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Lack of power a major challenge in the manufacturing industry

By Ngozi Egenuka
14 September 2021   |   2:28 am
This year will be the 8th edition of Propak West Africa and every year, we aim to support and grow the industries that we serve. Namely these are the packaging, printing, plastics and processing industries in Nigeria....

Jamie Pearson is the Marketing and Operations Manager of Afrocet Montgomery,

Marketing & Operations Director, Afrocet Montgomery, Jamie Pearson, in this interview with NGOZI EGENUKA, speaks on the manufacturing industry in Nigeria and the challenges facing it.

What does Propak aim to achieve with the exhibition?
This year will be the 8th edition of Propak West Africa and every year, we aim to support and grow the industries that we serve. Namely these are the packaging, printing, plastics and processing industries in Nigeria and the wider West African region. We all know how hard the last 18 months have been, and last year’s edition had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, so, we’re very happy to be able put on the event again, this year, after the break. Being the largest exhibition of its kind in the region carries the responsibility of ensuring the event is strong and representative of the sectors and provides the unmissable meeting point for the industries buyers, distributors, engineers and owners to congregate in a big way once a year. Our hope is that this year’s event will help people reconnect, identify some of the missing links in the supply chain and hear from some of the industries thought leaders on what the next 12 months have in store.

Do you think the manufacturing industry in Nigeria is rightly positioned to compete at world standard?
The manufacturing sector in Nigeria has vast opportunities; both from an internal market perspective and as a large workforce who could challenge export markets on an international stage. If you look at the likes of India that has many similarities with Nigeria in terms of infrastructure, size and population, they are a manufacturing powerhouse globally and one I believe Nigeria could learn from into taking the next steps to compete on the world stage.

What do you think are the challenges facing the manufacturing industry in Nigeria?
As with many rapidly developing markets, there are always challenges that have to be met and overcome. Probably, the main challenge faced by Nigeria’s manufacturing sector is the difficulties with intermittent power, while not a new challenge, I know it frustrates many manufacturers that it remains a recurring theme. Along with that there are the issues with the currency and freight movement but as the internal market builds and the ‘Made in Nigeria’ brand becomes more reputable, hopefully these challenges can be worked through.

What tips can you offer the Nigerian market for best practices?
I’m not an expert in the manufacturing space; our expertise at Afrocet Montgomery lies in exhibition and conference organisation and production. That is why we work with local industry experts and ambassadors to ensure that an experienced view is provided from across the various markets in which we operate and I urge everyone to come down to the exhibition to hear these views and ask questions to help understand what things can be put in place.

What would the exhibition bring to Africa?
The exhibition looks to bring together global and regional companies as a melting pot of ideas that allow the sharing of knowledge and technology to better the industries that they serve. There are many top tier companies in Nigeria and across Africa that can teach as much to the global market place as they can learn from it, and that platform is what we hope to be able to deliver at the Landmark Centre, Lagos.

Which countries or company would be represented in the exhibition and how many?
This year the exhibition has been affected by the restrictions on international travel and the ability for many of our usual exhibitors to come. That being said there is still a really strong line up exhibiting vital machines and services for the manufacturing sectors that make up Propak. For the first time we have an Austrian Pavilion that is coming with six companies looking to build their footprint in the region, including Starlinger, Econ and Blue Air Systems. Added to this we have several companies from Italy such as SACMI and Galdi and a selection of other European companies in attendance, many of whom have local representation such as Ishida, Neofyton and Reifenhauser. We then of course have many of the leading regional companies in attendance including, Bobst West Africa, CIS Buro, Exact Solutions, Greenville, Tenaui Africa, Newlord and Vista International. The full line up is available to view at https://www.propakwestafrica.com/exhibitor-list

How does the exhibition intend to drive local content?
The exhibition conference is made up of 35 speakers, with a majority share coming from Nigeria and West Africa. We have the likes of TetraPak West Africa, Guinness Nigeria, Grand Cereals, BUA Group and many more speaking alongside Recylan, Erema and U&H Integrated Services coming in from Austria to create a truly inspired line up. This is supported by our Strategic Partners, PwC Nigeria who will be moderating many of the panel sessions and providing their key insight and understanding to put questions to the panels that are pertinent to the local market.https://www.propakwestafrica.com/conference-programme.