Entrepreneurship will stimulate economic recovery
Prince Muoghalu Okechukwu Okaro, Nigeria foremost immigration and visa consultant, and the CEO of Expressor International Group has made his mark as a reliable and competent professional offering visa support services for clients wishing to travel abroad for business, study, tourism or work programmes, corporate global relationships, advertising, air-ticketing/hotel reservations worldwide. He spoke on the focus of a CEO in this interview with Nnamdi Nwokolo.
Would you say that your 2016 goals have been met?
The business climate has been very rough as the recession is fast turning into depression. Things have got so bad that unfortunately a lot of businesses are closing shops; what this means is that there have been a lot of job losses in the recent past. The recession has made mince meat of any projections one could make. For example, this is usually the time of the year when people travel abroad either for one reason or the other but the pecuniary challenge has stunted their projects. Ordinarily, if we are processing about 80 visa applications monthly before, now it has reduced drastically to about 30 applications due to the economic situation in the country. Despite the recession, Expressor International is doing well in all spheres of its business deliveries, so we expect the New Year to be much better and more favourable for entrepreneurs. In the next couple of days, we will be going on our annual vacation to give our human capital force the opportunity to refresh/retool to serve our clients much better in the New Year and the times ahead.
Expectations in the New Year:
The importance and sustainability of any business in a recession is to keep itself abreast of trending issues in the industry. As far as our trade is concerned, we have remained credible as most of our clients serve as referrals for us. This is so because we have a track record of delivery, integrity and credibility. For example, the Canadian express entry visa is a programme introduced by the Canadian government to give opportunity to migrants from Africa and other places to live and work in Canada on a permanent basis which attracts the patronage of good aspect of Nigerians but the financial content associated with the process now pose some big challenge to a lot of applicants. It comes in two classes, the federal skilled worker (white collar jobbers) is for graduates with cognate experience who had sat for IELTS and obtained a score line of not less than 5.5 points, while the federal trade class (blue collar jobbers) is for non-graduates who have a particular vocation that suits occupational billings of the (CIC) Citizens Immigration Canada. But now, a lot of graduates are applying for the unskilled programme in Nigeria and elsewhere. Above all, the President is optimistic that the 2017 proposed budget tagged “Budget of Recovery and Growth” will surely bring us out of the recession but the fundamentals are not positive at all to give hope that it will bring us out of recession. I want to believe without being pessimistic that entrepreneurship will stimulate economic recovery.
Innovative service offering to expect in 2017:
Apart from processing visa applications and immigration consultancy, we equally counsel our clients on the best way to meet their expectations; for example, those who seek to study abroad, we advise and push them to the Nordic countries. The Nordic countries include Norway, Denmark Finland, Sweden, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. These countries offer tuition-free facilities if you meet their requirements. There are also a lot of schools in Germany and all over the globe that offer tuition-free facilities which we normally advice our clients to take advantage of. Right now, we have two countries we represent as their visa corporate collection agency and we are in a relationship with some Middle Eastern mega corporate outfits to provide the skilled and unskilled workforce for their Business-Going-Concerns. The moment this relationship is perfected, we aim to provide between 200- 250 jobs with the necessary job and residence permits on a quarterly basis. Moreover, some of our partners will be coming into the country next year for an admission fair to provide on the spot admission directly for students that intend to study in their academic outfits.
What can government do differently?
The only thing government can do differently in a recession is to create a more conducive environment for businesses to thrive. The increase in tax to generate revenue for government is a step in the wrong direction. What they need to do is to reflate the economy, reduce tax and bring down the cost of doing business. What they are doing gave rise to the insinuation by some experts that we’ll be in this situation in the next couple of years, which I disagree totally. The fall in oil price is a blessing in disguise for us as diversification is the best way out of our current economic quagmire. The situation has given rise to more agitations in the polity and I advises the government to engage the agitators in a constructive dialogue as that is the only way to achieve sustainable peace. The government should not relent in its anti-corruption fight as corruption has eaten deep into our body polity and no meaningful development can be achieved in a corrupt system. The war should be all encompassing without minding whose ox is gored. I’ll advise that the President to do a cabinet reshuffle before the end of first quarter of next year to bring in first-rate technocrats who have been tested and who can help him achieve his dream of a making Nigeria an egalitarian realm once more as well as a country to be reckoned within the comity of nations.
We are building a global brand with Expressor International Group. We intend to move into a more befitting corporate headquarters in Lagos with an annex in Abuja and we have strong plans to open Outfits in Ghana, Cameroun and Liberia over time and some West African sub-regions at the instance of some of our overseas principals, in order to beef up their students’ intake from the West African sub-regions in view of the fact that we represent them as Corporate Referral Students’ Agencies. An environmental business feasibility project on this programme has been completed and we are structuring the requisite variables as we have taken off successfully in the first phase of the project not minding the economic recession.
As a stakeholder in Anambra state, what is your take on the political development in the state?
I know Willie has not done excellently well but he has tried. His second coming will be purely determined by his performance and not the party he belongs as the political awareness of the people grows by the day. Credibility and ability to deliver are the criteria that will determine who gets what in the coming years. It is also important to use this medium to express my satisfaction to Ogidi kingdom for successfully electing Pharm. Uzo Ezeadi Onyido as the traditional ruler after about 18 years hiatus. I equally thank the Executive Governor of Anambra state, for promptly issuing him a certificate of recognition to enable him start the process of reconciliation and move the Ogidi Kingdom to the next level. I urge the contenders to give peace a chance to make Ogidi maintain its pride of place within the comity of Idemili establishment. The Igwe is on a mission to reconcile all the warring factions to achieve a peaceful community to be able to attract development.
On your political future:
I am very much a product of the political establishment and currently putting necessarily measures in place to actualise my Senatorial ambition of representing Anambra Central senatorial zone. With the new dispensation, and a free and fair contest at all levels, I assume safely I will be there by His grace as the people are yearning for change at all cadre, good thanks to the leveler economy that has separated the men from the boys and dealt a fatal blow to pretenders and opportunistic human capital in the political landscape.
How do you unwind?
I belong to so many clubs in the country where I make out time to play Tennis, Snooker and Scrabble. Beyond all these, I intend to travel to the United Kingdom and the United States of America to have a wonderful vacation with my closely knit family.