One of Nigerian’s core problems is that we have many “companies”. Of course, the smarter people in the developmental organizations flip everything as signs of vitality and economic progress, and governments push them as evidence of great policies generating the dividends of democracy. Unfortunately, for this village guy from Ovim (Abia State) whose finest leadership moment remains being elected President of his village age grade, it is an illusion: our weakest link is that we have many companies in Nigeria. Extrapolating from government data, we may have close to 30 million formations of micro, small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria. We must not celebrate that despite effervescence of TraderMoni, World Bank praises and more.
“MSMEs are critical to Nigerian’s economic development. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, SMEs in Nigeria have contributed about 48% – on average – to the national GDP in the last five years. Totalling about 17.4 million enterprises, they account for about 50% of industrial jobs and nearly 90% of activities in the manufacturing sector, in terms of number of enterprises.” If you lump the “micro” to that 17.4 million SMEs, you may have 30 million enterprises.
No matter how you look at it, it is not a healthy ecosystem. Simply, these companies are not growing or expanding. Until we can reduce the paralysis for most to move from micro, small, and medium to large, we will continue to struggle with paucity of good jobs, development paralysis and stasis on the advancement of human welfare.
Yes, it is like farming where we produce mass hunger with 65% of our working population when the U.S. uses less than 2% to feed itself, and enough to export to the world.
Nigeria needs to find a way to avoid celebrating what should not be celebrated. We need to get annoyed with them. Yes, unless we see them as problems, we will think those things are actually “progress”. No way, Nigeria does not need everyone to be a business owner!