Mr Will Anyaegbunam, a thoroughbred Nigerian technology investor has driven the evolution of Beta Computers into the major league of local OEMs that play in the government and private sector markets.
Anyaegbunam, the CEO of Beta Beta Computers reckon that indigenous technology companies still walk a tight rope with convincing everyday Nigerians that their products can compete favourably with rival global brands.
But he believes that Government, the top tech buyer in the economy, can pave the way to change this perception through the enforcement of its ‘Buy Nigeria’ and other policies that promote local content, in an exclusive interview with Kolade Akinola of Technology Times
TT: Recently you partnered with some stakeholders to make PC ownership for easier students easy. How has this programme been faring?
Will Anyaegbunam: First of all, I will suggest you also discuss with the stakeholders: banks and universities. My experience is that the university is not confirming the students as their bonafide students as quickly as possible. When the students register, you wait endlessly for a long time for the school authority to confirm them as students.
Secondly, the banks are taking so long a time to approve their loans. From my perspective, I think we have issues from the banks and the school authorities.
Our vision about this initiative is as clear as daylight. It’s just a bit of logistic issue. We even went ahead to do a subsidy for the students. It just that we have issues with the administration of the universities and banks not approving the loans for the sponsors of the students.
[su_quote cite=”Will Anyaegbunam, CEO of BETA Computers”]These things cost a lot of money to invest in them. We are looking at the market feasibility. If you ask those in marketing, many Nigerians still have the phobia for purchasing Nigerian made products. So for us, it’s not just investing without direction. We need to support the CommTech Ministry to ensure that the ONC is fully active. The Ministry has a great vision for local content adoption and if it is well-implemented, we will see a dramatic change in local content adoption. [/su_quote]
TT: Your company is one of the accredited indigenous Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) in Nigeria. What efforts are you putting in place such that your products can compete with any other global brand?
Will Anyaegbunam: We are one of the local content providers in Nigeria. Our effort is to produce products that are of the highest quality so that it can compete with international tier-one brand such that no Nigerian has an excuse not to adopt locally-manufactured products. For us, that’s our responsibility so that our products meet international standards.
The other aspect is advocacy. We need the media to create awareness to the populace. We do our best to offer services that are superior to tier-one brands.
Good services and quality are key in our business and that is exactly what we are doing and of course we have tried to make our pricing more affordable for all. But that’s not enough. People can’t just throw money on the products because it is cheap and at the end they don’t get value for their money. For us here, we are focusing on good products and services.
TT: The Federal Government has been making several effort and creating a lot of awareness on adopting local content and as a matter of fact the Office of National Content (ONC) was created through NITDA with the aim of guiding and monitoring local content policy in Nigeria. In your view, have these effort levelled up with its aims?
Will Anyaegbunam: The awareness from the Ministry of Communication Technology is great and of course they could do much better and coming up with ONC is also a laudable initiative. I am aware that that Office has started and hopefully by next year they will be more active.
I believe that when they are fully up and running, they will address the issue of monitoring and implementation of Government policies on local content. That, for sure, is the key to adopting local content in the country.
The Ministry of Communication Technology is doing a lot in terms of advocacy. As a matter of fact, the ONC did an advert in Q3 2014 sensitising the public on how it is illegal to purchase foreign brands especially for government establishments. That kind of advocacy will definitely increase the uptake of local content in Nigeria and we really appreciate that.
TT: What is Beta Computer up to lately in terms of innovation to deepen its footprint in the Nigerian tech market?
Will Anyaegbunam: For us our product and services are what we are living with. We make sure that our product is bundled with the latest technological features and our services are top-notch and of course our marketing is out there. We are going heavily into e-commerce so that a lot of people can access our product and services online. That’s the next line of action.
TT: Are there any plans for Beta computers to foray into mobile phone production?
Will Anyaegbunam: We are not in a hurry to go into mobile phone production. We are taking a step at a time because the ones we have already, how has it been adopted by our people.
These things cost a lot of money to invest in them. We are looking at the market feasibility. If you ask those in marketing, many Nigerians still have the phobia for purchasing Nigerian made products. So for us, it’s not just investing without direction. We need to support the CommTech Ministry to ensure that the ONC is fully active. The Ministry has a great vision for local content adoption and if it is well-implemented, we will see a dramatic change in local content adoption.
If the ONC really enforces its law about adoption of local content, then we can now foray into mobile phone production.