Entrepreneurs in Nigeria under the aegis of the National Association of Enterprise Employers (NAEE) have threatened to embark on a two-week industrial action following the inability of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Government to release an N200b(two hundred billion Naira) grant, they requested for, since the past three years.
The association also issued a seven day ultimatum for the CBN and federal government to release the grant, noting that the association from December 21 would ensure that “not even pure water would be sold on the street.
The National President of the Association, Dr. Ukai, Solomon James Akpan who disclosed this to newsmen in Uyo over the weekend said the two-week warning strike was being planned to shut down all businesses until the CBN explains the rationale behind its refusal to respond to the application letters sent to it by the association.
According to Akpan, “The National Association of Enterprise Employers (NAEE), organizers of the National Entrepreneurship Programme (NEEP) in Nigeria brings to the notice of the president that; for three years now, our body has applied for a grant of Two Hundred Billion Naira only (N200,000,000,000.00) to be disbursed to four million, eighteen thousand members across the nation. But there is no response from the CBN.
“Since the CBN is making life difficult for the young and old business entrepreneurs by not allowing Entrepreneurs to access the numerous empowerment grants, to help us improve production so as to reduce the prices of goods and commodities in the country, hence the warning strike/peaceful demonstration.”
Ukai, however, expressed worry over the prolonged silence of the CBN on the series of application letters sent to it by the association and noted that at least, CBN should have given directives to where or whom they can approach for positive actions.
He added that the association expects the federal government to direct the CBN governor to invite them for dialogue and respond to their plea in order to maintain a good entrepreneurial relationship with the government.
NAEE said the quest to empower the body came out of the desire to help the country in the areas of employment and job creation, to drastically reduce unemployment and youth restiveness in the country.
The association which considered the regular crowd of unemployed youths who often throng political rallies as evidence of both idleness and high rate of unemployment said empowering entrepreneurs would to a very great extent help checkmate youth restiveness and crime.
His words, “Imagine when over four million entrepreneurs are empowered and they employed at least five more people in whatever they do, you will find out that the rate of unemployment in Nigeria will be reduced and you will see the effect on our economy.”
The association also tackled the ANCHOR BORROWER Scheme and many other schemes describing them as scam on unsuspecting Nigerians.
“We have observed with dismay, that even the ANCHOR BORROWER scheme and many other schemes have been proven to be scam. These lofty schemes have been frustrated by their operators,” he said.
Explaining why such schemes were described as scam by the entrepreneurs Ukai said, ” they will promise Nigerians grants and asked us to open accounts. We religiously did all that they asked us to do, we encouraged people to open the accounts and other things.
“even the farmers amongst us in different states have cleared their lands as was directed, filled one form or the other, met up with all their requirements but they would keep on putting bottlenecks and the thing has continued to be prolonged from one farming season to another. And you know the effect of such prolonged waiting in farming due to seasonal changes.
”for the past three years we have shown interest in the programmes, We have our documents to back up our claims. We did all they asked us to do, yet we are having this brick wall since that time. We have exhausted our patience. Let them come out and tell us what we have not done right than keeping us in the dark,” he lamented.