By Adeola Badru

The Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) (Chartered), has asked all Nigerians to join hands and work together with people in positions of authority to move the nation’s economy forward.

NIM while giving the charge yesterday at the opening of the annual national management conference of the institute, held at the International Conference Centre of the University of Ibadan, said for the economy of the nation to compete favourably with other developed countries, its citizens needed to contribute their quota because no meaningful development could take place in a chaotic atmosphere.

Speaking on the theme: “Public Policy Management and Entrepreneurship Development in Nigeria,” the acting President of the institute, Dr Christiana Atako, lamented that Nigerian economy has been characterised with a lot of inefficiencies, public sector dominance, over reliance on oil as the major revenue earner which have typically affected the country’s course of development.

She noted that the choice of the theme of the conference was arrived at when the institute came to the sad realisation that one of the major reasons the country’s economy has not made meaningful progress over the years, and the need to put in place appropriate public policies that would drive entrepreneurship development.

Atako said: “Since the mid-1980s, Nigeria has introduced some structural economic reforms, abolished polices and structures which prevented entry into certain industries, and opened up its markets to competition from domestic and foreign entrepreneurs.”

“The government has also introduced and pursued a number of entrepreneurship encouragement policies aimed at reducing the high rates of unemployment and poverty.”

“Although Nigeria is still plagued by many development challenges, the country is naturally endowed with entrepreneurship opportunities. The realisation of the full potential of these opportunities has been dampened by the adoption of inappropriate industrialisation policies at different times.”

“Several policy interventions that were aimed at stimulating entrepreneurship development via small and medium scale enterprises promotion, based on technology transfer strategy, have failed to achieve the desired goals as it led to the most indigenous entrepreneurs becoming distribution agents of imported products as opposed to building in-country entrepreneurial capacity for manufacturing, mechanised agriculture and expert services.”

“In most developing economies like Nigeria, public policy is currently shifting emphasis from small and medium scale enterprise (SME) to entrepreneurship.”

“The institutional framework set by public policy affects the prevalence and performance of productive entrepreneurship which should be rewarded. Successful ventures must also have the incentive to continue renewing themselves just as it must be easy to start and expand a business.”

Also in his address, the CEO, Fundquest Financial Services Ltd, Mr. Bisi Oni, noted that the country needed to fast-track the rehabilitation, construction and provision of basic infrastructures and sustain their maintenance for utilisation in trade and businesses.

“Also, prosperous businesses thrive when air transportation is at its best to support business trips within and outside the country. A situation whereby domestic airlines threaten to shut down services over debt and the high cost of aviation fuel and some international carriers threatening to suspend Nigerian operations over trapped forex do not support the idea of the ease of doing business.”

“If Nigeria enhances its basic infrastructure yearly and take advantage of the Agreements, the country will facilitate economic development and local businesses beyond its borders. The same will be the case of Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transformation, otherwise known as the Agenda 2063, which calls for renewed economic growth and social progress, ICT and revolution, investment opportunities in areas such as agri-business, infrastructure development, among others.”

“In any case, the challenges of Nigeria’s EDB can be surmontable when there is a political will to act rationally, quickly and effectively to address the myriad of challenges that impair the attainment of business made easy in the country. A priority should be placed on rehabilitating the existing dilapidated infrastructure and constructing and maintaining new ones.”

“The practice of multiple taxation and the phenomenon of policy inconsistency, scarcity of foreign exchange, unfavourable tariffs, bureaucratic bottlenecks, insecurity and the dearth of useful incentives for business have to be duly addressed to promote EDB in Nigeria.”

“The challenges of the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria are enormous, but they are not unique to it. They are essentially a reflection of the level of infrastructural development and the capacity of regulatory institutions to manage the country’s business environment.”

“The environment of business is dynamic and influenced by factors both internal and external. Essentially, what makes businesses thrive in this environment is the ability of public authority to initiate regulatory measures with effective enforcement mechanisms through constant monitoring and evaluation,” he said.

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