A former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, has called for the allocation of adequate fund for education and the enabling environment for the private sector to invest.
Obanikoro spoke on Sunday as the Chairman at the 31st Anniversary Reunion Lecture of the Pioneer 1988 Class of the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the lecture was: “Financing Opportunities for Entrepreneurs Under Government Intervention Programmes.”
He said that the three tiers of government should provide the political will to empower our youths with good educational curriculum because the next challenge in the world would be knowledge.
“The United Nations (UN) recommended that 20 per cent of annual budget should be dedicated to education, but Nigeria is hovering between five and seven per cent, which means we are just scratching the face.
“We need to quickly do catch up now so that we will not be sleeping while other countries are advancing in education,” Obanikoro said.
He also said that technical education and entrepreneurial skills should be added to the nation’s education curriculum system.
“This education curriculum will help students to know how to start and sustain businesses before they graduate.
“Nowadays, everybody leaves school looking forward to work with the government which means they were not given the right education.
“We must give the kind of education that will afford our children to be creative enough to live independently in order to add values to the society,” Obanikoro said.
He said the theme of the lecture would educate people on how to create wealth basically because we were in a poverty-stricken environment.
Also, Dr Mudashiru Olaitan, the Director, Department of Development Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said that limited access to finance remains a major constraint to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the developing countries.
Olaitan, also the Guest Speaker, said that only about five per cent of MSMEs have access to formal finance in Nigeria.
“According to the global entrepreneurship monitor (2018/2019), 47 per cent of early-stage entrepreneurs are motivated by opportunity, while 23 per cent are motivated by necessity.
“As an entrepreneur, it is easier to start up as a micro, small or medium enterprise than as a large corporation.
“In Nigeria, what differentiates the various segment (micro, small or medium) is the number of persons employed and the asset base, excluding land and building,” he said.
Olaitan, represented by Mr Adebisi Adedeji, Deputy Director of CBN, said that entrepreneurship could be quite rewarding if undertaken diligently.
“The CBN has made a significant impact through the implementation of financing programmes and establishment of institutions providing enabling environment for MSMEs growth and entrepreneurial development,” he said.
In her remarks, Mrs Bopo Ismaila, Chairman of the Pioneer Class of 1988, LASU, encouraged every member of the class to tap into the CBN facilities and financing programmes so that they could also be employers of labour.
Ismaila said they had realised after 31 years of graduating that a lot of them would soon retire and it was important to start planning ahead.
“This theme will let us know the several opportunities provided by CBN because a lot of us do not know that these financing programmes are available,” she said.
Ismaila also said there was a need for a public-private partnership to address education issues in the country.
“Public-private partnership will allow many subsided schools to be in communities because every child must be educated,” she said.