By Emeka Anaeto and Elizabeth Amihor
Nigeria may be saving about$100million annually with local manufacture of electronics card as bank cards alone gulp about $36 million.
This was disclosed by Bayo Adeokun, the Managing Director of Electronic Payplus Limited, one of the few electronic cards manufacturing firms in sub-Sahara Africa.
Speaking to some media operatives last week at the backdrop of commencement of operations at its multimillion dollar new manufacturing installations, Adeokun stated: “Bank cards alone is about $36 million every year prior to our intervention. I have not done the cost of SIM card; I have not done the cost of tax card by Lagos State government for instance and other states that are now coming up with that; I have not talked about the national ID card and I have not talked about the voters card. By the time you put everything together in terms of dollar you will be talking about $100 million savings for the country.”
Calling on the Federal Government to take steps to protect investments in the card industry, he stated further: “In this period that remittances from abroad is going down, crude oil revenue is coming low and all of that the government really needs to make a lot of savings in terms of foreign reserves.”
He also harped on the employment value the industry adds to the economy saying, “Prior to this (commencement of its new production lines) Electronic Payplus had about 100 staff. Now, we are up to 150. So we are also generating employment. I mean, if you look at the nature of Nigeria, those 50 staff, each of them have a dependance, so we are talking of additional 500 or more that we are catering for.”
Giving details of the company’s new production capacity, he said, “we can do any smart card. So the purpose is to extend it to every area of the economy. I showed you national ID card downstairs we produce for Nigeria. So we are known to the government. Now, when the present administration came in they said there is no money to finance the production of that again. So they said they want to go into digital ID card. We are also playing in that space because we have the license.
“We presently enrolled Nigerians in diaspora. We do local enrollment that is currently ongoing as well. We have the license to produce that. We also are presently working with the Lagos State government because they want to roll out what is called residency card which is also going to be a payment card. So we are going to service all the industries.
“We are also talking to telecommunication companies on the possibility of supplying their simcards as well.
“Also are looking beyond Nigeria. We have customers all over Africa. All the banks in Gambia we produce all their cards, for instance. We have customers in Ghana, Guinea, Cameroun, Uganda and Kenya.”
On the impact of the company’s new production facility upgrade, he said, “What we have done is 60 million production cards per annum capacity.
But the idea is all about improved turn around that we can offer because, today if you give me an order of one million cards, I can deliver it within a week.
I can even deliver 250,000 per day to you. So we believe that, that will be a game changer for us, and in addition we are now able to scale up our capacity utilization as well as market share as quickly as possible.