Dear Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs), Take Your Menu Online To Become A Sustainable Business – Olukayode Kolawole

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I read with keen interest a story published by New Telegraph newspaper on Monday September 17th 2018, with the headline, ‘Tantalizers: Operational Costs, Competition Cut Earnings’. The publication reported the financials of the company which were released a couple of days ago at its 20th Annual General Meeting (AGM). It is not surprising to read such news about how most companies’ balance sheets continue to remain in red, at least for a number of reasons:

(1) Nigeria is not one of the easiest countries to run a profitable business year in, year out. It is possible, but difficult. You just have to find a smart strategy.

(2) Finding qualified skills can be relentlessly difficult: mostly, under-qualified workers are more readily available and affordable than the right fits; finding a balance is key.

(3) Infrastructure deficit still remains most businesses’ headwind: bad roads and epileptic power supply – the real killers of today’s businesses.

(4) Insecurity in certain regions still hamper expansion plans: Boko Haram insurgency in the north; despite the enormous population in the north, no businesses are keen on setting up their operations or even expanding to the north.

But, to be fair, Tantalizers isn’t the only company in Nigeria plagued with these sad realities. There are hundreds of them. Some stay afloat, with no sustainable impact, while others just die a natural death after years of fighting to stay alive. What a paradox!

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According to the Chairman, Board of Directors of Tantalizers, Dr. Jaiye Oyedotun, three major challenges rendered the company unprofitable at the end of 2017:
(1) Reduction in credit opportunities.
(2) Weak consumer demands.
(3) Stiffer competition.

The chairman made an excellent point so articulately on what the company plans to do in the next financial year to change its fortunes for good:
(1) Corporate revenue – open new stores, remodel existing stores to become more attractive.
(2) Menu recipe revamp.
(3) Franchise programmes intensified.
(4) Improve marketing communications strategy to increase share of voice and mind in the marketplace.

These are laudable ideas and a good start to usher in a breath of fresh air towards making the business profitable again. As I can recall, I have been a huge fan of Tantalizers since I was a child. And, I must say, with due respect, that while Mr. Chairman’s action plans seem good for a change, I am not sure he and other board members took into account the changing needs of today’s consumers, and the ever evolving ways of reaching them. The old tricks (methods) might not be sufficient to fight today’s marketing wars. Legendary marketing experts, Al Ries & Jack Trout in their book, ‘Positioning the Battle For Your Mind’ stated that “to be successful in today’s marketplace, you must touch base with reality”.  So, what are the realities in today’s business environment that can help organisations such as Tantalizers and other restaurants win in this cluttered market?

 

The 21st century consumers are as nomadic as the Fulani herdsmen; they no longer sit in mortar and bricks restaurants to fetch food. In my opinion, expanding Tantalizers franchise or building new stores doesn’t necessarily guarantee patronage. And the math is simple: what’s the average sales you record yearly from all your existing franchises combined? If the existing franchises are effective, it would have reflected in green on your balance sheets. And the recent AGM where you apologised to the board for a poor business performance would have swung in the opposite direction.

Expanding your franchise or remodelling existing restaurants to become more attractive will not do the magic; it will only scratch the surface. Doing that doesn’t explain why people are not patronising your network of restaurants as they ought to. Tantalizers is one of the oldest Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) in the history of Nigeria, and honestly, they serve good food. But, do people still eat offline? Yes, a tiny fraction of the QSR market still does. And this tiny fraction doesn’t have the purchasing power you need to scale; you don’t get a repeat purchase or patronage from them as often as you’d expect.

Most of the customers who still go to your restaurants to eat are typically parents who like to give their family a treat once in a while – maybe twice in 3 months. They have very limited household wallets. They can’t be your primary audience for sustaining a fast moving business like Tantalizer, or any other QSR. Mr. Biggs used to be a leader in this market. What led to Mr. Biggs losing its market leadership is a conversation for another day.

‘Consumers Now Live Online’ Is No Longer News

The real audience Tantalizer or any other quick service restaurant should be targeting are the Millennials: upwardly mobile young executives between ages 21 and 34 years. Online is where they all congregate, live, socialize and network; it’s their new habitat. There is a digital revolution and businesses only survive by tapping into the power of big data which will help them to stay close and understand their market better. This is the age of digital, where almost everything is done online. Leverage the digital intrusion to stay ahead of competition. Smart businesses today are leveraging the power of eCommerce. The offline market is cluttered already – too many brands saying different things all at the same time. And the attention span of each consumer is extremely short; so is their retention lifespan. So, invariably, brands and businesses are speaking to everyone and to no one. Quite sad.

 

The real strategy for QSRs will be to take their menus online. There are digital services available in the country that QSRs can partner to drive real growth and profitable revenue, at no cost to them. Offline restaurants such as Ghana High, White House, Ofada Hut, The Place, Bukka Hut, Shiro Lagos, Casper & Gambini, South Eatery, Social House are benefitting immeasurably from the power of digital. It’s common knowledge and a fact that Jumia remains the leader in the provision of digital services in Nigeria, and by extension in Africa, connecting businesses and consumers by giving exposure to the businesses, and helping the consumers save time and money. Opportunities abound for today’s businesses to leverage any of the digital marketplace that Jumia has successfully created in Nigeria within a span of 6 years.

