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Enterpreneur tasks FG on effective policies to encourage SMEs




Lagos, March 13, 2019 An entrepreneur, Mr Muyideen Ibrahim, has urged the Federal Government to formulate effective policies that would encourage and keep Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) in the country in business.

Ibrahim, who gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Lagos, said that ensuring effective policies should be part of agenda setting for President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in the next four years.

He also urged the government to enforce the local content implementation in SMEs as way to encourage local manufacturers, adding that it would drive the economy to a greater height.

Ibrahim, who is the Chief Executive Officer of BAMIB Resources and Investments Company Ltd (BRIC), said that government should encourage all its agencies and parastatals to patronise locally produced goods, noting that would encourage local manufacturers to do more.

According to him, government should also place technical ban on goods that could be readily produced in the country.

“I honestly think that the government should do the needful as it was done in the agricultural sector for all products. This will encourage more people to venture into small scale manufacturing.

“There is need for government to also implement Executive Orders 3 and 5 to the letter.

“All the industrial estates should be resuscitated and made to function maximally or optimally,’’ he said.

Ibrahim said: “Government should as a matter of fact do more since it is an established fact that SMEs propel the economy of any nation, and focusing on them will eventually move the country forward in all ramifications.

“These include job creation, employment opportunities, creative tendencies and contributions to the Gross Domestic Products among others.

“Areas that should be addressed are funding, provision of infrastructure such as good roads, constant power supply etc.”

Ibrahim, whose company manufactures pencils, urged government to make available incubation centers in all local government areas of the country, adding that such should be under the purview of National Board for Technology Incubation, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.

He said that government needed to be serious in setting up the this incubation centres across the states to ease SMEs business environment.

“If entrepreneurs are housed in clusters inside the various Incubation Centres, production of goods and services will become cheaper and they will be able to compete favourably with their Chinese counterparts with respect to pricing.

“Funding is also very key; the government should make funds available at single digit interest. Not more than five per cent with at least 18 months Moratorium.

“Aside from the foregoing, there ought to be business consultants who will be mentoring entrepreneurs,’’ Ibrahim added.


Maiden Offa economic summit to aid emergence of new enterpreneurs – Organisers



Dr Raji Ahmed, the Chiarman of the organising committee of  Offa Maiden Economic Summit 2019 scheduled for Friday and Saturday said it would aid the emergence of young entrepreneurs

Raji said this at a media briefing in Offa on Wednesday.

The summit with the theme, “Transformation of Offa as an Emerging City – Prospect and Challenges,” is being jointly organised by Offa Club 80 and Offa Desecedants Union(ODU).

Raji said such new breed entrepreneurs were needed to midwife great industrial projects in Offa and its environs.

He said the committee had perfected plans to inaugurate Offa Industrial Development Trust Fund Committee during the summit as a way of achieving the desired objective.

“Part of the functions of the trust fund committee is to raise fund and manage it in such away that the establishment of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be encouraged.

“This is also going to lead to establishment of an industrial park in the town when enough money has been generated.

“Essentially, the summit is to rejuvenate the economy of the ancient town and yield concrete results in terms of emergence of new crops of enterpreneurs.

“The summit basically is also to formulate our own domestic economic policy for between five to 10 years rolling plan in terms of industrialisation,” he said

Prof. Adegboyega Olatunji, the President of Offa Club 80, in his remarks, described the summit as a veritable platform for exchange of ideas and building network.

According to him, such initiative was needed to transform business concepts into reality.

He disclosed that the summit would play host to distinguished personalities such as Dr Sarah Alade, a retired Central Bank (CBN) Deputy Governor, who would be the lead speaker at the summit.

Olatunji said Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo as well as Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara were also expected at the summit.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the logo for the maiden summit was unveiled at the palace of the Olofa of Offa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi, on Sept. 19, 2018.

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Science & Technology

NGO urges enterpreneurs to learn ICT usage for business



An NGO, the Hi-Tech Centre for Women and Youths, on Friday urged enterpreneurs to learn how to use Information Communication Technology (ICT) to do business.

The centre’s President, Dr Wummi Hassan, told the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja that learning the use of ICT for business would enable Nigerians become producers, not just users.

According to her, for the country to diversify its economy, there is a need to build local content knowledge to develop the country so that importation can be reduced to the barest minimum.

Hassan urged Nigerians to change their attitudes and concentrate on developing research and acquiring new skills.

“Let us embrace local content knowledge because the things we are importing into the country are as a result of those countries’ developed research and skills.

