ENTREPRENEURS ARE THE CREATIVE FORCE IN THE ECONOMY. IS THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT HELPING OR HINDERING THEM?

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President Goodluck Jonathan at the YouWin Award Event for the Last Batch, 2012 Source: Internet

According to Anayakoha (2006), ‘the entrepreneur is one who chooses or assumes risks, identifies business opportunity, gathers resources, initiates actions and establishes an organization or enterprise to meet such demand or market opportunity.’ ‘An entrepreneur refers to a person as a leader, planner, programmer, motivator, risk-taker, creator, innovator, technocrat, while entrepreneurship refers to a process of leadership, planning, motivation, risk-taking, innovation, and decision-making. To an economist, an entrepreneur is one who brings resources, labour, materials, and other assets into combinations that make their value greater than before, and also one who introduces change, innovations and a new order.’ Hisrich & Peters (2002).
According to Pickles and Abrahamson, ‘An entrepreneur is one who organizes and manages a business undertaking, assuming the risk, for the sake of profit. The entrepreneur evaluates perceived opportunities and strives to make the decisions that will enable the firm to realize sustained growth.’
Entrepreneurship is the act of being an entrepreneur or “one who undertakes innovations, finance and business acumen in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods”. Shane (2003). ‘This may result in new organizations or may be part of revitalizing mature organizations in response to a perceived opportunity. The most obvious form of entrepreneurship is that of starting new businesses (referred as Startup Company); however, in recent years, the term has been extended to include social and political forms of entrepreneurial activity.’ Shane (2003)
Creative force refers to the inbuilt skill in all of us to come up with new creative ideas.’ In this context, creative force refers to the inherent potential in entrepreneurs to generate wealth.
The word  ‘Economy’ is from the Greek word ‘oikonomia’, from ‘oikonomos’ which means ‘household manager’, from ‘oikos’ meaning ‘house’ plus ‘nemein’ meaning ‘to manage’. Economy means the management of household or private affairs and especially, expenses. It could also refer to a thrifty and efficient use of material resources; efficient and concise use of nonmaterial resources. Economy on a broader perspective means the structure or conditions of economic life in a country, area, or period. It is usually measured in terms of wealth creation and use.
From the foregoing, it is evident that entrepreneurs have a key role to play in wealth creation in any society and, the disposition of the government to these agents of economic development will go a long way in determining the growth and development pace of such economy. One of the goals of economic development strategies pursued by successive Nigerian governments has been the reduction of poverty through job creation and many of her policies towards the achievement of that objective has been based on the development of indigenous entrepreneurship. Therefore, if from the definitions of an entrepreneur, his efforts eventually result in creation of wealth and employment directly or indirectly then the government and the entrepreneur have one and the same focus and as such one helping the other out is only reasonable and judicious.
Since the mid-1980s there has been an increased commitment of government to entrepreneurship development in Nigeria especially after the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Programme(SAP) in 1986 which was aimed at increasing local manufacture of goods, achieving self sufficiency in food production and increasing the role of the private sector in the economy amongst others. The Nigerian government went on to establish the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), National Open Apprenticeship Scheme (NOAS) and the Small and Medium Entreprise Development Association of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to promote entrepreneurial activities in the country. The government also established Entrepreneurship Development Centres(EDCs) in the six geo political zones of the country to ensure an even spread in youth entrepreneurship and development. 
The Nigerian government likewise set up Development Financial Institutions(DFIs) to encourage entrepreneurial activities in the country. As at 2010, some of the re-engineered, reformed and reporting DFIs were: The Nigerian Agricultural, Co-operative and Rural Development Bank (NACRDB), Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Bank of Industry (BOI) and Urban development Bank of Nigeria (UDBN).  The above institutions provide a variety of finance and support services to entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
Several programmes have also been set up by the Nigerian government over the years to aid and encourage entrepreneurial activities. One of such is the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria (You WIN) programme which is a collaboration of the Federal Ministries of Finance, Communication Technology and Youth Development to organize an annual Business Plan Competition (BPC) for aspiring young entrepreneurs in Nigeria. The programme which was established in 2011 provides a one-time Equity Grant of 1 million to N10 million to 1,200 selected aspiring entrepreneurs to start/expand their business concepts and mitigate start up risks.
Furthermore, the government through the ministry of education introduced entrepreneurship studies into the curricular for higher institutions of learning. The Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) was established in the early 2000s to teach and encourage students of higher institutions of learning to acquire entrepreneurial, innovative and management skills.
The Nigerian government has more so created and continues to create a conducive business climate for entrepreneurs to thrive in their endeavours. According to a Gallup Poll conducted in Nigeria by Magali Rheault and Bob Tortora in 2008, a larger percentage of entrepreneurs in Nigeria trust the Nigerian government to let their business make a lot of money, trust their assets and property to be safe at all times, and are confident that the tax laws and other rules of the game will not change all the time. Bearing in mind the fact that heavy and unpredictable taxation is one of the measures any government can employ in smothering the life out of any business enterprise, the Nigerian government can be seen to be favourably disposed to entrepreneurs in this wise. For example, the tax rates are spelt out in the various tax laws (Acts) which are easily accessible to the public. The mode of registering and incorporating business enterprises are also loud and clear to all as stipulated by the Companies and Allied Matters Act and registration can now be done easily online.
‘The government continually strives to create an investor-friendly environment encompassing stable macro-economic policies’ Afolabi (2015). Government in Nigeria, as a matter of priority is addressing the dilapidated state of infrastructural facilities in the country, starting with the power sector, roads and railways, providing adequate security and giving every citizen the sense of belonging.
On the whole, successive governments in Nigeria have given priority to the support and development of entrepreneurial activities and entrepreneurs in the country. Although, there are such problems as bureaucreacy and nepotism which sometimes hinders the goodwill of the government from getting to honest and appropriate entrepreneurs, the overall result of government interventions so far has been positive and encouraging. 

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