NIGERIA:The Booming Generator Business

GBENGA ADENIJI reports that the elusive solution to the problems plaguing the country’s power sector has facilitated a boom in the sale of generators

Like other Nigerians, Mr. Bernard Ekanem (not real name), is fed up with the incessant power outage in the country, in spite of the whopping sum spent to revive the ailing sector.

He just couldn’t comprehend why his office is constantly denied electricity in the day and at night, his family lives in perpetual darkness. Since he could afford it, he decided to purchase two generators; one for the home and the other for his office.

Of course, he could not afford the giant factory generators, he could only buy from the legion of China-made smaller electricity generators that have flooded the Nigerian market.

He opted for two units of Tiger TG 2700 brand at a cost of N25,000 each. Ekanem is not the only one who has found succour in the China brands of generators the sale of which is booming` due to the worrisome epileptic power which has become the lot of the self-styled giant of Africa.

Nigerians are now willing buyers of these generators, which have found a fertile ground in the country.

The generating sets have tongue-twisting names like; Sumec Firman, Jinling, Elepaq, Tiger, Tigmax, Elemax among others.

The small-sized Jinling and Elepaq cost N30,000 each; a big Sumec Firman costs N75,000 while a small Sumec SPG 2500 costs N32,000.

The price of the new model of Tiger TG 2700 is N25,000 while that of the old model is N33,000.

Some of these generators are kick-started and have tyres and a handle with which they could be pushed from one place to the other, while others are simply manually started.

These machines have become common sight in offices, shops, houses and even religious places. When they are working, one cannot but notice them as they make so much noise and emit dangerous fumes.

The high patronage which the generators enjoy is understandable, when one compares their prices to that of the built-to-last brands like, Honda, Tiger, Minolta, Suzuki, Yamaha etc.

Those who have ventured into the sale of these brands of generators have continued to smile to the banks daily.

Speaking with P.M.Business, a generator dealer in Ejigbo who refused to give his name explained that the generators have a long life-span and only start giving problems when the coil needs to be changed.

He further said that one cannot rule out the fact that some generator dealers could have tampered with the machines in a bid to short-change their customers. Such generators would start malfunctioning weeks after it is purchased.

“But generally, the generators are good. It doesn’t really matter where it is made. I can even tell you confidently that it is produced to withstand the rugged ways we use generators in this country,” he said.

Another dealer in Agege maintained that it is advisable to buy a generator with a battery operated ignition system because the battery would keep charging whenever the generator is on.

According to him: “Many people may tell you that you don’t need a battery when a brand like the big Sumec Firman is purchased, but you do.

“Their own concern is for you to come back months after to buy a new one. But I tell you, with the key starter, you need a battery so as to prolong the life of the generator.

“Even though it will still pack up one day whether you buy a battery or not, there is a guarantee that when you back it up with a battery, you will use it for a longer period unlike if you do not.”

The battery has two types. There is one sold for N8,000 and the other for N10,000. Both are the same, only that there are slight differences in their hours of charging”.

A dealer in Oshodi who simply identified himself as Felix told P.M.Business that Nigerians have embraced the generators going by the mad rush for them.

He stated that the prices of the original Japanese brands of generators are not affordable for most Nigerians. The new model of generators in the market have come to the rescue as a timely respite.

Said he: “It is not that the generators are inferior brands, but you know our people, they would always compare new things with what was formerly in existence. In fact, many businesses which PHCN has earlier crippled are now being revived by those generators.

“People buy the generators very well because they must keep their businesses going and home running. You need to know how much I make daily from sales,” he said.

Mr. Emmanuel Nweke, who sells fairly-used television sets at Ogba and uses Sumec Firman SPG 2900 model of the generators to run his business, stated that a friend of his who had used same model advised him to buy it.

The trader also said that he had only serviced it once since he bought it nine months ago.

His words: “I enjoy the work of the generator and the only time I serviced it, was because it was consuming fuel. That has stopped and its working condition is very perfect.”

Also speaking, a business centre operator, Banjo Adewole, said that his Jinling 3600 brand has greatly assisted in the sustenance of his business as many of his customers have seen seriousness in him.

Adewole disclosed that before he bought the generator, PHCN had nearly frustrated him out of business. He, however, declared that the generator had not given him any problem since he bought it, maintaining that its longevity depends largely on how it is used.

His view was backed by a barber, who said that he constantly powers his business with one of the generator brands whether PHCN provides electricity or not.

His words: “The China generators are a great assistance to people like us. Where do I get the money to buy the very expensive ones?” he asked.

The truth is that as long as power failure continues, the cartel of generator sellers would keep holding Nigerians by the jugular, not minding the country’s economic downturn.

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