A Business Studies Professor at the University of Port Harcourt, going by the name of Ebenezer Okonkwo, has urged investors to explore available opportunities that are in the non-food sector.
Believing that the investments would enhance business development, Professor Okonkwo urged investors to channel their focus to another viable sector that would bolster the country’s economy in more ways than one.
He gave this advice when he featured as a guest lecturer at a one-day sensitization workshop for budding entrepreneurs at the Ministry of Defense Staff Agricultural Cooperative Society (MODACS), at the Rivers State capital of Port Harcourt.
According to him, investments pumped into the food sector has been overburdened, culmination in an unfavorable competition, low-profit margin and an increment in the dearth of businesses.
He said that opportunities abound in the non-food sector, which is soliciting for development. “We are hammering on the need for entrepreneurs to explore more into high dividend yielding non-food crops for local businesses and exports,” he said.
Okonkwo pointed out that crops such as dogoyaro oil, essential oil, castor oil, and others have high market demand and high-cost effect. “They are available, yet investors are not taking advantage into the huge opportunities, whereas other countries are making fortunes from them.”
He also identified the aspects of funding, scarcity of loan facilities from banks and irregular power supply as some of the major challenges facing businesses. The professor then appealed to governments to intervene to encourage investors to remain in business. He said: “The environment is not really conducive for businesses. The entrepreneurs have a weak financial base and banks are not being exactly helpful – they chase away facility seekers with high-interest rates”.
Okonkwo noted that the meager profits entrepreneurs manage to make in a harsh infrastructural situation are wasted on power supply through generators, while machines which are gotten by way of loans are left dormant following the unavailability of electricity.
“The government is expected to initiate an intervention and ensure that these loan facilities are made available and friendly, as it will boost industrialization and reduce unemployment,” he added.
MODACS was founded in 2005, according to its president Babatunde Badamosi, who said the group incepted to assist members in harnessing the entrepreneurial virtues in them, in order to create an alternative income base for them. “The essence of what we are doing is to awaken the virtue of entrepreneurship in our members,” he said.