I have a lot of respect for firebrand Pastor, Tunde Bakare. As far as I’m concerned, he is one of the leaders of thought in Nigeria.
But I don’t agree with the statement recently credited to him that any Nigerian graduate that is unemployed is a compound fool. In the reported statement, he talked about some graduates who earn a living sewing clothes whom he knows.
But long term entrepreneurial success in Nigeria is more than just being an entrepreneur. Truth is: The government (at all levels) doesn’t give enough encouragement to Nigerians to engage in entrepreneurship.
Nigerian entrepreneurs engage in entrepreneurship despite government’s discouraging and unnecessary omissions and commissions.
An example: Nigeria-based Kindle writers have to pay a hefty amount of foreign tax when withdrawing their Kindle earnings to Nigeria. Kindle authors from other countries don’t go through the same.
This is because a tax agreement exists which can easily be signed with the US making such taxation unnecessary. Other countries have signed the said agreement. Why hasn’t Nigeria followed suit, especially given the clear advantages of that particular agreement to Nigerian author-preneurs?
Lack of electricity. Bad roads, high fuel costs, ballooning insecurity. All these add an unnecessary layer of costs entrepreneurs have to face in Nigeria.
In other countries, entrepreneurial costs consist mostly of mundane and benign expenses like R&D, utility bills, rent, salaries… In Nigeria, merely opening up for business every day has its own unnecessary and exorbitant costs.
Pastor Bakare said it isn’t the job of the government to provide jobs. While he may be swinging into (controversial but legitimate) Libertarian thought with this, even Libertarian thinker Robert Nozick conceded that even a minimalist state, government has a few duties it must perform to maintain an enabling environment.
It is the job of the government to provide an enabling environment for the entrepreneurs whose prowess Pastor Bakare vaunts to high skies.