– US official urges Nigeria to use entrepreneurship to win a brither future
– Says Nigerians have the answers to their problems, not anybody else
– Gives conditions for considering to set up Business Liaison Centre in PH
– Flags off traing of 121 young entrepreneurs in IPS, PH
The US Consulate in Lagos began a two-day trip to Port Harcourt and admitted that there was more to Nigeria outside Lagos. The Consul-General, F.John Bray, flagged off training of 121 carefully selected budding entrepreneurs, met top indigenous investors led by Belemaoil founder, and paid a courtesy visit to the landlord of Brick House, Gov Nyesom Wike.
The major highlight is the encouragement message that Nigeria’s future is bright and the call for greater push in the direction of entrepreneurship. This CG’s office also that Nigerians possess the answers they seek in the nations problems.
At the opening remarks of the training workshop at the Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS) in the University of Port Harcourt, the Consul-General (CG).
These were the highlights at the opening ceremony of the two-day entrepreneurship academy in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, held at the Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS) in the University of Port Harcourt by the US Consul- General’s office in Lagos in collaboration with Field of Skills and Dreams (FSD) VTE Academy which began on Tuesday, April 10, 2018.
In her welcome remarks to usher in the Consul-General (CG), the Director of Public Affairs Section of the US Consulate General in Lagos, Darcy Zotter, sent the 1eager entrepreneurs on cloud nine when she said; “The future of Nigeria is utmost. People talk of so many problems, power, insecurity, education, poverty, jobs, etc, but does that mean Nigeria has no future? We firmly believe that with the right tools, Nigeria has a bright future”.
She went on: “With trained entrepreneurs, Nigeria has a great future. The result of the first workshop in Lagos shows it. The US wants to build wealth creators; we say, look upon entrepreneurship, not always focusing on the negatives such as insecurity, Boko Haram, power failures, education problems, you know them.”
Zotter fired on: “Let Nigerian youths look for solutions and answers; you have the answers. If you ask me for solutions to Nigeria, I will say, I do not know; you have the answers. There is no need to run to anywhere else for answers; the US can only help to create the platforms but you have to have the answers.”
The CG who declared the workshop open explained that one of the primary goals of the US Mission in Nigeria is to support Nigeria’s economic development.
In his welcoming remarks, F. John Bray, explained that one of U.S. Mission Nigeria’s primary goals is to support Nigeria’s economic development. According to him, the U.S. Department of State supports entrepreneurs all over the world through training and mentoring, while also working with governments to create enabling environments and entrepreneurial cultures.
He said; “There is growing evidence that entrepreneurs the world over are the drivers of job growth. The United States government is firmly convinced that in addition to creating jobs and expanding economic opportunities, entrepreneurship contributes to political stability and a vibrant civil society”.
Leading business leaders including Sahara Group Co-Founder Tonye Cole, Emzor Pharmaceutical CEO Stella Okoli, Andela Co-Founder Iyin Aboyeji, award-winning designer Zizi Cardow and senior executives of prominent commercial banks mentored and trained the participating young entrepreneurs.
The Conference was organized with a view to equipping the entrepreneurs with the requisite skills and entrepreneurial know-how to enhance their success in the business world. The first edition was held in Lagos in March 2017.
One hundred and twenty one budding Nigerian entrepreneurs participated in the two-day workshop. The up-and-coming entrepreneurs, selected from across Nigeria, began learning how to transform their ideas into practical business plans, manage business risks, navigate difficult moments, seek capital, and develop partnerships to help their businesses grow.
The US Consul General was joined by Rivers State Deputy Governor, Ipalibo Harry Banigo, and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Ndowa Lale, who was represented by the deputy, Regina Ogale.
The deputy governor said she was happy that the second edition was holding in Port Harcourt to show that Nigeria was more than just Lagos. She showed how Gov Nyesom Wike was creating a stronger economy, mentioning tax harmonization, infrastructure, fight against insecurity, and a new scheme to tackle unemployment.
