There is no place like home- Nwakaeze, Chairman BON Hotels Grand Pela.
Exquistive interview with Chairman, Bon Hotel Grand Pela, Mr. Nwakeze Peter at the opening of BON Hotel Grand Pela in Abuja, recently. Here he talks about reasons behind after spending years building businesses outside the country to come back and invest in hospitality industry and how government can support.
“There is no place like home”.
At this time of recession, people are trying to lay out some worker and you put up these masterpiece and absorbing workers. How has Nigeria unfavourable environment and factors affecting been the business?
PE: When we talk about Nigeria having enabling environment for hospitality business is not all that bad. I have visited so many countries far worse than what we are experiencing now, so I cannot call it Nigeria factor because it something we can build on and come out of it.
NE: What are does things, you thik Government can do to encourage industries and economic growth?
PE: Government need to understand, investors in Nigeria, like my self, I made my money outside Nigeria. I have businesses in some African countries and came down here to invest it. So I can say, Nigeria has an enable environment.
NE: Any support or interest from the government on what your doing here, so far?
PE: If you witnessed what happened here yesterday, Many representatives from Agencies, Government parastals, Ministers, Ambassadors, Senators even Governor of my state, were here, which shows that government is really interested in what we are doing here, and I believe if they are not interested, they wouldn’t have been here, in first place.
NE: Don’t you think opening this kind of hotel in this time of economic recession, the business will be affected in many ways?
Like I mentioned earlier, I am an investor in Nigeria. Being an investor in Nigeria is already a good step in right direction, by so doing, I believe we are already doing our best in creating an employment. In no distance time, Nigeria will come out of this recession. Sometimes when people talk of change, they seem not to understand the meaning of the word “change”, like I used to advice some of my friends. The government is We, you and I. Change starts with us because immediately, we change our attitudes, the system will automatically follows suit, things will change and get better. Like I mentioned earlier, we are trying our best. We at BON Hotels Grand Pela already, have created enable environment itself by creating employment. I want to tell you, We have done our part.
NE:What is the size of workers, one can say, BON Hotel Grand Pela has employed?
PE: If I may say, the way thing s are going now, We have started with Eighty workers presently, and I can assure you, but first let’s give Thanks to Almighty God, we can not do it by ourselves but by His grace. The way we are moving now. However, before it was known by the name “Grand Pela Hotel, but just to make sure we get it right. In 2 to 3 years from now, we will be able to have two more hotels by building more hotels, creating more employment.
NE: How have you been able to put necessary apparatus to ensure security of lives and property of prospective guests and friends coming here to lodge or visit?
NB: I am happy, you are all here today, by physically looking at our compound you can see security measures are all in place. We have our own “guys” all over the place, we have our own police, we have our own internal security personnels. Where we quite differs from any other hotels is that here is just a stone-throw from American International school. You know, whenever you mentioned “America”, first thing you talk about is security in place. As far as the BON Hotels Grand Pela is concerned, security is hundred percent, ask around.
NE: From legislative angle, how do you think they can support the industry in terms of policy formulations for employment and tourism boost in Nigeria?
PE; When you talk about legislators, one had in mind those in National assemby, making favourable laws that ensure investments in Nigeria are well protected. They need to look into the area of supporting investment in tourism. So many countries we visited, many earn their resources from tourism as people visits their country. I believe if our government be able to invest more in hospitality industry, it will get to a time when do not have to talk about oil and whatever because if you have enable environment hospitality industry, especially when we all know, so many people wants to get into our country, Nigeria is a country when you talk of population is of massive size to our advantage. They want to come and see Nigeria they have been hearing about. Security is our No: 1 issue. If someone that want to travel, has to be sure of his or her security. They way they can support hospitality industry or support people to invest in this industry, is by giving pioneer incentives like “giving one a long time to operate before starting to pay tax. That will be a good support.
NE: Can you give the capital estimate of this your investment?
PE: The investment is well over billion Naira and is good.
I have many busineses in other countries, like we( I am from Anambra state) rightly used to say, ” There is no place like home, no matter, many years you stay outside your country, it can never be like home”. Government need to do something to support us because moving such a huge money from all your businesses to come home and invest in Nigeria. Is already a sign of “no place like home.”
NE: Being a 4 star hotel. How have you been able to ensure that it meets both the world standard and world practice in terms infrastructures and amenities put in place?
PE: A good question. If you listen to my speech today, I categorically made it clear that all is not about building hotel but getting it to standard. So many people came to view it, to rate if is either 3 or 4 star hotels but you know whenever a word “Star” is mentioned, it has to do with furnishing,amenities, design, location, services and so many others. Is not about how big a hotel is, but about what and what you put in place. I believe your among those who have been going round inspecting and studying our facilities to see what we have. You can agree with me, is no doubt 4- star hotel.
Reports- Pamela James.