Fake batteries flood Nigerian markets
Batteries. Photo used for illustration only. Photo credit: AutoJosh

By ADEBAYO OBAJEMU

Owners of vehicles in Nigeria have always grappled with the influx of fake products, ranging from spare parts to accessories, which are often sold as genuine parts. This has often led to vehicles owners coming to additional costs as a result of damage inflicted on their vehicles by substandard auto parts. However, never in the past were batteries among the fake products feared in the market.

But with the rampaging inflation in the country, and high cost of products substandard batteries have joined this trend, which many car owners now lament they have been victims of.
The situation is so bad that most vehicle owners prefer to park their vehicles at home until such time when they have enough money to go for standard auto parts validated by Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON).

In a recent case, one among thousands, Dr. Olufemi Omoyele of Redeemers University told Business Hallmark that he “bought a brand new battery at an auto shop somewhere in Ogba, seven months ago, but I started noticing that it was malfunctioning just two weeks ago.

On getting to my battery charger he informed me that the product was substandard and that it could cause electrical damage to my car. I was confused because I bought the battery where I normally buy my auto parts without problem”.

When we talk of automotive spare-parts, a lot of motorists, who are at the receiving end of fake products in Nigeria, believe that unless government tightens efforts on the war against counterfeit products as done in developed world, boosting investment and growth of indigenous technology, protection of consumers may remained an illusion. Over time, Nigeria has been a dumping ground for all sorts of fake products from pharmaceuticals, cables, spare parts to electrical and electronic products.

The Chief Executive Officer, Emilinks Nigeria Limited, Mr. Solomon Nwadiogbu, has cried out against the preponderance of fake batteries in the country, adding that Nigeria loses about N150bn every year to fake battery products.

Nwadiogbu expressed this frustration during a press briefing. He added that fake battery products often cause damage to cars in the nation.

According to him, Nigeria needs approximately five million batteries annually with an annual demand of 720, 000 vehicles.

In Nigeria, battery failure is one of the top problems among car owners. Nigeria needs about five million batteries every year, this includes solar, forklift, cranes, and other heavy-duty equipment.

For a country with an annual demand of 720,000 vehicles, you would agree that this is a very big issue Nigerians are struggling with.
Nwadiogbu said his company offers batteries with a five years life span and three years warranty.

He added, The use of bad batteries will affect the engines of vehicles. We foresee a serious threat because of the influx of substandard batteries into the country that is a threat to the economy.

Because many people waste their hard-earned money to buy these products at an average cost of N30,000, and going by Nigerias annual battery demand of five million batteries, it means we are losing a whopping N150bn naira annually to fake automobile batteries.

The Koreans and the Chinese have made Nigeria a dumping ground for fake batteries. This is a heavy colossal waste to our economy and must not be tolerated anymore.
As a company, we make it a matter of principle to positively impact and add value to our society. A simple Google search will reveal several campaigns in the past that we have launched to impact our industry as well as the Nigerian society at large.

To combat this growing problem for Nigerian motorists, Nwadiogbu; a major importer of European quality products, has introduced a range of high-quality car batteries.

The use of bad batteries will affect the engines of automobiles. We see a serious threat because of the influx of substandard batteries into the country. Substandard products are a threat to the economy as people waste hard earned money to buy these products.

“The average going cost for a car battery now is N30,000, and going by Nigerias annual battery demand of 5,000,000, it means we are losing a whopping N150 billion annually to fake automobile batteries. The Koreans and the Chinese have made Nigeria a dumping ground for fake batteries. This is a heavy colossal waste to our economy and mustn’t be tolerated anymore!

“Apart from these massive financial losses, there are also the negative effects using fake car batteries have on the car. When you have a weak battery, your car ends up putting additional stress on healthy parts. The charging system, starter motor or starter solenoid can be affected.

“These parts can malfunction because theyre drawing excessive voltage to compensate for the lack of battery power. Leave this problem unresolved, and you could wind up replacing expensive electrical parts—typically without warning.

He further added; Our batteries are follow-come, same quality as the ones that come with a brand new car. We have them in different sizes; 65 amps, 75 amps, 63 amps 77 amps, 90 amps, 140 amps, 190 amps, and 100 amps. They are all made in Europe and have 3- 5 years lifespan so long as the cars charging system is good.

