By Paul Elebute From Middle Ages’ Marco Polo to 17th century’s John Law down to 21st century’s Jeff  Bros, the comity of human-persons h...

ENTREPRENEURS: CREATIVE FORCES AND GOVERNMENT’S ACTIONS THAT (UN) HELP THEM

By Paul Elebute


From Middle Ages’ Marco Polo to 17th century’s John Law down to 21st century’s Jeff  Bros, the comity of human-persons have, save for a diffident few Marxist-minded men, come to settle with the notion that well-to-do economies are driven on entrepreneurial wheels.

The velocity, with which the spirit overwhelms nations these days, leaves no breathing space for the toleration of a communist-commuted administration of affairs.

No wonder the Iron  Curtain has fallen so flat.

With the presence of an overtly civilized world enrobed by human rights provisions and buoyed by the activism of intellectuals, the practice of leaders ‘planning’ the lives of their peoples have become a thing-of-the-past.

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THE GOVERNMENT IS HELPING THE ENTREPRENEURS.

Though the nadir of security quagmire and economic imbroglio in which Nigeria is situated frustrate a perfect praise of the government of the day in matters of entrepreneurship, nonetheless, there are some along-the-line programmes.

For instance, ‘the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) aims at creating entrepreneurial consciousness and capacity at micro, small and medium scale levels among Nigerians.

The agency also seeks to establish participants with self-owned businesses.’ [Eze2010]

Furthermore, functional are ‘The Small and Medium Enterprises Equity Investment Scheme (SMEEIS) which requires the Deposit Money Banks to secure some reserve of their treasury for the funding of SMEs; the Small and Medium Enterprises Credit Guarantee Scheme (SMECGS) completely financed by the CBN with a fund of N200billion with the object of providing access to credit by the SMEs; Small Scale Industries Credit Scheme, a joint effort of both state and federal governments for the finance and expansion of small-scale enterprises in the country’ [Eze2010]. 

In addition, currently, ‘the Bank of Industry (BoI) in conjunction with the After-School Graduating Development Centre (AGDC) is making some moves with the agenda of curbing widespread unemployment debacle ravaging the country.

The Federal Government is set to launch a N59.7 billion Youth In-Agriculture Scheme in September where participants would be donned $25,000-$300,000 as loan to start a business’. [FinancialWatch2016]. 

Notably, with the introduction of the N-POWER programme the unemployment curve has been bent to an appreciable level.  Nothing could be further from the truth - efforts at building skills acquisition  capabilities and professional deliverables in people can never be sidelined.

Aside the foregoing programmes, the government has established diverse channels for the standard training of would-be entrepreneurs in the country.

For instance, in virtually all higher institutions of learning, the Institute of Entrepreneurial and Development Studies (IEDS) exists. 

EVERY CHANGE FOR THE BETTER CAN BE MADE

Nonetheless, so that the government may avoid the incidence of being found hindering her low-key entrepreneurs perpetually, an aids-to-entrepreneurship analysis should be attended to with the requisite show of seriousness.

What is called an aid-to-entrepreneurship chart serves as a one-stop response to entrepreneurial needs of any economy.

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For Oyekunle FCA, Former Chair, ICAN in her Entrepreneurship: Business Establishment and Management, ‘there is no doubt  that the economic growth and development and the nation’s entrepreneurship  are positively linked meaning that the better their entrepreneurship the more improved will its economy be ceteris paribus’.

Building on this strong point, an experiment of how an agenda of economic improvement could translate into entrepreneurial success, and vice-versa would be performed. Some of these aids are therefore highlighted: 


Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) states that Jimoh Ibrahim’s firms owe N575m [FW, May2016ibid]; America has conceded to repatriate the almost N500m Abacha loot [The Nation Newspapers, May2016]; MTN is yet to clear its fine of over N1trillion; some penitent politicians are actually refunding the loots.

All of these put together could not be said to mean a paltry sum. More essentially, with only this, Nigeria can float live-changing entrepreneur programmes.

This idea mitigates the weakening remark of Finance Minister, Adeosun, that Nigeria ‘now has the will but not the means’ [The Guardian, April 2016]. Even with this China caress (the loan sought), with sheer deliberateness hinged on sound superintendence there lies some prospects for entrepreneurial success.

Kasper’s (Kasper, 2005) denunciation of financial aid by government for enterprises alleging that ‘rent seeking tends to undermine genuine competition among suppliers’ is only relevant for large-scale ones.

Industrial incubation and protectionism have proven positive tools for aiding SMEs world-wide. Nigeria must act likewise.

Nigeria urgently needs to revisit her relevant business laws. Quality legal cum regulatory framework fans the embers of any purpose-driven, entrepreneurial-enabling activity.