 

Simple Is Smart

With the number of Tantalizers restaurants operating across the country, there is no data to prove that setting up new ones in virgin territories will return the company to a profitable path. It is in fact a capital driven exercise. If a company is not making as much revenues as it should, then, it must be saving cost. One of the digital services that Tantalizers can leverage to save cost and ensure the company becomes profitable is Jumia’s marketplace for food ordering services. With +1,000 restaurants listed on the platform to connect with consumers, there is absolutely no better way for QSRs to improve their business performance. A lot of smart restaurants are already joining the bandwagon. The service is available in 3 key cities which are also the strategic big cities for most of the QSRs in Nigeria: Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt. What do you need to do? List all your franchise in these big cities on the platform. In fact, ensure it becomes an integral part of the service level agreement (SLA) with your franchise partners to sell on Jumia’s marketplace for restaurants. The question is: what do you have to lose for listing your restaurant on the platform? Absolutely nothing. You even have more to gain, at no cost to you.

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The marketplace offers two-pronged advantages: helps consumers to order food from any of their favourite restaurants at their own convenience (plethora of options to choose from and  time-saving), and helps restaurants to connect with their customers online (where they are most of the time, which explains why you are recording limited footfalls in your brick and mortar restaurants). So, it offers a win-win situation for both the restaurants and the consumers.

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In conclusion, I am tempted to pose a challenge to the management of Tantalizers: sign up all your restaurants in the 3 key cities between now and December. Let’s begin to measure the impact and track progress in terms of sales 12 months afterwards. There’s something worthy of note: Jumia continues to make huge online investment to attract all the customers you need to scale, all the customers that are looking to find your restaurants online. Although, there’s also an option of creating your own online platform where you can take orders from customers. But, with the current reality of dwindling credit opportunities and limited working capital, and the heavy investment you will need to commit to driving  traffic to your online platform, would you rather go ahead with such investment at this critical time when investors are agitating for dividends? The clock is ticking. The consumers are waiting for their favourite restaurant to be the new addition to a marketplace that is helping them save money and time.

 

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“I have mastered the art of starting and transforming ideas into businesses” – @IkennaAnene

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Ikenna Anene is a creative writer and serial entrepreneur, responsible for the brands Donell Media(Multimedia establishment engaged in event coverage & General Printing), Ike’s Urban Wears (A customised clothing brand ), Spirit of Fashion Runway Exhibition and more recently, Startup Lounge. He is also a speaker and development advocate.

ABOUT STARTUP LOUNGE

Startup Lounge is simply the platform, where startups entrepreneurs who intend to expand their circles and grow their business meet, connect, interact and learn from mentors, coaches and senior entrepreneurs.

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MOTIVATION

I have always wanted to create an informal network or community of smart young people, so I set out first with what I called The Youth Mentors Forum, then I felt it was too serious, we switched to something funky: The Hookups 360 was created. Few months down the line, it was turning a dating platform, so I shut it down.

I continued to query the idea, as I wanted something that can be very focused and far reaching in terms results. So, the need to create a network of SMEs, that will enable them engage in peer review, build partnerships, acquire knowledge and have access to services and credit for the growth of their businesses.

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HOW I STARTED

Although I started writing and publishing a campus newspaper (Goggles News) and an inter campus magazine (Campus Thriller) in 2008 at Abia State University, Where I studied Environmental Resource Management, I registered the company – Donell Media in 2012 and commenced business in publishing. I published an entertainment and fashion focused magazine called Thriller magazine.

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Then in 2015, I ventured into producing my first fashion event (Spirit of Fashion Runway Show) and in 2016, after the publishing business had suffered a huge blow, I decided to relocate the business to Lagos; restrategised and restructured into a multimedia service company. I can tell you that it was a great move and I do not regret it one bit.

MAJOR MILESTONES

Registering my company 6 years ago and staying through; overcoming the numerous challenges and hurdles is really a source of inspiration for me.

I have mastered the art of starting, transforming ideas into businesses. I’m currently on the other level of sustaining businesses. Because a lot of people startup and after some time, fizzle out. A lot of people who started their companies at about the same time, even in the same sector are nowhere around.

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CHALLENGES

Funding. We don’t have access to the kind of funds required to scale up the business; it’s a challenge but not an insurmountable one.

Having to deal with people low in empathy as customers and unsupportive people around (both family and friends). Many growing businesses suffer this.

Then, the government must create an enabling environment for small businesses to thrive and blossom.

