The Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has charged Igbo traders to embrace technology and innovation in order to grow their businesses.
He gave the charge at the weekend while speaking at the 2023 All Markets Conference organized by the Ndigboama Progressive Market Association (NPMA) in Lagos at the weekend.
Soludo, who was represented by Mr. Leo Chiegboka, Senior Special Assistant to Mr. Governor, Anambra State Liaison Officer, Lagos, said that the success of the Igbo nation not only in Nigeria but in any place they exist has been through trading, adding that they have done this well to the envy of many host communities.
However, he stated that the trading is changing and going digital, and stressed the need for Igbo traders to adapt to the changes.
He said that associations like Ndigboama need to reflect on the changes and seek ways to adapt to them, because, according to him, ‘businesses that cannot adapt will become history; they will become the dinosaurs of our time.’
He posited that they need knowledge of the new world of business, experience, expertise, or people who know, adding that the traders need to start thinking of how to transform their businesses into big companies.
The Governor advised them to individually upgrade their knowledge and skills to be able to compete in a rapidly changing world.
Soludo told them that they do not need to own a physical shop to trade, adding that they can trade online and people will buy their goods and services without physical contact.
He urged them to advertise their goods and service, stating that they do not have to be a big company to advertise their goods and services to a targeted audience.
A one-man sole proprietor can advertise his goods through the Internet for a small fee, just like a big business can. A small business has the same access as a big company if you have the right knowledge. The internet has transformed the way business is done worldwide,’ he said.
Soludo called for the modernization of the ‘igba boi’ apprenticeship system, which he said has been the key to their success in trading.
‘The system has been described as the largest business incubation system in the world. Like all good things, abuses are increasingly manifesting, both from Ndi Oga and from Umu boi. Your association needs to look into modernizing and safeguarding the system. Umu boi that are illiterate need to acquire some education, maybe on a part time basis. Ndi Oga who are illiterate also need adult education’ he argued.
Soludu urged successful traders to transition into manufacturing the goods they import, positing that they cannot continue to support the economies of the countries where they import goods from.
According to him, ‘When you import, you are sustaining jobs and growing the economies of such countries. We need to grow our economy, especially the economy of Igboland. We need to begin to think of home. We need to begin to invest in all new businesses at home. We have done enough for other people’s economy. Now is the time to invest in our homeland’, he asserted. OJENEWS