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Government must encourage local production and enact business friendly laws to discourage tax evasion – Asogwa

Government must encourage local production and enact business friendly laws to discourage tax evasion – Asogwa

Government must encourage local production and enact business friendly laws to discourage tax evasion – Asogwa

Chief Amb. Dr. Stella Rita Awelle Nwachukwu Asogwa who was recently decorated as an Ambassador of The Nigerian Leadership we want project by the Association of Proprietors of Private Media Establishment of Nigeria (APPMEN), is the CEO of Marcoriano Chinese Restaurant and Founder/President of the Stella Rita Awelle Humanitarian Foundation. In this exclusive interview with our Publisher, Precious Enebuse she averred that government must encourage local production and enact business friendly laws to discourage tax evasion. Chief Asogwa said despite all shed of discouragement suffered doing business in Nigeria, she is today bigger, better and buzzing. Excerpts:

For the benefit of our teeming readers, we would like you to officially introduce yourself ma

My name is Chief Amb. Dr. Stella Rita Awelle Nwachukwu Asogwa, I graduated from AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY, ZARIA. I have been a Business woman for about 15 years and entrepreneur such as hair, beauty and spa, fashion, restaurant etc.

You are the CEO of the famous Marcoriano Chinese Restaurant in Abuja, tell us a bit about how you got this far

Yes, I’m the CEO of Marcoriano Chinese Restaurant but I started the journey elsewhere. I started first with door to door sales of Mary-Kay products. I experienced growth and expanded into food business where I started first as Marcoriano; I went into fast food business and established what was called LA ‘Rita food and confectioneries, a business that we had set up in Nsukka, for about 17 years. I managed it for one year only because it was stressful; due to lack of experience coupled with its location. I then established Marcoriano. Marcoriano was an idea sold to me. We were given some coaching; it was a coaching and training franchise with Marco polo, a Chinese restaurant in Lagos state. The training session lasted for 3 years, and that really helped me consolidate. That’s how we started.

What’s your major breakthrough since going into business?

My major breakthrough is my success story that I have ran a business that is over a decade old today, despite all shed of discouragement I suffered from start. It’s been 12 solid years and one is still here bigger, better and buzzing.

What major challenges have you been facing doing business in Nigeria?

It’s been pretty tough running a business in Nigeria and over a long time. First, I want to say that lack of constant electricity supply and the high cost of it are challenges businesses in Nigeria face up with. Burning diesel at all times to keep the business afloat is a challenge really. Despite the high inflation rate and others, cost of electricity supply from the AEDC, and the use of diesel can be so draining. Because of the high cost, we resort to solar energy. Sometimes we don’t make use of the AEDC. The tariff is so high. It’s a very difficult one I must say. The second challenge is the levies and dues charged by government agencies (AMAC). Their men don’t take excuses from anyone even when they see you suffer a drop in the sales. These and many more, make running a business in Nigeria tough; that’s why many businesses are folding up. One must be courageous enough to continue with it, in the hope that the situation will improve.

You are a successful business woman, what can you point to as your effort to give back to society?

We have been paying our dues in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility. We have the Stella Rita Awelle Humanitarian Foundation where we are able to give back what we can to the less privileged around us; to widows, single mothers, and youths. We provide free trainings such as computer graphic design. From time to time, we supply relief materials to orphanages. We support all efforts towards attaining peace during elections. Recently, we collaborated with a company in the campaign against violence during elections.

Where do you see your companies in the next 10 years?

We are already a decade old, and I’m confident we can do more and better. I’m optimistic that Marcoriano, in the next 10 years, will expand into the states.

What’s your advice to government on business and the economy?

As an entrepreneur, I think governments ought to support entrepreneurs and small and medium businesses. In other climes, small and medium enterprises are provided support by government.  Our governments need to encourage local production, that way, we will depend less on imported goods.  To discourage tax evasion, our laws must be business friendly. This way, the economy can be strengthened.

Do you see a situation where the lawmakers could move a motion propelling the government to give loans in-order to help small and medium businesses grow with a favorable interest rate?

We have heard that the CBN provides lots of windows for loans. The Bank of Industry for example, supports business owners. I have practically tried to get these loans but it turns out futile. Up to this point, nothing has come forth. The loan given to micro-finance firms cannot be assessed by business owners. It’s unfortunate.

All works without play make……. Tell us a bit about your social life

I would say that my life revolves more around my business and family. I spend the little time I usually have on travel. For me, traveling is an adventure, and in that way, I get to know more about other cultures and religions both within and outside the country.

How would you rate the performances of your representative in other parts of the countries?

I must say it boldly that I’m not impressed with our representatives in both the national and sub-national levels. They travel and see how well things are done in other climes. Yet, they fail to deliver effective parliamentary representation to citizens. As a business person, whenever I travel out, I learn how others manage the affairs of their businesses, and when I return from such trips, I implement lessons I had learnt. That is what is expected of representatives.


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