By Ima Nkanta

The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city. Ecclesiastes 10:15

Many are hopeful, prayerful and pushful just to have an advantage in the Pastor Umo Eno’s administration. It is a good move because his government will accommodate everybody, especially those who have positioned themselves in such an attractive package that becomes irresistible.

The above quoted scripture opens us to the fact that not everyone gets the desired results. Why? Some do not know how to get to the city. The city in advertising language is the target audience where your products will find enough buyers.

No matter how hard one labours, if he doesn’t get his goods to the target buyers, he will remain poor and negligible. And the scripture says he will wear out himself and maybe his staff or investors.

Why does he wear out resources trying without success? Plato says: “Better be unborn than untaught, for ignorance is the root of misfortune.”

Ignorance is a major adversary in attempts at success. Micro small and medium enterprises (MSME) are the engine room of any economy.

 It is a sad trend that small businesses will start today and wind down tomorrow, blaming their failure on someone or something else, whereas the real problem is ignorance of how to run the business.

A sage said, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

Pastor Umo Eno’s economic blueprint is explained in the Arise Agenda, smart people who have interest working or doing business with the administration should study it and find where their skills and ideas fit in. 

The old narrative says that appointment into public office does not necessarily border on individual’s competence or ideas but on political exigencies. This narrative may not fly with Pastor Umo Eno’s administration because excellence has been his lifestyle. I do not see mediocre hanging around the corridors of power in this dispensation.

As an entrepreneur, whose goal is to fill identified gaps and lift citizens off the crutches of poverty; I am not certain his administration will roll out boilerplates. He will prioritize productivity over politicking.

So, when you are pushing hard for  an appointment, what do you have to offer to advance the agenda of government?

Those who will benefit more from this new administration are the productivity-wired: who have businesses, talents, skills and turnkey knowledge of job creation opportunities.

Pastor Umo Eno wants every Akwa Ibomite to return to work. His belief is that if we are all productively engaged, especially young people, political hooliganism, criminality and violence will be reduced. Joblessness, he said, is the breeding ground for criminality.

Think agriculture

Agriculture and rural development provide an endless pool of opportunities. Begin to think agriculture. Consider which service or product will have a direct impact on job creation and poverty alleviation in the rural areas. If you have a clue, you are the highflyer Pastor Umo Eno is looking for.

From food cultivation, production, storage and marketing; rural people can be massively engaged. The development direction of Umo Eno’s government signposts commercial farming, education, low income housing development, transportation, health, water supply, towards the rural areas. So think global, invest rural!

Gone are the days essential services were left alone in the hands of government. Elsewhere, smart and creative business persons are filling these gaps in rural areas, with positive spiralling impact on the communities.

The business of agriculture

There is an expected boom in the business of agriculture in rural areas. A greater percentage of rural residents are farmers but on a micro scale family basis. The Umo Eno administration will upscale the business of agriculture to commercial basis.

As the first Executive Director on Agricultural Investments, he had conducted enumeration of farmers in Akwa Ibom. The data of farmers have been primed and ready for use in identifying potential farmers who could go commercial. Join the boom train in agriculture now.

Blessing Akpan is the CEO of Inyene Agro Farms. She is also the deputy hub lead for Scale Up Nutrition Business Network, a project of United Nations covering South-South region of Nigeria.

Blessing started cassava production and processing a few years ago on a micro level. Today, her business has a web of opportunities for others to leverage on. She is angling to go nuclear with opportunities the new government has in agriculture.

She said: “The plan at Inyene Agro Farms is to scale up our agricultural presence by establishing new processing outlets in other LGAs of the state.”

“This will help us connect with smallholder farmers in rural areas to increase food production for security. We are also expanding our marketing coverage to curb post-harvest loss.”

Her outreaches to Rivers, Edo, Cross River, Delta and Bayelsa states will reposition Akwa Ibom as a centre of agricultural revolution in the Niger Delta region that will “house the nation’s database of farmers and help in ensuring nutritious food for all,” she noted.

Her anticipated boom in agribusiness under the new administration is egging her on to open Inyene Agro cooperative society for more investments.

“As we are birthing a new 5tons capacity factory, Inyene Agro is set to acquire this facility owned by Akwa Ibom State government. This new phase of scaling up has opened another investment opportunity for just few persons to be part of our new level, with few slots available for investment with an RoI of 30% per annum,” she stated. 

Like Blessing, other smart entrepreneurs are poised to benefit from the administration. Among them are motor dealership businessmen. If you come into Uyo city through Ikot Ekpene axis, you will find car shops splintered on both sides of the road. Some of these car shops have just a few vehicles for sale, others have closed down for a while, yet few are busy with different makes of vehicles.

The Akwa Ibom State chapter of Motor Dealers Association has a plan to rejuvenate the car sales business and attract more investments, create employment opportunities and boost the IGR of the state. The plan is to coordinate car dealership business in the state from individual shops into a composite market structure where you have a grouping of equities, indexes, or other investment securities in a standardized way.

This way, car dealership business will experience boom because the strength of grouping similar investments in a world of its own, with supportive facilities such as banks, hotels, business bureaus, car parts, etc., will attract more locals, foreigners and government attention. This will operate like the America’s Car Mart which started in 1981 with dealership of used cars, and has morphed into a huge investment with chains of dealerships; creating employment opportunities.

How will this work in Akwa Ibom State? Pastor Robert D. Bob is the chairman of Akwa Ibom Motor Dealers Association, with 6000 members. The body has already drawn out a plan on how the new administration can partner it for Ibom Car Mart dream to be realized.

Pastor Bob, who is a younger brother to Uyo senatorial political leader, Senator Effiong Bob explains: “Our association is set with the plan to create mass employment in line with the Arise Agenda blueprint of the new administration. All we need is the political will of the government for this partnership to roll. Our members have already bought into the plan of the new government.”

The advantages of Ibom Car Mart are that it will encourage growth and development of the sector, engender cost effectiveness, as customers are availed with different makes within the motor dealership community. The mart will also enhance tourism and security. Customers will not sweat over parts, as a segment stocking original parts will form part of the car mart community.

Similarly, a business development consultant, Sunny Ekott and project coordinator, Ibom Christian Alliance for Resources and Economic development (ICARE) is coordinating clusters of enterprise-minded church based youths to benefit from the Umo Eno administration.

“We set up this organization ahead of the new government. Our mission is to identify, harness, train and coordinate the available resources within the reach of Christians in Akwa Ibom State to transform the state from consumption to a production economy.”

ICARE is collaborating churches and NGOs to conduct its programmes on senatorial district bases. Areas of focus include production and distribution of cosmetics, disinfectants and paints. It also trains on processing and packaging of agro products, local spices and cooking ingredients for exports.  ICARE has seeks partnership for start-up kits for the budding entrepreneurs.

Quest News 24

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