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Gowon suggests entrepreneurship as panacea to dwindling oil revenue


General Yakubu GowonFORMER Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, has urged the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, to support the development of entrepreneurship as a means of diversifying the economy, even in the face of dwindling oil price.

The elder statesman also stated that the 67 percent of youths, who are currently unemployed, should be encouraged to set up small businesses that will take them out of poverty, through government efforts to free resources for development.

Gowon gave this advice yesterday in Abuja, while speaking at the 22nd Annual LAPO Development Forum 2015, where he was the chairman of the occasion. The programme was tagged “Women Entrepreneurship Development: Issues, Opportunities and Approaches.”

“With dwindling oil prices and the consequent slide in the resources that accrue to the Federation Account, the time has come that we all put on our thinking caps to work out viable and sustainable ways of raising revenue for national development,” he said, adding that government should endeavour to identify and work with viable organisations such as LAPO (Lift Above Poverty Organisation), who have over the years raised the livelihood of thousands of Nigerians; in order to achieve this purpose.

According to Gowon, Nigeria needs to holistically embrace the SME philosophy and promote it to national consciousness, as is done in China, Japan and South Korea; and mobilise young people who are leaving colleges and universities to embrace it.

He also implored Nigerians to support the anti-corruption drive of President Muhammadu Buhari. “The government’s zero tolerance for corruption must be supported by Nigerians, especially because corruption frustrates entrepreneurship,” he admonished.

Founder of LAPO, Dr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe, said at the occasion that the organisation has continued to demonstrate uncommon commitment to the realisation of institutional objectives and emerging as one of the leading community development organisations in Africa.

One of the speakers at the event, President and Founder of Growing Businesses Foundation, Dr. Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien, stated in her address that the security challenge facing Nigeria is as a result of poverty, and not religion as is widely believed. She noted that when the Lake Chad shrinks and the grasslands dry out, conflicts break out because there is no more the usual means of livelihood.

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