Idayat Bolanle Muse, the founder of Bomarah Group of Companies, is a regionally recognised player in the maritime and cargo handling sector for over two decades, with interests in cargo handling, sea and air freight, clearing and forwarding, travels and tourism, farming and downstream oil and gas marketing.

Muse is the President of Women in Maritime Africa, Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics and currently the National Financial Secretary of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents.

Muse is a graduate of Business Management with master’s degree from the University of Calabar, Post Graduate Diploma in Public Administration from Bayero University and Higher National Diploma in Secretarial Studies from Baron School of Management, Kano. A hardworking woman with high level of perseverance and high level of commitment, competence, and initiative, she is endowed with an extensive knowledge and broad practice of maritime blue ocean economy, entrepreneurship and leadership.

In this Interview with Oyinlola Sale, Muse speaks on how she has shattered the glass ceiling in the maritime industry as a major player.

With over two decades in the maritime industry, can you narrate how you managed to become a major player in the industry as the founder of Bomarah Group of Companies?

Bomarah Group arrived here by dint of hardwork, promptness in service delivery, sincerity in our dealings with our clients and, most importantly, the guidance of Allah.

Now with over two decades in the Maritime industry, can you narrate how you managed to become a major player in the industry as the founder of Bomarah Group of Companies?

Frankly, l like to tackle multiple challenges all at once. I am a woman of many parts. As you have noted that Bomarah Group is into many aspects of the economy including freight forwarding, oil and gas, agriculture, shipping and air freight services . It may interest you to know that l have also have an undisguised passion for philosophical works.

I have an organisation called BOMARAH FOUNDATION through which we reach out with a helping hand to the needy. We have empowered many young ladies without artisanal enterprises, who are doing fine. We reach out regularly to hospices regularly to assist one way or another.

The physically challenged are not left out. Staying with them to keep their company l do and enjoy regularly. In short, l discovered that you will succeed in all of these endeavours, if you are hardworking, focused, sincere, honest and God fearing, you will succeed.

We render to our distinguished clients honest, transparent and excellent services. Your clients or customers will believe in you and stick to you and as they grow and progress your company too will grow and progress alongside. So these virtues brought us this far. And it is my singular goal to impart these into the younger generations of ladies coming up.

As the President of Women in Maritime Africa, how have you encouraged women to take up roles in the maritime industry?

As the President of Women in Maritime Nigeria, my number one priority has been to encourage more women to participate in the maritime industry in Nigeria.

We try to try build their capabilities and capacities through scholarships, encouraging them to participate actively in all the gamut of shipping and freight forwarding, and thankfully, by the grace of Almighty God, we are beginning to realise good results.

Just last week, a young lady was commissioned as a pilotage vessel handler. This is what we seek to achieve as maritime women in Nigeria.

Bomarah Group of Companies deals in cargo handling, sea and air freight, clearing and forwarding, travels and tourism, farming and downstream oil and gas marketing, over the years how have you managed to build the brand at the same time offering several services and meeting the demands of your clients?

What’s worth doing well is worth doing better; that’s my slogan, and I don’t believe in failure, Almighty God has been my supporter. As a career woman, and role model to others, success should always be the watchword.

How has your Bomarah Group of Companies changed the game in the Maritime Industry?

We have not changed the game in any way. We have only pushed the bar, I mean that we are first and foremost very time conscious. The importer is an impatient business man. Mindful of this, we are desperate to deliver his job on time. We don’t compromise on time. We all have succeeded in building BOMARAH as a respectable brand in the Nigerian maritime industry, Insha Allahu.

Take us through the economic impact of the Maritime Industry?

The maritime industry is next only to the oil industry in revenue generation into the coffers of the federal government of Nigeria.

Therefore, when such a sector is harshly affected by a phenomenon such as the coronavirus pandemic, then the Nigerian economy will suffer.

Actually, since 2020 when coronavirus hit the world, our sector, being a globally linked business structure, has functioned at well below capacity.

Import and export volumes have regressed and all of us, including government and multinational corporations, small time businesses and the generality of the people of Nigeria are all bearing the pains. But with faith in Almighty God and in the hope that our scientists will eventually come up with a proper remedy ,l believe our sector and, indeed, the world economy will bounce back to life and everybody will soon smile.

What are some of the challenges you have faced so far in building Bomarah Group of Companies?

This is an industry dominated by men in every facet, but l have the grace of God to be able hold my own and forge ahead.

Honestly, one of the biggest challenges in this industry is to find the right mix of staff who will be brilliant, hardworking, dedicated and most importantly be honest. It is not easy, but God Almighty has been kind to us at Bomarah. Allah has been generously kind to me. For 27 years now it has been forward ever.

How did you manage to finance this business, in its early days?

I was able to pull through in the early days of the company in terms finance with my own capital and assistance of my good customers.

What do you have to say regarding gender equality in this Industry?

Gone are the days when men dominated the whole sector. We have on our part as Women in Maritime complied with the articles of the China declaration on women’s inclusivity. Our women have come! We are taking over in the sector. You will recall that the immediate past MD of NPA was a lady, Hadiza Usman, she excelled.

The President of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria is a charismatic woman, Princess Vicky Haastrup. A lady who has been bright and brilliant as the President and a port administrator. We have many distinguished women worthy of emulation in the Nigerian maritime industry.

Compare and Contrast the maritime industry abroad and in Nigeria, where do we need to bridge gap?

We are not there yet. Our system is porous and we are not ready to let go of certain unbecoming practices which are undermining our development. Poor leadership is another bane of development of Nigeria’s maritime industry.

Take for an example the federal government’s policy of Ease of Doing Business. A well-thought-out policy, but has been messed up with by greed and selfishness. And where is the leadership to guide it?

What were some of your fears when setting up Bomarah Group of Companies and how did you gradually overcome your fears?

My fears were acceptance, how do l forge ahead in this highly male dominated sector and more importantly, customers. How do we win over new clients and keep them? But thankfully, my good orientation of rugged determination helped me to scale the hurdles. And here we are today.

How can the government make the maritime industry more profitable to boost our economy?

Good and forthright leadership will solve all these problems. A brilliant leaders will steer us in the right direction. God will do it for us soon

What is your growth projection for Bomarah Group of Companies in the next 10 years?

Good and forthright leadership will solve all these problems. A brilliant leader will steer us in the right projections for the next 10 years, while we nurse big dreams and big ambitions. We only recently floated a new company, Bomarah Truck Park, approved by the Nigerian Ports Authority. It is doing well and others are coming.