HOW I USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO BOOST MY BUSINESS

Social media has helped my career a great deal. I have met more customers, clients and done more businesses, from interacting on social media. As a writer and development advocate, I’m able to reach out to more people on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Ikenna flanked by winner of the maiden edition, Spirit of Fashion Runway Show/Runway Diva Nigeria and runners-up

ADVICE FOR STARTUPS

There’s something I always say to people and that it, “for a population of about 200 million in Nigeria, interacting with another 7 billion people around the world, no sector is getting over saturated anytime soon. So if you’ve got that idea, bring it on”

I am an advocate of starting small and I always advice people to start small. Because a lot times, the situation is that people who may have access to finance, may not have capacity and those with capacity may not have finance. So, when you start small, chances are that mistakes and losses would be minimal.

YOU CAN CONTAT IKENNA ANENE ON:
http://www.ikennaanene.wordpress.com,
ikennaanene@gmail.com, startuploungeng@gmail.com,
Facebook: Ikenna Elijah Anene
Instagram: @oloyeikenna @startuploungeng

How We’re Fighting Human Trafficking in Northeastern Nigeria With Clean Water – @PhilipObaji

Children in Madinatu fetching water from a tap provided by campaigners for “Up Against Trafficking”. CREDIT: Philip Obaji Jr./IRIN

MADINATU, Nigeria

Human trafficking in northeastern Nigeria is a topic I’ve written extensively about, but I didn’t know how frequently traffickers targeted internally displaced persons camps until one day in January when I got a note about two girls who were setting off for Italy. Nor did I know that their story would prompt a seemingly simple move to decrease the risks of trafficking for IDP camp residents: providing more water.

 

The girls had packed their bags and were about to leave an IDP camp in Madinatu, a town in Borno State home to some 5,000 people who fled Boko Haram violence. The camp is not far from the city of Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram. The girls were planning to travel southwards to Benin City to meet a woman who had promised them jobs as hairdressers in Italy. Abdul Ahmed, a member of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), a vigilante group that helps the Nigerian military fight the Boko Haram insurgency, reached me through Facebook to tell me all this.

 

He had read an article I had written a week earlier about a teenage girl who became a victim of human trafficking after escaping from Boko Haram. He asked if I would talk to Glory and Blessing (their names have been changed to protect their privacy), both 17, about the risks they were about to take and inform them that many women tempted by the prospect of work abroad end up exploited as sex workers.

 

I pulled up that article he had read, attached another story I had written about human trafficking, and asked Abdul to print the document and give it to the girls to read. When they did, they jettisoned their travel plans and unpacked their bags.

 

I met the pair a week later. Their story began during a daily trek out of the camp to fetch water.

“The woman stopped us one morning just as we were approaching the borehole and asked if we knew how to cook or braid hair very well,” Glory recalled. “When we told her we could do both, she said she’ll take us to Italy to work in a saloon.”

As I soon found out, they weren’t the only girls who had met traffickers while fetching water.

It was on a similar trip that 17-year-old Hadiza Bello – a resident of the Madinatu camp since Boko Haram attacked her hometown in 2016 – met a woman who asked her if she was interested in working as a maid in neighbouring Niger.

 

Bello said she had declined the offer because she didn’t want to move away from her sick mother. “If not for my mother’s condition, I would have gone,” she told me. “It’s good I didn’t go because I would have become a victim of trafficking.”

Aisha Mohammed told me that her 16-year-old daughter, Fatima, left the camp to fetch water in June 2016 and never returned. The last time anyone saw the teenager, she was talking with some women she had met on the way to the borehole. Aisha believes her daughter was trafficked out of Nigeria.

“She had told me a week before she went missing that some women wanted her to work in Niger,” Aisha told me. “Her friends who went along with her to fetch water said she stopped to have a conversation with women she appeared to have met before, while the other girls continued to the borehole.”


The water challenge

 

Getting clean water is a huge challenge for displaced people in northeast Nigeria. Last year UNICEF reported that 75 percent of water infrastructure in the region’s conflict-affected areas had been destroyed, effectively leaving 3.6 million people without water.

In the Madinatu camp, a tanker provided by a humanitarian organisation delivers water daily. But the camp is the size of more than 20 football fields, so one tanker of water isn’t enough; many residents have no choice but to look elsewhere, and nearly 1,000 people trek to the borehole each day.

Some 680,000 of the 1.7 million people displaced by Boko Haram violence in northeast Nigeria live in IDP camps, according to the government’s National Population Commission.

Médecins Sans Frontières states that thousands of people, particularly women, are exposed to dangers when they venture outside IDP camps near the Borno towns of Gwoza and Pulka. Residents in those camps get a paltry five and eight litres of water a day respectively – far below the 50 litres per person recommended as minimum by the World Health Organization.

 

Leaving camps to search for water exposes IDPs “to all forms of violence”, Luis Eguiluz, MSF’s head of mission in Nigeria told me recently. “Because women are vulnerable, they can be easily exploited and sexually abused by people” who take advantage of their desperate situations.

 

Every year thousands of Nigerian women and children are taken to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere in Africa and forced into prostitution and involuntary domestic servitude – some from IDP camps in and around Madinatu.

Nigerian trafficking victims were identified in at least 40 countries, according to the 2018 United States Department of State “Trafficking in Persons Report.” The report states that sex trafficking “is a major concern across the northeast,” including in all IDP camps in and around Maiduguri.

