The Chairman of Peacegate Group, Prince Ayorinde Adedoyin in an interview with SEUN IBIYEMI in Lagos speaks on issues in the Maritime industry and on why he diversifies into politics. Excerpts:
How will you rate the Maritime industry under the current administration?
The truth is, it’s very difficult to rate the government on Maritime sector because no government has actually given the Maritime sector any serious attention, even the current government and not the one before, they don’t seem to understand how important the sector is to the economy.
Also I don’t blame the government but I blame we the practitioners because we have not been able to come together to have one voice due to selfish interests of individuals but it’s sad because I don’t think they have done anything about the Maritime industry.
What are the challenges shipowners are facing in the Maritime sector?
The Nigerian shipowners are still not getting the best support they should be getting for their businesses to grow and it’s very sad because we have the local content law, we have cabotage law and some other laws but based on my own experience it’s been a disaster, investing in the Maritime industry is one of the biggest mistakes i have ever made.
What has been the level of piracy attack in the Maritime industry?
I think the level of piracy has been reduced, but I have not been following the Maritime industry because am putting my head in other businesses.
I have wasted more than $60m in business that is not getting any support from the government, so am trying to put my energy into something else that I won’t need to rely on government policy to guide what I do or how I run my business and what I make as per profit
What makes you diversify into politics?
My going into politics has to do with my experience in the Maritime industry because we have not had any serious representation especially in the government sector to help us sharpen the policies that guide our own side in the industry.
We can’t continue to sit down and allow people without knowledge of what we are facing or that doesn’t even understand the business that is why majority of our businesses are failing because the policies that we have don’t really support us and we are losing money why the foreign investors are making billions and they are taking the money out of Nigeria.
Which policy do you think we should put in place?
We have good policies but the problem is enforcing them and that is the key, the cabotage law is there, if they do that you will see the increase in numbers of businesses in the Maritime sector, we have the local content policies too, we have fantastic laws but the government finds it difficult to enforce.
It is you who wear the shoes that knows where it pinches, if they want to relax you will be able to tell them no.
What has been the support from the Maritime industry?
Nothing at all, that is what am saying, we are not together in the Maritime industry.
What is your view on the state of the economy of Nigeria?
The current government is not the cause of the problems we have but I think it is time for us to think outside the box.
We need to create businesses to develop new millionaire, people have to put ideas into reality, people should know we can’t all live in Lagos, all of us can’t be bankers, doctors.
There are big business in farming, we need to educate our people and open their eyes to opportunities because some people their success is actually in their villages but they are wasting time in Lagos. We need to diversify from oil to agriculture.
What is your chance of winning in a state allegedly owned and controlled by Saraki?
I won’t agree with you that Saraki owns the state because if he does, how can he loses the last election.
The truth is that so many people have not been playing politics in Kwara, majority of our people play politics in Lagos.
I think we are now realizing that mistake and people are now going back. Nobody owns Kwara, it all belongs to all Kwarans and if they have dominance over politics is because they have not had any serious challenge but they are coming to that now and facing the reality.
Based on what I have seen and what we have done is looking brighter every day but am not God so I won’t say this is the way it is but I know and I keep saying that things will change in Kwara in 2019.
What are your plans for the people of Kwara?
I don’t want to sound like every politician that will provide health care but the truth is we are actually looking at what is the fundamental problem our people have.
What has been the problem is jobs, majority of our youth don’t have job and how do you create jobs, you look at what you have and clean it up, look at what you can do in the civil service because Kwara is a civil service state but now how do we do that, we use to have so many industries in Kwara state, we need to look at why did they go burst or why did they leave and these are things that can be done easily that shouldn’t be an issue.
So you have to encourage businesses to come back because that is the only way we can create new jobs and also encourage our youth to back to the Agriculture sector to look at the possibility, we would support them with what they need be it tractor to cultivate and also help them look for market for their produce.
We have shea butter in abundance, this what people are looking for and there is no local government in Kwara that does not have mineral resources in commercial quantity, so we need to look at all these, look at the policies that the state can exploit which will have direct benefits on the people, when you create jobs, you are increasing your internally generated revenue (IGR) as am talking to you we have teams working together to get things on paper but we don’t want to tell about stories that you hear every day, we want to tell you something different but realistic.