Omotola Unveils Programme to Build One Million Entrepreneurs in Ten Years


Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Chancellor of E-Boot Camp Limited, Mr. Lai Omotola has unveiled a programme aimed at building an army of one million entrepreneurs that would radically transform Nigeria’s domestic economy in the next decade.

Omotola, currently running a leading infrastructure company with a diversified project portfolio, has also said the solution “to the country’s problems does not depend 100 per cent on the person that becomes the president in 2019.”

He unveiled the programme tagged ‘Think Entrepreneurship Training’ at the head office of E-Boot Camp Limited, a subsidiary of CFL Group, located at Wasimi, Maryland recently.

Specifically, Omotola predicted at the event that Nigeria could rise “to become the world’s fifth largest economy by 2038, a period of two decades from now, if the entrepreneurial spirit could be liberated in the country.”

He said: “This is the target of the think entrepreneurship training programme we are introducing to get one million people to commence entrepreneurship and in the next decade year produce businesses that are in billions from turnover.

“We will demystify entrepreneurship. We will also make it friendly. At E-Boot Camp, our belief is that if we can positively change the mindset of the Nigerian entrepreneurs, then we can build the most robust economy.

“With the potentials we have in our country, if we are able to liberate the entrepreneurial spirit in this country, then in the next two decades, Nigeria should be the world’s fifth largest economy in the world,” he said.

All over the world, the chancellor explained that big economies “have always been propelled by private sector led by entrepreneurs. It is entrepreneurs that build economy and not government. What the government does is to create policies that will be pro-business and not anti business.”
He noted that entrepreneurs built America, citing the roles John Davison Rockefeller Snr, J.P Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and Cornelius Vanderbilt, among others, played in building the economy of the world’s most powerful country.

According to him, “these are men who used innovation to build America and not the American government. The US Government partnered to make it successful. Nigeria cannot be different if we must radically transform our economy.”

He said he came up with the initiative after due consideration and indepth study of Nigeria’s socio-economic situation, which showed that the solution “to our problems does not depend 100 per cent on the person that becomes the president in 2019.”

The chancellor noted that whoever “becomes the president in 2019 will have greater challenges ahead. The next four years will not bring us out of the woods regardless of the person that occupies the seat. This is the bitter truth.”

He explained how he arrived at this conclusion, citing the country’s 2018 appropriation bill that had not been passed into law; its huge debt stock that would cost N1.2 trillion to service this year alone, and a recurrent expenditure amounting to about 70 per cent of the total proposed spending.

He said: “We have a budget of about N8 trillion. Out of this proposed spending, N1.2 trillion will be used to service debt, about 70 per cent will go into recurrent expenditure and less than 25 per cent will go into capital project.

“When we look at the budget performance of capital project, it is less than 50 per cent. The budget has not been passed even in May. So, let us assume that the budget is passed by the end of May. We have entered the rainy season. For the next five months, it will rain and there is little contractors can do till October if climate change does not make it worse.

“Construction work will commence in October. By December, construction companies will go on holiday. By implication, we only have two months for construction work. For me, this suggests that the 2018 budget on the side of capital project has failed even before it is signed.

“We all know that we need massive infrastructure development to spur this economy and sadly this will continue to be the routine for a very long time. Besides, the Federal Government will continue to be burdened by labour union for increment in wages across all sector of the economy.

“There is no sign that two-thirds of states owing salaries will clear all backlog in the next four years even as additional arrears continue to pile up. This scenario suggests that the solution is for government to improve on revenue and borrow more, which is what this government is doing,” he added.