Campaigners in Madinatu camp spread the word about the threat posed by traffickers. CREDIT: Philip Obaji Jr./IRIN

Campaigners in Madinatu camp spread the word about the threat posed by traffickers. CREDIT: Philip Obaji Jr./IRIN

 

Raising awareness

 

In search of  a solution, I began speaking with survivors of human trafficking living in the Madinatu IDP camp, and local community leaders.

 

Survivors include 15-year-old Nana Abdullahi, who escaped from her trafficker in Niger after he forced her into hard domestic labour. “He  initially told me he was taking me to Kano [in northwest Nigeria] for a job, but we drove all the way to Niger,” Nana, who fled to Madinatu when Boko Haram invaded her hometown of Bama in 2014, told me.

 

“When we got there he dumped me in a small house with so many other girls and ordered me to do all the house cleaning and cooking without paying me for it.”

Thirty-five-year-old Maryam Haruna ended up in involuntary domestic servitude in Saudi Arabia after being told she was taking part in a pilgrimage.

“When we arrived in Saudi Arabia I was told I needed to work to pay back what was spent on my trip,” Haruna, who was deported in 2014 after more than two years there, told me. “I was paid peanuts, yet I worked like a slave from early morning to very late at night.”

Now, residents don’t need to leave the camp to fetch water. In April, I helped launch “Up Against Trafficking”, an advocacy and support group focused on educating displaced persons on human trafficking.


To help protect women and children from traffickers, we provide clean water to the Madinatu camp daily by pumping water from a borehole just outside the camp to a standpipe within it. The property on which the borehole is located is owned by one of our founding members.


Small donations from individuals support our group, helping to power fuel-running generators that pump the water and assisting survivors of human trafficking to start new lives, often businesses.

Women and children tend to gather at the pumps in the camp, making them ideal spots for raising awareness about the dangers of trafficking. Every week, members of “Up Against Trafficking” are there to explain the tricks of human traffickers.

 

One of our campaigners is Nana, the 15-year-old who escaped servitude in Niger. Speaking to a group of women at the borehole recently, she explained why raising awareness is important: “The more you hear these messages, the better prepared you are to take on traffickers.”

Culled from IRIN News


*Philip Obaji Jr. is a journalist, human rights educator, and the founder of Up Against Trafficking campaign which educates displaced persons in Nigeria about the dangers of human trafficking, and assists survivors of human trafficking in Internally displaced persons camps on their journey towards wholeness. Follow him on Twitter (@PhilipObaji)

Cobhams Asuquo Drops New Song, ‘Starlight’

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Still basking in his famous live performance at the African Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA), Cobhams Asuquo has released a new song that he titles ‘Starlight’.

‘Starlight’ is the latest instalment by the ‘One Hit’ crooner as he continues to advance his promising singing career.

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Produced by the multi-award winning producer and composer, Starlight is a love song dedicated to lovers and everyone hoping to find true love.

Here’s how he captures his muse for his new single;

“This song is for that Starlight in your life. Starlight is light reflected from the stars that illuminates your way. It never goes out, it’s there, day and night (the Sun is also a star)

This song speaks to that. It’s my love letter, my ‘thank you’ for always being there. To the one who stayed when things were rough, to the one who encouraged when I was glum, to the one who noticed when I was off and to the one who caused me to hum (just so you know, stars hum). To the Starlights in our lives.”

Streaming: http://hyperurl.co/43h9kh

Social Media: IG & Twitter – @cobhamsasuquo

Linda Ikeji gives birth to Baby Boy

Celebrity blogger, Linda Ikeji, has given birth to a baby boy.

The baby was born on Monday at a hospital in Atlanta, US.

She posted this image on her Instagram  page to announce his birth and went on to reveal that he was born today, the 17th of September, 2018.

Zainab Ahmed: 5 things you should know about acting Finance Minister

5 things you should know about acting minister, Zainab Ahmed
Here are five things you probably don’t know and which you should know about acting finance minister, Zainab Ahmed.
(Twitter/Bashir Ahmad)

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed as the acting Minister of Finance and there are five things you should know about her.

Zainab Ahmed was announced the acting replacement for the 23rd finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, who resigned after a certificate forgery scandal.

Born 55 years ago in Kaduna State, the acting finance minister was appointed state minister, Budget and planning by President Buhari in 2015.

Here are five things you probably don’t know and which you should know about acting finance minister, Zainab Ahmed.

1. Aspiration to become Nigeria’s accountant general

In 1982, the acting Finance Minister joined Kaduna State Ministry of Finance as an accountant with an aspiration of becoming the state’s Accountant General.

 

2. Highest educational degrees

Zainab Ahmed holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and an MBA from the Ogun State University, Ago Iwoye.

3. A date with September

The 55-year-old acting minister rose to become Chief Finance Officer of Nigeria Mobile Telecommunications, MTEL, after joining in September, 2005. And 13 years after, she has been announced acting finance minister in September 2018.

