Gospel of economic growth, according to rlg Nigeria
TOSIN ILESANMI is Country Manager, rlg Nigeria. In this interaction with IT Edge News, MARTIN EKPEKE, MOSHOOD ABUBAKAR and ANTHONY NWOSU, he expresses conviction that rlg is about to change the market dynamics with the launch of the rlg’s Adulawo Technology City in Ilesha, Osun State. New mid to high skill jobs and new tech products are the fulcrum of its new push.
Rlg’s vision is to revolutionize ICT in Africa and create one million jobs for the youths in the world. How far have you gone with this?
We are constantly striving to achieve the mandate of revolutionizing ICT in Africa. Some of the successes so far achieved are the launch of the HOPE City Project (HOPE stands for Home, Office, People and Environment) which is expected to gulp ten billion dollars and will accommodate and provide jobs for about fifty thousand people. Another step in the realization of the mandate is the launch of the first ever computer mobile phone assembly plant in Nigeria which will provide ten thousand direct and indirect jobs and of course, our applied ICT training continues across Africa. If setting up the first ever mobile phone assembly plant in Nigerian is not revolutionizing the industry, you tell me what it is.
The rlg’s Adulawo Technology City was launched recently, what are the economy benefits to Nigerians especially the youths?
The economic benefits of the rlg’s Adulawo Technology City cannot be over emphasized. In the first instance, it will provide ten thousand direct and indirect jobs and as we all know jobs mean purchasing power to buy other goods and services. Secondly, the holders of these jobs are going to pay the government income tax resulting in revenue for the state government. Furthermore, the sale of rlg devices in the state and beyond means that the state will benefit from the proceeds of value added tax – VAT. Finally, it is expected that the plant will engender the growth of ancillary industries such as accessories production which would also contribute economically to the state and Nigeria as a whole.
Statistics are showing that PC sales dropped by 15 per cent in 2013, and are likely to drop again by another six per cent in 2014. There are indications that patronage for local PC will drop further. Is rlg bothered? What is your strategic plan to improve your market share?
PC sales dropped not necessarily as stated but because of a global change in consumer trend. People are moving away from traditional PCs, so we have to move with the trend, our production facilities allows us to move with this trend.
The latest IDC report projects the African smartphone market to double in volume over the next four years and accounts for close to a third of all handset shipments to the continent by 2017. As a player in the smartphone market, are you not threatened by the boom in the grey smartphone market?
Of course we are bothered that is why I will like to use this opportunity to call on government at all levels to fight piracy which the grey phone market personifies. You must realize that every grey phone that is imported into the country means loss of revenue to device manufacturers like us, loss of taxes accruable to government, as well as loss of jobs to Nigerians because it means retention of jobs for foreigners who produce these phones. I will also task the press to help in this regard by sensitization and advocacy against the menace.
What is rlg doing to promote green environment and reduce e-waste?
The issue of e-waste is something we at rlg are greatly concerned about. To this end we try as much as possible to recycle which is the best option open to all of us. I say all of us because it is our collective responsibility to recycle because the resources available on earth are limited, so we all have to manage it. Another way we are promoting a greener environment is through the graduates of our training programme, who fix devices that would otherwise be discarded. By so doing they help to reduce the incidence of e-waste.
rlg seems to be synonymous with Osun State in Nigeria, are you not seeking support from other state government and probably the federal government?
We are ready to partner with the Federal or any state government. The reason why we are more visible in Osun State is because they bought into the idea. As we speak right now, we have submitted proposals to a lot of state and local governments, but as you know, it is only those who invite us that we can partner with.