Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
As the World Economic Forum (WEF) commences in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday, the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called on world leaders, particularly Nigeria, to renew their commitment to their citizens, in-line with the 2017 theme of the Forum, which seeks to promote ‘responsive and responsible leadership’.
Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, stressed the importance of responsive leadership.
He stated that both the elected and appointed public servants must see their offices as a responsibility to better the lives of the people that they represent, using the legislative and policy instruments at their disposal.
“Over the years, WEF has helped to shape the global economic agenda. This year, by choosing a theme that challenges leaders to become more sensitive to their people, WEF has demonstrated that there is a need for all public servants across all levels to implement policies and laws that have direct benefits to the citizenry.
“On our part, the 8th Senate will continue to work assiduously to pass laws that will put more of our people back at work, create a sustainable economic structure for future generations of Nigeria, and reduce poverty. We must all re-affirm our commitment to a better Nigeria, and re-new our social contract to the citizens by being quick to react to their concerns, and being sensitive to their demands,” he said.
This week, the 8th Senate has two of its 11 economic priority bills up for various stages of consideration.
According to the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable, when passed, the 11 bills will not only have a combined effect of creating 7.5 million jobs around the country, but also reduce poverty by up to 16.4 percent.
Meanwhile, Sage has lamented the absence of small business issues at Davos.
Speaking ahead of the event, which begins on Tuesday, Sage CEO, Stephen Kelly, noted that small businesses are still being ignored by policy makers,while big businesses flock to Davos.
Global research by Sage (www.Sage.com) highlighted that only 33 percent of small businesses feel represented by politicians in their country’s decision making.
The data has been published in the run up to the annual WEF, where politicians and big business will gather in Davos to debate the global economic picture.
Kelly, who has lamented the absence of small business issues from the agenda, has called for greater representation, given that in most economies entrepreneurs, or business builders create two-third of all jobs.
“The research measured sentiment of small businesses in 2016, showing that: the majority (58 percent) consider the wider global economy to be less stable and (69 percent) either have, or are considering changing their business plan as a result of recent events. Twenty-two percent of businesses are planning to export more in 2017, 10 percent less, and 25 percent felt there would be no change. Thirty-one percent of businesses think turnover will remain constant or remain the same over the next year.
“Clearly the role of government in helping navigate uncertain economic and political times will be key. Almost half (46 percent) singled out export opportunities and grants as being the most important thing that the government can now do. The second most important was improvements to the tax environment (38 percent). Good local services ranked third (26 percent),” Sage said in a statement.
In order to give business builders a platform to connect with policy makers, Sage is launching its ‘Forum for Business Builders’.
The Forum brings entrepreneurs from around the world insights, events and policy-forming partnerships to give them a powerful collective voice that can be heard on the world stage.
“We’re seeing an uptake of entrepreneurial drive throughout the African continent, with many people starting out on their own to build businesses that serve the community, create jobs, and raise income levels. Sometimes, this demands great financial and personal sacrifice on their part.” the Managing Director and Executive Vice-President, Africa & Middle East at Sage, Anton van Heerden, added.
Kelly said: “Only too often, when the world’s policy makers discuss the global economic picture, small businesses are excluded from the discussion. This is most evident with the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, where small businesses aren’t an item on the agenda.
“Worse still, 60 percent don’t even know the event is taking place. It’s crazy when you consider that small businesses create two thirds of all the jobs in most economies, and represent over 98% of all businesses.
“Business builders are the heroes of the economy. They toil away long after the rest of us have gone home, making personal sacrifices to grow their businesses, to support their families and build their communities. Policy makers and big business must wake up to the fact that these heroes need to be supported and given a voice, if we are to ensure the future health and prosperity of the world’s economy.”
Concludes van Heerden: “We are the champion of small businesses. They are fuelled by a passion for improving their lives and helping their communities. It is encouraging to see African governments recognising just how central they are to the continent’s growth story.”
The Forum is open to all small businesses, and will be refreshed regularly with diverse content and insights from guest contributors and advisors.