Abuja – The Chartered Institute of Commerce of Nigeria (CICN), has advised the Federal Government to shop for foreign investors to boost commerce, trade and investment in the country.
Dr Wale Olasoji, the President/Chairman of CICN gave the advice on Thursday in Abuja at the 36th Annual National Conference of the institute.
He urged the government to come up with policies that would encourage foreign investors to invest in Nigeria especially in the non-oil sector.
“We will like to plead with the government to put in place policies that will interest investors and welcome them.
“In fact, nothing stops us from going outside the country to shop and go after these investors so that they can boost the economy.
“No single government anywhere in the world will be able to provide infrastructure funding that will cause a turnaround in the economy,’’ he said.
The president, however, said that the institute was aware of the difficulties being faced by Nigerian entrepreneurs in accessing loans to do business due to collateral.
Olasoji advised entrepreneurs to embrace partnership, instead of handling business ideas alone.
“Let us begin to think of partnership; instead of thinking it is my idea, let us begin to think about the fact that I have the idea but I do not have the money.
“Look for a group of friends that can sponsor this idea so that both of you will have stake in the business.
“I tell you it is always better to have 10 per cent of an elephant than to own 100 per cent of a rat.
“There is a whole lot of things we can do without waiting for the government that can move the country forward,’’ he said.
He explained that one of the major reasons Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are not developing in Nigeria might not be inadequate funding, but difficult operating business environment.
Olasoji said that the cost of running business in Nigeria was too high, adding that most businesses might run into loss due to the high cost.
He identified power as one of the major problems facing those doing business in the country and urged the government to look at alternative source of power such as renewable energy.
Also speaking, Brig.-Gen Paul Boro, the Special Adviser to President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, said that Nigeria had all the resources both natural and human.
He urged stakeholders to task themselves and look inward to see how best to harness the natural resources to enable Nigeria be a shining example in the world like China.
“I used to look down on China products when I was young, but now China is a country to be reckoned with.
“Let us develop our research institutions and facilities; let us research into our population first; let us research on our resources, trade and investment, security reforms, banks and SMEs.
“Above all, let us operationalise and implement all that we have discussed today. It is our task and responsibility to do so,’’ he said.
Earlier, Mr Joshua Asuquo, the Chairman of the Conference Planning Committee said that the conference would deliberate on eight-point agenda that would help to reposition the institute.
Asuquo said that the institute had been contributing to national growth through training, development and provision of manpower.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 75 Nigerians that distinguished themselves in the field of business, commerce and trade received fellowship award at the event.
The theme of the conference was; “The Role of Commerce as a Panacea for National Economic Growth.’’ (NAN)