Opinion: Entrepreneurship as a catalyst for poverty reduction in Nigeria – By Comrade Aliyu I. Zakari
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS A CATALYST FOR POVERTY REDUCTION IN NIGERIA BY COMRADE ALIYU I. ZAKARI
Entrepreneurship is considered as an important driver of economic development and growth in many economies. Apart from the general diversity in entrepreneurial practices, there appear to be significant differences in the characteristics of male and female entrepreneurs. Historically, entrepreneurship has been a male-dominated pursuit. “Economists and policymakers (in Africa) cannot afford to ignore gender issues if they truly wish to follow a shared growth agenda”.(A.A 2014).
Over the years, it has become established that the existence of an efficient and effective human capital is the key to economic growth and development in any nation. This stems from the fact that every other facility and resource required for economic development is driven by the availability of human capital. More so, in the absence of effective human capital development, an increasing population can have a negative effect on the economic growth of a nation.
Nigeria is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. With an estimated population of 195 million and an annual population growth rate of 2.61% (NBS 2017 est.), being the most populous nation in Sub Saharan Africa, it is also the seven most populous country in the world (UN Report, 2018).
Notwithstanding, entrepreneurship is the process of creating something new of value by devoting the necessary time and effort, assuming the accompanying financial, psychic and social risks, and receiving the resulting rewards of monetary and personal satisfaction and independence (Hisrich, Peters, Sheperd, 2005).
THE CONCEPT OF POVERTY
Poverty is not merely the impoverished state in which a person lives in, but a lack of real opportunities due to social and other constraints and circumstances that inhibit living a valuable and dignified life. Meanwhile, the concept of poverty goes beyond the absence of low income to inadequate amenities, but include health, and nutrition, low education and skills, inadequate livelihood, poor housing condition, lack of jobs and social exclusion as well as lack of participation in household decisions.
Oxford and Human Development Initiative in collaboration with the (UNDP’s) Human Development report office stated that “to measure poverty in the country the UNDP looked at four sectors” health, education, the standard of living and unemployment.
Under health, the report looked at nutrition and child mortality
Under education, is considered a year of schooling and school
attendance in the states.
For the standard of living, the report looked at lighting, use of water, sanitation, shelter, clothes, types of the floor the people live in and assets owned by households.
While unemployment was considered as a one item sector concerning joblessness.
AN OVERVIEW OF POVERTY IN NIGERIA
It was established in the literature that poverty, low standard of living, coupled with the insecurity of life and property, to mention but a few, are acknowledged to be serious obstacles bedeviling the development of any socio-economic setup.
Nigeria is no exception. However, those indices are what characterized today’s Nigeria, courtesy of higher population and yet unproductive ones. It is a popular fact that Nigeria has been suffering from those bedeviled predicaments attributable exclusively to its ever-rising incidence of poverty amidst its population. This consequently affects the country’s development indicators and left no legacy other than
extreme poverty, income inequality, unemployment, poor health, insecurity, and economic backwardness among others.
Nigeria is known to have been blessed with the potentials of development and is acknowledged to have harnessed those potentials to its best exertion. But, planning and controlling the rising population for
adequate sustainability becomes yet a challenging episode in the history of the nation. This paper will, therefore, explore the possible ways of attacking the increasing level of poverty and other economic
predicaments in Nigeria.
Some of the questions that this paper will answer include: Do the people know the implications of poverty to the National economy and its security? Is Nigeria ready to accept the challenge? What measures should Nigeria take to address the unnecessary incidence of poverty, income inequality and increasing population? What is the correlation between population and poverty in Nigeria?
ZONAL INCIDENCE OF POVERTY BY DIFFERENT POVERTY
MEASURES “according to Nigeria poverty statistic”
ZONE RELATIVE POVERTY
North Central 45.7%
North East 76.8%
North West 80.9%
South East 27.3%
South West 19.3%
Source: National Bureau of Statistics, 2018.
The zonal incidence of poverty as at 2018 puts the North West region in Nigeria the worst in terms of poverty. The region recorded the highest percentage of 80.9% relative to poverty. Where the South Western region has the lowest percentage of poverty the region recorded 19.3% relative poverty. Generally Northern part of the country has the highest incidence of both food poverty, absolute poverty, relative poverty and a dollar per day then the Southern part as can be seen from the above table, which is partly attributable to is ever rising populace compared to other regions.
1.4 THE WAY FORWARD
Achieving sustainable growth and development, the Nigerian government must encourage the diversification of Nigeria’s economy. It is the only viable way to survive the current environment of global economic uncertainty with the rigmarolling of oil price. It is crucial that the government do not believe that oil provides
an endless source of revenue, a good percentage of Nigerians live in 7 abject poverty, unemployment is on the high level.
The government must ensure increased power generation and better distribution without interruption, it is well-known fact that the economy cannot grow when industries cannot expand production. The high cost of
manufactured goods in the country is caused by the high cost of running on generating plants by industries, of course, the overhead costs incurred by the industries must be passed on to consumers in form of prices, resulting in uncompetitive locally manufactured goods when compared with imported ones.
Electricity supply in the country among other factors pushed many manufacturing concerns from Nigeria to some neighboring countries where there is better electricity and the enabling environment for business to flourish.
Apart from improving the operating environment for industries to thrive, the Federal Government must think outside the box for solutions to unemployment in the country. The Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor borrowing programme is a good initiative with the Anchor programmes more youth are moving into Agricultural productions, such programmes should be extended to the mining and other sectors where Nigeria has a comparative advantage.
Renaissance of this cornerstone sectors will satisfactorily tackle the problems fashioned by poverty and higher population in the country at large. In a nut-shell, it will seemingly mark a point of departure to the ailing challenges facing our beloved nation and bring new dawn characterized with happiness and contentment among the stakeholders.
Comrade Aliyu I. Zakari is the pioneer chairman, Katsina Independent Youth Forum,