Mr. Manish Rohtagi is Business Head, Simba Group of Companies, Nigeria, an industry leader in tricycle and motorcycle manufacturing. In this interview, Rohtagi tells Sunday Vanguard that above any other objective, improving the lives of Nigerians remains the ultimate goal of Simba Group.
What has the working experience been like for you at Simba and in Nigeria?
I am very excited about the things we are doing at Simba. Our aim is to enhance the experience of our customers, but more importantly, to enhance the lives of Nigerians. I always wanted to travel new places, meet new people and over and above, I always wanted to extend my support to individuals, community and institutions. But more than achieving business objectives, what has given me immense satisfaction is the growth of people around me—and that is exactly what I am doing in Nigeria.
Tell us more about Simba Group and your TVS brand; what exactly is your focus as a business enterprise? Simba Group is a 30-year-old company in Nigeria. We started out precisely in 1988 and have various businesses that contribute to Nigeria’s sustained development. These include agriculture solution, alternate energy, commercial vehicle sales and service, textile clusters, networking and data services. We have been associated with TVS motors for over 10 years. Our focus is our shared belief in customer satisfaction. For us, we always look at giving solutions to consumers rather than giving them a product.
That way, we get more success So, what needs have you identified in Nigeria and what solutions have you provided? Employment is one need we have observed in Nigeria, especially amongst the youth population—if you don’t get them engaged, they look for alternate ways to get quick money. So, virtually all of the products and services we deal in provide employment opportunities. Where our impact is most meaningful is in the employment generation that our TVS vehicles create. First and foremost, there are the riders of the motorcycles and tricycles who earn a daily wage for ferrying passengers to and fro. Then there are our dealers, financers and fleet owners who play critical parts in our value chain and ensure that the vehicles are made available to potential owners and investors. Finally, there are the tens of thousands of mechanics and spare parts dealers who repair and service the vehicles and ensure that they are back ‘on road’ as soon as possible. In terms of corporate social responsibility, in what ways has your company contributed to the country’s development? We currently have several programmes to support the communities in which we operate. Perhaps, we are most proud of our Queen Riders programme, which promotes women’s empowerment and creates a safe ecosystem for women to enter the business of keke, helping them to purchase their vehicles and providing training in both safe driving and security. We also actively engage with the community through our Health Check-up Camps, where our vehicle riders are invited for Simba-sponsored personal health-screenings, which has included diabetes screening and eye check-ups, while we service their vehicles – for free. In Maiduguri, our TVS King tricycle has been used as an ambulance in the rural areas where no other vehicle can reach. So in essence, we are reaching out to places where we can impact the lives of Nigerian people. Remember that TVS also participated fully in supporting the Super Eagles during the FIFA Wold Cup 2018. TVS recently sponsored a dancing competition called “TVS ConfamNaija Dance”, can you tell us what that was all about? That was incredible. We had recently introduced a unique feature in our TVS King Deluxe keke – an in-built mp3 player. Our rider community loves it, and we were honoured to have the very talented artist Small Doctor record a special song for us. Then all of a sudden, people started posting videos on their social media profiles dancing to this special track. So we thought why not give a prize to the best dance group – and it all took off from there. The competition ran for about a month, and culminated in a grand finale in Lagos. To ensure fair-play and true reflection of talent, we brought on board Nigeria’s dance queen Kaffy, musician Small Doctor and BBNaija finalist, Alex Unusual, to judge the performances. The winners won N1,000,000, with second and third place getting N250,000 and N125,000 respectively. What are your company’s future plans? Our future plan is very clear. We want to be part of the great story of Nigeria and we are very confident that Nigeria is going to be one of the leading economies in the world. We want to be a dominant player in business, not only in the space we are operating in today but in various other businesses we plan to venture into.