“As we cannot think of diversification without building knowledge, so people need to build a lot of knowledge in the area of skills acquisition.

“This will help them do things differently from how they have been doing it and they will have multiple sources of income.

“Children are not left out of this as they can also learn skills in the areas of pastry, bead making and a host of other things,’’ she said.

The Hi-Tech president said that to encourage local content knowledge, the centre was training children and youths in its Summer Academy on diverse use of ICT.

She said that the participants would be engaged in indigenous designs related to hardware, software and other relevant skills for solving immediate national challenges.

Hassan said that they would also be trained on how to commercialise their invented products and services, and be empowered with ICT tools for entrepreneurship development.

“The 2017 Summer Academy Camp which commences in Lagos for the South-West on July 30 is a yearly event and will also be held in other geo-political zones.

“For the North-Central it will hold in Abuja, Kaduna for North-West,  Akwa-Ibom for the South-South and Taraba for the North-East.

“The camp for us in Hi-Tech is a time to gather children in primary and secondary schools to be trained in graphics, robotics and coding.

“We are training them in things that can build their intellectual capability to be creative through innovations so they can start to develop solutions that can be applied to several areas.”

Hassan said that if children could build their intellectual capability early, it would go a long way in the nation’s quest to have a society where knowledge economy would play a major role.

Edited by: Oluyinka Fadare/Grace Yussuf


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Night clubs affected by near absence of big spenders — Enterpreneur



The manager of Rumours Nightclub, Tobi Ashiru, has complained about the slow pace of business and the near absence of big spenders at the leisure facility.

Ashiru told the Nigeria News Agency on Tuesday in Lagos that the lull had made most club owners to explore more creative approaches to boost their businesses.

“One of the biggest challenges for nightclub owners is not just attracting crowd, but getting the biggest spenders through the door.

“The difficulty comes though, not only from getting customers in the door, but maintaining profitable margins at the same time.

“There is an old saying in the club business, which I’m sure, applies to most businesses, turnover is vanity, margins are sanity,’’ he said.

The manager told NAN that payment of salaries and other expenses are being affected by the slow pace of business.

“We have to worry about the health of the businesses, and managing all of our employees, while also trying to find new ways to attract the best crowds and the biggest spenders.

“With so much going on, it can be very easy for things to fall out of place or to get overlooked.

“Re-invention and thinking outside the box in order to drive up falling sales is certainly the best and possibly the only way to survive in the hospitality business at the moment,’’ he said.

He told NAN that the prevailing situation had made it mandatory for nightclub owners to continuously adopt bold and creative measures to build profit margins.

“I believe that having repeat guests or regulars; can help build one’s profit margin because there is no incremental advertising or marketing expense to bring them in.

“Additionally, providing valuable word-of-mouth advertising, asking customers to sign up for online newsletter to notify clients about special upcoming events at the club.

“Sending them discount coupons with each edition of the newsletter and tracking how many of these are redeemed can help profit margin.

“You can have one of the hottest venues in your city by consistently providing an exceptional guest experience,’’ Ashiru said.

(Edited by: Emmanuel Okara and Controlled by Peter Ejiofor)

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General news

COVID-19: NGO distributes palliatives to entrepreneurs in Ilorin



An Ilorin-based Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Tamirah Well-being Initiative, has distributed food items to enterpreneurs in Ilorin   to cushion the effects of the lockdown aimed at curtailing the spread of the COVID-19.

The founder of the NGO, Mrs Rukayat Yahaya, said  at the presentation of the palliatives in Ilorin that the gesture would go a long way in assisting beneficiaries.

She said her desire to assist entrepreneurs in the state was borne out of the zeal and determination to mitigate the negative impacts occasioned by COVID-19.

Yahaya, who is the CEO of Tamirah Digital, commended the state government, especially, the Technical Committee on COVID-19, for supporting the NGO with 200 bags of 5kg rice, 200 cartons of spaghetti and 25 bags of sugar.

She said that no fewer than 1,120 business owners had registered online to benefit from the NGO’s initiative.

The NGO, she added, gave palliatives to no fewer than 200 people in the first and second phases of the initiative.

Yahaya solicited for the continuous assistance of the state government in the area of loans and special grants for entrepreneurs in order to surmount the challenges of a postCOVID-19 era.

Earlier, the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy affairs, Hajia Aishat Ahman-Patigi, had commended the NGO for its gesture.

The commissioner explained that government alone could not bear the responsibility of providing for the needy and called for more  support  from NGOs.

