By Obinna Chima

The presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, has pledged to establish a N1 trillion venture capital fund to unlock capital for start-ups and other businesses if elected in the upcoming election.

Moghalu, said this during an interview on ‘Global Business,’ a programme monitored on AIT.

According to the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, if elected, his government would introduce capital into the economy so that entrepreneurs won’t rely so much on bank loans “that they cannot get access to and when they get access, they pay 30 per cent interest rate.”

“They can’t even get access to the bank loans because they don’t have all the collateral that are required. That is why I propose to set up a N1 trillion Venture Capital Fund.

“A venture capital fund is a fund that finances new businesses and small scale enterprises.

“So, the venture capital fund would be part owner in the business it is giving you capital to establish. All you need is a bright business idea that is marketable.

“This, will help solve a very important gap in our economy. This venture capital will be a public-private partnership such that government would bring N500 billion while the private sector would bring N500 billion.

“It would be managed by the private sector part of the partnership to create wealth,” he explained.

He also disclosed plan to set up skills training centres in each of the 774 local government areas in the country if elected next February.

He pointed out that one of the major advantages of his presidency for Nigeria  and for the ordinary average Nigerians would be that for the first time, the country would have a president who understands how to manage a national economy.

“There is too much poverty in Nigeria. The way you wedge a successful war against poverty is by tackling the factors that create poverty. Those factors include unemployment and unproductive workforce, low wages, lack of skills in the labour force and absence of capital for new businesses,” he said.

He noted that Nigeria is a capitalist economy, saying “we have not figured out how to run a successful capitalist economy.”

According to Moghalu, while there are few people making a lot of money in the country, a lot of others are getting poorer.

“This is wrong and I am going to fix it. The secret to a successful capitalist economy is in three factors present. Those factors are property right, innovation and capital.

“You can’t have capitalism without capital. Property rights in Nigeria don’t exist to the extent they should. Let’s start with the land.

“The states by Nigeria’s constitution owns all the land. This is a fundamental contraction of any capitalist economy. that is because the states owing all the land, limits access to a very important aspect of economic production and land is one of those factors.

“So, we would move for the abolition of the Land Use Act through a constitutional amendment, so that individuals can own land in perpetuity.

“That way, you abolish the bureaucracy around the Certificate of Occupancy, which is a whole industry in itself as it creates a lot of logjams in the smooth functioning of economic transactions. “Property by the way includes intellectual property, not just land. The products of our mind are also very important property.”

Continuing, he said: “How do we protect the intellectual property of Nigerians? If you write a book, you are going on the streets and you are seeing copies of that same book pirated and produced so cheaply, that means intellectual property rights are not enforced in our country.

“The musicians, the entertainers, the creative industry in this country, are all suffering from all these. We need to have a very tight intellectual property regime. “The second requirement for successful capitalism is innovation.  Innovation comes from intellectual property as well. People have ideas about how to invent new things that can solve problems for society.

“I want to drive an innovation-driven economy in this country because it is an economy that is driven by new ideas that is sustainable in the 21st century. What we would do is that we would encourage inventors and innovators.

“The government would have policies that can help them take their inventions to the market. Those things are mass produced and pipelined into the market. That is what creates wealth in any economy. “With that, everybody makes money from solving new idea, whether it is an app, a machine and whatever it is, as long as it is solving a problem and meeting the needs of those in the economy.

“Innovation is the secret of the success of the western world and the rise of Asia, especially Japan and China.

“We cannot ignore science and technology, because that is the basis of everything. So, my government will be based on technology.”