A don, Prof. Ifeoma Nwoye, has advocated implementation of poverty alleviation solutions that can foster and stimulate the entrepreneurial spirit in poverty–stricken areas of Nigeria.
Nwoye made the call when she delivered the 10th Inaugural Lecture of Ibrahim Babangida University, Lapai, Niger, with the title, “That Evil Called Poverty: Entrepreneurial Escape to Comfort Zone”.
She said that if the government wanted to offer resource-assistance to the poor, “the leaders should do so not through handouts.”
Nwoye said instead of handouts, the poor should be empowered through boosting of programmes to be “handled by the poor themselves and non-governmental organisations and through programmes with features of sustainability.”
She said charity and alms giving played good roles in efforts to help the poor “but the goal for even charitable organisation should be to help the poor move beyond dependency.
“No person ever became wealthy or self-sufficient through handouts,” Nwoye pointed out.
She stressed that “only entrepreneurial intervention, with its scalable nature can pull the poor from the war zone unto the voyage to COMFORT ZONE and ensure sustainable quality life.”
The professor of management sciences said civil servants should not be involved in poverty alleviation programmes but “ should focus on policies for creating positive climate for business and creativity’’.
Nwoye listed previous poverty alleviation proprammes carried out by the government and noted that “in all the attempted programmes, no administration ever mentioned the statistics of the poor they were trying to help.’’
She decried the alarming rate of poverty in Nigeria and added that as the “ population increases, the poverty level is also multiplying in spite of the country’s natural resources’’.
She said that investment on business enterprises was the surest way that poor communities would have economic independence and move from poverty to prosperity.
“This is one of the reasons why government policies need to become more pro-business to be able to promote self-reliant enterprises as well as employment opportunities.
“This should be made possible by elements of business education.”
Nwoye said states and local governments should broaden their vision of entrepreneurial policy.
“The main task is to put in place a broad environment that can attract people and in which creativity and entrepreneurship can flourish.
“In an entrepreneurial society, job creation is a common feature as new actors in the economy have new characteristics through open source-philosophy.
“Entrepreneurship culture is an environment, where someone is motivated to innovate, to create and take risks.”
Nwoye also said government must “review intervention strategy of one size fits all”.
She said that there was no easy answer to poverty eradication but that implementation of poverty related programmes must be shifted from politicians and civil servants to the poor themselves and groups they trusted.
She noted that the major drawback in self-help of the individual poor was low rate of capital formation.
Nwoye said that government should provide the enabling environment to avail the real sector of the economy credit to establish sustainable businesses.
“The handout being given to selected poor should be channelled to important areas of support towards self-reliance,” she said.