‘Lingering challenges mar entrepreneurship prospects in Nigeria’

Unfavourable regulations, policy inconsistencies, poor infrastructure and insecurity, among others, have been listed as some of the challenges facing entrepreneurship development in Nigeria.

Entrepreneurship experts, who described the business environment as a major policy disconnect, said until there is a congruence between policies—monetary, fiscal, exchange rate and trade, the dream of having an active entrepreneurship base would be a mirage.

Executive Director, FundQuest Financial Services Limited, Bisi Oni, said this in a paper presented at the yearly national management conference of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) chartered, held in Ibadan, where he spoke on ‘Public Policy Management and Entrepreneurship Development in Nigeria.’

Noting that start-ups and entrepreneurial Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) drive technological innovation, employment growth and productivity, he said more efforts are needed to break policy silos and take up holistic approaches to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.

Giving some recommendations on achieving entrepreneurship prospects, he identified the need to eliminate barriers to entry, decentralise access to credit and also to engage regularly with entrepreneurs and innovators.

According to him, a key step in enabling opportunity is to dismantle the barriers that make it unduly complicated for entrepreneurs to thrive.

In decentralising access to credit, Oni, said access to capital remained important to businesses. Similarly, Prof. Habu Mohammed of the Department of Political Science, Bayero University, who spoke on ‘The Ease of Doing Business (EDB) in Nigeria: Challenges Prospects,’ said the challenges associated with Nigeria’s business environment have over the years prevented international stakeholders from investing in the Nigerian economy.

He said the prospects of the Nigerian economy to develop from its current state to a major business entity with a capacity to attract investors depends largely on sustainable security, peace and hospitable environment.

According to him, apart from the strategic characteristics of Nigeria, such as its population, market and resources, if well utilised and channeled towards reinvigorating investors’ confidence and the attraction of market, Nigeria’s prospects for easing business lie on numerous domestic and international factors.

Earlier, Acting President of NIM, Dr. Christiana Atako, said though Nigeria is still plagued by many development challenges, the country is naturally endowed with entrepreneurship opportunities.

She lamented that the realisation of the full potential of the opportunities had been dampened by the adoption of inappropriate industrialisation policies at different times.

According to her, 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.