The success enjoyed by most industrialized countries can be attributed to the role played by technological innovation and entrepreneurship, both of which continue to drive their economies today. These two factors are seen as key components for the industrialization and development of African countries. The Nigerian government has recognized this fact and has taken measures aimed at promoting and cultivating the entrepreneurial culture in our country. Through the Nigerian Investing Commission (NIC), our government has in the past introduced a policy that required university students regardless of their area of study to take courses in entrepreneurship. While our government is putting extra effort in promoting entrepreneurship in Nigeria, there are still a number of problems that a Nigerian Entrepreneur faces. Below are some of the problems encountered and possible solutions.
* Diversifying the Economy
Though our country’s economy has over the last couple of decades relied heavily on its oil production, we must find ways to diversify our economy and avoid the over reliance on oil. Like other developing countries, Nigeria is facing an increase in its unemployment rate that is now at 6 % and is on the increase, with many graduates finding it hard to get jobs while most of those who get jobs are underemployed. This coupled with the global financial crisis in which massive numbers of employees are being laid off; entrepreneurship is seen as an essential key if we want our country to achieve its ambition of being an industrialized nation by the year 2020. Miki Agrawal
* Unfriendly Business Climate
Being an entrepreneur in Nigeria requires great determination as practicing and potential business owners are faced with countless challenges. Nigerian’s business climate should be made welcoming to those in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The role played by these MSMEs should not be underestimated since majority of the thriving businesses fall in this category and for us to achieve our goals, adequate attention and support must be directed towards these institutions. To be able to help and protect entrepreneurs, we must first have a clear idea of the challenges facing our entrepreneurs in their pursuit of making Nigeria a prosperous country.
* Lack of Credit Facilities
Potential Nigeria entrepreneurs go through many hardships when trying to access credit for their businesses. Though there is a wide range of financial institutions that offer business loans, they usually charge high interest rates deterring aspiring entrepreneurs. For instance, major banks have pegged their lending rates to as much a 28% deterring potential entrepreneurs who are mostly low income earners. Other obstacles faced by our entrepreneurs include severe collateral conditions set by banks and other lending institutions. Though our government through the Central Bank and the Banker’s Committee came up with guidelines requiring banks to set aside 10% of their profits for funding MSMEs, majority of these banks have been reluctant to do so. This has led to the emergence of micro-finance institutions which though helpful are not sufficient for meeting the financial requirements.
* Multiple Taxation
One other sensitive challenge that is encountered by majority of Nigerian entrepreneurs is multiple taxation. Although we have a responsibility of funding the government through paying taxes, most of the taxes charged on entrepreneurs are not lawful and have the effect of increasing the cost of doing business. Although Nigeria’s Companies Income Tax Act (CITA) has approved only 39 taxes and levies, there are over 500 various levies and taxes that are imposed by state and local government agents. These taxes are questionable and in the case where they are genuine, they are mostly duplicated and this has the effect of increasing the cost of doing business.