“The transport infrastructure in Nigeria is bad” Interview with Ezebue Uchenna Richard, CEO of Cinco Synergy Investment.
In this exclusive interview, I am speaking with Ezebue Uchenna Richard, CEO of Cinco Synergy Investment. Agricultural Trading Company. We will explore how the business, as a middleman exports agricultural products and natural minerals in the current Nigerian economy and with the transport infrastructure.
We will also touch on the business growth so far and the challenges faced, including the effects of the ever-falling naira on the business and the company’s way forward.
Let us begin.
Please tell us your name and what you do.
Sure, I am Ezebue Uchenna, CEO of Cinco Synergy Investment. We serve as an agent or mandate to local farmers to help them transport their resources to other countries.
Our mission is to simplify the process, bring together farmers and buyers around the world, and create a thriving ecosystem in the agricultural sector.
We are passionate about the potential of Cinco. We are a synergy. We have other subsidiaries. We are in the process of launching an ed-tech to teach interested individuals tech-related courses from world experts.
What prompted you to enter the agricultural business?
I have a friend who lives in China. In 2019, we had planned to import some products from Nigeria. We contacted a shipping company, but the prices they gave us were very high, and their reason for that is that when they send containers to Nigeria, they come back empty, so they kept their shipping prices high for when they came back from Nigeria empty.
I know that we have so many raw materials aside from oil and gas. The agricultural sector is not a fully explored market internationally. Despite the transport infrastructure, from farmers to the port. I saw the opportunity and took it, and here we are today.
How do you think we can optimize and reconfigure the agricultural value chain in Nigeria?
The government should focus on investments to propel greater productivity and higher value. The transport infrastructure in Nigeria is bad, with education and training and the energy for processing. These three main areas will capture a higher value when resolved.
How has the ever-falling naira affected your business?
According to Mr. Yakusak, executive director of NEPC “When you export, you add value, and your currency gains weight,” I read in the Vanguard News. He mentioned that the only way the naira will stop falling is through increased exports. While that might be good for the country, that same country has export policies that cancel any smooth process when exporting, knowing its transport infrastructure even in the case of inter-city.
Serving as a middleman in exporting from Nigeria, Can you tell us some challenges you have faced?
The high cost of doing business in Nigeria increases every second. When you ask for a transportation estimate, the estimate they sent you three days ago is different from what you get today. They know how the transport infrastructure is, the security, the corruption on the road, and the clearing of goods at the customs all go into the estimation you get every time.
This has happened more often than I care to remember if you are not strong and resilient. There were times when the officials at the port would frustrate you and use policies against you until you would give up, and they would end up selling your products themselves. I have sent letters to the customs commission but never got a reply.
What can you tell our readers and fellow entrepreneurs who intend to take up this venture?
Do not give up! In this economy, that is as far as you can tell yourself every morning to wake up and earn money. The government has not helped. The transport infrastructure in Nigeria might not improve.
They claim that help is in the works, but that remains to be seen. Somedays, you are excited to close deals, and the next, you are frustrated to take up one. Sometimes, it would feel like the government is your enemy, but as long as you are true to your path, the world is big enough for everybody.
Make good friends in the business and build up your reputation one day at a time. Competitors will come and go, but never stop upgrading your knowledge and skills and keep up with trends.