She added that  government would be ready to work with responsibile NGOs to move the state forward.

Ahman-Patigi urged small business owners not to see the COVID-19 as a threat to their businesses but rather as an opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial skills and potentials

Some of the beneficiaries, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria , expressed gratitude to the NGO and urged government at all levels to assist them with grants.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)




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20th NIPOGA games open in Ilorin



No fewer than 3,040 athletes from across the country have converged on Ilorin to participate at the 20th edition of Nigeria polytechnics games (NIPOGA) holding at the Kwara capital from Feb. 5 to Feb. 16.

The Nigeria News Agency , reports that the biannual Polytechnic games will feature not less than 51 institutions that will compete for honours in 14 sporting events.

Declaring the games open at the Kwara state polytechnic sports complex, the state Deputy Governor, Mr Kayode Alabi urged the participating institutions to abide by the rules of the games.

He added that through sacrifices, perseverance and hard work, the games would play a significant role towards boosting the federal government’s efforts in nation building.

Alabi restated the state government pro-activeness in bringing change to the sport sector through active participation in sporting activities.

He advised all participating institutions, athletes and officials to display high level of discipline and tolerance during and after the games as he assured them of peaceful stay in the state of harmony.

The deputy governor also stressed that the games will further foster unity and create mental alertness among the participating institutions.

Earlier, Rector, Kwara State Polytechnic, Dr Abdul Mohammad implored the athletes to demonstrate the spirit of sportsmanship, especially at difficult situations.

Mohammed noted that the host institution has excelled in several fields of endeavour, especially in the areas of sports and enterpreneur and stand out as an institution to beat in the comity of institutions.

Climax of the opening ceremony of the biannual polytechnic games was the unveiling of the mascot, lighting of the touch of unity and match past by participating institutions.

As at the time of this report, a match between host institution, Kwara State Polytechnic and Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra, which was part of the opening ceremony remained goalless.

Other top government officials and top dignitaries that graced the occasion were the speaker, Kwara state house of Assembly, Yakubu Danladi, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Zulu Gambari, Alhaji Issa Logun (Chief of Staff) among others.

Edited By: Felix Ajide

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FG reaffirms deep economic relations with Turkey



The Federal Government has reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen economic relations with the Turkish government to boost trade and investment.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the Nigeria-Turkey Business Forum organised by Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), a leading business organisation in Turkey.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the business forum was organised to pave way for both countries’ private sector enterpreneurs to transact business and enable Turkish cooperation to invest in Nigeria.

Adebayo said the event underscored the need for both political and economic cooperation between the two countries, adding that the relationship between Nigeria and Turkey dated back to 1957.

He said that the bilateral relationship had witnessed significant improvement in recent times and Turkey had become a destination and home for many Nigerians.

According to the minister, the forum has a future full of possibilities in the areas of agriculture, mining, oil and gas, textile, manufacturing, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and special economic zones development.

“The present administration understands the role of the private sector as the key driver of the economy and is committed to making Nigeria one of the most attractive countries in terms of Ease of Doing business in the world.

“Some policies have also been introduced to remove some bottlenecks in the economic development in the government’s quest to diversify the economy.

“Executive Order 001 was signed on the Ease of Doing Business with the aim of promoting transparency, accountability in the business environment,” the minister added.

He said that its implementation had positioned Nigeria as a performing country in the Ease of Doing Business tracking.

Adebayo also said that the ministry developed the Nigerian Industrial Master Plan, a strategic plan for industrialisation and also endeavoured to find where Nigeria had comparative advantage.

Earlier, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, the President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in an opening speech emphasised on how best to advance cooperations between the two countries.

Speaking on “What A Turkish-Nigerian Strategic Partnership Should Look Like” he said that Turkey was a major defence item producer, a major ship building country, and an all round growing industrial power.

He said that Nigeria on the other hand required massive amounts of infrastructure development in road and rail transport, power generation, transmission and distribution, health and education.

He said Nigeria also needed technological assistance, skills development and investments in developing its oil and gas sector, particularly in petroleum refining and gas liquefaction value chain.

“The Nigerian Armed Forces requires access to modern weapons systems, especially those relevant to the new war, asymmetric warfare, counter-insurgency campaigns, trans-border banditry and tactical support for internal security forces.

“These can be purchased from Turkey for immediate and strategic supplies when needed to build a strategic relationship.

“A Turkish-Nigerian Strategic Partnership should see both countries leveraging on each other’s strengths to fortify their own vulnerabilities and preserve their independence of action,” he said.

