Saturday, 28 April 2018

Do Elections concern Entrepreneurs in Africa?



Happy Sunday Everyone,

I am sure people would clearly give a YES, answer. But it begs the question. If we do know that elections concern Entrepreneurs, why is there still a low voters turn out in elections seeing that it is the most important aspect of the electioneering process. I am not even going talk about the poor participation of Entrepreneurs in partisan politics.


BACKDROP

In this article, I don't intend that this should spur sentimental discord between supporters of the PMB and GEJ administrations but I am going to draw some few points from the differences and similarities between the two administrations and how I feel they affected Entrepreneurs just through the difference in the governance styles.

You might disagree, with the things I am about to say, but please be objective. Share your thoughts and comments in the section below.

THE GEJ ADMINISTRATION

That is not correct! LOL.

Legitimately, Goodluck was one of the most discredited leaders that we have had in Nigeria and evidently so because of the deep lack of security that Nigerians felt at the time. Plus it is argued that people need to first be alive and feel safe before they can pursue higher levels of fulfillment e.g running a business to make money. This is according to Marslow's Theory of Needs.

But from a view point of an Entrepreneur, Goodluck's Administration made a very potent move in diversifying the economy through empowering Small and medium scale Enterprises and Startups across different sectors through different programmes with the YouWin as the most applauded scheme. His Administration recognized that if well stimulated with funding and an easier atmosphere to run, the SME industry would become the highest employer of labour.

I have personally met some Entrepreneurs that were beneficiaries of different funding programmes under the GEJ's Administration and have begun employing between 3 to over 50 staff.

His body language abroad despite the fact that they made for very funny memes did give an air of confidence to investors to play in the Nigerian space and we quickly grew to be Africa's largest economy. The figures spoke for themselves.

A counter argument which also doesn't play to the gains of the GEJ administration were claims of unprecedented corruption.


THE APC constantly ring it as a bell. But is there really any Administration that isn't rife with corruption in Nigeria?

Onto the next one....

THE PMB ADMINISTRATION



Despite my pleas and stern warnings, Nigerians went ahead to vote an octogenarian into power.


I cannot come and go and kill myself. Later the Youth would now be saying, we are the leaders of tomorrow. Uncles and Aunties please shift let me see road.

PMB has not represented us in the best light to the international media and that definitely has caused a downturn in the foreign investment that the country has been able to attract. His body language in the media coupled with terrible fiscal (market and fx) policies with the slogan of fighting corruption, he plunged Nigeria into a recession.

Apparently this isn't his first time of doing it. Let's throw it back to 1984.


Economics was definitely not his best subject in Secondary School. I want to ask for the WAEC result certificate, but it appears WAEC is still searching their records.

I would like to say despite the fact that a rebel force hasn't overtaken Nigeria's physical integrity, a secure Nigeria is far from being achieved. With bouts of riots, ethnic clashes plaguing the Northern Part of the country across our thriving agricultural regions which cause Entrepreneurs to suffer losses as a result and have also affected the mass population as regards to higher cost of market produce.

A lot of programs geared towards Entrepreneurship in this administration have been largely shrouded in mystery. The revamped YouWin programmed termed the YouWin connect promises to be only a capacity building exercise with plans of the government rolling out equity funding for the successful candidates.

If government can't issue and follow up loans effectively. How do they plan to fund Entrepreneurs through equity funding? Does that not require due diligence.

Room for corruption? Perhaps.

But I wouldn't go out on a limb to discredit the PMB administration as they have had the will to implement very good plans initiated by the Goodluck Administration to ensure transparency in the way government agencies handle funds through the Treasury Single Account as well as made strides in creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. We moved 25 places in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index from 169 to 145.

Click below to see my assessment of this improvement

Is it Easier to Do Business in Nigeria?


They have evidently realized that you can fund businesses as much as you want. But if you don't create an environment where these businesses do eventually grow in addition to the lack of  the capacity of the business persons to understand basic business principles, all the funding would be useless.

Theirs seems to be a long term approach, institutionalizing ease of doing business through different governmental agencies that private sector interface with regularly to run their business. The Enabling Business Environment Council was created under the Office of the Vice President for this purpose and they work with the CAC, Customs, Immigration, Nigerian Export Promotions Council, NAFDAC and other agencies to make their processes seamless for Entrepreneurs.