4. One of Kaduna’s brightest

Zainab Ahmed was appointed the Managing Director of Kaduna Investment Company by Governor Patrick Yakowa in March, 2009. From Kaduna state Governor, Nasir Elrufai to Bashir Ahmad President Buhari’s personal assistant on new media, Zainab Ahmed has been judged one of Kaduna’s brightest and finest. During her ministerial screening, Bashir had tweeted,Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed is very intelligent, I like all the answers she has given so far. MinisterialScreening”

5. A certified account

Ahmed holds the Fellowship of Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, ANAN, a member of the Nigerian Institute of Taxation and the Nigerian Institute of Management.

5 Ways To Network Outside Of The Office

 

Nothing replaces face-to-face networking, and for those who are job hunting, networking is every candidate’s lifeline. Networking is also important, however, for those who are working. Since “every job is temporary,” it is incumbent upon even the most happily employed to remember to optimize their network and keep in touch, both in person and through social media.

Here are five ways to network outside of the office, even when you are working.

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Career Masterclass With Dipo held in Enugu on August 9, 2018

1. Attend professional conferences and conventions.

Professional conferences are places where you can learn and upgrade the level of education and skill needed for professional development. In addition, however, you can meet many other people who are in your industry. You never know when these contacts might come in handy.

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2. Join local networking groups.

Just about every professional group has a local chapter or a local organization that provides an opportunity to network with individuals who share your particular area of expertise. Get to know them by attending meetings. I attend a couple of these types of meetings a month and see people with whom I share a common bond. We can commiserate with one another as well as celebrate one another’s successes.

3. Get social and check out Meetup.com.

If you haven’t yet checked out Meetup.com, you should. This platform offers a group for everyone. There is a group for every type of interest whether, it is wine tasting or bicycling. If you can’t find a Meetup that meets your needs, you can organize one of your own! It is a great way to get to know people who share a passion or an interest off the job—or job-related—and you never know whom you might meet.

4. Stay in touch with alumni.

Attend class reunions. Your alumni association may be an overlooked opportunity for you to stay connected, but it is one you should use. You never know where people will wind up, and it is just possible that a former classmate is now working for a company about which you might be interested in learning more. In addition to reunions and local chapter meetings of alumni, LinkedIn provides a great way for you to find and locate alumni online. It is up to you to add the personal invitation to connect and then to follow up so that you can catch up in person.

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5. Become a conference presenter!

In keeping with the importance of attending conferences and conventions, you can get your name “out there” and become known as an “expert” in your field if you volunteer to present on a topic with which you are particularly interested and one about which you can share insights or information. Volunteer to present at a conference. Offer to write an article for a professional journal or newsletter. People will start to view you as an “expert” in your field, and they will seek you out, thus helping you build your professional network.

Never overlook the importance of being well connected in your professional community. It is your responsibility, and failing to do so is a failure of appreciating the importance of being connected with those whom you might help in the future as well as with those who might offer you an opportunity some day.

 

Source: Careerealism

Five Reasons You Will Love Touring Calabar

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The first thing that readily comes to mind at the mention of Calabar is tourism. It is unarguably one of Nigeria’s tourism hubs with the most footfalls.

Calabar, also known as the Canaan City, is the capital of Cross River State in Nigeria. It was originally named Akwa Akpa in Efik language. The city is adjacent to Calabar and the Great Kwa rivers and creeks of the Cross River (from its inland delta).

Administratively, the city is divided into Calabar Municipal and Calabar South Local Government Areas. It has an area of 406 square kilometres (157 sq mi) and a population of 371,022 as at 2006. There is an airport in Calabar which means you have the option of flying into the city.

Exploring Calabar is worthwhile because there is so much to do and see in the capital city.

Here are five reasons you will love touring Calabar, the top tourist destination, hotels to stay, and interesting and fun places to unwind within the city.

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1.Uncountable tourist attractions

Calabar blessed is blessed with endless tourist attractions. Anyone visiting the state should be ready to be treated to virgin forests, resorts, hills, waterfalls and mountain. Leading the pack in terms of popularity is the Obudu Cattle Ranch. Other Calabar attractions include Tinapa Lakeside Resort, Kwa Waterfalls, Drill Ranch and National Park.

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2. Great hospitality

Calabar people are synonymous with hospitality. They are very hospitable which is why over the years, it has become a choice destination for tourists besides its many tourist destinations. They are accommodating and they have a medley of cuisines that will leave you desiring for more. As a Nigerian, you must have heard of the soup duo – Edikaikong and Afang. This is just a tip of the iceberg. There is more if you visit Calabar.

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3. Education

Going on tour is education in itself. There is so much to learn while travelling. However, for Calabar, it is different. Tourists who intend to visit the state should include the slave museum on their to-do lists. You will go down memory lane as you will be told about the sad and dark days of slavery in Calabar and much more.

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4. Host the biggest carnival/festival in Africa

The Calabar carnival is usually tagged as Africa’s biggest street party. Whether you believe it or not, Calabar is the place to be in December. You will definitely have a thrilling and indelible experience.

