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Chevron Nigeria deepens local content, retools with Zinox Computers

Leading global integrated energy multinational corporation with headquarters in the United States, Chevron Nigeria has engaged the services of a local technology company, Zinox Technologies Limited for massive roll-out of thousands of high-end personal computers (PCs), desktop units, monitors and other accessories to retool its offices and other establishments in the Nigeria. The plan for the rollout was gathered during a recent oil expo.

Analysts say the development is among the best thing that will happen to the nation’s quest to drive local content in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

It would be recalled that a blow was dealt to the campaign for local content on ICT sector as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in December last year posted on its website, an advertisement inviting contractors to supply specifically, US made DELL Desktop Computers for use by the apex bank, but less than one week after Business Hilights published the story, the advert was janked off. However, investigations are still on to find out whether the CBN call for suppliers of US made Dell Desktop Computers was quashed or sustained.

Coincidentally last week, the chairman of Zinox Technologies, Leo Stan Ekeh in an interview, called on the federal government to revive an existing order given by the former Olusegun Obasanjo administration compelling all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to buy made in Nigeria computers and allied products.

He recalled that “the compulsory mandate for all Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the country to purchase computers by indigenous companies was a major game changer for his technology company”.

Business Hilights gathered that the policy was first introduced under the regime of former President Olusegun Obasanjo as one of the strategies to foster the adoption of ICTs in driving efficiency and productivity in governance and across the economy.

This present administration is yet to show serious sign for local content in ICT sector even though the industry is now competing favourably with oil and gas as major revenue earner and GDP driver of the economy.

Chevron is the third-largest oil producer and one of the biggest investors in Nigeria where it operates under a joint-venture arrangement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for the onshore and offshore assets in the Niger Delta region.

Feelers indicate that Zinox has already commenced the delivery and installation of the first units of the orders – a development confirmed by a senior Management staff of Chevron Nigeria who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“Certainly, we are doing business with local Nigerian companies such as Zinox Technologies, among others. We have ordered thousands of high-end servers and laptops from Zinox.  We encourage other Nigerian entrepreneurs and companies to take this as a sign of confidence.  A lot of multinationals are ready to patronize made-in-Nigeria products, provided they meet international standards.

“With respect to the on-going roll-out of PCs and other computer accessories, it is worth emphasizing that this is not the first time we are doing business with Zinox, which has been a trusted business partner for many years. We have not been disappointed by the level of products and services received from Zinox over the years.”

Responding in an interview, Head of Corporate Communications at Zinox, Gideon Ayogu confirmed the development, saying “Yes, we have commenced the delivery and deployment of the Chevron orders through one of our partners”.

“Apart from the major infrastructural change and the roll-out of high-end computers, servers and other accessories to Chevron Nigeria who remain one of our most regular customers, we have also enjoyed consistent patronage from other multinationals such as Total and Shell as well as a few government agencies and parastatals.

“As a global company, we move with the forces of demand. Companies like Chevron, Shell, Total have been patronizing Zinox for over 14 years and this is based purely on service quality as we all know the high standards these companies aspire to.  These local commitments have also gone a long way to helping the Management refrain from staff retrenchment or sack in this period of recession, even when the company is facing tough foreign exchange challenges to meet up with orders.”

Asked about the deployment of other devices, Ayogu said that Zinox has received orders for the deployment of over 65,000 tablet PCs, among other devices. He, however, lamented the difficulty with obtaining forex which has delayed the delivery of some of the orders.

“Sadly, access to forex for companies operating in the ICT sector remains a major challenge. We are not getting enough foreign exchange to meet up with customer’s demands. Nevertheless, we will continue to push. Government’s intervention in this regard will go a long way in helping the ICT sector contribute more to the nation’s GDP,” he concluded.

Zinox enjoys the status of manufacturing Nigeria’s first indigenous and internationally certified computer brand – Zinox Computers. Currently, Zinox prides itself with advanced competencies in integrated ICT solutions including System integration, Unified Communication, Advanced Biometrics deployment, Smart Power solutions, Network Operations and Data Centre management, Fibre deployment and connectivity, E-Health and E-Learning, among many others.

The group has also deployed some of the biggest projects seen in the country including its sterling work with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the deployment of card readers and biometric registration of voters which has contributed to the conduct of successive general elections in Nigeria.