‘Inadequate power supply, biggest challenge to entrepreneurship’
Despite the opportunities that entrepreneurship offer in terms of wealth creation and job opportunities for Nigeria’s teeming unemployed youths, stakeholders have noted that the sector is yet to receive the desired attention it deserves as a result of myriads of challenges with poor power supply being the greatest challenge, hindering its ability to take millions of Nigerians out of abject poverty.
Some stakeholders including the Founder, Folorunso Alakija Skills Acquisition Center, Folorunsho Alakija, identified inadequate power supply as the major factor slowing the growth of entrepreneurship development in Nigeria, urging the federal government to as a matter of urgency fix the power situation.
Alakija said apart from militating the growth of entrepreneurship development, lack of power supply also discourages local and foreign investments.
In her words, “Electricity is the major challenge hindering the growth of entrepreneurship development in Nigeria. As far as I am concerned, money is not the biggest challenge, because we have seen a woman who started a company making beans cake, but who now has millions in her bank account. There is hardly any business an entrepreneur would do without electricity.
“The federal government must continue to provide adequate power supply for businesses. This is what the people need and we need it so badly, because it is affecting our economy. It also discourages investors from outside the country to invest. It is a hindrance to business development.”
On the proposed plan of the federal government to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5 per cent to 7 per cent by 2020, she said the decision would make it difficult for entrepreneurs to make much money as they would have loved, but stressed that the increase would only be welcomed if the taxes are channelled towards nation-building and infrastructural development.
Alakija, who stated this on the side-lines of its first graduation ceremony of the Skills Acquisition Centre, Yaba College of Technology, said: “The 7 per cent increase in VAT would make it difficult for entrepreneurs to make money as much money as they would have loved to, but it is also part of what the nation needs for nation-building, because it is the tax the government earns as income and without it, no government can really stand on its own. So long as the taxes are being ploughed back into the areas where they are needed and not used for growing wings”.
Giving her thoughts on the graduation, she said the graduating students have been privileged and urged them to make the best of it by putting to judicious use what they have learnt.
She said encouraging entrepreneurs was the best way to achieve economic growth and development, while also calling on private sector organisations to support entrepreneurship programmes to empower the Nigerian youths.
“Now is the time for them to use these tools and what they have learnt to make money from it. The ball is in their court and they can be whoever they want to be in life. There are more cottage industries than huge industries in any nation.
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