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5. It is a clean city

Calabar boasts of a relatively clean environment especially when you compare it to other cosmopolitan cities in Nigeria. The fact is tourists won’t visit a place where the streets are littered.

Top Tourist Destinations

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Tinapa Resort

Tinapa Resort is the first integrated business and leisure resort established by the government of Cross River. The resort is located just about 10 kilometres from Calabar and serves as the ideal place to buy duty-free good and supplies. Tinapa resort boasts of spectacular architectural designs and features a luxury hotel, cinema, movie production studio known as “Studio Tinapa”, mini amphitheatre, nightclubs, a children’s arcade, pubs and water-themed park.

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Obudu Mountain Resort

This can easily pass as Calabar’s most promising and popular tourist destination. Obudu Mountain Resort is located in the highlands and deep tropical forests of Cross River State with a temperate climate at about 45 miles from the border with Cameroon. If you are a tourist looking for a mix of adventure and idyllic tranquillity, then Obudu Cattle Ranch is the place to be. With rich natural vegetation and a picturesque view, Obudu is increasingly becoming popular amongst tourists from all around Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

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Mary Slessor’s House

Mary Slessor arrived the Nigerian shores in 1876 as a missionary worker for the United Presbyterian Church. She settled in the Akpap Okoyong, Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State and built herself a two bedroom mud house with a veranda, a store and a parlour which she called a “Caravan”. The house was renovated by Mr Owens, a missionary carpenter in 1889. The walls of the house were made from iron sheets while windows and doors were carved from wood. Upon Mary Slessor’s death, the house was converted to a Rest Home for missionaries and a primary health care centre.

Calabar carnival

Calabar Carnival usually referred to as Africa’s Biggest Street Party was created as part of the dream of making Cross River State the number one tourist destination in Nigeria. The carnival starts on every 1st of December and lasts till 31st December. One of the main events that everyone anticipates is the street carnival which is usually celebrated on December 28th. The carnival started in 2004.

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Agbokim Waterfalls

Agbokim Waterfalls is made up of seven streams cascading over a steep cliff which provides seven faced waterfalls. Agbokim Waterfalls is located at about 17 kilometres from Ikom Local Government Area in Cross River State close to the Nigerian-Cameroonian border. The waterfall lies directly on the Cross River where it descends through the tropical forest.

Where to Stay

As a tourist hub, there is a blend of premium and budget hotels. You do not need to worry about the hotel because you can book one that is well-suited for your lifestyle here.

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Five Two Zero Hotels Lodge And Spa

Five two zero hotel lodge and spa is a 4-Star luxury hotel located in Calabar, Rivers State. The spacious rooms are designed with an adjoining sitting area which is fitted with plush sofas. Each room has an ornate lampshade, a TV with satellite channels, a wardrobe, a worktable and an en-suite bathroom. Complimentary breakfast is served daily and free WiFi is available. Some of the perks you can enjoy at the hotel are laundry, car hire and airport pickup ( services are provided upon request). Onsite parking is available and the premises are guarded by security personnel. You can book the executive suite of this hotel starting from 150k.

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Calabar Harbour Resort & Spa

Calabar Harbour Resort & Spa boasts modern facilities and neatly furnished rooms that will warm the heart of every guest. It is one of the top luxury hotels in Calabar! Calabar Harbour Resort & Spa is located in Asari Eso Layout, Calabar. All rooms are fully air-conditioned and furnished with decorative art paintings and wallpaper. Rooms are also fitted with safety deposit boxes, desks, flat-screen TVs with satellite channels and an en-suite bathroom. The suites also have a separate living and dining area. Calabar Harbour Resort & Spa is a 10-minute drive away from the airport.

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Terex Guest House

Terex Guest House is situated along Jebs Road in Calabar. The hotel has a bar and lounge.Each room has a TV with a cable subscription, air conditioning and an ensuite bathroom. The bar serves alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The on-site restaurant serves staples or meals from the menu. You can book this hotel for as low as N1,500.

Marpeto Hotel

Marpeto Hotel (Extension) is situated at Asuquo Nyong Street, Calabar. Each room has an en-suite bathroom, a wardrobe, a work table and chair, a television and a fan. Guests enjoy a variety of meals at the onsite restaurant, while the bar serves chilled alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Unwinding

Your visit is incomplete without having a taste of Calabar’s nightlife! So, you should know that Calabar is not only about its tourist destinations, it also offers a vibrant nightlife for anyone who wants to indulge and have fun. Of course, while relaxing, you can order popular Calabar cuisines like Afang and Edikaikong among others.

Some of the popular nightclubs in Calabar includes:

Jasper 131 club

Jasper 131 is one of Calabar’s most premium entertainment spots. It is usually quiet and empty during the day, but at night, it becomes the life of the town.

Mayfair Lounge

An excellent environment to unwind, Mayfair lounge is a very popular bar in Calabar. Located in the Channel View Hotels, it is a perfect spot to get away from the bustle of Calabar.

