Mr. Yavuz Zenheri is the Director of Association of Business People and Investors of Nigeria and Turkey (ABINAT), in this interview, he bares his mind on how the association is promoting business opportunities between Turkey and Nigeria. He also speaks on the perceived insecurity in the country and other wide range of issues. Excerpts
What is the objective of your association (ABINET)?
The objective of ABINET is to bridge Nigeria and Turkey in terms of business and investment
Can you highlight the success of the association?
We have been able to bring 20 investors to Nigeria, they came here with their families from Turkey. About three Nigerians have also successfully opened business offices in Turkey, one of them opened a factory.
What sector of the economy do the Turkish businessmen invest in?
Apart from Turkish colleges, Education and Health, there are construction companies, Furniture companies, some quarries and some small scale business.
What is the procedure for Nigerians that want to invest in Turkey?
It is very easy, if any Nigerian wants to open a company in Turkey, he needs to register a company and identify a sector or business, just like what is obtainable in Nigeria.
What role do you play in facilitating such businesses?
Like Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), when companies come from outside we can present the companies and register the companies in two days’ time.
Which one is your focus, is it Nigerians investing in Turkey or Turkish investment in
Ours is to completely bring businesses to Nigeria since we are registered in Nigeria. We focus on Health and Education. We are trying to do our best to bring more and more Turkish investors to Nigerians. At the moment we have 310 Nigerians as members and 50 to 60 Turkish members of our association.
Any challenges so far?
Mainly our challenges are insecurity and power failure, the rest are common problems. Power is the main concern because insecurity is only affecting part of Nigeria. If you are looking at Nigeria from outside, you will think that Boko Haram is everywhere, but there is no internal war in Nigeria, the media is only trying to blow up the issue of insecurity, which I think is intentional in my view. If you watch some channels you will think there is a war in every parts of Nigeria. But when they come here especially the Turkish people, they see Nigeria as a good democracy.
Yearly we bring up to 100 to 200 businessmen from Turkey to Nigeria and at the same time will take more than 500 businessmen yearly from Nigeria to see business opportunities in Turkey through ABINAT.
How long have you been in Nigeria?
I have been here for twelve years and as association, I have been here for three years. I have been to many states like Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Yobe and Abuja
How far has it been in the three years with the association?
The association was like a component of our schools in Nigeria, Nigerian
Turkish International Colleges (NTIC). In 2006 we tried making it (association) as a bridge with parents, we were doing the association with parents of students, it came to a point that we said we should make it more and professional by engaging Nigerian businessmen , then in 2011 we formed the association.
What is the process to become a member of ABINAT?
The process is very easy, you pick the application form, the relevant papers and show your tax identification number, and the annual payment; which is N80, 000.
Any other thing you want to say about the association?
We also organize seminar for our members in specific subjects on how to do some exportation, we bring professionals from UK, from US, from Turkey. We also organise seminars in collaboration with NPIC, ministry of investments, and in collaboration with other bodies within Nigeria. We have a good understanding with NACCIMA, NIPC and other chambers of commerce. Many of them have signed memoranda with us.
If I am businessmen and what to invest in Turkey what will I do?
Not only in Turkey, our main umbrella which is called TUSKON is confederation and we are in 146 countries, for example if one of our members what to do business in Germany, we get in touch with them and make things easier. We are officially in India, China, Moscow, Washington DC, Brussels, Addis Ababa and many others, we are also business partner for Africa Union (AU), we also organize programmes for AU, we are also business partner to European Union (EU), we don’t just want to focus only on Turkey.
For example if you want to go to Brussels, we have association and offices in Brussels, we can call them to make things easy for our members. Same in Ethiopia, Kenya, Gabon, Senegal and others.
What is the target for ABINAT in this 2015?
Our target for this year is to reach 1000, but the number is not important to us but the effectiveness, also on the other hand we are trying to open a skill acquisition centre in Abuja to help the unemployed, we have applied to FCT administration for the land and very soon we are going to start the construction
Which areas are you looking at for the skills acquisition?
We will be looking at fourteen different courses, some of the experts that we handle the courses we come from Turkey, Nigeria and others from the Nigerian-Turkish centre.