Former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed his endorsement of the efforts made by the Nigerian organization, Business Network International (BNI), to aid 25,000 businesses each year. This commendation is rooted in the belief that such an initiative will contribute to the advancement of human capital development within the country.
Obasanjo added that BNI’s plan to also make One million families through growth in employment and value creation and to contribute N650 billion annually to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would go a long way in raising no fewer than five million Nigerians out of poverty by 2050.
Obasanjo made this disclosure in his keynote presentation titled: “Importance of Network in Life and Business” during the launch of the Gateway Chapter of Business Network International (BNI) in Abeokuta, Ogun State Capital at the weekend.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, the former President commended the initiative of the country’s partners in coming up with the goals set for Nigeria.
“I like the goals that you have set for yourself in BNI in Nigeria, to support 25,000 businesses, to support one million families, and if you take an average of one family being five; father, mother, and three children, we are talking of five million people.
“Well, you may say, give million out of 230 million people, so how much is that? But it means a lot. In a situation where over 100 million of us are in abject poverty, if five million can be raised out of poverty, it means we are doing a lot.”
Obasanjo lamented that with 100 million Nigerians living in abject poverty, “only investment in human development and education will turn Nigeria’s population from liability to asset.
“We lay emphasis on our natural resources and when we talk of our natural resources, we are talking of mine, oil and gas, gold, whatever we can find in the bush or under the ground. But for me, our most important natural resource is human beings.
“By the year 2050, we will be the third largest country in the world with a population of well over 450 million. Only China and India will be larger than us in population. That can be an asset and it can be a liability.
In her remarks, the President of the Gateway chapter of BNI, Mrs. Ronke Daniel disclosed that the organisation has been supporting business owners in more than 70 countries to grow.
Daniel noted that, the objective of the organization is to grow businesses and empower operators of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMSEs) to reach their maximum potentials, stressing that, “with needed support, our goal to record 25,000 business support annually will be achieved.
She advised small and medium scale businesses in the country to come together and tap from the opportunities in engaging in networking both nationally and internationally, stressing that this would make their businesses grow and improve on the country’s economy.
Daniel added that the BNI template would be available for use by members as part of the growth development.
The BNI Regional Director, Dr. Adebola Olubanjo assured that the country would grow more for the better, “if we can come together to Network our businesses. The target was to have a world chapter of BNI in Nigeria, with harmony, trusted, seasoned businessmen/women and professionals, the situation in the country can be better,” the Regional Director told the gathering.