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No Power, No Infrastructure! Yet Chinese Factories Are Flourishing In Naija - Politics - Nairaland

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No Power, No Infrastructure! Yet Chinese Factories Are Flourishing In Naija by Recognise: 12:42pm On Jun 21, 2009
[size=16pt]No power, no infrastructure!
Yet Chinese factories are flourishing in Nigeria[/size]
By Okechukwu Onwuka

RECENTLY, a tertiary institution in Ogun state was reported to have included Chinese language as a course in the school’s curriculum. Chinese ownership of over 70 per cent of the factories in Ogun State was identified as one of the drivers for this initiative.

The Chinese factories are not limited to Ogun State. They have several factories in Lagos and other states of the federation.

A significant portion of factories in Nigeria are owned by Asian, Indian or Lebanese companies. My position is not to prevent foreign nationals from setting up factories in Nigeria but some of my concerns and fears include:

 What attributes do they utilize to run successful manufacturing establishments that Nigerians are unable to grasp?

 How do they break-even running on diesel generators in the midst of our poor infrastructure and power supply?

 What does the future hold for us as Nigerians and our children when Nigerians focus primarily on importation, buying and selling while foreigners take over the manufacturing and productive sectors?

 Are the Asians more gifted naturally than Nigerians?

 Are there underhand benefits that the foreigners enjoy from our government and regulators that Nigerians do not benefit from?

 We may be undergoing a critical phase of “industrial colonization” without knowing it.

I have visited a number of these Asian owned companies and have made a number of observations in the way the businesses are run when compared with the way Nigerian Companies are operated.

Some of these I’ll highlight below:

 It is usually difficult to tell who the managing director, manager or supervisor is in the Asian firms. There is a general low key disposition across board. Simple dress styles and no apparent class distinctions. The major pre-occupation is to get the job done.

 Senior officers are constantly moving around the business premises. They are not locked away in some big, air-conditioned, lavishly furnished offices from where they issue commands as is common with Nigerian firms.

 The Asians appear to enjoy every bit of their work. You never get the impression that they are suffering as is common in our local parlance for work.

 The Asian companies are usually deployed in locations where cost of land and property are relatively cheap. They are prepared to live in the same environment under moderate standards of living to see the business succeed.

 Many executives in these firms rarely drive brand new Jeeps or luxury cars. You’ll find many riding in ‘tokunbo’ cars or the lower end of Asian cars such as Kia, Hyundai etc. In contrast, a Nigerian CEO/MD who does not drive the latest luxury car or SUV would be an exception.

 Although the conditions of service for the many Nigerians who work for them can be said to be poor compared to Nigerian owned companies, you find the Nigerian workers more loyal, disciplined and committed to work productivity in the Chinese firms. Why is this so?

The good news is that we are gifted all round to overcome these challenges and write the name of our country into the world map of great nations.

Retired squadron officer Paul Okpue is a good example of one right approach. After serving two terms in the Delta State House of Assembly, he has set up a bamboo factory in Delta State. Thankfully, he did not set up a diesel importation and supply business. He was not deterred by the insecurity situation in the Niger Delta or the power situation. In 2000, he attended a seminar in China on economic utilization of bamboo which is usually wasted for the most part in Nigeria. His products include wall, window and floor panels, kitchen utensils, toothpicks etc.

They have handled the floor panels of the NICON Hilton Hotel, Abuja among other jobs. Though expansion funding and international standard finishing are current challenges, the future is bright given the exceptional price advantage his products have over the imported tiles and regular wood laminate materials.

Florence Seriki of OMATEK Computers is another great success example.

Money is a form of energy

The law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed but can be transformed from one form to another.

There are many forms of energy. These include sound energy, mechanical energy, potential energy, kinetic energy, etc. When you drive a car, the fuel (potential) energy in the petrol is converted to heat energy in the engine. The heat energy in the engine is converted to mechanical (kinetic) energy which is then converted to motion energy as the car moves from one location to another.

The same heat energy in the engine is converted to light energy (Vehicle lighting), sound energy (horns) and others. Without fuel (petrol or diesel) in the tank, no matter how well designed the car’s engine is, there can be no motion. Even if the driver intends to move the car, is a qualified driver, honest and healthy, nothing will move the car without fuel in the tanks.

Unless of course you manually push it, a condition that is not the design intent of a vehicle.While it may appear silly for anyone to think of driving a car without fuel, many go into business ventures in an analogous setting. An entrepreneur primarily combines many resources in the quest to achieve the business objective. It is the efficiency with which the resources are utilized that affects the quality and quantity of results achieved. It is not possible to do nothing and have money roll-in without end. Money is only one of the many products of successful entrepreneurship.

The more energy you invest, in terms of hard work, discipline, planning, passion, resource utilization etc, the higher the conversion into money energy. It has been said that it is wise to have money work for you instead of working for money. That is true but the interpretation of the concept can be very far off-the-mark for many aspiring and practicing entrepreneurs. Minimum amount of work must be exerted before cruising levels are achieved.

You expend energy and efforts to earn the money in the first place. You spend a further energy in research, investment strategizing and other activities required to identify what platforms to use in growing your money. Such platforms include investing businesses, inventions, factories, trade, stocks, bonds, partnerships or directorships. Poor judgments in these areas can result in devastating financial losses, broken friendships and trust

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Re: No Power, No Infrastructure! Yet Chinese Factories Are Flourishing In Naija by debosky(m): 12:50pm On Jun 21, 2009
They are prospering because they pay slave wages to Nigerian employees - some of whom work Unclad in factories to ensure they aren't stealing.

They prosper because our stupid governments would rather listen to a chinese 'investor' and grant them favourable terms over local counterparts - free land, tax free status and so on.

They prosper because they clearly flout rules/regulations and often produce using raw materials without paying necessary duties/fees.

So many more of these reasons exist - it's not due to higher efficiency or anything like that - unfair advantages exist.
Re: No Power, No Infrastructure! Yet Chinese Factories Are Flourishing In Naija by IFELEKE(m): 2:51pm On Jun 21, 2009
You are so right debo and buttressing your point,
The Chinese,Lebanese and co flourish where there is enabling environment.
The key enabling environment is corruption and that is deep rooted in our country.It's corruption that makes them commit heinous crimes against their indigenous skilled and unskilled workforce without appropriate sanctions from regulatory authorities(if they even exist).
Re: No Power, No Infrastructure! Yet Chinese Factories Are Flourishing In Naija by KnowAll(m): 10:09am On Jun 22, 2009
Somebody’s hand was severely damaged whilst working for a Chinese firm in lagos, the chap could not come to work for a couple of days. When he later turned up for work he was summarily sacked without any compensation whatsoever. The key to their success is slave labour and since we don’t have a government that will fight the common man’s corner we are doomed to perpetual servitude and slavery.
Re: No Power, No Infrastructure! Yet Chinese Factories Are Flourishing In Naija by SapeleGuy: 11:39am On Nov 14, 2009
Isn't this (worker rights) what the trade unions and labour party are supposed to be fighting for?
Re: No Power, No Infrastructure! Yet Chinese Factories Are Flourishing In Naija by Jakumo(m): 11:46am On Nov 14, 2009
debosky:

They are prospering because they pay slave wages to Nigerian employees - some of whom work Unclad in factories to ensure they aren't stealing.

I'm just trying to picture a factory floor full of butt-nekkid employees.    I can certainly see the logic in this policy if all the nude employees are jiggly-breasted 18 to 25 year old women with grab-sized silky-smooth bums, but otherwise such a spectacle would be very frightening to behold, I would imagine.

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