“Nigerian motorists will also enjoy 2-3 years extended warranty on every car battery they buy from us. Our prices range between 50,000 — 60,000 depending on their capacity.

“This is one of our intervention campaigns to allow Nigerians to enjoy quality products at very affordable prices on all our products for the next 30 days starting from the 21st of March, 2022. All products will be made available to customers directly from the company warehouse located in Lagos. This doesn’t in anyway hinder nationwide delivery to other states across the country”, he said.

As a company, we make it a matter of principle to positively impact and add value to our society. A simple Google search will reveal several campaigns in the past that we have launched to impact our industry as well as the Nigerian society at large.

According to Standards Organization of Nigeria, (SON), an agency charged with the responsibility of ensuring standardisation of products in the country, 95 per cent of auto spare parts, including batteries imported into the country do not meet the minimum acceptable standard, while a more recent figure estimated that about 75 per cent of auto spare parts in the country were fake.

The influx of fake batteries and other fake auto parts have led to road crashes, loss of lives and properties, huge healthcare cost and others.

“Identifying counterfeit parts such as fake batteries and educating the populace of its effects is a challenge that (Nigeria) government is faced with and will require the cooperation of all stakeholders to achieve,” Director General, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Aminu Jalal said recently.

In a paper entitled: The Adverse Effects of use of Substandard/Fake Spare Parts in Motor vehicles — The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Perspective, delivered by the agencys Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, earlier, he said Nigeria loses about N80 billion yearly to road crashes, with about 29.1 per cent of the victims suffering disability and 13.5 per cent unable to return to work as a result of fake batteries and fake auto parts.

According to the Nigeria Road Safety Strategy document, the economic loss of about three per cent of Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of developing countries amounted to N1.7 trillion in 2014 for Nigeria alone. which was then equivalent of $10 billion.

Though all road crashes were not attributed to fake products, the cost of road traffic crashes includes the cost of private property and public amenities damaged, the cost of medical treatment and the cost of productivity lost due to the crash.

World Health Organisation, (WHO) estimated that across the world, 36,000 yearly fatalities and 1.5 million injuries were result of defective counterfeit parts such as fake batteries.

In a recent stakeholder meeting organised by NADDC to discuss identification of fake and sub-standard automotive spares, experts worried over the alarming yearly loss the nation accrue from counterfeit vehicle spare parts, noting that current efforts being put in place by government may not make meaning reduction. The influx of the product has equally been estimated to kill local industries, specifically, the federal governments automotive policy.

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has always blamed the collapse of many auto parts manufacturing industries on the sudden large amount of sub-standard parts that flood the domestic market.

Deputy Director, Surveillance and Enforcement, Consumer Protection Council (CPC) Shamm Kolo, said: If the influx and sale of standard auto parts remain unchecked, it will continue to militate against the aspirations of government to promote Nigeria into the league of industrialised nations by 2020.

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), which holds the statutory responsibility as a key agency involved in controlling the importation and exportation of goods said the body has been confronted with challenges that reduced efforts on the importation of fake automotive spare parts into the country.

According to the agency in a paper titled The Role of Nigeria Customs Service and The Need for Synergy with other Relevant Stakeholders in the Prevention of Importation of Sub-Standard or Fake Spare Parts, the suppression of smuggling is difficult because of many factors and measures encouraging and sustaining it.
Citing instances of smuggling activities and porous borders, NCS lamented that its operations were crippled by poor funding, weak legislation, low level of compliance and tacit support of smuggling by host border communities.

However, President of Auto Spare Parts and Machineries Dealers Association (ASPMDA), has a different take. According to Anthony Ughagwu, the information that large chunk of automotive spare parts imported into the country were fake is a gross misconception.

“I am emphatically rejecting the misconception that 75 per cent of Auto Spare Parts in Nigerian markets are fake or sub-standard and that majority of accident in Nigeria where due to fake or sub-standard products in Nigeria auto spare parts markets.

“I urge the government to encourage big time importers with respect to policies and foreign exchange regimes. This will assure them sense of belonging and reduce the drifts to importation of sub-standard products.
Also I will equally like government to help big time importers to bring down their foreign partners in Nigeria, by providing funds and other logistics as done in other countries of the world, this will not only cut down the volume of the importation, it will also provide job opportunities, and make it more easier for regulatory bodies to monitor the production from the on-set to the sales of those products,” Ughawu said.

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