Wednesday, 30 January 2019

CRS Job fair2019: C'River environment is ripe for business - Joseph Edet... See reasons

Ukorebi Esien | 28 January, 2019

As the Cross River job fair and entrepreneurship summit draws closer the senior Special Adviser to the Governer on job placement and Entrepenual Development, Mr. Joseph Edet has called on entrepreneurs both within and outside the state to reconsider their stands in doing business in the state. 

Mr. Joseph Edet who is popularly called after his famous business brand La'Shakara put forth the argument that the Ayade's administration has removed all the bottleneck that makes doing business in Cross River cumbersome and made the state business friendly as currently the environment in the state is ripe for doing business, stating that the state government has introduced several innovations and incentives to drive SME's and even the big boys can also key into the governor's benevolence of giving out free lands to anyone who wishes to build industries in the Ayade Industrial park. 

Edet who argued that he doesn't believe the recent statistics that placed Cross River State as the 30th state with ease of doing business in Nigeria said if it were true the influx of people coming to do business in the state would have drastically reduced. 

In his words: "If you look at the former rating, the ease of doing business in the country, Cross River was the third lowest. But, I think it is not true. It is my opinion. I have done La' shakara for a very long time, and it's been easy for me because of my strategies. The people in question which should be doing business in Calabar, or Cross River, one of the problems I have with them is that they don't have the driving power. Instead we sit back and criticise. I started it with 10,000 Naira but because I put in the needed driver power that is why we are were we are today. You will agree with me that as people were leaving the state because of bad business and the associated problems, others were coming in. It takes drive and innovation to succeed in business".

Mr Edet however agreed that opportunities and positive drive are some of the things discouraging young persons in the state from delving into business. The Senior Special Adviser revealed that these challenges are part of the reasons the job fair and entrepreneurship summit is being put up. According to him since his job description revolved around providing an enabling environment for entrepreneurs in the state it was only important for his office to evolve the job festival. 

He added that the entrepreneurship summit will be an annual event which will hold at every beginning of the year. He disabused the perception that the summit was politically motivated, explaining that it is only coincidental that this very first edition fell on the year when the general elections is taking place.

According to the SSA, "to make that work, we decided to put that at the beginning of every year. So, when people say it is politically driven, I say know. I said in the blueprint we must do it every year at the beginning say January or at most February. Coincidentally, this year, it is clashing with the general elections, so people think it is politics driven. No, it is not. One thing we will expect is we will do it every year. This is the first of its kind. The next we will have is the Market Square. 

"My job is to be able to build an enterprise development, see to it that entrepreneurs have a viable environment to work with along side the government. And as somebody who was appointed three months ago, it is only expected that, if you are somebody who has content and value, after the first 30 days they are supposed to feel your effects, your impact, they must see your blueprint. It took me 30 days for me to sit back with my team and create what you are seeing today. We didn't just wake up one morning and say we want to do a job festival and entrepreneurship summit. Basically, that is the idea behind it. 

This year's job Festival and Entrepreneurship Summit holds on the 31st of January, 2019 at the Calabar International Conference Center by 9am prompt. 

Mr. Edet hinted that there will be buses as strategic position to convey people to and fro the venue of the event 2 buses at Unical Main gate, 2 at Mobil MCC and one at the round about to the International Conference Center, beside the event does not attract any gate fee or ticket but free.

He however blamed the multiple taxation ongoing in the state despite the governor's exemption of SME's from paying of tax to ignorance.

In his words: "I tell you, many people do not even know about the executive order on tax exemption for low income earners. If one person takes up this issue with IRS for instance with proper publicity, it will draw the attention of government and I tell you, no government wants to be embarrassed. Take for instance, the police is not suppose to harrass us but they do. They prey on our ignorance and go away with it, this is bad.

"Moreover, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must identify what falls under small business because people also like taking advantage of situations. The bottom line of all these is information, as it is the key to everything.

When Mr. Joseph Edet was asked about the choice of 500 jobs, his response was quite simple. "I operate on a simple principle of under promising but over delivering". I do what I can defend. Let me tell you, we operate on a partnership with SUBEB and Primary Healthcare and we have already delivered on these jobs. We are registering businesses in CAC free of charge and we have more than 100 ongoing and more. 

We will give grants to help people grow their businesses. Remember, grant is free money. But mind you, this will be a soft grant so people expectation should not be heightened into thinking that the grant will be in millions but be assured that soon, we will bring in loans and other innovations.

When Mr. Joseph was asked about a possible spilled over effect, he concurred that it was expected because it falls within the electioneering period which ordinarily, the government will use it to score political point but he cautioned that no one should see it as being partisan. I can tell you that from the grant application, we have 3 APC members that we know that have succeeded, 4 SDP members and others. We even have a Yoruba boy who has made it and he will be given the grant. Nobody is requesting for your PVC and there is no column for that as well.

On sustainability, he reiterated that he was sure that his principal, Sen. Ben Ayade will be reelected to continue the lofty programme and with the blueprint in place, anyone can conveniently run the office. "Don't be deceive into thinking that this is a personal thing, it is not. We label it Ayade's job festival because he is the driving force. No government survives without entrepreneurs and we plan to grow this agency to be the biggest in future.

We carefully set the blueprint in place so that any government coming after my key into the vision and continue he concluded. When asked about the law backing it's, he added that though it was not part of what they had planned earlier but it was expedient to kick start and formalize the processes of regularising it soon.