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Nigeria at 60: Environment Key to Economic Growth-MD Solap Group

As Nigeria marks its 60th independence as nationhood, the Managing Director of Solap Group Furniture Nigeria Ltd.

Arch. Akosu Paul in this interview with JUDE DANGWAM said at 60, Nigerian government must step up her game by creating enabling environment for local investor’s entrepreneurs to drive the economic growth of the country.

Nigeria is marking its 60th independence, how can its economic fortune be made better towards harnessing the potentials of its entrepreneurs and also creating jobs opportunities for the teaming unemployed youths in the country?

Well, it is government’s responsibility to ensure that the state and the country at large is peaceful, if the needed peace is not there, we won’t be able to venture into business starting from Plateau state.

Whoever is familiar with the happenings or have been in Jos in the last 10 years or there about, you will discover that even if you want to do a thing like this it won’t be possible because there was no peace.

So, of the relative peace we are enjoying for the past five years or so, that is why I and you can comfortably have this discussion or interview without hearing gun-shot from anywhere as it used to be.

So, Nigeria at 60 years of self-independence government must intensify efforts in creating peaceful atmosphere as well as an enabling environment and support local investors to turn the economic fortune of Nigeria with or without COVID-19. I often feel that nothing should limit us from attaining our full potential as a nation.

As an indigenous company operating with bias in sustainable corporate and educational furniture which has served a wide range of clientele in Nigeria with the likes of “National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS) Kuru, Jos. Federal College of Education Pankshin, University of Jos, Usmanu Dan Fodiyoh University Sokoto, Umaru Musa Yar-Adua University Katsina, Jigawa State University Kafin Hausa, Gombe State University, Sule Lamido University Jigawa State, Federal University Lokoja, Imo State University Owerri,” amongst others. 

In line with our vision as the leading corporate and educational furniture company in the country with determination of expanding into other African countries as well as diversify our operations by accommodating other needs in the Nigeria’s economy in the next three years. An enabling environment, accompanied with a peaceful atmosphere is key for any meaningful investment for the economic growth of a nation.

How did Solap come into existence in the midst of COVID -19 and what are some of the challenges?

Solap has been doing businesses for a while, it was incorporated in 2011, but the furniture line started in the year 2014. Life is in phases and the choice of Jos is for a phase because it was much more convenient to do something in Jos. There is one thing that I discovered early in life which is called passion. We are not into business because we inherited business neither we are in business because we saw somebody succeeding then we copy the person. That is not the case here, we are here is because we are doing what we are so passionate about.

The greatest limitation of a man is within, if you are able to overcome the limitation inside you, you will climb mountains. Solap is about professionalism, and we have professionals with passion, we are drive by passion and determination that brought this to fusion even with the covid-19 and the economic reality facing the country.

We are mindful of the global competition, and Solap is ready to rock this path with its products. The truth about business is this, Amazon for the past 10years, are now the highest in turn-over in this year of Covid-19, how comes?. 

So you see, the challenges are not the issues, it is all about the right idea. For us, venturing into business is to proffer solutions to a problem. We started with a research on the used of furniture and fittings among higher educational institutions of learning in the country and we observed with great dismay a proliferation of furniture and fittings that lacks basic ergonomics as well as the needed strength to withstand the rugged nature of students resulting to user discomfort, health concerns and total dilapidation less than a year of been put to use. Worst still, most of the furniture items could not be refurbished especially the foreign Chinese type.

Let me give you an instance two marketers from a shoe company were sent on a survey in a place. The first person went and saw that the people of that area were not wearing shoes and he returned back and said that place is not a market place for us. When asked why? He said because they are not even aware of shoe nobody uses shoe there!

The second marketer went and said wow!! This is an opportunity! all i need is shipmen to keep coming-in because this is a virgin land. In just one months, billions were made. So, everything is all about perspectives and perceptions. So, we believed that with the right idea and the right approach to the market. COVID-19 or no COVID-19 we shall continue to be in both Nigerian and the global market because people must eat, people must use furniture. Nigeria has a very big unexplored market and with friendly business environment indigenous investors alone will change the economic stories of Nigeria.

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