Tuesday, October 8, 2013


There are many reasons why Nigerians prefer to consume imported goods and services. Over the years, Government has advocated the consumption of local goods and services in order to improve productivity and create jobs. It has always embarked on fiscal policies such as import embargo, tariffs and duties to discourage importation of producible goods. In fact, Nigeria has been stupid over the years to import goods and services it can easily produce.

Beyond the above measures, we need to analyse the reasons Nigerians buy foreign made goods and services rather than being ‘patriotic’ to buy locally made alternatives. I shall attempt to highlight some of these reasons below.

Number one: Prestige.
Forget it. We like to show off at the least provocation. Even the traders in the market know it, and on approaching any, will make you believe their products are imported. For example, an Aba made shoe will be inscribed as Italian just to make a quick sale. ‘Aba-Made’ is synonymous with inferior quality. The reason for this practice is not farfetched. We indeed produce inferior goods and we must admit it. Until we improve our quality, this perception will not go away and to improve quality, there has to be (1) Conscious Government policy on Vocational and Technical Skills development (not University education alone. ASUU una hear !!!!!) (2) Quality Control which Standard Organisation of Nigeria is responsible for and must wake up. We are tired of their burning of imported inferior goods on television. Na only that one dem sabi !!!!!!

Number Two: Quality.
Nowadays, even if you want a quality building finishing such as POP, neat carpentry works etc, don’t go for a Nigerian, but look for a Benin man (not Benin city o. I mean Benin Republic). They are sought after and often ‘imported’ across the border from Cotonou. We travel all the way to Senegal to design and sew African traditional attires. Kai !!!! What has gone wrong is what I mentioned above: lack of Vocational and Technical Skills in our educational policy. Education is not only ASUU and their seasonal madness of strikes. In fact, in order climes Technical and Vocational skill are emphasised at all levels. Most of the expatriate workers in our oil industry (and others) are actually technicians who know the practical. Not degree and masters carrying engineer who cannot operate a machine.  If the quality of our goods and services are comparable, I bet you that Nigerian will buy not minding if they are Aba-made or imported.

Number Three: Price
Competitive pricing of goods and services is a major factor in our decision to patronise our own. I hear that imported palm oil is cheaper in our markets than local ones. Infrastructural bottlenecks have made Nigerian products expensive in comparison to imported alternatives. All major production inputs such as Water, and electricity are self generated and expensive not to mention access road network for movement of raw material and finished goods as well as Security. The Government must improve on these and stop coercing us to buy Nigerian goods by force!!!!
Another reason is the availability of the goods and services in the market and this is due to low capacity utilization at the factories as well as absence of production capacity in the country due to long years of neglect of the manufacturing sector.

I am about replenishing my store house as the foreign rice in the house has reached such level. I didn’t know about locally made rice when I had need of this product earlier in the year. And kudos to the marketing skills of Dr Adewunmi Adesina (Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development), I became aware of Ebonyi rice and other locally made ‘foreign’ rice in the market. Methinks, Dr Adesina can make a good marketer any day. The deftness with which he advocates his Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) will get one glued to listening to him without blinking. I wish other office holders will stop reading prepared speeches at events as this shows what they are reading is not their original ideas and may not have their input. Some of them can’t even read eloquently (lol).

It is in consideration of the above factors that I stumbled at a locally-made rice at Sahad Stores in Abuja and I am considering buying it instead of imported alternatives at the same shelves. I must confess that I have forgotten the brand name of this rice but my choice based on the above factors is as follows:

Prestige: I am willing to drop my pride when I became aware of our food import bill. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria imports over 1.3 Trillion Naira worth of Wheat, Rice, Sugar and Fish annually and this is growing at 11% annually.  Let’s do this simple mathematics, assuming the labour cost of these items is 20% along the value chain (it could be higher), this translates to N260 Billion Naira and at current minimum wage of N18,000 per month (N216,000 per annum), over 1.2 million jobs are created and maintained (but in Thailand not Nigeria).   

Quality: Frankly, I have not tasted this rice nor seen/heard any testimonies of it but from the packaging, I am willing to take a risk. I am a risk averse person by nature (lol). Judging from our nature of poor packaging, if this rice producer can package this stuff neatly, then I presume the real thing will not be mixed with stones and husk. I hope I will not be disappointed.

