Kamisafe country manager advocates harmonised FX regime
Mbam Goodluck Ebenezer is the Nigeria Country Manager of Kamisafe, the world’s largest manufacturer of rechargeables and a host of alternative energy sources. Based in China, Kamisafe manufactures flashlights, electric bulbs, solar-powered fans, power banks, and supplies to distributors in Nigeria and across Africa. The company supports distributors with marketing to boost sales. In this interview with Nigeria Today, Mr. Mbam speaks of the impact of COVID-19 on their operations in Nigeria as well as the impact of the recent devaluation of the Naira. Excerpts.
NTN: May we meet you?
MGE: My name is Mr Mbam Goodluck Ebenezer. I am the Country Manager of Kamisafe in Nigeria.
NTN: Tell us about Kamisafe.
MGE: Kamisafe is the biggest manufacturer of rechargeables: Standing fan, table fan, mini hand fan, lamps, torches, bulbs, solar power banks, mosquito swatter, solar-powered mini tv, mp3, multifunctional power kit, etc.
Our mission is to make alternative household energy easy, accessible, and affordable to millions of households in and around the world, especially in those countries where electricity supply is unreliable. We have created thousands of business and job opportunities in our quest to achieve the above mission.
Kamisafe as the premium brand of rechargeable is known for high quality, strong battery capacity, durability of all our products and consistent innovations and production of unique rechargeable products.
NTN: At what level of value chain is Kamisafe specialised in?
MGE: Kamisafe is a manufacturing company. We primarily play in manufacturing value chain. However, we provide extensive marketing services to each of these channels in the wholesale and distribution value chains.
NTN: How important is the alternative energy sources to the Nigerian economy?
MGE: The value is indispensable in terms of economic empowerment and provision of cheap clean alternative household power supply. Hardly can you see any household that doesn’t use rechargeable LED light in Nigeria.
As for students, it is one of the basic necessities. And for economic empowerment, it is one of the few zero-risk, reliable and profitable businesses you can invest in anytime with consistent ROI.
NTN: What is Kamisafe’s share of the LED lights market in Nigeria?
MGE: I can say we have 78.9 per cent of the market share. But if you’re talking about Kamisafe brand, I can tell you we have 40.5 per cent of the market share.
It is important to let you know that we are a technical partner to most of the known big brands of LED lights in Nigeria. This means that Kamisafe actually manufactures for those brands in their own brand names.
NTN: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your operations?
MGE: It has affected us negatively. And it is still affecting us in all our business operations. You know it is a global pandemic. Something I wish it never happened to the world. Nevertheless, we are positive and optimistic that it will come to an end soon.
NTN: The foreign exchange scarcity which has led to Naira devaluation and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected your business the most?
MGE: The devaluation has affected us the more. The effect of this devaluation is very devastating, to say the least! Some of our customers have matured obligations with us at this point where the exchange rate is headed to N500/$1 for credit lines granted when the exchange rate was less than N300/$1. You can imagine the implications.
NTN: How much impact has the COVID-19 disruptions had on jobs in the company?
MGE: Furlough is not an option for us as we are determined to keep all our employees regardless of how compelling the situation appears. But between the devil and deep blue sea, the employees willingly opted to sacrifice some of their entitlements as a way of appreciating & supporting the company for her resolute in keeping everyone at all cost. I personally sacrificed my entitled annual all-expense-paid vacation to PR China this year.
NTN: What strategies have you adOpted to survive in the market post-COVID?
MGE: We adopted a multilevel approach and measures to maintain all our channels. The measures include the empowerment of our distributors’ down liners to ensure they remain in business since they are one of the critical stakeholders in the channels of distribution.
We also fashioned out a more convenient and favourable terms of business with our distributors. We also intend to stimulate the endusers’ market so as to keep the demand for Kamisafe brand steady.
NTN: What changes would you like the Nigerian authorities to make to improve the business climate?
Chai! Nigeria business climate is very tough. Consequently, critical changes need to be made. And urgently. Though the changes needed are too many, I will highlight improved security, especially in the North East & North West, Harmonized and reliable FX regime and decongestion of seaports. These are some of the things that could help to improve the business environment in Nigeria.