They have shown evidence of progress and they have even gone a step further to allow Entrepreneurs report challenges with different agencies that are making doing business in Nigeria difficult.

This can be done through the PEBEC REPORTING APP.




Click the link to report any challenges that you have within any governmental agency that you experience as an Entrepreneur.

Opportunities like this allow government to listen first hand to the challenges that Entrepreneurs face and find ways to mitigate those challenges.


I could say more, but I am sure you must already catch my drift. That brings us to the first question again.....


DO ELECTIONS CONCERN ENTREPRENEURS IN AFRICA?

YES. A RESOUNDING YES.

The reasons are evident. As private sector we play a huge role in the development or regression that our country can face at any given time. The lack of participation and collaboration between the Nigerian Government and the private sector leads the country to run a quasi-socialist economy where the government, high net-worth individuals, big companies and multinationals tend to dictate what happens in the economy most times to the detriment of the Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs that are supposed to be the bedrock on which our economy runs.

WHY?

As Entrepreneurs, we need to also understand that effective governments are critical to the growth of our businesses. Lacklustre policies lead to unpredictable market responses to our products or services and just as we have seen can lead us into a recession which causes our customers to have reduced paying power, which would, if not properly managed, lead us to retrench staff and shrink our businesses.

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

I remember in one of the articles I wrote last year termed AFRICAPITALISM: HOW TO DEVELOP A CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY POLICY, I spoke about different ways Entrepreneurs can decide to play a part in the development of their communties, states and countries. The most effective point I believe was the second one, which was, PUBLIC POLICY INFLUENCING or what people term, ADVOCACY/LOBBYING.

We can create pressure groups that analyse and assess the sustainability and overall effectiveness of public policies vis-a-vis the governmental agencies that would be charged with the implementation of the policies and iron out execution plans with an appropriate risk management strategy.

There are existing advocacy groups, foremost in my mind is the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable run by the  National Economic Summit Group (NESG) and they are focused on bringing players from across different sectors from the government to civil society organisations to private sector to collaborate on different pressure points in each fiscal year and then produce communiques with differently policy suggestions that are offered to the different players for implementation.

Last year, they also ran a pitch event for startups. I applied for HubbonNG, but apparently we weren't old enough and didn't even meet up to other criteria. 😒

Better days are ahead though!


I am not here to claim like I know the solutions to different problems that Nigeria, or indeed Africa faces, but there is the FIRST STEP we must take!.

STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT/PARTICIPATION

We all have a part to play in the development of our country Nigeria and indeed in Africa and private sector participation is increasingly vital to the success.

I remember when I visited Lagos Business School for an MBA experiential day and they spoke about the ability to predict how governments would affect businesses with a view points across different sectors, so active participation as stakeholders in the developmental process would not only allow us to understand governmental policies better but be able to influence them positively for development.


BUSINESSES DO NOT ALWAYS HAVE TO REACT TO GOVERNMENT POLICIES BUT INFLUENCE IT.

Different governmental agencies organize stakeholder engagement events from time to time. Get Involved! Play your part as an Entrepreneur!


ACTION PLAN (7-POINT AGENDA)

1. GET YOUR PVC

2. JOIN A POLITICAL PARTY and influence their ethos, policies and practices positively.


3. ASSESS YOUR CANDIDATES and call for town hall meetings let them debate and spell out their goals and plans for your communities, states and country.

4. ASSESS THEIR PLANS for the private sector and stimulating Entrepreneurship in your locality.

5. VOTE RIGHT for the people that you believe would collaborate with the necessary stakeholders to develop the community,state or country.

6. STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENTS AT ALL LEVELS. Engage with your elected officials to bring up development plans for your communities, engage with the appropriate governmental agencies that would be charged with implementation and constantly ensure that the risk is managed effectively and consistently assess those programs and/or projects to ensure its continuous viability and sustainability.

7. ADVOCATE FOR LAWS and policies that inspire Entrepreneurship, Investment for the growth of the community, state, country and continent.

Elections concern Entrepreneurs in Africa, Let us play our part to transform Africa.



This is a rather long epistle. But I do hope it was worth it.

Thanks for reading!


If you would like to book deliveries of your parcels or promote your business on a growing business platform. Head to HubbonNG.com.

Best regards,
Ejieji Muna
(Co-founder, HubbonNG)


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