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To get excellent service, we need to improve level of our infrastructure

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CWG is addressed as an ICT solution company, a-one stop shop. For over 26 years now, how has CWG fared?

I think the first thing is that we have survived. If you look at some IT companies that we are contemporaries at the same time, you will find out that majority of these companies are no longer operating. We thank God that we are still in operation. We survived the significant shots that come into the Nigerian market at intervals ranging from policy summersault to rapid market changes to external global shots that affects the local market and the political shots that come.

We survived, but we also re-invented ourselves several times. Even now, we are still reinventing ourselves. So, if we’ve been able to survive for 25 years, then as the mathematics equation will say if it is right for n=1, then it is right for n=whatever.  But we will let it be. And I believe we will survive for the next 25 years.


CWG at some point has been referred to as a Pan African company. Can CWG still be referred to as such now?

Yes! We are still Pan-African. Our operations in Ghana and Uganda are still active. And we are still servicing the East African market from Rwanda or through South Sudan. Our Cameroon office is also still there and we are still looking at other countries where we can provide our services. So, we are still a Pan-African company.

What are the services that you offer now as CWG?

Well, we do IT infrastructure services, of course, because it’s what we’ve been doing for a long time. We are still partner to IT companies such as Oracle etc. We also still do our ATMs and we also do significant professional services. We run management services as we manage IT environment and we also do bills settling. Similarly, we offer cloud services. We try and move our business to the point where you don’t have to buy infrastructure, all you just have to do is allow us to enable you to do what you do well.

From your standpoint as a stakeholder and provider of infrastructure in the Nigerian telecoms service, what are the reasons for poor quality of the services being experienced in the sector?

Well, my view is that given the state of supporting infrastructure, our telecoms companies like other companies in Nigeria, have actually done an incredible job of providing the quality of service we have now with the infrastructure they have at their disposal. They need certain infrastructure to be in place but some of these facilities are not there. For example, they need electricity to run effectively. But they have to cope with what it means to provide power in all the locations even when they outsourced it.

They have to cope with the issue of security. They have to do the investment to manage the infrastructure to provide these services. So, I think on the balance of what they have to do to achieve the service level we are achieving, from my experience, they are doing a good job in a tough environment. It’s not very farfetched from the fact that there are areas of the infrastructure that are still outside the control of the companies. If you want to get the excellent service that we all deserve, we need to improve the level of infrastructure in the country in a way that enables people to deliver excellent service. For instance, I am spending almost half a million dollars a year on power alone.  If you go outside now you will see that the installed capacity can generate more than one megawatt.

In that case, how much profit are you expecting me to make? These are the things everybody is facing. So, when you see all those service failures, you also have to realize that it is a tough problem that we are faced with. Clearly, in their case like many other cases, the punishment for not improving service is a to have people with phones but with two SIM cards. If a SIM is not working, you will switch to the other one immediately. The telcos will start to lose revenue instantly. It’s not like tomorrow or later, you start to lose revenue as an operator immediately. It is also a pain for the operators when they are unable to deliver the service level expected by the customers.


The ICT industry cannot claim to be new to the global economy. How has this industry fared in relations to the Nigerian economy which is dollar driven to a large extent?

It’s been a difficult period for us. We recorded a significant loss in 2015, driven mainly by issues related to the foreign exchange rate. That had an adverse effect on us in the sense that we have partners and our partnership has become strained. We also have distortions in the market where if you are a PLC like CWG and you have to be transparent in your dealings, you are at disadvantage because there are many people who are willing to do something to get things done.  You will be constrained because you have to disclose and you don’t delay it. So, you are no longer operating under the veil.

We have to live with that. We had to exit some businesses because we simply couldn’t continue with that. However, it has also created a whole lot of opportunities because we were able to sit back and see what we can do for ourselves. And in sitting back to see what we can do for ourselves. We have to design new business models. We have to design new products. We had to design new customer segments such that our exposure to foreign exchange shortage could be minimal.

But you know it takes time to build, and as you are busy building, you still have to manage the environment as it is. We suspect that this would be the issue with any other company of our pedigree in our environment. What we pride ourselves in is that we would first reinvent ourselves with circumstances as dictated. We reinvented ourselves to the advantage of this situation and the issues that have been created by the dollar dependency status of our economy and its shortage at the time.

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