Why Nigeria Must Not Be Celebrating Having Millions of Business Owners

Why Nigeria Must Not Be Celebrating Having Millions of Business Owners

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!


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3 thoughts on “Why Nigeria Must Not Be Celebrating Having Millions of Business Owners

  1. This country ehh, even when you think you have seen it all, they still pull out another rabbit from the hat; it never stops.

    Since the people announcing these things are allergic to substance and facts, no need interrogating on what constitutes a business in this enclave called Nigeria.

    Some registered with CAC for almost a decade, but haven’t earned any revenue since then, but in our counting system, of course they are in business, including CEOs looking for paid employment, we understand all of that.

    This loaded acronym of MSME, what revenue profile classifies one in what category? The same way we are over two hundred million here, yet any decent business outside common food and medicine you model for fifty million people here will disappoint; but we are over two hundred million…

    They never made a policy to increase headcounts of business owners here, so I do not how on earth it could be seen as achievement. We have a very weak middle-class, so setting up businesses everywhere won’t change anything, you first need a sizable middle-class with good purchasing power, subsequently more businesses can spring up.

    The money we want to waste across LGAs for wages with no clear value addition, we can send to entrepreneurs.

  2. I agree with your points. Government should take practically measures to make businesses (SMES) easy to do and to grow. It is an error for SMES to be registered in CAC without business for a long time because of lack of government support. For example, government should reduce all forms of taxes, reduce the cost of CAC registration, provide financial loans with low interest rate etc.

    Supporting smes will ease the load of unemployment on government. Hence, improving the economy of individuals and the country.

  3. How good is our statistics. Even our headcount can’t be accurate, because all we do is guessing. How sure are we to say that we are over or under 200 million in population (fraudulent for political purposes). Some from certain region were even boastful that the number is on their side. While they can’t even say perse the exact numbers of people they have in their region. Until this British enterprise called Nigeria begins to do the needful. There is no hope insight. Delusional as those ruling the country.


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