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The generation of employment opportunities through entrepreneurship which brings about economic growth and development cannot be overemphasized. As at 2008, the small and medium enterprises sector provides, on average, fifty percent of Nigeria’s employment and fifty percent of industrial output. Therefore, this study critically assesses the role of entrepreneurship in employment generation in Nigeria, using Plateau State as the case study. To achieve this, the study employs chi-square method of data analysis. Primary data were obtained through the administration of 150 questionnaires to some selected business across the state. Two hypotheses were tested at five percent level of significance and the results shows that entrepreneurship plays a significant role in employment generation and employment generation in turn plays a significant role in economic development in Plateau State. In view of this, the study made some useful and practical recommendation to be adopted in order to encourage entrepreneurship for greater employment generation among which are; implementation of power sector reforms and stabilization of the power sector, control of religious, ethnic and political crisis, development of infrastructure such as roads, schools and vocational training centers and provision of free land in industrial estate to entrepreneurs.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The twenty first century has been tagged the “entrepreneurial age”. This is because entrepreneurship is seen as one of the basic means of stimulating economic growth and development through the generation of greater employment opportunities, development of local technological base and conservation of foreign exchange earning of national governments (Sule, 1986; World Bank, 1995).
Right from independence in 1960, unemployment has been rising phenomenon and as result many Nigerians have become jobless to the extent that government itself may not actually know the rate of unemployment today. Many of the jobless persons have taken to crimes like arm robbery, drug trafficking and prostitution among others. This problem of unemployment has been further worsened by various factors, peculiar to the Nigerian situations. These include poor planning or no planning at all, micro-economy, that is, total dependence on oil with its attendant price fluctuations in the world market, political and civil instability among others (Olagunju, 2008).
It is in realization of the damage of unemployment that the Federal
Government has put in place policies and programmes such as the establishment of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in 1986 to work out strategies for dealing with the mass unemployment in the country especially among school leavers and Universities graduates. This makes the unemployed persons to be self reliant and self employed by acquiring skills in any trade of their choice as a means of earning a living. A person who has acquired a skill becomes employed of labour instead of searching for a white collar job that does not exist (Musa, 2000)
What has come from the poor state of Nigerian economy, at least from the beginning of 1980, is that many are learning and wishing to be their own rather than looking up to government for employment. Today, there are university and college graduate who have established businesses of their own and are carrying on well. Businesses being ventured into include: poultry, farming, animal rearing, hairdressing, barbing, soap making, block making, baking, commercial transportation, distributive trade, estate agency, tailoring, laundry and dry cleaning, Office and industrial cleaning. All these enterprises are established and managed by individuals who desire to be economically independent and also want to contribute their quota to the development of the nation. Today, such enterprises are spread all over the places to the development of the nation. Today, such enterprises are spread all over the places, in cities, towns and village across the country (Nwoye, 1994)
What is interesting is that government (at various levels) is gradually beginning to realize that these enterprises could be the corner stone of the greatness of the Nigerian economy. Perhaps, this is why various governments are doing one thing or the other to promote and encourage the development of private entrepreneurship.
Plateau state being one of the thirty-six states that make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has put in place some measures to promote and encourage the development of entrepreneurship. This could be seen in terms of finance, provision of infrastructural facilities, policies and moral encouragement among others too numerous to mention.
1.2 RESEARCH PROBLEM
According to (Olagunju, 2008), the problem encountered in an effort to give entrepreneurship a boost include shortage and inadequate infrastructural facilities and unsafe transportation system coupled with collapse road network in Nigeria. Entrepreneur who are engaged in distributive trade are greatly hampered by this factor. May entrepreneurs lack credit facilities, building/ shop and water supply to enable them produce because most of them cannot afford the huge capital that is required to start up a business. In addition to this, the power supply has been disappointing. Lack of trust by Nigerians is also seen a s a problem facing entrepreneurship development. Many Nigerians do not believe and trust the ability and capability of our local entrepreneurs. There is this common believe that whatever is made in Nigeria is inferior to that made from abroad. This has seriously affected the fortunes of the local entrepreneurs as many of them lack patronage.
