Business Climate in Nigeria

by Ejike Okpa II

Here is something to ponder. Have you ever wondered why most businesses in Nigeria die once the proprietor is no longer alive?

Have you considered what impact an undue connection to political operatives have on reasonable, sensible and economic development chances of the country?

While Nigerians celebrate ‘flames’ without fire when someone makes it because his/her person has assumed office and can dole out contracts to the crony/underling, do Nigerians understand the long term impact of such abuse on the quality of life of the general public and how that creates unending recycling of waste and mismanagement of resources?

Majority of business owners in Nigeria and those that have made tons of money doing so are about 90% of what may be considered the business class and wealthy folks. The private sector in Nigeria is practically non-existent as growth via this sector is long and most often painful. And since majority depend on government spending, for the economy to receive any boost, the government supply side is crucial.

The alarming concern is that most of these ‘business empires’ have no sustaining and or surviving shelf life. There is hardly any business model that ensues from the operatives turned business owners that will help develop the business sector. It then goes to suggest that businesses that are connected to politicians invariably have unskilled management team, most likely have high debt (borrowed on the personality instead of the project) oftentimes gets unpaid, have poor stakeholders or shareholder value, hardly contribute any equity to the initial start up cost, care less about lasting longer than the term in office of the patronage, etc.

The businesses instead of developing core management and business sustaining, surviving and retention practices have as their core asset, political access which in turn encourages corruption and nepotism. To them, who needs the know-how when all that matters is know-who!

With this type of business development climate, Nigeria and most of the corrupt regimes in Africa are strangulating development. It does not mean there are no corruption in most developed economies, far from the truth. In developing countries, the level of corruption amount to where it dominates sensible development practices that will survive time and gets improved on as time changes.

If Nigeria is to benefit from its vast and array of resources, it must begin the journey of harping on KNOW-HOW and placing little or no weight on KNOW-WHO. The country has suffered enough and it is time honest and diligent efforts are deployed in harnessing the latent resources that are buried among the disenfranchised masses.

Nigerians yearn for better and lasting service. But with cronies that masquerade as business people, service is never rendered and quality is better not mentioned. Nigerians get what they celebrate. And that is ‘flames’ without fire. Business is never built in a day. Business is better not built using and relying solely and unduly on the patronage of political connections.

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