate, thereby hampering the operation of indigenous companies.

‘We should ask ourselves how these cables get into the market. There are people who should guard against the influx of these substandard products in the market, but what are they doing?’

The incoming CEO of the company, Mrs Ijeoma Oduonye, who also spoke at the event, told journalists that government must encourage local producers by protecting them from the activities of importers who went to Asian countries to import substandard products at a very cheap price.

She said the consequences of the activities of those businessmen on society were enormous, ranging from fire outbreak to lack of employment, among others.

‘Our company has a 100 percent local employment. Our 250 members of staff are all Nigerians. We don’t have expatriate workers here. This is the more reason we ensure training and retraining for our staff, because those people you want to bring from overseas, our people are rather sent there to go and learn from them.

‘We urge government to put their money where their mouth is, because they expect us to employ, pay taxes and others, so they should patronize us and even give us protection,’ Oduonye said.

On what she planned to do differently as the new boss of the company, she promised no radical changes, noting that she had also been part of the company’s success over the past years. She however said she would build on the success already recorded by tapping into what she called success drivers.

‘I’ll maintain the quality that has gotten us this far,’ she promised, while assuring that she would key into the current trends in the business.

She however regretted the huge toll the absence of some facilities was taking on the company, especially complaining about the money spent on energy in the company which amounted to two tanker loads in a month. She called for more support from government in providing a conducive environment for companies like theirs.

Mrs Oduonye commended the Anambra State Government, however, for contracting the powering of street lights to Cutix Cables PLC.

The outgoing CEO, Mr Ifeanyi Uzodike, said he had enjoyed seeing the company grow under his watch, as well as being able to satisfy their customers and pay salaries of workers.

While reviewing the Financial Year, 2018, he announced that the company had made a revenue and profit before tax of N5.1b and N661.6m.

‘When compared to FY 2017 figures of N3.7b and N370.1m respectively, the growth represents an increase of 38% in revenue and 71% in profit before tax,’ he said, while giving a fair result to the company in terms of performance against the backdrop of the country’s economic situation.

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