LASU: LCCI Asks Students to Take Entrepreneurial Risks

Funmi Ogundare

The President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr Michael Olawale-Cole, has asked Nigerian students to take entrepreneurial risks and called on the National Assembly to fast-track the passing of sponsored pending bills that will enable the business environment in the country to thrive.

Olawale-Cole said this at the first annual entrepreneurship lecture, ‘​ Creating an​ Enabling Environment for Entrepreneurship in an Unstable Economy’, organised by the Directorate of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, Lagos State University (LASU).

According to him, new legislation has the capacity for​ enforcement and must be supported.

​”Entrepreneurs want to see proof that new laws are applied transparently, consistently – and, wherever possible, on a timely basis,” he said.

“The FG/ASUU agreement signed in 2009 has been the subject of industrial actions to date. Some foreign airlines threatened to close operations in Nigeria due to the non-release of their trapped foreign exchange earnings,” added Olawale-Cole.

The LCCI president, an alumnus of the university, said legislation, regulations, and business processes must also be simple if they are to support a strong business environment, adding that there must be an improvement in the government’s operations and structure to make the system of governance more efficient, must​ be put in place as speedily as possible.

Olawale-Cole listed steps to creating the right environment for businesses to grow to​ include; cutting bureaucracies/red tape, automation of electronic visa on arrival processes for businessmen, strengthening legal framework, automation of company incorporation processes, easy access to required information, strong technology infrastructure, as well as functional websites for government agencies.

He expressed concern that the economy had struggled with many inhibiting burdens like inflation, weak revenue generation, degenerated infrastructure, unsustainable cost profile in debt services and subsidy payments, and the daunting threats of worsening insecurity.

“The chamber is concerned that if we continue in this trajectory, the economy may bleed away into a stagflation which will impact production cost, job losses, worsened forex crisis, and dampened growth in the medium term,” he stressed.

The LCCI president advised the students to take risks in entrepreneurship and what they are doing, saying that the reward is always great​.

​”It is the dynamic and inclusive potential of the private sector through innovative entrepreneurial ventures that can move the country towards greater self-reliance and exponential growth,” he said.

LASU Vice-Chancellor Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello commended the directorate for the initiative.

“No economy can survive without a virile entrepreneurship policy and generous incentives that support the growth of small businesses that are the real driver of any economy,” stated Olatunji-Bello. “The grim economic headwinds that are militating against the Nigerian economy arise as much from the need for some well-formulated entrepreneurship policies that map out a strategy to transform the economy through small businesses.”

The VC described entrepreneurship as critical to any nation, saying that it accelerates the growth of any nation by creating new products and services, as well as stimulates new employment, and promotes innovation, social change, and research and development.

The present economic challenges plaguing the business climate in Nigeria, Olatunji-Bello noted, required governments at all levels to promote entrepreneurship as a viable option to rein in unemployment and create wealth.

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