There is a global call to action today. Bloggers, great and small are called upon to examine poverty and share ideas on how it can be eliminated. It is a good opportunity for me to air my view about the pathetic approaches being use to fight poverty in Nigeria.
Cash Gifts to Unemployed Youth
This is the most foolish of all the attempts at eliminating poverty. The method is crude and produces negative result. States in Nigeria that employ this method (often tagged Poverty Alleviation Schemes) end up incurring budget deficits without producing any significant result (of course half of the amount budgeted for such schemes disappear into private pockets of greedy politicians). I see these schemes as a foolish policy. Foreign nations that support such schemes are not helping Nigerians in any way.
Grants for Small Scale Entrepreneurs
This policy has some merits, but there are too many hurdles for a newbie entrepreneur to overcome. Government agencies that handle this programs are poorly positioned to offer quality services. Often times, the mentors appointed for the newbie entrepreneurs are selected based on political affiliation, rather than experience. Too many youth that received such grants ended up frustrated as the grants gets finished before the business could break-even.
So what do I recommend?
I recommend just two things. First, get the people empowered with the right knowledge. Then, eliminate two of the major constrains that has been hampering the survival of small enterprises.
Fighting Poverty With Quality Education
Too many Nigerians are getting trained for jobs that no longer exist. Yes, what is the usefulness of producing graduates for a market that is already saturated. It is high time that our society (not just the government) take a second look at our educational curriculums.
Imagine what it will be like if children are given practical lessons on how to earn a living by employing their hands and intellect. Gone are the days when Diploma, Certificates and Degrees guarantee stable employment and food on the table. It is time to face the stark reality and re-strategize.
We desperately need to start learning how to create jobs from the opportunities that lies around us instead of wasting our lives waiting for government grants.
To the best of my knowledge, the government of President Y’aradua should concentrate on just two things and posterity will write his name in gold. Get rid of the two monsters that is terrorizing Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria. Epileptic Power supply and bad roads!
Fighting Poverty With Stable Electricity
Like it or not. A colossal waste is being made of our resources due to epileptic power supply. There will be more business, more profit and invariably more opportunities for employment if all the fund being spent on fueling electricity generators are saved by Nigerian Entrepreneurs. Yours sincerely spend between $400 to $500 monthly to fuel generator.
Fighting Poverty With Good Roads
Inability of the government to provide and maintain good roads has crippled many enterprises in Nigeria. The cost of moving goods and personnel around in Nigeria is simply expensive. Cost of maintenance of motor vehicles is quite high due to high ware and tear from poorly maintained roads. Also, so much man-hours gets wasted due to road congestion.
If this two ugly monsters are eliminated by the government, the goal of poverty elimination would have been half-solved.
If you have some ideas other than those listed above, do well to share with us in a comment. Nigeria must be built by Nigerian. Waiting for foreign aids is waste of time. We have enough resources lying around that we can harness and use to move this nation forward. I am proudly Nigerian.