The performances of governments in any nation are generally measured by national development indices. Nations are entities formed for the security and human development of citizens. They are constituted for easy provision of security and welfare of the people. The United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI) seeks to quantify a country’s level of prosperity based on both economic and non-economic factors. Non-economic factors include life expectancy, standard of living, security and educational attainment. Economic factors are measured by gross national income (GNI) per-capita, gross domestic product (GDP), level of infrastructure, etc. GNI per-capita is the dollar value of a country’s final income in a year divided by its population. It is greatly enhanced by efficient business organisations. All these are factors of national development. National developments are valuable and positive changes – social, environmental and economic – that improve the living standard of people in a nation.
Business organisations are the engines of national development. Except sparsely populated mineral producing states which generate their major incomes from royalties and rents on their mine-fields, nations must strive to develop their business sector in order to ensure there is efficient economy and excellent income generation. Business organisations or business names are the avenues for doing business in Nigeria, according to Section 1 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Cap C. 20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (CAMA). Business organisations are vehicles of profit-making, employment generation and wealth creation. They are established to produce goods and products, provide services, help individuals and governments to generate income and be socially responsible to their immediate communities by providing assistance and infrastructure. Businesses also utilise the raw materials in a nation and are the livewire of banking and finance, insurance and manufacturing industries.
The principle behind wealth creation is that nations must engage the majority of its qualified populace, especially their youths in productive activities like manufacturing, construction, pharmaceuticals, banking and finance, trading, sports, farming, education, private and civil services, etc. Government is not ‘Father Christmas’ and cannot meet the financial needs of every citizen. It is, therefore, imperative that everybody in a nation who is of working-age and who are physically and mentally capable of working should work. Researchers have shown that public workers are less than one percent of the population of a viable state. If we estimate percentage of the population of those in the agriculture sector, construction, banking and finance industry, the health sector, pharmaceuticals, services, education sector and entertainment sector, and add to those in public service and civic sector, then the remaining workers must be those in business, ceteris paribus.
Business organisations require skills to operate them. Governments should be interested in development of private businesses, aiding them through their associations and giving tax rebates, loans and subsidies to keep them alive when necessary. Government has a lot to do with businesses. For example, family businesses are the backbone of the United Kingdom’s economy. They account for more than 88 percent of private companies in Britain and many are recognized globally for their innovation and visionary approach. Family businesses generate more than 50 percent of America’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021; in Europe, they provide jobs for more than 60 million people in 2021, and in Germany, where the government goes out of its way to celebrate and encourage family businesses, a whopping 90 percent of all businesses are family owned or run. In Nigeria, most family businesses die with the exit of the founder and visioner. A serious government must be interested in developing family businesses and post-graduate research is necessary to find out why family businesses die prematurely. Infrastructure provision, like roads, industrial estate and electricity, are ways of aiding business growth.
Nigeria takes special interest in the business sector of her economy through legislations, policies-formulation, principles and infrastructure-provision. Organisations like Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Bank of Industry (BOI), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Infrastructure Bank, commercial banks and various private foundations and initiatives, etc are agents of government, individuals and private organisations dealing with business development in Nigeria. The federal government has established various avenues for establishment of businesses, but has done little to develop the capacity of Nigerians for businesses. African nations have great business opportunities which require skills for their sustenance; in most cases, these skills are missing among Africans!
The world’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme was established at Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1908, to bridge the gap between the market and business skills. The Birmingham Business School is the United Kingdom’s first school of business. MBA programmes have helped to foster business ideas in the United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK), Germany, Australia and the world, at large. Reward cards, transport cards, BOGOF (Buy One, Get One Free), showroom-less sales businesses, dispensing machines, fuel vouchers, budget air-travel by Aer Lingus, etc, are part of what MBA graduates have done. African countries’ Graduate Schools of Business will need to design their MBAs to act as a catalyst for business development. There is a great potential for business development in Africa. Entrepreneur apprenticeship programmes (EAP) and mentoring by successful business men and women are also effective ways of developing business owners, managers and economies of African nations.
Business training provides theoretical and practical training for business and investment management and it has really helped business organisations’ development. Governments ought to have serious programmes for business development as a strategy to develop their economies because without a business system, no nation can survive. With the high youth unemployment rate and balance of trade deficit, the government should design cottage industries and entrepreneurship training as a vehicle to engage the youths in agriculture, reduce the high cost of food in the cities, improve exportation of agricultural produce and generate foreign exchange.
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