The Chief Executive of FODION Consultants and organizers of South West Investment Forum and Trade Exhibition,(SWIFT 2017) Mr Olakunle Aderemi in an interview with our state Editor, BAYO AKAMO speaks on the Investment Forum and Trade Exhibition. Excerpts:
What is the Southwest investment and Exhibition Summit about?
FODION Consultants Ltd in partnership with Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), presents, The Southwest Investment Forum & Trade (SWIFT 2017), an Annual trade, Exhibition & Summit event, where the potentials, successes, economic integration and way forward for this vibrant region will be exhibited, discussed and constructive way forward put together.
What do you hope to achieve from it?
It will afford foreign Investors, Local & International Business people, to see first hand, what South Western States of Nigeria, has to offer, as well as investment opportunities within the state.
Grab a foothold in the investment opportunities across the world, which is bursting with lucrative business opportunities, meet the most influential decision-makers in various Industries. Have the opportunity to participate in leading interactive seminars running simultaneously with the exhibition boost access to Government officials, network with new and existing stakeholders relevant to your Business needs and goals. Opportunity to pick and choose whom to work with.
What would be the likely benefits of the Southwest Investment and Exhibition Summit?
It will make your products and services visible it will
develop new contacts and strengthen existing ones. It will also enable you to meet with highly targeted audience. Interact with people who have managerial and decision making responsibilities in their institution. Reach more prospects in 2 days than your team can reach in three months. Increase your over all profit margin and build awareness of what your Business can offer Customers, Investors & Inventors. Meet with key clients and Business partners. Be up-to-date with the newest trends in your competitive market.
Influence and understand Investor’s needs, perceptions and taste. Gather competitive intelligence and make competitive comparisons and be part of a revolutionising event
What are the objectives of this exhibition?
The specific objectives of the exhibition are, to present infrastructure opportunities to tailor-made investors, highlight the potentials of each South Western state, Businesses and SMEs to change the perception of investing in South West Nigeria, to facilitate direct access to key officials from each state in South West, to facilitate direct access to key officials in the Business Private Sector, to identify serious and interested investors to engage with the South West PPP market, to assist South West states, prepare their investment opportunities up to a bankable benchmark.
To showcase all available Investment Opportunities across the South Western States of Nigeria, to profile the state in a marketable manner for investors and to provide opportunities for private Businesses, Investors & Inventors during the Exhibition.
What are the features of the exhibition?
The Six Southwest Governors of Nigeria, making presentations about Investment opportunities in their respective State. Foreign Investors, who will meet with SMEs, State & Private Businesses.
Business to Government breakout sessions. Opportunity to showcase New Inventions.Two Day Exhibition of Local & International Businesses.
What impact do you think this summit will have on the economy of the region?
The South West is the economic hub of Nigeria. However, there have been limiting factors that have not allowed organisations, foreign Investors, Businesses to harness the full potentials of these region, this summit, intends to bring to the fore, all the opportunities, advantages, tax reliefs and many more that this region has to offer. It will open doors for investment into the SME sector, which is the main driver of the economy.
What informed your choice of participants at the summit?
Virtually all the sectors of the Nigerian economy is represented in the southwest. It is therefore important to have all the sectors participate, help them maximise their full potentials, give others opportunities to see and network with companies, whom otherwise lots of people don’t know anything about.
The region was known for agriculture and manufacturing in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Will the summit be looking at how to revitalize these sectors?
Agriculture and manufacturing still remains the core of what keeps the southwest Nigeria growing and attracting foreign Investment. However, unfortunately several factors have contributed to deplete these region of some businesses. The Southwest Investment Exhibition & Summit, will be looking, alongside DAWN and the six state governments on processes, procedures and opportunities to revitalise these industries.
There are talks about regional integration. Will the summit be looking at the possibility of economic integration for the region?
One of the core reasons for this event is economic integration, which is why FODION Consultants is working with DAWN in organising this event. It is better to come together, tap into our collective abilities and potentials, rather than work alone. We achieve more working together. Its all about the team.
What are your plans for SMEs that will participate in the summit?
We are inviting foreign & local funders, private & local funders, private & local investors to attend this event. One of the key areas that will add value to our region is SMEs, which will have focal attention. This sector is key to revitalising the southwest region. In addition, in line with our corporate social responsibility, we will be looking at new inventions that need funding and our team of funders & investors, will be picking up to five inventions and fund same, like Angel Investors.
Nigeria is currently in recession. How do you think we can exit this?
Nigeria’s recession is due to lack of realistic economic direction. Government should focus on empowering SMEs, make the banks give them loans with less interest rates, fix a realistic rate for exchange rates like they did for those that went on pilgrimages. This will encourage investors as well as local businesses, at the same time, quality of goods produced must be monitored and export greatly encouraged. Government should be seen to steer clear of trying to run businesses, they should focus on governance. In the United Kingdom, the government established United Kingdom Trade & Investment, UKTI works with government to formulate business policies that are realistic. Business should be left to business people and not everyone is a business person.
Fiscal discipline is also key in getting Nigeria out of recession. The administration, needs to be open in her activities, report directly to the people, encourage criticism and encourage the private sector drive the economy.
Which sectors of the economy should the government be paying attention to as a way of growing the economy?
The government should encourage all sectors of the economy, come up with incentives for each sector to attract locals and foreigners alike to want to invest and work. There are too many red tapes now set in place by government that frustrates investors, local businesses & SMEs. An example is the amount of documentation that is needed by foreign companies to register a business and open business account. These things are done online in Europe and done within 10 minutes in the comfort of your home or office. Government has got to invest in modern technology, modern practices, invest heavily in alternative source of electricity as PHCN has failed Nigeria greatly. Most importantly, let them put square pegs in square hole, not the other way round.
What should the government be doing about the rate of Naira?
The ridiculous and embarrassing exchange rate is man made. There is nothing special about UK or USA that our dear Naira will be exchanged for that. Government should open up her systems to compete effectively with these countries. Nigeria is far blessed, Nigerians are much more intelligent and result oriented than these countries. These countries have run by non indigenes. In this 21st century, we must ensure that our currency is our pride.