By Franklin Alli
NIGERIA’s earnings from overseas will drop hugely this year due to the falling global oil prices.Olusegun Aganga, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, gave this hint, weekend, when he inspected Secure ID and its subsidiary, Secure Card Manufacturing Limited in Lagos. The Minister noted that the falling oil prices will affect the country’s balance of payments with the rest of the world.
“We are going to have big balance of payments this year due to falling oil price,” he said. Balance of payments() is an economic terminology that describes the record of all economic transactions between the residents of a country and the rest of the world in a particular period (over a quarter of a year or more commonly over a year). These transactions are made by individuals, firms and government bodies. Thus the balance of payments includes all external visible and non-visible transactions of a country during a given period, usually a year.
Aganga commended the management of Secure ID, saying “what you are doing is what every Nigerians should be thinking of- moving the country away from import dependence.” He assured the company of government’s supports: “we will work with you over time to reduce your cost of production.”
In his response to requests by Mrs. Kofo Akinkugbe, Managing Director, Secure ID,that government should protect the company through reduction of duty on raw materials from 10 percent to 5 percent under HS CODE 390.300.00 now 390.30.00, the minister replied:
“Any adjustments we will make will be based on sector-specific, and not to individual company. We don’t want to be seen to be favouring one company against the others.
Our approach under the NIRP has always been about value-addition, encouraging local content and our job is to create enabling environment for you.” “ The new tariff which the ministry is proposing is still at 10 percent but even with that, really, we can survive at 10 percent but for us to be competitive, like Oliver Twist, we are asking for a reduction to five percent. Five percent will make us a lot more competitive,” said Akinkugbe.
According to her, our manufacturing plants will be able to compete with card manufacturers in South Africa, Thailand, UAE and Europe, if the duty on our raw materials is adjusted. It is import that the duty is adjusted.
Fielding question on what actually prompted her to have invested in the business, she replied “There is a story behind the establishment of Secure ID; we started as a company that offers security and management system such as Closed Circuit TV, using biometric, and also card assessment and we did that for about nine years and we got involved and we regulate the smartcard Association of Nigeria and we were invited to be a member of the board of trustees. What that association was supposed to do is to drive the usage of cards in the country.
“For us to take the country from cash to card and while doing all of that we saw that there was a gap in the market-there wasn’t a card manufacturing company in the country and all the cards were being imported and we felt that with the kind of population we have, Nigeria has the market for the state of the art card manufacturing plant like this.”
She disclosed that this plant is not built to serve only Nigeria’s market, it is also built to serve outside Nigeria. ”Today we have clients in fifteen countries across Africa and we intend to expand. That’s the gap we saw and we took a bold step to build the plant you have seen. We are currently responsible for the supply of 13 million high-end, residents’ identity cards from the Lagos State Government. “Currently we have 215 staff but going to 350 by December 2015.