Another problem of entrepreneurship in the country is lack of education and technical knowhow by many entrepreneurs. Many of the entrepreneurs are illiterates or with little education without the needed technological skills.
1.3 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Entrepreneurship has occupied a very important place in the policies and programmes of private individuals and governments at different levels due to the role it plays in the economy, particularly in generating employment opportunities. To achieve these objectives this research will attempt to answer the following questions.
i. Has Entrepreneurship play an important role in employment generation and economic development. ii. Has Entrepreneurship been able to reduce unemployment rate in Nigeria particularly in Plateau State.
iii. Does the challenge of Entrepreneurship affect development in Nigeria?
iv. What are the effective measures to be taken to tackle unemployment in
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The primary objective of this research is to ascertain the role of entrepreneurship in employment generation in Nigeria with Plateau State as a case study. However, there are other secondary objectives that this research will try to analyze, these include:
i. To examine the role of entrepreneurship in employment generation and economic development ii. To assess the rate of employment generation in Nigeria iii. To examine how entrepreneurship can improve economic development
iv. To identify some entrepreneurship activities being ventured into
v. To analyze the problems of entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
1.5 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The main purpose of this research is to enable us determine the role played by entrepreneurship in generating employment in Nigeria. Therefore the hypothesis to be tested in this study is the Null hypotheses (Ho) against the alternative hypothesis (H1) at 5% level of significance. Thus,
H0:β=0 Entrepreneurship has no significant role on employment generation in Plateau State.
H1:β=0 Entrepreneurship has significant role on employment generation in Plateau State.
H0:β=0 Employment generation has no significant role in the development of Plateau State economy.
H1:β=0 Employment generation has significant role in the development of Plateau State economy.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this research is providing valuable understanding of the role played by entrepreneurship in employment generation in the Nigerian economy and therefore identify ways to encourage entrepreneurship towards employment generation and economic development. This research is not only beneficial to the researcher in his academic pursuit and in broadening his educational horizon but also beneficial in providing recommendations to the unemployed, students, entrepreneurs policy makers and the society in general.
Entrepreneurship has turned out to be a substantial engine of development in Nigeria. Specially, one of the most important and immediate benefits of entrepreneurship is its ability to create employment for both the skilled, unskilled, the highly educated, the less educated and even illiterate members of the society thereby reducing the level of the social vices.
To the unemployed, most especially University and College graduates, this research has the potential o developing an entrepreneurial spirit in their hearts, inspiring them to develop a feasible business, ideas, building the business venture and managing them to successfully growth and maturity.
The introduction of entrepreneurship development curricula in our
educational system (secondary and tertiary institutions) is geared at stimulating and entrepreneurial spirit among students. This research therefore provides them with the basics of entrepreneurship.
To Policy Makers, the research serves as an insight into the role of entrepreneurship on employment generation by examining the challenges of entrepreneurship in Nigeria. It also provides an analytical data that becomes a necessary guide for information and decision making.
To the Entrepreneurs, this research will serve as a guide to them in carrying our feasibility studies and also provide them with the basic foundation and information needed to start a business.
Finally to the Society, this research has the potential of making a society be productive as it tries to identify some profitable business that can be ventured into which will in turn increase their income and the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research covers a period of ten (10) years from 2002 to 2012 and it is restricted to the role of entrepreneurship on employment generation in Nigeria using Plateau state as the case study. it is assumed that what is obtained in terms of operational practices and policies regarding the role of entrepreneurship on employment generation will be generally applicable to other state in Nigeria.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The limitation faced while carrying out this work are too numerous to mention, but among them are; unavailability of library facilities within gthe study environment, inadequate of secondary data materials, restriction of some documents for the study considerations etc.
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