The chairman of Sona Industries Limited, one of the foremost indigenous manufacturers of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). Mr. Arjan Mirchandani, has said that the key challenge of surviving in Nigeria as a business to managing access to credit.
In an interview with National Daily he said “The banks are more difficult because their interest rates are between 20 to 30 per cent. With an interest rate of that nature, no business can survive”.
According to him, “In India and other countries, interest rates are two or three per cent or four per cent maximum. In Switzerland, you will get money at one per cent rate. When you have cheap money, you are more encouraged to invest more”.
“We are still expanding. I don’t believe that there is reason to downsize and deny Nigerian workers of their livelihood. There is nothing wrong with Nigerian workers, they are very good. This is a time to develop. Nigerians are my brothers and sisters and I will say very boldly that I will do whatever it takes to keep our staff. In our companies, we have a very good system and certification from the International Organisation for Standardisation.
Mirchandani added that “We have complied with all the regulations from the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and other government agencies,” saying “We are a responsible company and we are encouraged despite the situation which makes us to be bringing in newer technologies”.
“We are working with the Bank of Industries and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture to achieve this. We are grateful to some of these government agencies because they encourage growth in investments. If the cost of funds is not made cheaper more industries will die in Nigeria. I don’t believe that should mortgage the future of the country. We should encourage local industries that source raw material locally,” Arjan Mirchandani stated.