Give grants to entrepreneurs not loans – University don tells FG

Prof. Isa Hussaini, a Lecturer with Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Maiduguri on Friday urged Federal Government to give grants to entrepreneurs and small business owners an encouragement for self-reliance.

Hussaini made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

The don, who said that grants were non-repayable funds disbursed or given by one party, often a government department, corporation, foundation or trust, to educational institution, business or individual, was more beneficial to small businesses.

He added that grants were free money given to people to assist them to start their ideas and businesses.

He explained that “when you give grants to an entrepreneur, he or she will not go through the stress of thinking about how to pay back.”

He, however, emphasised that government must be certain of what the entrepreneur planned to do with the grant before giving out such assistance.

He said “entreprenuers should be able to write a proposal of the type of business they want to engage in and it must be a feasible project.

“I know that Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, recently gave out N10,000 and N15,000 but we need government to do more, probably to give N1 milllion or N10 million to small businesses; and you will see them take off beautifully.

“Most of these businesses are technically competent, all they need is funding. Getting loans kill businesses even before they take off because of the interest rates that they are forced to pay.”

He said that grants should be given in line with the kind of business and field of specialisation of the entrepreneurs.

The don also emphasised the need for government to fix power supply “to reduce the burden of entreprenuers, as many of them resort to generators for electricity.

“This is because grants without electricity to power businesses is still a problem for many entreprenuers.

“Therefore, government should do all in its power to stabilise power supply to encourage economic development.”

Hussaini, who also spoke about medicinal plants in the country, noted that “we have such plants in abundance: we only need fund to add the required value to the plants and package them for the benefit of citizens and others.”

He added that lecturers in universities should be encouraged to spin off companies, adding that it was how Google, Yahoo and Facebook came about.

The don said that government should encourage ordinary people as well because ideas were everywhere and not restricted to only knowledge centres like universities.

He said “secondary school leavers, people who failed to get into university are people that can be trained; it should not always be about universities.

“Get these people, train them, and they in turn will train others then you will see a productive economy. (NAN)