By Elom Sunday Njoku
Nigeria, like many other developing nations of the world has been bedevilled by countless economic and financial problems. These problems result from callous reality of mass unemployment, leading to kidnapping, armed robbery, cybercrime, conflicts and other social unrests.
These situations pose great several challenges to Nigerians, especially the youths. The pitiable decline in the Nigerian economy growth becomes a cankerworm in the fibres of the country’s population.
To worsen the situation, heinous embezzlement of public funds by the politicians and other government officials keeps lowering Nigerian economy into the bottom of six feet grave. However, these problems can be surmounted through entrepreneurship.
There is no gainsaying that Nigeria is very rich in both human and mineral resources. Unfortunately, one of the major causes of economic downturn in Nigeria is human development. Interestingly, what is required to transform this situation is a radical break from the past. This therefore means that the best option is entrepreneurial revolution.
This entrepreneurial revolution should be devoted to providing goods and services that take advantage of the large domestic and regional markets and opportunities of a globalized economy. Meanwhile, this will not happen by wishful thinking. Thus, it requires a profound shift in individual mind-sets and a fundamental reorganization of government policies and practices.
“… one of the major causes of economic downturn in Nigeria is human development. Interestingly, what is required to transform this situation is a radical break from the past. This therefore means that the best option is entrepreneurial revolution.”
In pursuing such a revolution, practical and directed steps need to be taken immediately to encourage the entrepreneurial vision, talents and efforts of Nigerians.
Entrepreneurial revolution is key to poverty alleviation. Statistics have shown that about 80% of Nigeria’s eligible labour force is unemployed. This is of course very saddening. Therefore, if this ugly situation must be eliminated in the country, youths should prepare themselves before they even become graduates. They equip themselves with entrepreneurial skills that can make them employers of labour instead begging to be employed in companies where they will be paid stipends. A greater proportion of the nation’s population is made up of youths between 18 and 35 years. It can therefore be asserted that Nigeria has a youth economy.
Actually, all cannot be gainfully employed by the government, but all can be empowered and counselled by relevant government and private institutions to reduce the high rate of unemployment in the country. Government at all level and private bodies must therefore encourage entrepreneurship. Youths on their own should realize the glaring truth that there are few white collar jobs for the masses.
There are several ways of promoting entrepreneurship among Nigerian youths and this would help in tackling the series of problem being encountered by this vulnerable group in the society. These will require that the youths be empowered with creative-problem-solving skills.
Undergraduates must be taught entrepreneurship from year one and it must be practical; unlike the theoretical entrepreneurship teaching obtainable in some universities today. Thus, tertiary institutions offering entrepreneurial courses should be strengthened, while programmes can be organized to educate Nigerians, both literates and illiterates about the relevance of entrepreneurship to their individual lives and their community.
Another way that entrepreneurship and creativity could be encouraged is by teaching or nurturing children on entrepreneurial skills at an early age.
In reshaping Nigerian youths for the abolition of unemployment and the use of entrepreneurship, there is need to transform them into self-sufficient, ambitious and skilful members of the society and to take advantage of relevant legal opportunities in the society. Entrepreneurship is the surest way for a nation to meet its goals and to develop prosperity for the greatest number of people.
In fact, government activities should focus on supporting entrepreneurship not just to meet these measurable targets, but to unlock people’s mind-set, to allow innovation to take place and to enable people to exercise their talents. People have different talents, and entrepreneurship is about harnessing those talents, making sure that it takes people to another level in their personal development.
Thus, it is important for government to create an enabling environment for entrepreneurs. The government should therefore focus on reducing the cost of electricity, providing access to finance, building roads and ensuring suitable economic atmosphere for startups and SMEs growth in the country.
Amongst the major economic problems in Nigeria is attitudinal change and transformation of mind-set. Hence, to get things right, change has to start with people’s attitudes and mind-sets. Once the mind gets correct, the rest becomes simple. Therefore, youths must develop entrepreneurial mind-set. The mind-set that will inspire them into entrepreneurs that aims high. The mind-set that will compel the civil servants to reinvent government. That must encourage the civil society to work for the greater good.
Ultimately, this mind-set holds the key to Nigeria’s prosperity, development and future.
Furthermore, there should also be adequate avenues for government to partner with the private sectors. Partnership between entrepreneurs and government in the pursuit of economic opportunities is essential to entrepreneurial revolution. Entrepreneurship brings upward increase in production and creates employment, income and facilitates rapid growth of micro, small, medium and large scale enterprises. It reduces poverty level and hunger and leads to improved standard of living among the people.
Nigeria’s economy seriously needs to grow. This growth will definitely not come if citizens and the government continue to keep distant from entrepreneurial revolution.