Prof. Ifeoma Nwoye a Professor of Business Administration of the Ibrahim Babangida (IBB) University, Lapai, Niger State Nigeria has called for a new approach of tackling poverty in Nigeria.
Nwoye opines that the public sector approach to poverty alleviation will not be feasible in Nigeria, rather, implementation of poverty alleviation solutions that can foster and stimulate the entrepreneurial spirit in poverty-stricken areas of Nigeria.
The erudite scholar made this call on Thursday when she delivered the 10th Inaugural Lecture of the Ibrahim Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State Nigeria entitled, “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’’.
“No person ever became wealthy or self-sufficient through handouts,’’ Nwoye pointed out.
“Instead of handouts, the poor should be empowered through boosting of programmes to be “handled by the poor themselves as well as non-governmental organisations and through programmes with features of sustainability’’.
According to her, charity and almsgiving played good roles in efforts to help the poor “but the goal for even charitable organisations should be to help the poor move beyond dependency.
“Investment in business enterprises is 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.’’
“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.’’
She notes that “there is no easy answer to poverty eradication but the implementation of poverty-related programmes must be shifted from politicians and civil servants to the poor themselves and groups they trust”.
“The handouts being given to selected poor should be channelled to important areas of support towards self-reliance,’’ she said
As Nwoye points out that the government must “review intervention strategy of one size fits all’’, she recommends “a free enterprise where everyone can operate at their level as propounded by Adams Smith”.