He urged the DEIK led Turkish- Nigeria Business Council as well as the Nigeria-Turkish Business Council to create continuous links between Turkish industry, exporters and investors, and their Nigerian counterparts.

This, he said could be achieved through organising regular exhibitions, Expos, Trade Fairs, and matchmaking for Turkish concerns in Nigeria, organising tours of Turkey and Turkish industrial concerns for Nigerian industrialists.

Furthermore, he tasked the DEIK, Turkish Central Bank, Turkish Export Credit Bank to work with Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Export-Import Bank, and organised private sector.

He said that the partnership would foster necessary financial instruments for large scale Turkish investment in Nigeria and vice versa.

ACCI president equally called for industrial cooperation, adding that Nigeria had large and growing need for steel, aluminum and glass, but with a very weak steel and metallurgy industrial base and production capacity.

He said that the weak industrial base made it difficult for the country to meet its needs in spite ofbsignificant potential for expansion.

The Turkish Minister of Trade, Mrs Ruhsar Pekcan in an address described Nigeria as one of its largest trading partner in the African continent.

Pekcan noted that the relations between Nigeria and Turkey was based on the trade agreement signed in 1982,  while liquefied natural gas was being imported from Nigeria to Turkey since 1999.

According to Pekcan, Turkey also imports from Nigeria cocoa, cola nuts, metal, tin ore, rubber, zinc, crude petroleum and coal products while it exports construction materials, Agriculture machineries, steel and electronic products to Nigeria.

“Turkish Airline fly to Nigeria in three different points, namely, Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt to contribute to enhancing bilateral and economic relations,” she said.

She also expressed Turkish government’s readiness to strengthen economic and bilateral partnership with Nigeria.

Edited by: Ese E. Ekama

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General news

Babangida urges Northerners to unite in tackling region’s challenges 



The former Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu has called on Northerners to emulate the late Premier of Northern region Sir Ahmadu Bello and promote his legacies.

Aliyu, who is the Chairman, Board of Trustees of Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation, made the appeal on Monday in Kaduna at a reception for the new management of the foundation.

He said northerners must rise up to the challenges of leadership and find ways to tackle the unending problems of poverty and backwardness especially in education.

“When you talk of children out of school, when you talk of extreme poverty, you see it in this part of the world.

“The northern part of the country needs to do more extra ordinary things to fight the challenges properly,” he said.

The former governor noted that the North is endowed with resources in mining and agriculture which must be harnessed for the growth of the region.

“Up till now, the Agricultural output has not been in commercial quantity, we should be able to coordinate our activities so that we can take what we call a comparative advantage in Agriculture, mining and other areas,” he said.

Aliyu however said that northerners need to unite in order to create the necessary environment to effectively fight the numerous challenges in the region.

“That is why we think it is important to continue to celebrate the legacies of Sir Ahmadu Bello.

“The love for one another whether Christian or Muslim, deliberately developing one another the way Sir Ahmadu Bello did.

“Our governors in the 19 northern states are not giving the needed cooperation that will help us; we need to do more than what we were doing, we need to double our efforts.

“The northern states must unite regardless of which party you have used to win the elections,” he stressed.

A former Minister of Education, Prof. Rukaiyya Rufai said government and the foundation are putting together strategic plans to address challenges affecting the north.

She particularly said that the foundation was targeting the education sector and had positioned a high level research team to develop a roadmap to tackle challenges in the sector.

“By the time the report is out, I assure you that you will know that the foundation is doing much to address the issues in our education sector,” she said.

On her part, Dr Fati Ibrahim, blamed northern leaders for the region’s myriads of problems in all facets of life including education and security.

“We should sit down and have sober reflections of what is happening, the women are thinking of coming out to the streets to show their greviancies,” she said.

She challenged those taking over the leadership of the Sir Ahmadu Bello foundation to do more than what their predecessors did.

The outgoing Managing Director, Dr Shatima Ali said the foundation since its establishment in 1999, had trained 2,900 young men and women in various skills and vocational enterpreneurship, and offered scholarship to 600 youths in tertiary institutions.

“The foundation has tried as much as possible to bring the people of Northern states to emphasis the need for unity in diversity and that of peaceful co-existence in the north.”

He said the foundation had also spent over N2 billion in carrying out various projects across the 19 northern states including the building of its office.

