Njuki Moments

Monday, March 7, 2011

How I wish government could help . . .

All of us must remember that part in our childhood when we would get money every time we needed something, from parents, relatives and even older working friends.
We must also remember the transition from student to working class 'professional' and just how hard it was for us to ever again be given money! Isn't it ironic? Now we needed it more! And we somehow cannot explain to our young friends and children how we may not have money. And they could wonder...and yet you go to work everyday! Then, government was mummy and daddy, well and every relative who could chip in.

People just expect governments to help.
I heard this a lot while I was working with 'the working poor’, it’s an NGO term to describe people who can be helped to overcome poverty. I used to train them and design strategic plans for their small organizations. So one time this phrase comes up and I take serious notice. I pose a question. ‘Okay, supposing we have identified a problem in our lives (these kind of government appeals mostly tend to be personal in nature), please close your eyes and for once imagine a specific action being carried out by government.’ The answers I received were numerous, some of them hilarious like, someone saw 'government' hoe- in- hand fixing a trench in the neighborhood

I personally believe that we tend to rely too much on our governments, wherever we are. Not that they don’t have a responsibility, they do but they are not our parents! That’s where capitalism comes in. Ingenious people identify problems and challenges to their communities and decide to solve them, for a fee. Because our expectation of a good life should come from government, government tends to be happy for progress made and some rewards maybe made still, to the problem solver. You must remember the time when trade with Southern Sudan was a tough cookie, because of the insecurity in both Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan. That is also the time that most money was made by dare-devil traders. They could have asked for government intervention,though eventually they did and roads have been built and there is relative security but profitability has gone down too because every one can now trade. So,how do you balance external help with acumen?

Supposing you woke up one day and you are in a foreign country? It could be Japan or China (which we know a little about) or USA or Britain (which we know a lot about).Or even Kazakhstan or Dominican Republic. What would you do, to not just live but prosper too? Picture the many people who go to foreign countries without knowing the language, culture or even any one and how they prosper and rule the world they choose. I am sure not too far from your office one of them owns the building. Which skills did they fall to? Are they attainable anyway? Is it even ever too late?
No, it's not. You can start now.They start by taking matters into their hands,literary, and doing what has to be done. The guy who get work done,no matter the challenges is the guy who gets ahead,you could call that guy the astute businessman. You are in business by solving problems for money. Simply put.

I dabble a little in real estate and recently ‘estates’ are all the rage(never mind that some are just apportioned bare blocks of land).For the ingenious though, after sub dividing the land, and grading through what you could call a road, they start marketing the plots and people begin building, they approach government to offer their ‘God-given’ or is it vote given role of providing infrastructure. In such cases government is only willing to help, or be seen to help anyway, and many such estates have had roads built and the value has gone up. It's a win -win situation, the home owner gets a road, the entrepreneur's estate appreciates in value and government is happy with its service to the people.They could have built the road themselves,but they don't have to,and because they have started the process,it's justifiable for the government to chip in.

Your cash flow tends to follow a certain pattern when you have one restricted source of income. We live on dreams. They inspire us. They give us hope. If you do not dream, you will never live your dream. Well, you have none! A doing attitude therefore is quite necessary in the game. The fact that you do whatever you have to do whether you get external help or not.Come to think about it,if everything was as good as we wanted it to,where would the opportunities in business be? Though I hasten to add here that governments exist to make our lives better,by establishing an enabling environment; for peace, for people to live well and prosper,to be healthy,to have power( I mean electricity)..and so on. So they build roads and provide other essential services. The role of creating a paradise out of a country does not fall on their shoulders,it is yours. Your role.

Back to our question. What do you see 'government' doing when you close your eyes? And if its not all yet done,would that pose an opportunity for you? To fill the gap? Provide the service? How about you start now?

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