By Idris Bakare
The ongoing scarcity of laptops and personal computers (PCs) may worsen as industry experts are now projecting that the prevailing paucity may persist until the third quarter of 2021.
Previous reports indicate that the situation is a result of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and increased demand for units worldwide.
Equally important, global computer Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have admitted that there are no easy fixes or a quick way out of the current scarcity, with a number of paid-up orders already being recalibrated for shipment in April/May or June next year.
The situation has seen urgent requirements of laptops for business, learning and leisure needs grossly affected the world over.
Enquiries from major distributors in Dubai and Nigeria indicate that back-log of orders are still yet to be shipped. They insist that manufacturers, who are struggling to cope with supply chain disruptions, are finding it hard to clear their demand logs. The situation is the same with all the big players including HP, Lenovo, Dell, Asus, among others.
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest market, is one of the hardest hit by the current scarcity.
Consumers, including businesses, educational institutions and individual users, are bearing the brunt of the situation, with prices flying for the few available units in the market as greedy retailers cash in on the prevailing scarcity to jack up their margins.
A commentator, Bayo Oshunde, says the situation will get even worse as university students prepare to return to school in the face of a potential compromise between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which has been on a 10-month strike and the Federal Government.
‘‘The scarcity is really biting hard here in Nigeria. Prices are at an all-time high for few systems available in the market and a number of sellers are taking a pound of flesh from consumers as a result.
‘‘But this is just the beginning for Nigeria. In my opinion, the situation is going to get even worse before it gets better. Right now, the Federal Government has made a few significant concessions to ASUU and the word on the street is that the strike may be called off soon.
“The resumption of university students will put even greater pressure on demand for laptops, PCs and other devices.
‘‘The downside of this is that many of our students in their final or penultimate years in school, whose parents or guardians cannot afford to compete for the heavily-priced few units on sale, will be forced to enter the already overstretched and fiercely-competitive labour market as analogue graduates,” he lamented.