Ali assured that he would continue to be part of the foundation in whatever capacity.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Abubakar Gambo-Umar, an engineer, is the new Managing Director of the foundation, with Dr Haruna Jumma as Director, Finance Adminstration. 

Edited by: Josephine Obute/Maharazu Ahmed

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NGO to train 5,,000 youths on modern enterprenuership skills in 7 states



A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), 21st Century Entrepreneurs Hub, plans to train 5,000 youths in seven northern states on modern enterpreneurship skills as part of effort to promote self-reliance and productivity.

Its Chairman, Mr Umar Idris, disclosed this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Monday in Sokoto.

Idris said the organisation had already trained 500 youths in Sokoto state, adding that other states to benefit from the training in 2020 are Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Niger, Nassarawa and Zamfara states.

According to him, coordinators have been appointed in each of the states.

Idris noted that there were youths in northern Nigeria with potential in agro-allied businesses and solid mineral resources.

The chairman added that the platform showcases products and services produced by young entrepreneurs in Sokoto as well as cultivation of a networking environment among entrepreneurs.

“It creates inter-trade among young entrepreneurs, learning and sharing innovative methods of exploiting the vast natural resources and means that benefits the population.

“`It shares resources, raising awareness and providing skills training to potential entrepreneurs around the world to foster entrepreneurship.

“It also inspires communities to collaborate, and share their networks and markets to help their rising start-ups to thrive.

“It also enhances networking and facilitating ecosystems connect amongst all stakeholders providing viable platform for continued discussion and deliberations for promotion of entrepreneurship in Sokoto,’’ Idris said.

He said the initiative was targeted at inculcating financial discipline and focus on business in tapping available resources.

He added that the training would promote women and youth entrepreneurs by connecting them with opportunities, resources and building their capacities to leverage digital skills to develop and manage their enterprises.

He said the training was part of Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), an annual event that brings together thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and other startup champions.

According to him, the event is conducted in about 170 countries to identify new ways of helping founders start and scale new ventures around the world.

He further explained that under the annual global initiative, at least 10 million people would participate in 39,000 simultaneous events over a week.

Idris said that during the event, participants shared common objective of fuelling start-up and scaling of ecosystems which create more jobs, accelerate innovation, strengthen economic growth and create avenues for entrepreneurship education.

“The programme promotes large scale start-up competitions and workshops to small, community discussions and reaches new audiences, as well as connect participants to a network that can help them take the next step, no matter where they are on their entrepreneurial journey,’’ he said.

According to him, work start-up champions are going around the world to minimise barriers and obstacles for entrepreneurs by maximising inclusion, while celebrating diversity in all forms, including women and youth in entrepreneurship.

He said governments and policymakers were gingered through awareness in making policy to help local entrepreneurs start and scale, increase knowledge and capabilities of existing MSMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs.

“The participants were avail with opportunities to explore different investment options under one roof by bringing seasoned entrepreneurs, bankers, agribusiness firms, Bank of Industry and other relevant agencies” he added.

Edited by: Johnson Eyiangho/ Tukur Muntari.

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Ogun Govt. warns against quackery in medical practice




The Ogun Government, on Thursday, warned quacks, who parade themselves as medical practitioners to quit the practice in the state or face the wrath of the law.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Adesanya Ayinde, gave this warning at an entrepreneural training, which was organised for the final year students of the School of Nursing, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta.

Ayinde described quackery as a way of indulging in practices outside one’s scope of knowledge, as accordimg to him, the medical field is multi-faceted enough for practitioners.

He warned that this untoward practice could lead to loss of lives and or threats to the lives of unsuspecting persons patronising the quacks.

“We know how to reach out to quacks with the long hand of the law. It is, therefore, a responsibility for various stakeholders to collaborate with the present administration to get rid of quacks in Ogun State,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary, who lauded the leadership of the school, said that the training would make the student nurses, upon graduation, not to be desperate in search of white collar jobs.

“And it will enable you have an alternative source of income when you get your dream job,” he said.

In her remarks, the school principal, Mrs Dele Alonge, called on the public to desist from patronising unskilled health workers, stressing that whoever wished to become medical practitioners should take the pain to go through the training.

Alonge further noted that the enterpreneural skills as a course, being taught in the school was brought into the curriculum by the regulatory body to equip the nurses upon graduation with essential skills.

Speaking in an interview, two of the final year student nurses, Taoheed Eniola and Akinbona Gbenga, expressed satisfaction with the course, saying that it would afford them the opportunity to use their off days judiciously.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the students were trained in soap making, baking, head gear making and make-up among others.

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