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Superpreneurs Are The Master Key To Development





As the our new Government proposes to implement an integrated solution to development of Nigeria, we must begin to look at what practical steps we as a people must take to get us to the Promised Land. Last week I have outlined the challenges in some highlighted detail, what we are faced with as a Nation and the problems that Leaders must being to deal with on a serious level. in this paper, I wish to suggest solutions along the lines that leaders in Government and Leaders in the private sector will work together to build a formidable coalition that will drive the development of the Nation and all its regions regardless of which political party is leading or ruling at each given time.

I listed seven major challenges that our Federal and State governments must address if they intend to really be taken seriously in this battle to save Nigeria. I will list them here again, however if you want a detailed review please get the guardian of Saturday the 28th of November 2015.

Unemployment; where I mentioned the youth restiveness all across the country can be traced back to unemployment. Balance of Payments; where I mentioned that our currency’s slide is a direct result of our inability to build an export market base. Industrial capacity; where I mentioned that no Nation can expect to be taken seriously without at least a major edge in at least one aspect of industrial capacity which also means an investment in power. Capital; I pointed out a string need to make capital on a large scale available to entrepreneurs, large, small and micro. Incompetence; where I mentioned the poor competence of our leaders. Exclusion; Too many of our people are being excluded due to their tribe, region, or social status. , Nigerian system; in which I pointed out that we celebrate this so called Nigeria system, which is another name for incompetence, fraud, mediocracy and inefficiency.

Job Creation, A Solution to Unemployment

It is obvious that Job creation is a solution to unemployment. However what is not so obvious is how we as a Nation should go about it. Many of our political leaders think Job creation means getting the Federal or State Government to hire more people. This does not create sustainable employment as all we do is create more expenses for the Government authorities which in the end they can never meet the cash calls. The only sustainable way of creating employment for our teeming youth is for us to engage in an Industrial strategy (service and product based industries) that will be sub divided into segments. We will have the micro industrial segment, the small segment, the medium segment, the large and the mega large segment. We need to outline all the resources these segments will need and we need to line up the support so that entrepreneurs will not have too much trouble getting started or funding projects that will create the jobs we are looking for. These segments will have to be established in industrial clusters so that embedded captive power plants are provided by entrepreneurs who are focused on the electricity sector. We need to take another look at the YOUTH ENTREPRENEURSHIP STRATEGY, which the ANABEL GROUP designed in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria and agreement was signed by the Goodluck Jonathan Administration. The initiative was designed to create millions of jobs by creating an army of Youth Entrepreneurs in various industries and in various regions across the Nation. The plan is already gathering dust on the shelves of the Federal Government departments whose responsibility it is to implement. The Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy has the potential to create over five million jobs in three years, and it will have a multiplier effect on the national economy creating wealth and even more jobs. It was designed based on the segmentation plan I outlined above however its details will require much more space to elaborate.

Manufacturing Revolution as a Solution to Balance of Payments and Industrial Capacity

Designing a comprehensive Manufacturing Strategy is a solution to the poor balance of payments we are experiencing in Nigeria as well as a solution to expanding and building up our industrial capacity. We can achieve it by targeting industrial clusters as a National Strategy working in partnership with the Government and the Private sector. We must ensure that the industrial clusters we are designing are meeting the product substitution for most of our imports as well as being able to export products to most African countries and their markets. There is already a strong reliance on Nigerian markets by most Africans countries but the manufacturing capacity of Nigerian manufacturers has not been positioned to supply these markets. Our traders depend largely on imports to supply their markets which in turn are supplying the West African Sub region. The heavy demand for US dollars is as a direct result of our heavy import dependent markets, locally and regionally. This must change and the more we change that culture the more we will strengthen our currency. The overall solution has to be in two fold. First we must go after the mind-set of the typical Nigerian consumer who believes that they must have a foreign supplier for all their basic needs. Then we must go after the mind-set of our entrepreneurs and get them to invest big if they want to rip big.

The formula is very simply; our Entrepreneurs invest small because they want to control high profits in the short run. Using a back of the envelope example, one million dollar investment put towards a restaurant or a small bouquet hotel will return a 10% to 15% annual return in two to three years, however if this entrepreneur/ investor was able to pool that investment by joining with twenty five others to put together $25 million, then they could leverage that investment by together borrowing $75million to make the total package $100 million. In this case such a large $100 million investment could be better positioned to provide returns of 25% a year which is $25 million. If pool spends $12.5 million to serve the debt, the $25 million equity investors will still get a return of $12.5 million which is roughly 50% return on their initial investment. So even if your only contribution was the $1 million you will get a $500,000.00 return which is much better than if you went it alone and in addition to the much better return, the larger investment will have much better opportunities for wealth creation, job creation and sustainable economic growth. The Nigerian Government can lead in this effort to get our Entrepreneurs to work together to extend their funding and build much larger projects which will have greater impact on National Development.

National Strategy for inclusion as a Solution to Exclusion

We need to include the unbanked and the grass roots people into the main stream of our national economy. This is absolutely necessary and imperative. This will not only boost our GDP and our GDP per capita but it will have far reaching implications for National Development. The Micro Finance Banks were a good attempt to get these grass roots people included however it stopped short of its desired goals. A lot of the Entrepreneurs that set up Micro Finance Banks did so with the wrong reasons in mind. The Federal, State and Local Governments need to adopt a National Strategy for inclusion which will address the needs of the grass roots commercial enterprise. How do we get financial credit to the grass roots market woman? I believe this can be accomplished by allowing these levels of merchants to use their merchandise as collateral for loans. If a Market woman has merchandise worth one hundred thousand naira which she owns, then we should be able to design a system in which she can borrow an extra fifty thousand, being 50%, which she could use to boost her returns and create new wealth at that grass root level. This will be a major incentive for getting her involved in the main stream economy. There are also great opportunities for insurance, capital markets and agent banking at the grass root level if we want to really stimulate growth and inclusion then we could go all the way. Micro insurance products can be created in the same way micro packaged milk and micro soap bars were created by manufacturers for the grass root level consumer.

World Class Leadership as a Solution to Incompetence and the Nigerian System

We need competent Leaders simple and short. We cannot continue to operate this system of mediocrity and expect that we can build a sustain system of National Development. My suggested solution will be two fold. We need to educate those who are currently in leadership positions. We can educate them in all aspects of National and Regional Development, and then secondly we need to groom the next generation of Leaders. Let us identify worthy sons and daughters and put them through a Leadership orientation, training and learning program that will last five years after which these people will be able to lead the most sophisticated Nations of the World if they so desired. We must do this now, if not then our current political system will continue to throw up incompetent Leaders as many at the helm are themselves incompetent.

In some cases people may be tempted to say, let those who desire to lead us take the risk and fight the system, raise the money, go to the voters, get elected and when they emerge we will follow them. This attitude is wrong, as it will mean that we as a people will not have a stake in the emergence of the new leaders and that means that if we do not have a stake then we will not have a say in how these new leaders will lead. “He who pays the piper will dictate his tone”, this means that if we take an active role in how to develop the next generation of Leaders then we will also have a major stake in their leadership which means we can guide them and direct them for the betterment of our Nation. This can be done on a regional basis so that each region has a World Class Leadership institution dedicated to training the next generation of Leaders. Such institutions will thus focus on all our Leaders need to know to provide us with World Class Leadership.

In addition we will thus need to legislate that all who aspire for Leadership must get certified from one of the Leadership Institute in one of the Regions. In this case we can build a new generation of competent Leaders who fully understand the responsibilities of Governance and have the capacity to make things happen.

To be continued…..

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