Slot signals interest in setting up phone manufacturing plant

Slot, Nigeria’s leading phone retail chain could become the first indigenous investor in the phone manufacturing segment, as the company looks to expand its investment in Nigeria’s $32billion phone market.

Slot CEO, Nnamdi Ezeigbo, told MARKETING EDGE recently that such investment would drive down the prices of phones in Nigeria and make it more affordable to more Nigerians. It will also remove the barriers to manufacturing phone that are well suited for the Nigerian consumers, he said.

“There are lots to do in this industry, the manufacturing is there, the assembly part of it is there, and the expansion is also an area to look at. But the ultimate goals should be to manufacture these devices here. That is something we can always do,” Ezeigbo said.

Ezeigbo is however worried that such commitment maybe difficult to accomplish in an environment where power supply is still very low compared with demand. He noted that until the situation improves he will only focus on the expansion of his phone retail business, which has become the largest in Nigeria.

While Nigeria is one of the fastest growing phone markets in Africa and the Middle East with phone penetration reaching over 150million, the growth potential of the market have remained largely untapped as a result of policy and infrastructural deficiencies.

In the last couple of years, a number of investors including Tecno and AfriOne have set up phone assembling plants in Nigeria, but local phone manufacturing is still considered an unsustainable investment because of fear it will result in high cost of production and high prices.

“Power has to be addressed before we begin to manufacture phones because power plays a very critical role in manufacturing,” Tony Ojobo, Director of Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) told NAN in a recent interview. “Cell phones use micro-chips and other software, any interruption when the production process is ongoing may cause damages, meaning that the cost of such phone will be too high.”


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