Nigeria spent $2.35bn on telephone importation in three years, according to data from the International Trade Centre.
The nation spent $807.95m on importation of phone sets in 2019, $765.57m in 2020 and $772.25m in 2021, the ITC, which is an international body that focuses on trade, said. The body explained that the imported telephone sets included: smartphones, facsimile machines for line telephony, teleprinters, parts of telephone sets, and more.
The data further revealed that most of the phone sets coming into the country were from China ($1.71bn in the time under review). The nation also imports from other nations such as Hong Kong, Sweden, the United States, Netherlands, Vietnam, Mexico, and others. The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), recently revealed that about 63 million technology devices were sold in Nigeria every year, quoting data from Original Equipment Manufacturers. The commission revealed that there were about 132 million unique devices on the nation’s telecommunication network in 2020 with the average owner changing a device every six months.
In an earlier interview with The PUNCH, the Managing Partner, Bodds IT Solutions, Emmanuel Osho, had disclosed that Nigerians spent a lot on devices as the market grew larger every year.
He said, “An average person in their 20s and 30s has like two or three devices which include laptops, phones, and others. To be honest, the market could run into billions. The second-hand product is larger because of the low purchasing power of the market. Ideally, the majority of the buyers of new devices are organisations.”
The Public Relations Officer of the Computer and Allied Product Dealers Association of Nigeria, Solagbade Olaifa, had also disclosed that about N5bn worth of devices was being sold at Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos yearly.
He had disclosed that Nigeria did not have the technology to produce devices yet. He said, “We do not have the technology to produce now, but we can fund part of it. We cannot produce as a whole because for every device, even over there, there are different companies that produce its components. It is not only one company that produces every component of the devices. However, Nigeria can start somewhere.”
The Nigerian phone is dominated by foreign players such as Tecno, Samsung, and Itel. While Nigeria has the seventh-highest number of phones in the world, according to the World Population Review, its local phone manufacturing industry is non-existent, and attempts to kickstart it have at best failed to flatter.