(AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW AS CAPTURED BY VANGUARD NEWS)
Is there a noticeable vacuum in Nigeria’s business circuit that led to the conception of Eko Business Dinner, EBD?
Yes. With Nigeria’s economic situation today, one would advise collaboration and partnerships. There is also need for expediency; a diversified but unified approach to business will aid in achieving whichever targets the industry or the entrepreneur has.
This is why the Eko Business Dinner has been set up. After this maiden October 22 EBD, it is going to be held quarterly. It is a forum where people or heads of organisations with the same target can meet one-on-one and discuss issues, trends and solutions. This definitely enhances industrial collaboration and partnerships, which, hopefully, will lead to a synergy. In my opinion, Nigeria really needs such forum today to redress the current economic recession.
Who are your target audience and what is on offer at this business forum?
Our target audience, basically, is the business community, the professional community, governmental organisations, especially the financial institutions, as well as major players in oil and gas, agriculture and maritime sectors. Nigerians need to be heard on all levels.
The Eko Business Dinner is a cross-pollination of public servants, private individuals and foreign interests, all put together in one place for a period of time. It is a forum to discuss any and everything directly with the right persons. I reiterate, the right persons: local and foreign investors, and multinational organisations seeking trade and investment opportunities.
A choice number of foreign and indigenous banks will be in attendance, particularly to inform the people on how and where to procure single-digit interest rates for entrepreneurial development (SME) loans, infrastructural development loans (public and private sectors), government economic development schemes (such as agricultural) and large scale industrial finance.
It is a great forum for Nigerian states, organisations and businesses to inform the world of their economic strengths or needs, structures, natural resources and export potentials to a select and capable group of foreign and indigenous investors.
Participants should expect first-hand interaction with dignitaries and executives. They should also expect a bouquet of novel ideas, referrals, exchange of contacts and opportunities to acquire comfortable soft and long-term loans.
Is there a futuristic plan of Eko Business Dinner becoming a Business Club, with a charter and membership opportunities and privilege?
That is the intention. That is why this event is going to run on a quarterly basis. In less than five years, we hope that the Eko Business Dinner would have evolved into a movement and a point of reference on economic situational discussions and practical solutions. It will morph into a forum that can be used to influence government’s policy direction as it affects local and international businesses.
What are your thoughts on the economic recession?
Any concrete ideas on how the Federal Government can successfully navigate through these harsh times? As a strong patriot, I believe that President Muhammadu Buhari and his technocrats, including the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, are doing their best to alleviate the situation. We need to focus on local manufacturing and production, provide the necessary tools for increased export in food and meat and diversification of the economy.
And we are not in this for the long haul, because the administration is working pretty hard to make sure we get out of the recession. I believe in Nigeria and I am optimistic about poverty alleviation and trade/industrial growth of the nation.
With businesses closing and the massive job losses, do your international partners and associates still think Nigeria is investment-worthy?
Although it has become very bad at this point in our history, Nigeria, however, remains a haven for investment because of our vast human and natural resources. We can only continue to tell investors of the positive parts of our country, especially our export potentials amongst others and make efforts to reduce or share in their risk when they invest in Nigeria.
This is what the EBD is doing: bringing Nigerians to share in the risk of investors who bring their investments to the table in Nigeria. I would advise everyone that makes business decisions to pick tickets to the Eko Business Dinner. They will definitely be glad they did.
Any word for Nigerian start-ups, who may be losing confidence amid the recession?
The word recession comes from the word recess; which practically means a break or holiday. Our economy is only on a break— a short break. We will bounce back very shortly as President Buhari’s government is doing everything humanly possible to make sure of this
Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/10/nigeria-is-an-investment-haven-eko-business-dinner-coordinator/