It is no longer news that the Nigerian Economy is officially in recession.
I have over the past couple of days tried to make sense of what this really means for the common man.
This is a period of general economic decline characterised by inflation, unemployment and insufficient credit for businesses.
There is a drop in Economic Activity. In technical terms a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth as measured by a country’s GDP.
This can be caused by multiple factors. In this case, Nigeria is yet to come to terms with the drop in global oil prices and adjust appropriately.
There is also a drop in Nigeria’s oil production due to the restiveness in the Niger Delta region.
The banks are weaker because of some policy issues and hence businesses do not have access to credit.
Ideally when this happens the government tries to cushion the effect by instituting and implementing policies and counter policies to stimulate economic growth.
While we all recognise the role government plays in matters relating to the economy, my focus will be on what role entrepreneurs can play. I have read some articles suggesting that Nigerians should cut their expenditure and people proffering all sorts of ideas on how to survive the difficult times. This may work for individuals but the question is how does it help our economy?
How can we help our economy to grow? The first step is that we must be in love with Nigeria. For some it is hard, given the divisive nature of our politics but as young revolutionary entrepreneurs we must rise above this. We must recognise that the larger the local market is the better it is for our businesses.
Some of the politicians who established this ethnic and religious bigotry because of selfish gains will not be around in ten years. The future is ours and we must decide the type of Nigeria we want to see in ten years and beyond. The type of Nigeria we want to leave for our children.
One of my greatest joys is watching the National team comprised of young Nigerians from different ethnic and religious backgrounds unite in prayer while holding hands and as they play on the field to achieve some of the greatest feats in football for any African country.
This simply means that we can unite as Nigerians to make our country great again irrespective of our backgrounds, because this is the only country where we can truly feel a sense of deep rooted heritage.
In my opinion the best way to demonstrate our love for Nigeria is to be productive and patriotic.
To be productive we must add value to the economy by thinking outside the box to produce goods and services that can alleviate our economic problems. To put it simply, we are importing a lot more than we can afford. So we must turn around and produce a lot more than we need so that we can export.
The easy part is to come up with excuses of no power, no capital and so on but the essence is to find a way to overcome these limitations despite its consequences on businesses.
If it were not possible there will be no Nollywood and no Nigerian music industry so widely respected and acknowledged across the globe.
The Nigerian market is large enough to absorb new innovation. Nigerians have the creative skills to also compete globally in the technology industry. The world knows this and they are looking up to us for the next new idea. In my opinion this is primarily the reason the Chief Executive of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg was here.
A lot of young Nigerian Entrepreneurs have excelled in the entertainment, fashion, agriculture and technical fields with little or no government support. If we resolve to continue and sustain this development the government will plead to partner with businesses and not the other way round.
I know a couple of self-made entrepreneurs who have broken away from the chains of poverty and provided employment for hundreds of people by simply adopting a legal do or die approach to success. If they were able to attain such heights then anybody can.
Secondly we must be patriotic and support the Nigerian brand. I know that there are a few issues with the quality of some products but they can’t get better if we do not patronise them.
We must make indigenous products work for us and trend, in that way we will earn global recognition for our products. We can attain self-sufficiency in food production and fashion in the first phase while we continue to develop our technical capacity to produce electronic and computing devices from scratch.
Some companies are already doing this and we must support them.
In no time we will have the full attention of the world and this will be transformed into demand for our products and Nigerian entrepreneurs can start earning foreign exchange irrespective of what happens in the oil industry.
There is a local adage that translates to “The way you revere your own is the way others will”. The ideology is simple and does not require any technical economic explanation.
So as we start the new working week, let us endeavour that the principles of productivity and patriotism guide our decisions and activities.
Join me next week on this channel as we further discuss the challenges entrepreneurs face and how they can contribute effectively to nation building.