11th September, 2012
The Group Managing Director of Suru Group of Companies, Mr. Edward Akinlade, has passed a vote of no confidence on Nigerian banks, saying he would never recommend any of them to investors judging by the way they treat investors who want to secure loans.
Mr. Akinlade, who said he has never hidden his disdain for Nigerian banks, said he would instead seek for loans outside the country or go to the Bank of Industries if the need arises, rather than go to the banks.
He claimed that commercial banks in Nigeria often frustrate investors seeking loans in the country because they get up to 15 per cent interest from the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
Mr. Akinlade, who made this remark during the opening of the Suru Express Hotel, Joel Ogunaike branch, said when he travelled to London recently for a conference, he spoke with the Managing Directors of two Nigerian banks on why they hardly give out loans to investors in the real sector.
“They asked me why they should give loans to the real sector when Sanusi Lamido pays them up to 15 per cent instead of the 18 or 19 per cent they would get from us and at the end have issues of non-performing loans,” he added.
He lamented what he called heavy taxation on businesses in Nigeria by both the Federal and state governments.
According to him, the government should think more of encouraging entrepreneurs by providing an enabling environment since it does not employ people as much as the private sector.
“We are not happy with the taxes imposed on us in Lagos for example. It is not creating an enabling environment for us.The government should encourage us instead of creating obstacles for us. This is the major problem we are facing.
“The attitude of the Lagos State Government is just to make money to the detriment of the people in Lagos. We have Johnson Products on Ikosi Road, but if you look at that road, all you would see are churches and they don’t pay taxes.
“If the government continues like this, business people would move out of the state and give their buildings to churches.
“If I want to set up a business in Lagos State, I expect the state government not to collect tax from me in the next three years since I would be employing people.
“Even when we had not opened this place, officials of the Lagos State Inland Revenue Service had visited us twice. We are not saying we won’t pay tab but it is expected of them to give us sometime to settle down,” he lamented.
Also describing the efforts of the government in the agriculture sector as hypocritical, he said if the government was actually interested in agriculture, all it needed to do was give farmers grant and be prepared to buy back their harvests for exportation.
“The initial dream was to come into Nigeria, borrow and borrow and borrow, set up good businesses and then use the Nigerian Stock Exchange to clear the debt, but we started well.
Mr. Akinlade, who said he wanted to be remembered as a man who made an impact in the life of people, said he was optimistic that if the Boko Haram issue was quickly resolved, the Nigerian economy would be more attractive to investors in the next few years.
By Eromosele Ebhomele