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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Nwakanma Advises Sierra Leone Businessmen To Pursue Innovation, Build Brands To Grow Country’s Economy

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Sierra Leone’s business, government and economy leaders, should walk confidently into 2022 and pursue innovation to drive economic growth, Nigerian communication expert Chido Nwakanma counselled on Thursday 2 December 2021 at the Salone CEO’s Meet powered by La Fete Communications.

Nwakanma urged the leaders in the private and public sectors to build on the strengths of Sierra Leone and tap the opportunities in historical presentation, education, tourism, the extractive industry, and the environment.

Participants at the forum, leaders across sectors, agreed on the imperatives of innovation and entrepreneurship and exploring the country’s opportunities more closely.

Noting Sierra Leone’s relatively compact population and environmental serenity, Nwakanma submitted that the country has yet to leverage the history of Fourah Bay College as the first university-level institution in Africa.  He noted, “Africa longs for higher education. They go to institutions with history and tradition. What is holding back Fourah Bay College, Africa’s first higher education institution in modern times?”

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Nwakanma is the president of the Nigerian chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and a former president of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria. He also teaches as an Adjunct Faculty of the School of Media & Communication, Pan Atlantic University in Lagos, Nigeria.

Nwakanma asserted that Sierra Leone should market its rich environmental and tourist potentials as neighbouring Ghana and the Gambia do.

On tourism and the environment, Nwakanma shared his experience from 1 December 2021. “I took shots from my room at the Sierra Bay Hotel & Residence and sent them to friends back in Nigeria and across the world. Immediate response? “Wonderful. I love this. How much would it cost a family? Another person responded with the observation, “Is the water that blue? There is still hope for our environment.’

The speaker submitted, “I recommend that Sierra Leone should build on its strengths and the opportunities to craft and execute a value proposition around education, conferencing, environment, and tourism. Position and attract the conference market to the serenity of Sierra Leone. When they come, expose them to tourist facilities. Build superior educational institutions to serve West and Central Africa on the back of Fourah Bay College as the first university in Africa”.

Significantly, Mr Nwakanma harped on the imperative of innovation and entrepreneurship as needed ingredients for success in 2022. He noted that most experts agree that the Sierra Leone economy would witness “strong real GDP growth of 4.8% in 2022, well above the Sub-Saharan Africa average of 3.7%”.

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He said it was up to leaders and entrepreneurs to make this happen and even exceed the expectations. “The critical question for entrepreneurs today in Sierra Leone and the rest of West Africa is one of vision. What can you see? Put another way, what can you envision even if it is not visible now?”

Nwakanma noted the many positives of the Sierra Leone Finance Act 2021 that offered tax reductions and incentives such as tax holidays to investors who build manufacturing facilities outside Freetown or go into tourism and small scale businesses. However, he added, “A plethora of other taxes, tolls and bills weigh heavily on businesses. They deny entrepreneurs the benefits of their enterprise. The approach is short-sighted. It creates room for tax avoidance and defaults, leading to under-the-table deals that deprive the government of revenue”.

Nwakanma asserted that innovation, the entrepreneurial art of seeking and developing new vistas, is the challenge before Sierra Leone and its leaders and the rest of Africa.

He affirmed, “Economists and global strategists say Sierra Leone should have a smoother ride in 2022 than in the last two years. The economic fundamentals should be good. That means the internal market will also get better and open. There are also opportunities in the larger West African and African market.”

He urged Sierra Leone and its business leaders to carve niches. Nwakanma added, “Once you have taken a position, you need to communicate the essence of your company and its offerings professionally. Engage internal communication teams. Or invite external counsel such as La Fete Communications Ltd. In this Information Age, communication is a critical imperative for business success. The matter is Darwinian: define yourself or be defined by sundry outsiders”.

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La Fete Communications organised the Salone CEOs Meet 2021 following the first one in 2019. COVID19 aborted the event in 2020.

CEO Maraya Mushka Conteh said the Salone CEO’s Meet is a platform for exploring ideas and strategies for the country’s development.

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Aero To Commence Payment To Redundant Employees In Batches

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There are strong indications that Aero Contractors will resume payment to some of its redundant employees by the end of this month.

Comrade Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), told journalists that the airline would resume paying affected employees in batches.

According to Abioye, the union learned of this earlier this week during a meeting with Aero Contractors management, led by Capt. Ado Sanusi, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), at the airline’s office at Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos.

Abioye explained that the union reached an agreement with the airline’s management to make payments in April, emphasising that two employees from each of the three unions would be paid monthly.

With this, six members of the affected unions, Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), and NAAPE, will be paid monthly until all backlogs are cleared.

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Abioye stated that with more funding and access to resources, the airline’s current management could improve the airline’s and its employees’ conditions.