Pinnacle Pub

Pinnacle Pub and Nightclub is one of the most recognised night spots in Calabar. Located within The Mirage Hotel, its modern services complement a tradition of service excellence.  The bar is chic yet informal and attracts Calabar’s fashionable crowd. It has good service and a tasty food and drinks selection.

ALUMNUS INITIATES CAREER DEVELOPMENT TRAINING FOR STUDENTS, DONATES EQUIPMENT TO DEPARTMENT

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An alumnus of the department of Microbiology, Abia State University, Chiemezie Nwakire has initiated a career development training to empower final year students with relevant skills and techniques needed to excel in their new career, plan their career growth and imbibe core values that will transform their professional development.

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The one-day workshop and mentorship event partly sponsored by Society for Applied microbiology (SFAM) was tagged “the science of microbiology.” The students were taken not just through microbiology techniques such as gram staining, media preparation, good laboratory practice, quality assurance, critical scientific writing, experimental design, method development and validation; but also employability skills like effective presentation, creating a winning CV and cover letter, utilizing the Linkedin network and other job hunting platforms.

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Delivering his opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Uche E. Ikonne, represented by Prof. Victor O. Nwaugo, a lecturer in the department and the director of research and publications emphasized the importance of the donations.

“Recently the vice chancellor gave his inaugural lecture aptly titled: Seeing is believing. But nothing captures the total essence of that lecture than this device donated by our product, Chimezie Nwakire. This device enables one to view the microscopic feed from a computer screen. Before now, the department has been making use of Prof Ugbogu’s device. But today the department proudly has one. The entire university community welcomes this initiative. We are proud to have you here again. We call on other alumni to follow suit. Today it’s his turn; tomorrow it may be your turn to assist us. Our doors are open; our arms are wide open to receive more. When you leave this place, don’t forget your alma mater,” he concluded.

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According to Chimezie, this programme was inspired by the need to mentor students and guide them on opportunities available in microbiology profession.

“I spent four years here. There’s no better place to start than where my career was defined. We were made to believe that there is no future in Microbiology, and that is a big lie. There are loads and loads of opportunities out there for people willing to practice in that field. While I was in the UK, I thought of how and where I could give back. I think initiating this career programme and equipping the department with relevant equipment will inspire students and help them realize and utilize their potentials for solving society’s problem,” he concluded.

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Mr. Chimezie further made a donation of four top-notch highly sought textbooks and a Celestron Microscope Kit – a device that can magnify microscopic elements on a computer screen to the department.

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Assoc. Prof Hope Okereke received the donated items on behalf of the department

Receiving the donations on behalf of the head of department Prof (Mrs) Nkechi Nwachukwu, Dr. Hope C. Okereke, Associate Professor of Food Microbiology had nothing but gratitude to the donor.
“Today, we are glad to be receiving Chimezie who we trained here. He has conquered his world and has returned to invest in the next generation. The device he donated would bring more clarity to research works, and we are highly elated. The entire department is glad about this and we expect other alumni to emulate his kind gesture,” he said.

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Prof Ositadimma Ugbogu addressing the students on how to use the Celestron Microscope kit

Ositadinma C. Ugbogu is the Director of Institute for Computer Studies and Professor of Applied Microbiology. He led the planning team for this event and he told us that the event went as planned.

“We had a science of Microbiology workshop. A former student here, Chimezie Nwakire organized a one-day workshop for 400L students. The event was well attended by students, and he took them through what they should do with their lives after studying Microbiology, exposed the practical aspects of microbiology and how they can pursue careers in microbiology; not just within Nigeria but outside Nigeria. The students are elated, they are very happy. They said this event should be done for all sets of students, not just their own set. They wish this event can continue, but it’s just a one-day event. The next step is that I’m discussing with Mr Nwakire that this should be an annual event. Not just him coming, but attracting other alumni doing well in the field of microbiology, in the universities or the research institutes scattered in Europe, US and in Nigeria; to be part of next year’s event. This will give hope to those who are currently studying Microbiology.”

An elated 400L student of Microbiology, Enwereji Constance A. spoke to us. She said:

“Wow! The workshop was very wonderful. It was enlightening. It helped in breaking down the opportunities and fields one can venture in after studies. My career path has become clearer to me. I feel like I’m ready more than ever before to practice. Thanks to the department for putting this together. And thanks to Chimezie for deeming it fit to leave his base in the UK to come and mentor and donate these books and equipment for our use.”

 

Law weekly: Why You Should Invest In Nigeria

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With a population of over 180 million and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $509 billion, Nigeria is one country that cannot be overlooked. An indication that the country is open for business is the variety of business incentives and trade stimulants which the Government has put in place to support the development and growth of commercially viable and sustainable enterprises.

In earlier posts we have explained Business Formation and Business Permits, now in continuation of our series on Doing Business in Nigeria, we highlight some of the Business Incentives in Nigeria.

