Yes, the law rules all things. This is a well-thought-of conclusion. This is not a slip of the pen. It is the truth against which no man can do anything. Many are used to hearing that the law is an ass. But I have come to declare to you today that the law beyond being an ass, it is as relevant as water against which there is no enemy.
Those who are religious may accuse me of heresy. They may say, “the Lord, and not the law rules all things.” Yes they have a point but this is not an exercise in religion, we are here talking law. But can I quickly add one thing before I go any step further? Well, it is the same Lord, who rules all things that has empowered us through the law to rule all things for without order we cannot rule and without the law there can never be order.
Now, what do we mean when we say the law rules all things? All we are saying is that the law governs every human relationship (husbands and wives, children and parents, employers and employees, governments and citizens businesses and customers etc.). Thus the law has many parts. Family Law governs family matters; the law of contract regulates major areas of business transactions; Constitutional Law spells out the rudiments of governance and citizens’ rights and duties; the Law of Medical Ethics deals with the relationship between medical practitioners and their patients, to mention just a few.
Don’t mind what appears to be a too-copious preamble. I guess the point I am frantically trying to make is that the law is relevant to all. If you have been caught in the web of that conclusion, which I believe you have, then you will not have the slightest difficulty in believing that the law is relevant to the growing activities of Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria. The law will not fold her arm and watch without having a contribution to make to a sector as important and significant as the Small and Medium Enterprises. Now, don’t ask me the cheap question, how important and significant is the SME sector? If you dare, I will readily say the SME sector has become an engine room of economic growth in every serious nation of the earth. That the sector has the seemingly lost answers to the ailing economic situation in the Third World is a fact that has been established in countries like Pakistan, Thailand, Mauritius, Philippines, Malaysia, India, and Taiwan.
The inevitable relevance of SMEs to the African economic development was reiterated at the recently concluded 15th International Conference of World Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (WASME). The conference, which “called for the chanelling of at least 25 per cent of all public sector procurement to small and medium scale enterprises” observed as follows, “ in a globalizing world, Africa is the continent most marginalized. It is yet to benefit from globalization; its share of the world’s trade and investment is a mere 2 per cent. Of the 49 least developed countries in the world, 70 per cent of them are on the African Continent. With globalization and liberalization the gap between these countries and the developed world is widening which need not be the case. If the gap is to be narrowed and poverty reduced, African governments must build a strong SME sector. Their highest priority must be to raise the productivity of the informal economy and to integrate it into the economic mainstream”
Welcome reading friend, this is introducing to you, Lawpreneurship™. It is a column that is poised with the zeal of an envisioned mind and equipped with the skill of legal practice to dissect, on a weekly basis, the law to the very last letter as it relates to the SME operator and the entire gamut of his/her business activities from registration or incorporation of business, employment issues, contract with clients, partnership arrangement, taxation, importation and exportation to drafting of contract letters and agreement, to mention a few. It is a much-awaited open legal clinic, where without cost, (except just visiting this blog) you are logged on to the exciting time of legal education as it relates to the day to day running of your business. This is an attempt, a noble one at that, to make you a better manager of your business by understanding, from the perspective of the law, the implications of your business decisions.
Do you know one thing that scares me about decision-making? It is simply this: the fact that you don’t know the consequences of your decisions is never a strong enough force to stop the consequences from manifesting. This explains why many innocent but wrong decisions have seen many out of the businesses they have toiled to build. Innocence or sincerity is not always enough in decision making in every sphere of life, only adequate information makes all the difference. Those, who have embraced the foregoing as a bosom truth, make it a rule of the thumb to ensure that the first thing they do when they are confronted with the challenge of making a decision is to embark on a journey of fact finding, no matter how long and how much it may cost.
One major challenge with the SME sector is that her operators always downplay the place of experts’ advice in the decision-making process. This is basically because of two major reasons:
I. The quest to maximize profit.
II. The unfounded conclusion that I can always do it myself.
To deliver this crucial sector from the devastating claws of decision-makings without thorough experts’ guidance, particularly legal is the reason for this weekly season of legal companionship for the SME sector.
Hear the final word: you are inexcusable oh SME operators, now that the mountain has proverbially decided to come to Mohammed in the form of free weekly legal clinics. Shalom!