A comprehensive competition and intellectual property regime is demanded as Dimgba (2013) emphasizes in his article, The Urgent Need for Anti-Trust Law, that

‘…half liberalization could in some cases be worse than no liberalization at all since it may engender hitherto unknown dangers, and any liberalization programme of Nigeria’s that is designed in such a way as to lack an essential component like a competition regime is fundamentally flawed and needs to be reconsidered.’ 

Curiously, the corruption monster must be trampled upon.

Export Processing Zones (EPZs), tax incentives and holidays, low-or-no-interest loaning could actually prove effective impetuses to aspiring entrepreneurs. The instance where the CBN allots a meagre 10% out of deposits borrowable to entrepreneurs for SMEs needs some re-adjustments.  

‘Kenya Uganda, Benin, Mauritania, Senegal’, (http://www.doingbusiness.com) and Rwanda pride themselves as hottest candidates for emulation in Africa in terms of implementing result-based policies that promote ease-of-doing-business mechanisms.

This has resulted in the presence of increased business units in relevant economies as reflected in the chart below.

The Nigerian government can address the business hitches to entrepreneurial activity by addressing dire issues like her fellow Afro-polities.

In Nigeria, the devalued oil price offers her the time-and-chance of diversifying its economy. Numerous Afro-economies make it other than on oil. Tourism, entertainment, air transport, solid minerals are areas of utmost pecuniary quintessence which the nation is yet to fully explore.

High population rate has proven one essential indicator for any economy that would thrive.  One thing should be clear. Nigeria has the twin pluses of being the largest and most populous Black economy the world over. Gov. Ambode, FCA (The Nation, ibid) speaking at the London School of Economics and Political Science (Africa Forum) pointed out that ___ of Africa lies uncultivated and that by 2050 Nigeria should be 9th most-populous.

Pitiably, it was gathered that Nigeria still spends over N1.5trillion on food import annually [ABC AgroLtd,2016]. Armed with technology, Nigeria can turn out her vast land for extractive and agricultural entrepreneurial endeavours. 

Should the 30% capital expenditure stated in the National Budget be candidly implemented, Nigeria should experience some step-up in her infrastructural estate.

The tax-GDP wide gap should no longer be. As ntel takes charge, the NCC must ensure rural telephony enjoys coverage as a large chunk of the nation’s business persons risk being cut short of communication which is very relevant for prosperity in their enterprises. Power failure must be appreciably eliminated.

The follow-up that was given the telecommunication industry which today makes it a success story may be replicated for other kinds of transaction when privatizing other key sectors in the economy.

Except for the purposes of safeguarding the interests of the less-privileged, particularly  in matters of health and education, some kind of deregulation policies, in commercializing the country’s over-bloated civil service swallowed in inefficiency, bureaucracy and incompetence must be confronted.

For Professor Asaolu (TheNation, Nov.2015) ‘the state may also enter into a Service Contract with private investors, whereby the state holds title to these public enterprises while the private investors manage the enterprise’. 

Insurance scheme awareness is another vital point. The popular Ladipo market-persons in Lagos whose property were razed down by fire lamented their oblivion claiming they would have benefitted from it [TheNation, April2016].

These are sure outlets by which the government can be of support to its populous MSMEs.

The government can offer some protection for SMEs by deploying high tariff and quotas on imported goods, and should even demonstrate enviable fondness for made-in-Nigeria products themselves.

The test-driving of one of Innoson Motors by Senate President Saraki should not end there. 

The position of Makanjuola, (IbadanChamberNews, March2016) President, Ibadan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, that ‘luxurious consumption is likely to be taxed heavily’ may not tarry as a prophecy any longer.

According to the foreman, ‘VAT that is now 5% may be increased in line with international practice’ [ICN, ibid]. This may occasion considerable resort to the nation’s quality locally-made. 

CONCLUSION

For the implosion of the bogeyman of unemployment and the entrenchment of liberty essentials in Nigeria, it is urged that statesmen should expel tardiness and exploit extant suggested options.

It must be noted that the South-Korean and Singaporean success stories cannot elicit enduring emulations as their economic excellence was obtained in a plainly horrific situation.

A commentator of Lee Kuan Yew’s From Third World to First, the Singapore Story: 1965-2000 (2000) records of him to be “aiming always ‘to be correct, not politically correct’”. 

Even the example of China’s Mao Tse’s ‘painful pill’ (The Guardian, April 2016) is inexpedient!

Nigeria need not employ repressive policies while plying the route to entrepreneurial greatness; but by devising a design that welds both development and freedom fundamentals she is set for the plateau.

Only by this would entrepreneurs be bestowed spread-wing opportunities that make for the appropriation of Leonard Read’s ‘a faith in free people’ what he describes as ‘an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom’s (Leonard, 1946).

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