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  1. PIONEER STATUS– Pioneer status is a 5 (five) year tax holiday granted to qualified industries anywhere in the Federation or 7 (seven) year tax holiday in respect of industries located in economically disadvantaged local government areas of the Federation. The grant  of  Pioneer  Status  to  a  company in  Nigeria  is  aimed  at  enabling  such company operating within the pioneer industry make significant capital expenditure and a reasonable level of return of profit within its formative years without having to pay companies tax.
  1. TAX RELIEF FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT- Up to 120 percent of expenses on (R&D) is tax deductible. Where the research is long-term, it will be regarded as a capital expenditure and will be written off against profit. Such R&D activities must be carried out in Nigeria and should be connected with the business from which income or profits is derived.
  1. TAX RELIEF FOR IN-PLANT TRAINING- For industrial establishments that have established in-plant trainings there is a 2% tax concession for a period of five years.
  1. INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE- Twenty percent (20%) of the cost of providing these infrastructural facilities, where they do not exist, is tax deductible. This is a form of incentive granted to industries that provide facilities that ordinarily, should have been provided by government. Such facilities include access roads, pipe borne water and electricity.
  1. LOCAL VALUE ADDED- There is a 10% tax concession for five (5) years for engineering industries aimed at encouraging local fabrication rather than the mere assembly of completely knocked down parts.
  1. MINIMUM LOCAL RAW MATERIALS UTILIZATION- Industries that attain the minimum level of local raw material sourcing and utilization are entitled to a tax credit of 20% for 5 years.
  1. TRADE LIBERALIZATION SCHEME (TLS)- The Objective of this scheme is to significantly expand the volume of intra-community trade in the West African sub-region via the removal of both tariff and barriers to trade in goods originating from ECOWAS countries. This affords preferential access to the ECOWAS market from Nigeria.
  1. NIGERIA EXPORT PROCESSING ZONES- Companies operating within the free trade zone are entitled to the following benefits
  • Complete tax holiday for all Federal, State and Local Government taxes, rates, custom  duties and levies;
  • One-stop approval for all permits, operating licenses and incorporation papers;
  • Duty-free, tax-free import of raw materials for goods destined for re-export;
  • Duty-free introduction of capital goods, consumer goods, components, machinery, equipment and furniture;
  • Permission to sell 100% of manufactured, assembled or imported goods into the domestic Nigerian Market;
  • 100% foreign ownership of investments;
  • 100% repatriation of capital, profits and dividends; etc
  1. DOUBLE TAXATION AGREEMENTS- Nigeria has entered into double taxation agreements with a lot of countries including UK; France; Netherlands; Belgium; Pakistan; Canada; Czech Republic; Philippines; Romania etc.

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  1. INVESTMENT PROMOTION AND PROTECTION AGREEMENT (IPPA)- The IPPA helps to guarantee the safety of the investment of the contracting parties in the event of war, revolution, expropriation or nationalization. It also guarantees investors the transfer of interests, dividends, profits and other incomes as well as compensation for dispossession or loss. Nigeria has concluded and signed IPPAs with UK; France; Netherlands; Pakistan; Canada; Romania etc.
  1. LIBERALIZATION OF OWNERSHIP STRUCTURE- By virtue of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act 1995 Foreigners can now own 100% shares in a Nigerian Company.
  1. REPATRIATION OF PROFIT- Under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring & Miscellaneous Provision Act No. 17 of 1995), foreign investors are free to repatriate their profits and dividends net of taxes through an authorized dealer in freely convertible currency.
  1. GUARANTEES AGAINST EXPROPRIATION- The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act guarantees that no enterprise shall be nationalized or expropriated by any government in Nigeria.

SECTORAL INCENTIVES

AGRICULTURE –

  • 100 % Capital Allowance
  • Full tax exemption.
  • Enhanced capital allowances of up to 50%.
  • 100% tax-free period for 5 years
  • 1% duty.

SOLID MINERALS

  • Low income tax of between 20% and 30%;
  • Deferred royalty payments depending on the magnitude of the investment and the strategic nature of the project;

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

  • Manufacture/installation of telecommunications related equipment is considered as pioneer activity. As a result, they enjoy 3 to 5 years tax holiday.

ENERGY

  • Tax holiday of 3 – 5 years
  • Manufacturers of Transformers, meters, control panels, switchgears, cable and other electrical related equipment, which are considered pioneer products/industries:
  • Power plants using gas are assessed under the company income tax act at a reduced rate of 30%.

TOURISM

  • Tax holiday
  • Import duty exemption on tourism related equipment.
  • Provision of land for tourism development at concessional rates.
  • Availability of soft loans with long period of moratorium.

TRANSPORT

  • Shipbuilding, repairs and maintenance of vessels, boat, barges, diving and underwater engineering services, aircraft maintenance and manufacturing are considered pioneer products which enjoy a tax holiday of 3- 5 years.

CONCLUSION

Despite the apparent problems Nigeria remains an attractive market to Entrepreneurs and Investors who look beyond the common perceptions and recognize the true market potential.

CREDITS: This opinion is brought to you by the Iyiola Oyedepo & Company

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