Omotola unveils initiative to raise one million entrepreneurs
•Says solution to our problems doesn’t lie on the president
The Chancellor of E-Boot Camp Limited, Mr. Lai Omotola at the weekend unveiled a program aimed at building an army of one million entrepreneurs that would radically transform Nigeria’s economy in the next decade.Omotola, currently running a foremost infrastructure company with a diversified project portfolio, noted that the solution “to the country’s problems does not depend 100 percent on the person that becomes the president in 2019.”
He reeled out the program tagged Think Entrepreneurship Training on Friday at the head office of CFL Group, the parent company of E-Boot Camp Limited, located at Wasimi, Maryland.
Specifically, Omotola predicted at the inauguration 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 thus 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 produce businesses that are in billions 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 Nigerian entrepreneurs, then we can build the most robust economy.With the potentials in our country, if we are able to liberate the entrepreneurial spirit, then in the next two decades, Nigeria should be the world’s fifth largest economy in the world.He explained that big economies all over the world “have always been propelled by private sector led by entrepreneurs.Entrepreneurs build the 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 of such entrepreneurs like John Davison Rockefeller Snr, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and Cornelius Vanderbilt 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 only partnered them to make it successful. Nigeria cannot be different if we must radically transform our economy.He said he initiated the program after due consideration and in-dept study of Nigeria’s socio-economic situation, which showed that the solution “to our problems does not depend 100 percent 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 percent 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 percent will go into recurrent expenditure and less than 25 percent will go into capital project.“When we look at the budget performance of capital project, it’s less than 50 percent. The budget has not been passed even in May. So, let’s assume that the budget is passed by the end of May. We have entered the raining 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 lift 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 unions for increment in wages across all sectors of the economy.There’s 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.”