Create environment for health firms’ success, govt told

An indigenous equipment manufacturing firm, FINLAB Nigeria Limited, has called on the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for local manufacturers to thrive.

Its Director of Marketing (Fine Furniture/Finished Laboratories), Uzo Nwaije Jr, who made the call, said such an environment would include improved factors of production. According to him, the first step at doing so should be by making it easier for manufacturers to get funds to operate.

“That will improve the economy because when there is fund, demand will be met by supply. Federal Government should create the enabling environment for us to succeed better as manufacturers. It should mandate its contractors to patronise indigenous manufactures of equipments. Governments at all levels should improve on their patronage of local goods,” Nwaije said .

He said another way was for the government to improve on its patronage of indigenous products.

“That will guarantee return on investment. Lagos has taken the lead in that. We are hoping for more patronages. The quality is there, and buyers are able to save more money when they buy indigenous manufacturers instead of buying from imported representatives,” he said.

On some of the factors ailing the sector, Nwaije named electricity as the main constraint.

He said: “Our firm has three generators, which we fuel daily. The issue of electricity is so germane to production that once we go on the generators we do not switch off until end of production. This is followed by non availability of forex. Another issue is accessing loans from banks.”

When asked how the company had managed in the last three decades, Nwaije said: “We are members of Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and International Training Fund (ITF). We follow Standard Organisations of Nigeria’s (SON’s) standard. It is gladdening that we are able to train people, who can go ahead with full confidence into setting up their factories. This was decided upon from a simple experience-the need to either expand or shed weight.

“When the ultimate choice of weight shedding is inevitable it could really be emotional. Nigerians are zealous, and full of ingenuity, so laying off doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t good at their jobs, but for logistic reasons. So, to assist such, we decided to go into training. That experiment paid off and people were able to run their own companies over the years. We do not turn people down when it comes to training. NECA is also assisting in this. One major setback is imitation in the furniture sector. But buyers, who are wary, do not fall victim. Buyers hardly fall victim in the equipment sector. Lagos State is enterprising and it can improve on its patronage. We support Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and Lagos at 50, too.”

Though the firm’s headquartres is at Anthony, Lagos, its factory where medical furniture and laboratory equipment are manufactured is at Sango, Ogun State.

According to Nwaije, the company is run seamlessly and since commencing business in 1981, it has consistently designed, manufactured and installed many laboratories in many educational institutions (Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, Secondary and Primary Schools), hospitals, industries, and research centres in almost every local government area in Nigeria.

“The quality of our products and services in this regard has continued to improve over the years. Our services have also extended to some West African Countries with installations in Republic of Benin, and Cote d’Ivoire,” he said.

“You see the company’s operations are divided into three: Supply of Laboratory Equipment, Installation and Maintenance. Manufacture and installation of laboratory furniture and fittings. And manufacturing and supply of audio-visual materials,” he said.

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