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Sustainable Development and Growth for the Millennial Entrepreneur: the Role of Regulatory Agencies

March 6, 2020,

Speech By Prof. Adeyeye C. M

Director General NAFDAC

Sustainable Development and Growth for the Millennial Entrepreneur:  the Role of Regulatory Agencies

4th Annual University Lecture/Matriculation Ceremony of the Kings University Ode Omu, Osun State Nigeria

6th March 2020

Protocol

The Chancellor of the University Pastor Matthew Asimolowo, Pro-Chancellor of the Kings University, Distinguished Vice-Chancellor, all Principal Officers of Kings University, The Faculty Body, Gentlemen of the Press, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

It gives me great pleasure to be here today and I appreciate my invitation to deliver the 4th Annual University Lecture of this unique Univeristy, Kings University Ode Omu; marking also its Matriculation  Ceremony.

I congratulate the newly admitted students on this joyous occasion. May I quickly remind you that the best University in the whole world is not necessarily any of the world reknowned Universities but the You-niversity.  While Kings University is offering you the needed teaching, grooming, conducive study environment, research opportunities and mentorship;  it is what YOU make of them depending on what is in You that will eventually counts and determines your final outcome.

Today I will be presenting  a lecture on Sustainable Development for Millennia Entrepreneurs: The Role of Regulatory Agencies. To begin, I wish to give brief definitions of key terms to capture the synopsis of the lecture,  and also put its contents in a germane perspective of sustainable development of man and his enterprise within the context of nation building in a challenged environment.

Sustainable development is a process whereby the level of development and growth already attained subsists, repeatable and reproducible. It often ensures that the resources used in attaining a level of development are reusable and can be further utilised by other generations.

By definition, a Generation is defined as the average period it takes for children to grow up and begin to bear their own children, roughly about thirty years. When discussing generations, six main generations are considered;

  • The Greatest Generation (GI) born around 1901 – 1927
  • The Silent Generation (Lucky Few) born around 1928 – 1945
  • Baby Boomers (Generation W) born around 1946 – 1964 had high birth rates
  • Generation X (Gen X) born around 1965 – 1980
  • Millennials (Generation Y) born around 1980 – 1996
  • Generation Z (Gen Z) born around mid 1990’s – 2012

And now emerging is the Generation Alpha comprising those born around early 2010s and projecting to mid late 2020s.

Entrepreneur is one who sets up a business taking on financial risks in the hope of profit. They are creative with great innovating ideas that identify the need for creation of a business to fill a void.

The regulatory bodies in Nigeria set up by the government to monitor and control mandated areas of public life that are of public concern (e.g., health care, education, environment, energy, safety and security, vulnerable groups programs, etc). Such agencies in Nigeria include National Office for  Technology Acquisition and Protection NOTAP, National Universities Commission NUC, Joint Admissions and Matriculation  Board JAMB, National Environmental Standards Regulations and Enforcement Agency NESREA, Standards Organisation of Nigeria and of course National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC.

Enterpreneurship in the Millennium 2000

 Enterpreneurship is as old as the beginning of times. In the early ages we have the stone age where entrepreneur used stone as object and tool of work. Iron age, the agricultural age the industrial age and the information age are all eras in the development of man on planet Earth. Whereas the stone age essentially employ stones to facilitate their existence, the millineals on the other hand that live in the information age, could not imagine a world without handset, internet and computers as they had never experienced such world.

However, sandwiched between the stone age and information age is the  industrial age where large enterprises and manufacturing giants, such as automobile assembly plants, textiles, manufacturing plants, ship yards, nuclear power plants etc. emerge and were sustained. Requirements for such placements apart from education, acquire skills and healthy frames include referrals in good character, loyalty, honesty and discipline. The industrial age generation are given to fixed work hours 8 to 5 each day, if you do not practice this fixed regime you appear as being lazy, indiscipline and lacking in commitment.

The industrial age contrasts with the information age. In the information age where the millennials belong, the commodity is data.

Millenials  are hooked 24/7 to their  smart phones, laptops social media, sms, emails and e-gadgets. Other characteristics include their ability to square up with superiors and demand explanations. They are goal-driven and  long to be a known social influencers for its marketing and money worth. Above all, romantic relationships and marriages are being contracted virtually and sadly to note, other vices are also inspired via virtual spaces too.

Although I am not one of them but I can tell you boldy that lots of parents and grandparents of the millenials, are left behind already and some parents don’t even have the inclination to understand or learn it, some are just frightened with the whole technology; while some are enlightened, others are just worried about the safety and security lapses associated with e-world and give it a wide berth.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this new world of the millenials predisposes that a millenial enterpreneur must be:  basically skillful in the use of internet and e-gadgets; knowledgeable about lots of useful apps; must be wise as serpent in dealings; discerning in relationship; emotionally stable; daring as lion; situate locally but think globally; persuasive; able to learn, unlearn and relearn new things. A millenial entrepreneur must know his products/services, his  markets/clients and their segmentations very well. He must be very versatile in the application of his e-gadgets in analysing his markets and products/services. This is more so in a challenged developing nation like Nigeria.

 Sustainable Development and Growth

The Brundtland Commission defines sustainable development as: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainable development is a carefully planned strategy to embrace growth while using resources more efficiently, with utmost consideration of immediate AND long-term benefits for our planet and the humans who live on it.

There are 3 primary objectives of sustainable development:

  • Economic growth – building a strong, competitive economy, by ensuring that sufficient opportunity of the right type is available in the right places and at the right time to support growth and innovation
  • Environmental protection – contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural and developed environment, while helping to improve biodiversity, use natural resources wisely, minimizing waste and pollution, and adapting to and helping to decrease climate change.
  • Social inclusion – supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities by providing the supply of housing required to meet the needs of present and future generations; and by creating a high-quality of development, with accessible local services that reflect the community’s needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being.

