Tuesday November 14 2017

Mr President, there is money in business, but…

President Museveni has advised fresh graduates from the Islamic University in Uganda to engage in entrepreneurship for job creation.
In a message read by First Deputy Prime Minister Moses Ali during the 25th graduation ceremony at the main campus in Mbale, Mr Museveni asked the graduates to “…ensure that you enlist your entrepreneurial skills, intellectual acumen and insight so as to come up with new enterprises so that you create jobs not only for yourselves, but others as well.”

Mr Museveni made the right call and to the right people. It is true there is a lot of money in business compared with the formal employment sector. But what are the challenges and opportunities in the enterprise world, especially for a fresh graduate? These are the issues the President should be seeking to address.

To begin with, government policies play a very vital role in the development of businesses. Let’s look at the following scenarios:
How easy is it for the graduates to get the green light to register their businesses; how is the bureaucracy? Is the taxation regime flexible enough to allow starters wade through the uncertain business waters easily? Does the government protect them against competition from foreign investors, who might do similar trade, as has been the case with investors dealing in retail, and unfavourably lowering their commodity prices?

Does the political climate of the day favour entrepreneurship and treat everyone equally? Is the economy robust enough to enable businesses boom? How easy is it for the graduates to access start-up capital in form of loans and related grants? Secondly, business thrives best where there is passion. And naturally, human beings are born with different passions and talent. Not many graduates have the thirst and right attitude for it.

Mr President, there is money in business, but there is also more money in ventures like athletics, music, football, and drama, among others. The way forward is not to tell the graduates where the money is, but to offer a an enabling environment for them to be able to look beyond formal employment.

The government should deliberately invest in talent by building sports facilities and promoting the music industry, among others. It should also be able to provide basic infrastructure and services like roads, bridges, housing, electricity, and security, among others, which will in turn boost the business sector. The school curriculum should be tailored in such a way that love for vocational studies are identified among learners early enough.
Mr President, there is no doubt money is in business.

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