The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele has challenged the 2018/2019 graduating students of the University of Lagos (Unilag), to embrace the many benefits Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) has to offer instead of scampering for scarce white collar jobs.
In a convocation lecture titled: “National Development and Knowledge Economy in the Digital Age: Leapfrogging SMEs into the 21st Century “ Emefiele who was the guest lecturer, said he is there to provoke the minds of the graduating students to be better solutions to the growth and development of Nigeria’s economy by awakening and instigating job and wealth creation spirits amongst them; because according to him “there are many indescribable opportunities in Nigeria” with emphasis that “a common problem can lead to unimaginable financial prosperity if harnessed and if the graduates choose to be focused in the right things instead of cries and complains.”
Mr. Godwin Emefiele said “youths should become part of the greater solution instead of complaining of the ills around them by not overlooking potential in the Small and Medium Scales Enterprises of which he was a product of. In his words, “in facts, the effects of SMEs on a nation’s growth and prosperity is interwoven with my own personal story… I witnessed their toils, and the struggles to pay my school fees using proceeds from palm oil plantation which we cultivate in our home town.” To Emefiele, this small scale enterprise, called SME in today[s language, helped in educating him. He continued,“indeed, if anyone has told my parents that a small palm oil business which is a SME which they were running at our hometown will produce a governor of the CBN, I’m sure they would have laugh that person off.”
Emefiele further asserted that, “as we are all aware, a vibrant and growing SMEs sector is critical for achieving our goals for enabling greater growth of Nigeria’s economy and in creating jobs for our teaming youths.” He however, affirmed that there should be more innovative ways of doing SMEs business through application of technology driven research especially in this 21st century. In his words, “technology is not only reshaping how knowledge is shared but also how goods and services are produced and traded.” In addition, the CBN governor said digitalized and knowledge driven economy can accelerate growth and development of SMEs because of the various payment routes for goods and services, this to him, will make transactions more efficient and faster thereby, encouraging more involvement in SMEs.
He said proliferation of digital channels, through which transactions can take place, will encourage youth involvement in embracing SMEs. This to the CBN boss, will further catalyze the growth of the Nigerian economy. Godwin Emefiele enjoined the graduating students to maximize the advent of the digital economy to embrace SMEs as viable alternatives for job creation both in rural and urban communities while assuring them of government’s intervention funds via CBN intervention programmes to support startup capital with little collateral.
He however believed that the face of the current economic situation in Nigeria can be changed if youths (Nigerians) embrace cutting edge technologies required to accelerate and drive these developmental growths especially among the fast pace and vibrant youths of our nation.
The 51st convocation guest lecturer, Godwin Emefiele enjoined institutions of higher learning in the country to “ensure effective collaboration with industry players in key sectors of our economy in the training of relevant manpower to minimize mismatches between skills required by firms and the educational qualifications of our graduates” and by adopting technological driven models relevant for the training of undergraduates in entrepreneurial skills that will prepare them for the labour market.