Price: this is one of my attractions. The product is going 10% less than its imported alternative on the shelves. With the infrastructural bottle necks analysed above, it’s interesting that this product is coming to the store shelves at this competitive price. But why not, we have the land, and the climate for rice farming so it’s possible. Lower price is not synonymous with lower quality as often posited afterall, the cassava bread I ate today from Next Cash and Carry Stores (along Gwarimpa Road, Abuja Nigeria) is of better quality and at lower cost.

Finally, for the product to become available in a high store like Sahad at the middle of Abuja, I believe it has scaled the availability hurdle.

On the basis of the above, I shall go for this locally produced rice instead of imported rice from Thailand, and hoping that I will not be disappointed at the end. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013


As were marked (not celebrate) 53 years of independent nationhood, one is forced to examine the time, lives and practices of the founding fathers of the nation. We read so much about them in books and social studies’ lessons where we were compelled to acknowledge their ‘sacrifices’ to the nation. I am now, having seen the reality of of the building whose foundation they laid, convinced that the structural design, execution and cost of the project called Nigeria is faulty. I ask: Did they fight for Nigeria or for their respective regions?  The answer is obvious!!!

The prominent ones were Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello each representing the major tribes and regions – Yoruba (West), Ibo (or Igbo depending on whom you are reading or listening to)(East) and Hausa (North). The names of other nationalist and actors are easily forgotten. You see them in pictures with Ahmadu Bello in the middle flanked by Awolowo and Azikiwe to the left and right or otherwise.

Let me be clear. They may by heroes in their respective regions but it’s hard for us to masticate that they are nationalistic heroes. Not for what is happening in Nigeria today. It is the tribal sentiments; unnecessary envy, contention and clamour for what gets to the regions, that were inherited and have now lead to the mass corruption, and agitation at the center in Abuja today.  One of them even described Nigeria as a mere geographic expression, meaning he had no faith in the nation. Nigeria is not the only country accidentally conscribed together by colonial masters for their selfish gains. Such other countries include: USA, Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia etc but while these countries have acquired real independence to celebrate, Nigeria is still shilly-shallying for a conference. At independence, the leaders of these countries believed in their new found ‘geographic expression’ and worked hard to build them but our folks were just selfish.

Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana for example had among his three goals upon independence, planned and executed a strategy to unify the four territories of the old Gold Coast. Ghana is a West African neighbor with an equally diverse and multicultural configuration like Nigeria. Only difference is our selfless leadership at independence. Singapore was and is also a multi-racial, multi religious and a multi lingual country yet their independence leader – Lee Kuan Yew orchestrated a programme that created unique Singaporean identity among the populace with religious tolerance and racial harmony. 

In moving forward and as the National Confab is being planned to hold soon, we must undertake a conscious move to correct our ideology of nationhood. Regional sovereignty is not a solution as minorities exist, and their agitation will become louder at regional levels. Nigeria of today is not the same 53 years ago where minority voices were subdued in the regional voices at the time. The conference must debate among other things on how to tackle corruption, how resources will be utilized for the majority of rural populace, income disparity, infrastructural development, diversification of the economy from oil, and the halt to importation of items producible in Nigeria. Importantly, the representations at the confab must be of the people, voices and segments of the society. It must not be a conference of PDP and/or Government apologies.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

SME as Panacea for Economic Development and an alternative Source of Income

The task of job creation and the eradication of unemployment must be tackled at all fronts. National Economic Growth and Development can only be achieved when new businesses become viable and thriving. The great Economic Revolution in the Asia peninsula was not achieved overnight through the establishment of gigantic industrial complexes and big corporations, but by the creation of Small and Medium Scale businesses on a mass scale, at every nook and cranny, and in every community.

While the government of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is going to town celebrating the level of Foreign Direct Investment into the country via the establishment of large scale industrial complexes in some states, (kudos to them by the way) it is critical to understand that Small Businesses birthed, incubated and nurtured into thriving enterprises is the sure bet to Economic Growth and Income Distribution. For one thing, jobs will be created, more direct impact will be made at the local economy and wealth will be more equally distributed. By the way, one has to analyse the nature of the $6.8 Billion FDI purported to have been received into the country in 2012 but I hope it is not hot money  that will develop wings at the press of a button! This is a topic for another day.