The CG proceeded to Belemaoil headquarters where a cross section of investors requested for the establishment of a US Business liaison centre in Port Harcourt. He also paid a courtesy call on the state governor.
At Belema Oil Nigeria Limited:
Belemaoil founder, Mr Jack-Rich Tein Jr appealed to the US embassy to set up a ‘US Business Liaison Office’ in Port Harcourt.
The US government however said such consideration could only be considered if Rivers State could post better electoral image through free, fair and peaceful elections that are now around the corner in 2019 with primaries starting this year.
The founder/president of Belemaoil, Jack-Rich Tein Jr, who led a team of investors to hand in the appeal at the corporate headquarters of the indigenous oil company on Odili Road in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, said Port Harcourt remained the hub of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry holding 85 per cent of the economy of Nigeria.
Saying there was urgent need to rescue the oil city and save the bulging youth population to avoid political instability in Africa’s largest population, Tein said the US has much to do to help some few courageous investors like Belemaoil pumping huge funds to prove that Port Harcourt can rise again.
He unveiled the Belema Model that shows intricate designs and schemes to integrate the oil host communities in oil operations as a way to restore the once-cherished love and trust between the oil industry and host communities, saying the presence of the US in Port Harcourt would simply complete the rebuilding process and cause a mass return of investors to the Garden City, the acclaimed hub of the Gulf of Guinea.
Explaining the model for peace and prosperity in the Niger Delta so as to make case for US presence in the oil region, the founder talked about creating wealth both for the company and the communities. He pointed to the employment of 3,000 youths by Belemaoil from the communities; and award of 374 scholarships at a go to indigenes with beneficiaries going home same day with their cheques.
He also talked about certified water from water projects to places that never saw good water in over 600 years of existence; roads built by US-made bulldozers; and the building of what he called the Technology Centre to groom technically sound youths.
On the medium and long term, the Belema president mentioned mouth-watering figures including 36,000 jobs to be created in three years and 60,000 in 10 years with plans to create $1.4bn value in over 240,000 homes.
To achieve this, he said Belema must increase value and production to 2000 per cent in the next 10 years from the present 12,000 bpd from OML 55 acquired from Chevron in 2013. He added that the company would need to work with at least 240 vendors.
The benefits would go to all in terms of peace, increase in oil output, more investors and stability in the Niger Delta again with business operators choosing the oil region once more.
Placing a definite appeal, the oil magnet said: “We cannot do it alone. We appeal to the US to establish presence here in the form of Business Liaison Centre in Port Harcourt.”
The Rivers State Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, Nancy Nwankwo, who added a push, described the founder of Belemaoil as a highly respected investor who garnished his business process with high dose of philanthropy. “He is very passionate for local communities. He has done so well in the state.”
She said Gov Nyesom Wike has so far done so much in the area of security and infrastructure to boost investments. “The region was neglected for long and it was about importation of contractors and marginalisation of the local people. Rivers State is a business hub, blessed with so much in terms of assets and natural resources. Our hands are open for investors.’
In his response, the Consul-General, F. John Bray, urged the people and government of Rivers State to work on the image of the state in terms of security to attract businesses. He regretted that the state tended to post the worst electoral violence image during the 2015 elections (which went into endless re-runs and court disputes with more violence each time).
He hinged any attempt to consider the plea of the business group and the state government on posting a positive image of free, fair and peaceful elections next year.
Bray said: “I can feel the enthusiasm to boost the economy of Rivers State. I spoke with the Governor yesterday and I could feel the strong push for investments in Port Harcourt.
The issue is, how do we reduce security issues so as to convince foreign investors into the place?”
He commended Tein of Belemaoil thus: “We can see you are lifting a candle for others to see the way and to follow”.
The CG moved to the Government House on a courtesy call to Gov Wike where more would be said on why the US must get closer to Port Harcourt and the oil region and help in the new push to create stability in the Niger Delta.