We want to boost Nigeria’s local furniture industry – Okobie

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Chairman of leading furniture making company in Nigeria, Southwood Limited, formerly OfficeDepot, Mr Patrick Okobie has joined his voice to calls from the Manufactures Association of Nigeria, MAN, on the need for  federal government to quickly address Nigeria’s fast dwindling local manufacturing sector, saying that his company’s unwavering service would boost the nation’s local furniture making industry.

Mr Okobie made this call during the unveiling of his company’s new name and logo in Lagos recently. According to him,  the company changed its name from OfficeDepot to Southwood, to reflect the transformation and expansion that  has taken place  in the organisation.

He described the furniture market as ‘very large and expandable’ but regretted that the potentials of the sub-sector were yet to be fully tapped due to lack of finance and government support.

He however called on the government to provide small and medium entrepreneurs, SME’s with single digit interest loans to enable them grow the furniture market. According to him, local furniture makers cannot survive without access to finance.

The Southwood boss noted that before now, people preferred imported pieces of furniture to locally made due to differences in  quality and price. He however, expressed satisfaction that his company has been to provide quality and affordable furniture to individuals and organisations across the country.

“Actually, for years, individuals and businesses in search of affordable furniture had to sacrifice aesthetics and functionality to stay within budget; and we felt the need to offer a balance. Thus, Southwood was set up to bridge the gap between quality and affordability.

“Our primary goal is t provide complete customer satisfaction, guaranteed comfort and quality at affordable prices, with immediate delivery of all in-stock items. The quality of our products is higher and better than most of the imported ones and they can stand out anywhere in the world in terms of quality, durability and affordability.”

Okobie who recalled that Southwood was established in 2002 mainly as an importing firm but transformed from a mere importing company to a formidable indigenous furniture manufacturer.

He said the reasons for the new name and logo was to reflect the expansion and growth recorded over the years, adding that retaining the former name(Office Depot) would give the public the impression that the company was still an importing outfit.

“However, it has become necessary to let the public know that this organisation has grown so big that it now produces world class furniture using best machinery available.

It is the same company, same people providing same quality and value-added services”, he noted.

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