But imagine 1000 new cottage businesses created in each local government area, employing 10 people and making goods and services for both local consumption and for export even to neighboring countries. This will create over 3.5 million direct jobs not minding other indirect jobs created along the value chain. Local communities will begin to take comparative advantage of their peculiar endowments.(I recall that most of the packaged bananas on shelves in most Nigeria supermarkets are imported from the Republic of Cameroon! The same goes for ginger syrup among other products! Yet Nigeria has more arable land than Cameroon and with similar weather conditions). 

However, impediments to business creation are not the lack of Financial Capital but lack of ideas and information on markets opportunities. Government agencies in both local and state government levels should do more in bringing to fore, the opportunities that abound and markets that exists in different locations for local investors to key into. Investors can be in a paid employment but would want to build business enterprises either for retirement or as a secondary source of income. Most workers have the finances, time and the interest to develop businesses but not the information. Yours sincerely manages this blog as a ‘mid-night’ business taking one hour daily at the cool of the night. My job is therefore to avail you enough information to visualize any business, birth same and incubate it into profiting and income generation. As a business researcher, I shall not only introduce viable business ideas but avail you the information required to make well researched investment decisions, on the following:
  • ·         Available business opportunity in your local community.
  • ·         Sources of Raw material
  • ·         Size of the market
  • ·         How and where to sell your products and services to both local and foreign markets
  • ·         Access to finance
  • ·         Legal and Licensing matters (where applicable)
  • ·         Machinery and Equipment sourcing and quotes
  • ·         Technology

It does not matter if you are interested in short term investment or generation-next investment for your children, I shall undertake research studies, pre-feasibility studies and business plan development to suit you
I therefore enjoin you to make frequent visit here for more.


Friday, June 21, 2013


I welcome you to my blog. I promise that you will enjoy my online publications and you will continue to make a re-visit to this page. Firstly, I need to introduce the range of topics that will be trending here. I shall coach on Social Entrepreneurship, Access to Finance, Service quality, Business and Life Coaching, Inspirational stuff etc. I, surely will not bore you with theory but please watch out for the following:

My How-Not-To Series
This is a lesson-learnt section. I have made some mistakes in my life and have learnt some lesson there from. I also have a passion for studying great minds in history and even in contemporary times. Surely, you will never stop learning but it is foolish to re-invent the wheels, make the mistakes others have made when you have the opportunity to take corrections. Hence, my frequent How-Not-To series shall expose you to areas, issues and steps you must not take. This include: How-Not-To manage people, How-Not-To trust etc. Watch out for it.

Social Entrepreneurship
I am passionate about societal Impact of our activities including business. If you must make profit, you can and should make profit while making positive impact on the society. I believe that no one can develop Africa (our Africa) but Africans. Aids and grants don’t work. We must develop social businesses that have lasting positive impact on local communities. Great Ideas and outlook on this shall be trending from here. Importantly, I shall be highlighting some business ideas ready-made for ready investors.  Watch out for it.

Service Quality
In our clime, service quality is not a topic that anyone is bothered about. Why should we, when banks, Telecommunication Companies and just every other person who should be ‘worshipping’ their clients believes she is doing great favour with her products or service. Customer services officers in banks will shut you down and ensure you acknowledge how much of the bank’s policies he/she knows. Telecommunication Companies seldom care about the services received by Nigerians. They only care about some cheap promos that will eventually enrich them anyway. Thank God for ‘porting’. This blog shall provide a platform for readers to comment on poor quality services received anywhere, whether Government agencies/ministry, banking hall or mobile phone service.

I am a Christian. Simple. I have utmost respect for people of other faiths: Muslim, Jews and everyone. I don’t discriminate against anyone being Catholics or Protestants, Redeemers or Winners, Christ ‘Embassier’ or Deeper ‘lifers’. I believe different men of God are sent for different purposes and to different generations. With this in mind, I shall (when moved) bring some nuggets received from my spiritual fathers, once in a while. It surely will benefit us. 

Street News
I intend to bring us some news from the streets once in a while. My motivation for this is my experience last week closing late from work and using public transport. Meen! Check out the night market in Berger (for those of us in Abuja). You can buy anything for less than half the price in Wuse market or High street stores. So those fine!  Fine !!  wears ladies put on wey guys dey really admire na bend down boutique them dey buy them? More on this coming so just stay tuned.

Once more, I welcome you to !!


Friday, June 14, 2013