The Director and Chief Executive Officer of Link Bridge Homes & Investment Ltd, Iye Farms, Foods & Water Enterprises and Signature Profile, Barrister Babalola Ogunmefun, a trained lawyer who was called to Nigeria Bar in 2004, an industrialist in this interview with Oluwaseun Sonde, speaks on how Nigeria economy can be improve through basic infrastructures and the need for government to encourage self employed through loans as Nigeria has high population but sadly most are not employable.
In your own view, how do you think we can improve our economy especially at this present global fallen of crude oil price do to coronavirus pandemic? On the economy, I do not honestly think revamping the economy lies solely in the hands of government or those within the corridor of power. They have responsibility to create an enabling environment, no doubt.
To grow our economy we must have stable uninterrupted power. Would you believe that I have spent as much as the salary of two workers to fuel my generator this month (I pay workers what many governors are still contemplating whether or not to pay).The cost of buying ” i pass my neighbor” generator can buy two clippers for a person who wants to start a barbers’ shop.
Another factor affecting the growth of industries in Nigeria is double digit interest loan. Until we are able to give single digits interest loans to well intention-ed business men, we may not make meaningful progress as a people. Sadly where loans are granted by the government intervention schemes like Bank of Agriculture and Bank of Industry these loans are granted to people who are influenced in government and high places who never repay such loans and give stringent conditions to genuine business people thereby denying them opportunities.
Finally I strongly opined that the school system be revamped so students can learn life transforming skills. Robotics, coding and artificial intelligence relating subjects should be introduced from primary schools and our technical schools should be over hauled and equipped to function effectively. Can you imagine that tailors come to me seeking employment but the moment I take them into my work area to identify machines (first test) you find that a tailor of five years practice is only able to identify the industrial sewing machine out of many machines and does not even know how to operate the industrial machine.
We must ban importation of finished clothes as we did with rice to enable us grow the clothing industry which is as important as the housing sector and Agriculture. Our technical schools should be affiliated to universities and polytechnics so that those who attend them have a sense of pride and don’t feel inferior (you can have numerous certificates less than the diploma for those who do not have 4/5 credits. Nigeria has high population but sadly most are not employable.
Government restricted gathering to 20 people and encouraged social distancing to curb the spread of deadly coronavirus, what is your take on it? The social distancing measure employed by various government across the world is a child of necessity. Our government is only doing what every responsible government would do in the circumstance (this is however not my validation that our government is responsible in every situation and circumstance).