He stated: “Aero described its current challenges, which are impeding their willingness to commit more funds to service outstanding redundancy benefits. Second, we have agreed that payments for two people from each of the three unions will be made this month (April), with NAAPE members receiving 75 per cent of these payments.

“We have demonstrated our commitment to Aero’s continued growth, and this has rekindled hope that things can be done better with more funds at their disposal.

“I would like to plead on behalf of the secretariat that, based on our observations of the airline’s current situation, it cannot do any better than what has just been offered. Let us hope that by next month, some other people will have something to smile about.

Sanusi stated earlier this month that it had paid approximately 95% redundancy packages to some of its employees affected by the exercise a few years prior. He promised that the remaining 5% of affected workers would be paid very soon.

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According to him, 225 out of the 237 staff affected by the redundancy package had been paid off, accounting for 94.94 per cent of those affected.

A further breakdown of the affected workers revealed that three members of ATSSSAN and nine members of NAAPE were still affected by the exercise.

Sanusi also lamented in the interview that the operating environment in which the airlines operate was hostile to business, but that despite this, management had been relentless in ensuring that the vast majority of affected individuals received their entitlements.

He assured that Aero Contractors would continue to fulfil its obligations to all employees, but urged that unions not be used to disrupt airline operations.

He stated, “The Company has successfully disbursed redundancy payments to 94.94 per cent of affected employees. Admittedly, we still have financial obligations to a few affected employees.

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“However, plans are underway to offset these costs, and we have been engaging with affected employees to keep them informed of everything the company is doing and going through.”

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OIL & GAS

NNPC, First E&P Achieve 20,000bpd Production At OML 85

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NNPC boss, Mele Kyari

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) and its joint venture partner in OML 85, First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company Limited (First E&P), have begun producing oil from the asset known as Madu Field.

 

The field, located in shallow waters offshore Bayelsa State and operated by First E&P, is expected to produce an average of 20,000 barrels per day.

 

The achievement demonstrates the President Bola Tinubu administration’s commitment to optimising production from the country’s oil and gas assets by creating an enabling environment for existing and prospective investors.

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Speaking about the development, NNPC Ltd’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Mele Kyari, described the start of oil production at the Madu Field as a significant milestone that will contribute to the larger goal of meeting the production required to drive revenue growth and boost the country’s economy.

 

Kyari praised stakeholders for their support and explained that the addition of 20,000 barrels per day by an indigenous oil player demonstrates stakeholders’ commitment to Nigeria’s economic development.

 

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The NNPC Ltd/First E&P JV made the Final Investment Decision (FID) on the development of the Madu Field and its sister field, Anyala, in 2018.

 

The Madu Field’s production will be processed at the JV’s Abigail-Joseph Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Unit, which can store up to 800,000 barrels of crude oil.

 

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

 FCCPC Storms Masaka Market, Engages With Traders Association, Others Over Hike In Food Prices

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Food market

The enforcement team from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) on Friday, stormed Masaka market, located in Nasarawa State, and engaged with the executive members of the Market Association, traders and consumers in a bid to stem the rising cost of food items in the market.

Mrs. Boladale Adeyinka, Director, of Surveillance and Investigation, FCCPC, who led the enforcement team to the market located in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, said the team was on a fact-finding mission to understand why the prices of food items continue to soar despite the measures put in place by the Federal Government to stem it.

Adeyinka explained that recently, Naira has been appreciating against the Dollar, adding that it is expected that this measure would bring down the cost of food items in the market.

Briefing newsmen at the end of the fact-finding mission, Adeyinka explained that the enforcement team of the FCCPC was in the market to interact with executive members of the Traders’ Association, traders and consumers.

She noted that the team of investigators had gathered information on what is responsible for the skyrocketing prices of food items in the market despite the frantic efforts made by the government to stabilise the prices of goods and services.

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She identified multiple taxation imposed on traders by various associations in the market as well as the high cost of transportation as being responsible for the high cost of items in the market.

Adeyinka said a concise report would be developed by the Commission, which would advise the government on how to remove multiple taxation to reduce the prices of food items in the market.

The Director of Surveillance and Investigation further assured that the illegal activities of cartels who often impose levies on the traders would be checkmated.

Also speaking, Danlami Salisi Gimba, General Chairman of, Masaka Market Association, blamed the removal of the fuel subsidy as being responsible for the high cost of goods in the market.

Gimba appealed to the government to reduce the price of fuel to ensure that the cost of transportation is greatly reduced, which would in turn impact positively on the prices of food items.

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Some traders who spoke to our Correspondent decried the high rate of hunger as well as low sales in the market.

They appealed to the government to, as a matter of urgency, bring down the cost of fuel and introduce policies that would create a new lease of life for the citizenry.

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