By Peter Osalor
The economic hardship in Nigeria is unprecedented. Our solely dependence on oil has cost us economic recession. A new born baby knows that things are hard; recently a 7 year old boy was killed just for stealing Garri. Some families now eat twice a day, some once; many do not have what to eat. This hardship and poverty level demands a revolution in Entrepreneurship to bring succour to our dying economy.
Entrepreneurship will reduce dependence on government for job creation and poverty alleviation by establishing business enterprises both macro, small and medium sized. Government is not left out of it, it has to provide enabling environment, the legal frame work, financial assistance and needed infrastructures for the business to thrive. Examples are: good roods, uninterrupted power supply, Pipe bone water, credit scheme inform of loan etc. Government will also reduce taxes charged on SMEs and give them exemption where necessary.
For our decaying public enterprises like Ajaokota steel, government Textile industries, Cement industries etc. , there has to be government –private partnership where the government owns 40% and the private owns 60%. This will not only create jobs, but will improve the economy and reduce poverty.
The individuals should have an entrepreneurial mind set with passion and drive to assist the government and the private sector achieve this goal. There is no other way if we are to alleviate poverty and realise our potential as individuals and nation. We must realise that we are our own liberators. We can seek assistance from international communities in terms of inspiration, models and funds, but we must find our own way, and take control of our destiny.
Entrepreneurship is the surest way for Nigeria as a nation to come out of poverty. We have the natural resources, human resources and the basic capital. Just as nations like China, India, Brazil etc.
What will bring about and sustain this entrepreneurial revolution are individual passion and government support and facilitation of entrepreneurship. Individuals must shape a conducive business environment in terms of infrastructure, the legal frame work, and financial assistance, vocational and technical education. As individual we must forget our fears of the risk associated with entrepreneurship.
We must recognise that the biggest risk we take with our lives is actually taking risk on ourselves, our future, and our talents. As individuals we must get beyond our mind- set of dependency. We will not get out of poverty by relying on hand-outs from charities or expecting the government to provide all. We must turn our individual passions and visions into productive enterprises. We must get beyond our consumer mentality and develop the mind- set of an entrepreneur.
Government must encourage the development of the private sector. Enterprise start- up and growth must be supported. The private sector should be seen as more attractive than the public sector in terms of recognition and rewards. Making a successful living should be based on what you know, not whom you know. In addition, the government should encourage entrepreneurial training. The 21st century economy is global and dynamic. Enterprise development must mirror this global economic reality.
The SMEs sectors will be the basis of the entrepreneurial revolution. The recent global economic crisis has highlighted the failure of giant enterprise. Banks, Insurance companies, Airlines, Car manufacturers have all had to be bailed out by government and have shed thousands of jobs. It is the SME sector that has proven to be the engine of economic growth and job creation.
The great business leaders are entrepreneurs; those individuals who have chosen to take control of their own destinies. Government must take heed, and follow up on its voiced commitment to entrepreneurial development. Putting in place a successful entrepreneurial revolution is undoubtedly a daunting task. “ We have much more to do and It will take time”.