Sustainability is the foundation for today’s leading global framework for international cooperation – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Each of the 17 SDGs has specific targets to be achieved by 2030. The goals and targets are universal, meaning they apply to all countries around the world, not just poor countries. Reaching the goals requires action on all fronts – governments, businesses, civil society and people everywhere all have a role to play. Interestingly the prescribed tools for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals are equally adaptable by individual budding millineal entrepreneur to reach their goals, existing challenges notwithstanding.

Opportunities for Growth as Against Challenges

Youth are a great human asset, future leaders and hope for the advancement of the global economy. The advent of the millennium witnessed the era of globalization and a fast perforation of digital and social media which sprouted a growth of start-ups with the advent of Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter , etc. This generation which is highly tech savvy, informed, educated , earnest, innovative and expeditious are far more socially conscious than the previous generations of Generation X, having high expectations from life and seek better work environment as well as work-life balance.

Millennials have moved away from the traditional model of family business management and more inclined towards creation of something new and offering solutions to problems. Nevertheless, one of the larger problems emerging out of this digitization and globalization and a faltering global economy has been the alarming rate of increase in unemployment across the globe.

Hence there is the yearning for entrepreneurial development among the youth as a panacea to unemployment, which is driving some of them into various MSME ventures. The driving tool of this transformation has been the same young, educated and talented generation popularly known as ‘Millennial Entrepreneurs’. However, challenges abound in the endeavour as many factors have been identified to be militating against SME entrepreneurial development in Nigeria. These factors include: obtaining finance, monetary policy, lack of electricity supply, poor policy among others. This raises an issue regarding the need for an enabling environment and support system to promote SMEs in Nigeria, especially among the youth population.

However, in line with the National Policy on economy diversification certain government initiatives are now in place; The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) was set up in July 2016 by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, to remove bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria and make the country a progressively easier place to start and grow a business. Also the You Win, Crowd funding for agricultural practice initiatives are in place to enhance entrepreneurship.

Role of Regulatory Agencies

With the advent of young entrepreneurs in all facets of industry and commerce, there have been lots of innovations in product developments and service deliveries especially in the evolving non oil industries. The basic role of the regulatory agencies in all these is facilitating the process and embracing use of ICT in service delivery.

Millenials have opportunity for growth in regulatory science where standards and new tools needed for evaluation of the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, medical devices, food,  water and beverages are learnt. The goal is to determine the benefit-risk ratio in order to understand sound regulatory decision that will protect the health of the population. The digitalization of the regulatory processes is another area where millennials can fit in very well due to the seamlessness that results from such implementation.  The tools will be needed for effective entrepreneurship.

With NAFDAC regulated products, lots of innovation have taken place in food formulations and the packaging of local foods.  NAFDAC identified the challenges of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in registration of their products with NAFDAC and therefore instituted several activities which include further review of guidelines and streamlined registration processes to handle their peculiar difficulties. The aim is to remove critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic red tapes that hinder the smooth registration and regulatory activities of MSMEs.

The following are processes and procedures put in place to ease the MSMEs registration processes and services:

  • Sharing of facilities for production. Companies with similar products and limited resources can come together to use common facilities provided products are similar.
  • Streamlined the Agency’s requirements for product registration, restricted to a group of products (some types of food and cosmetics).
  • Decentralised products registration thereby reducing the timeline: sixty (60) days for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and 90/120 days for other companies.
  • Reduced the timeline for issuance of chemical permits to three (3) weeks.
  • 50% reduction in product registration tariffs for MSMEs with not more than five (5) staff.
  • Dedicated a laboratory for the analysis of MSMEs’ products

Opportunities in Government

What are the available  opportunities in government as a millenial entrepreneur? There are some food products called finger foods in Nigeria, they are convenience food and are now permitted to be registered by NAFDAC. An enterpreneur must understand the science behind it as mentioned earlier and study the relevant safety parameters; be ready to apply the correct process and scale up into full production with time.

A lot of science goes into food processing and cosmetics production. Lots of natural raw materials are around here that you could use to formulate natural  body cream, hair cream and other body cares. Basic ingredient in the production of lipstick is available in large quantitiy in this state: shea butter and cocoa butter.  Cocoa is available in  Osun State, Ondo and Ekiti; it could also be utilised for making chocolate.

Lots of opportunities are being provided by government. A lot of training on the use of ICT is now available, you can develop it to an existing process to  make the process become better.  A staff in my Agency developed an app that can monitor any shipment of NAFDAC regulated products right from the port of exit till it reaches port of entry here in Nigeria.

In conclusion, I want to address the budding Kings Entrepreneurs present here today. The Bible says the King business demand haste. So do not sleep on your dream because the king’s business demand haste, you must work on your dream and keep it alive and burning. Let excellence be your middle name in all that you do; you must have vision and focus as sharp as Eagle’s. Above all you need solid character, that is what will sustain you at your zenith

So, my dear Jambites and Stalites, Leaders and Lecturers, Administrators and Counsellors, I implore us all to let this day be a beginning of a new life, acquiring new knowledge and skill, and let us endeavour to have an innovative mind so that we can proffer solutions to hidden problems. Be creative! Be innovative! I can assure you, the world is waiting for your innovations.

Dear distinguished ladies and gentlemen, thank you for listening and God bless you

Professor Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, PhD, FAS

Director General (NAFDAC)

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