Anambra Tire Importer Laments Dollar Fluctuation, Praises SON Quality Assurance

Anambra State-based motorcycle tire importer, Vincent Nzeh, has lamented the dollar fluctuations affecting the business, while also commending the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) quality assurance in the business.

Nzeh, director of Vin N. Nzeh and Sons, a subsidiary of VEO, Franc Mark (WA) Ltd., exclusively told BusinessDay that the high cost of obtaining foreign exchange for imports was negatively impacting operations in the country.

He said many of them had not imported tires this year, adding that the tires currently sold in the Nigerian market were mainly those purchased last year before the high dollar cost of purchase early this year.

“The current import problem in Nigeria is due to exchange rate fluctuations. Today the dollar is cheap, tomorrow it will be high,” Nzeh said.

He said the price of last year’s imported tires sold in the Nigerian market was cheaper than the new tires currently being imported, stressing that imports of such goods have declined.

‘You buy a higher dollar, you clear the goods higher with demurrage. The goods cost about N17 million from the foreign company and you pay N3 million for demurrage, totaling N20 million.

“When the goods are cleared and put on the market, you will find it difficult to sell them because the goods already on the market are sold cheaper.

“This affects us because you have to stock up before you think about importing new ones,” he said

The dealer of all kinds of motorcycle tires and inner tubes of different sizes noted that the imported tires now sell between N60,000 and N100,000 depending on the sizes, compared to N25,000 and N55,000 previously.

He also denounced that the foreign companies are taking advantage of the dollar fluctuations to milk Nigerian importers.

“The foreign companies are not helping matters. They are interested in their business and making a profit.

“If they wait and see that you are no longer a regular customer, and also notice that marketing is having an influence on you, they will continue to lower the price for willing new customers and send goods to them, without affecting their existing customer to find out what the problem was.

“This affects the market because you have to sell the ones you have, and if you don’t sell, you can’t make new purchases,” Nzeh said.

The importer appealed to both the federal and state governments to establish tire manufacturing industries in Nigeria to create employment opportunities, export opportunities to improve the quality of our currency and make the goods cheaper.

He called on Nigerians to make locally produced goods a family business that will be improved over time to fetch good money even in foreign currencies as is done in developed countries.

“We lose a lot buying and selling and marketing foreign companies by importing their goods,” he affirmed.

Nzeh, however, commended SON for being proactive in ensuring the quality assurance of the imported tires brought to the Nigerian market.

“I commend SON and its foreign counterparts for the quality and durable tires currently in the Nigerian markets.

“SON does thorough research into whether every foreign band enters the Nigerian market. The quality they offer, if you import anything less, will be confiscated. This contributes to reducing road accidents,” he says

On the use of second-hand tires popularly called ‘Tokunbo’, Nzeh, who had been in the business for 35 years with 28 trained boys, said it was not the cause of the road accidents.

“Tokunbo tires do not cause traffic accidents, but the fake tires, the users know the quality between imported new and second-hand ones.

“It has no bearing on the increasing road accidents on Nigerian roads; if buyers have the money, there is no one who does not like the best things in life.”