NIGERIA NEEDS TO CREATE 20 MILLION NEW JOBS TO ACHIEVE VISION 20:2020 â€“ USMAN
Dr. Kabir Kabo Usman, Director General of the Center for Management Development (CMD) assumed duties in January this year and prior to that period had spent about 25 years outside the country, working in the area of management development.
According to Usman, for the economy to have steady growth and be at par with what is obtainable in other parts of the globe, the country needs to create 20 million new jobs, just as it must be ready to commit about 20 percent of its annual budget on training and development thorough a strategic action plan aimed at boosting human capital development.
Besides, he said the attainment of the country's vision 20:2020 mandate would be a mirage unless adequate attention is paid to human capital development, adding that, no nation can grow without a proper and holistic framework strategy for its human capital.
Specifically, he argued that the implication of cutting corners to issues related to training and development, means that it would make the workforce less effective and efficient and economical, thereby promoting the culture of mediocrity. 'Do you think the level of those who are lettered and those who are not are the same, never. Or can ignorance ever be an excuse, no. It is just simply unimaginable and unrealistic for organizations to think of cutting training budget or simply wanting to stop improving on the skills of the workforce. The implications for doing that are just too grave to be imagined,' he posited.
Again, he lamented that lack of needs identification, incursion of quacks and cutting corners with budgetary provisions remained some of the reasons why some organizations pay lip service or relegate the importance of training to the background. Essentially, he maintained that, many organizations don't bother to identify the specific training needs of individuals in organizations before they are sent on training.This,he said, affects resource utilization at the end of the training programme because the individual will not add value to the organization.
He explained that the incursion of quacks into the training profession has also been a source of worry to professionals in the industry because the activities of quacks have brought untold hardship to clients, who after spending huge amounts of money on training and development of its workforce never get the desired result.
'Training is just like an investment in business. Investments in the sense that; when you invest in certain kinds of business, it takes some time before you begin to rake in profit. So also is training because the improvement in job performance as a result of the training embarked upon would have a long term effect on the business which may not reflect immediately' he said.
When you look at the mandate and functions of the Nigerian Council for Management Development (NCMD) and CMD, you realize that, there are elements of lack of implementation in achieving some of the actual objectives and this is borne out possibly as a result of lack of understanding of the real issues, alongside having a strategic action and implementation plan to address these issues.
Also, I believe people are fully aware of the current situation as it relates to vision 20:2020.So, it is not just a vision that is being crafted but in order to make sure that the vision is translated into reality, there has to be an implementation plan. And that is why, when we are giving out the strategic repositioning of the sector; in terms of the report, we have to analyze, evaluate and digest to make sure that we identify the key implementation plans that must be in place, in order to translate it into reality.
Checkmating activities of quacks in management, human resource practice
Basically, this is a fundamental question that has been raised because since the centre was established and also in 1976 when we got the National Council for Management Development (NCMD) established, what has not been really happening well; is the issue of accreditation and registration of various training institutions, training organizations as well as resource persons and consultants.
We have set up a mechanism for accreditation and registration. And we have also designed a handbook alongside the guidelines and the processes of registration. And what we are essentially saying is about compliance, benchmark, and setting standards because we have to check, the quality assurance element, quality improvement and quality intervention by those particular organizations. And what we are trying to do through this system of accreditation and registration is to get people to actually come on board and do the right thing. And I am happy to tell you that people in human resource management practice are now coming in their huge numbers coming to actually be accredited as resource persons and also as training institutions.
Collaboration between CMD, private sector
Well, we have done quite a lot. And one of the things we have done is to go and pay a series of courtesy calls. We paid variety of courtesy calls to the private, public sectors including donor agencies. These calls also serve as a form of knowledge exchange and transfer because in the process we tell them exactly what our mandates are and what we do.
We also discuss with them, the function of the regulatory agency (NCMD).We also tell about the operational agency; and that is CMD and see how we can collaborate, co-operate and work together. I keep on saying this, if you have an organization and the staff are usually not very punctual, coming late and for one reason or the other not efficient and effective but by you interfacing with us, it would create an opportunity whereby we can provide relevant training and this is what we call implant.
These are training that are customized to reflect the needs of their own organization. Now, by responding to the needs of your own organization, we find a mechanism whereby this training can be done in a way that it will make such staff much more efficient. The mandate of CMD is not only restricted to the public sector but also to support the private sector. And we have now got a lot of private sector coming to us to provide them with consultancy package, research or likewise training.
Tackling CMD's challenges
Well, when I came on board in January this year as the new DG of CMD, basically I was confronted with three obstacles. One is the issue of dilapidated infrastructure which must be really addressed, while the second element is the capacity and the capability of some of the staff that are in the centre. And the third is the derailment of the mandate.
So, we need to be focused to achieve the elements that are in the mandate in the long term. In the short term, we identified that; what we need to do is to actually improve the quality of what we do and double our activities along that line, so that it will enable us to generate adequate resources in terms of quantity and adequate credibility in the sector; in terms of the quality of what we do, which to me is really fundamental.
The second element is the issue of capacity building for the staff. You don't have to wait for a period of two to three years before you train because training is supposed to be a continuous process. And we are going to achieve that.
Finally, you will agree with me that we are now in the technology, digital era. There is no way that we can exempt ourselves from ICT use. So we want to make sure that we upscale our workforce so that they have the implements to use in terms of computers and likewise they must have the implement in terms of knowledge capital. And driving this agenda forward, we are appraising all these issues gradually and strategically as well as we want to make sure that our zonal area offices are also functional and also providing relevant capacity building for our staff and the public sector.
Therefore, we work together with various donor agencies and we have sent a significant number of our staff for overseas training because for us to be a world class agency, we have to understand the minimum requirements needed for a world class organization. And we have to operate along that framework by sharing knowledge through knowledge exchange and transfer. All this enables us to enhance the quality of what we do and to understand what is happening in order parts of the world.
Level of funding from government
Well, unfortunately when I assumed office in January, the budget for 2010 was already concluded and submitted. So, there isn't much and there isn't scope for me to ask for more funding. But certainly for next year, I am actually going to ask for more funds to address the issues I mentioned earlier, especially in the areas of; capacity building, dilapidated infrastructure and the issue of actually delivering on our mandate because one of the critical aspect of our mandate is not only about the issue of accreditation and registration of institutions, training and research but also involves producing policy advice, guidance and documentations to the government through the Minister of National Planning.
And that is why for next year budget we are making a request for significant increase in terms of our capital to enable us achieve our mandate. And likewise, we are a think-tank provide to provide guidance and relevant rudimentary skills, guidance information and also the relevant literature in all areas of management education and training to the government. That means in order to do this, we need a lot of funding and we have put more issues across, if we have got a vision to be among the top 20 economies in the world by the year 2020, certainly, we need more funding to develop the man power of this country with a sense of vision, purpose and focus.
Vision 20:2020 and CMD's contribution
We are keying into this vision because if you look at the visional document it is quite clear that in order to be where we want to be by 2020 we have to create not less than 20 million jobs. And when you talk about capacity building to develop man power, we are talking about peoples relevant skills so that they are going to be efficient and effective which will contribute to the development of the economy.
And in this regard, I can tell you that we have been doing a lot. At the moment, we are actually interacting with the office of the Head of Service of the Federation to provide training for over 5,000 senior top civil servants who we felt are the decision makers. And that will really make dramatic impact in terms of the level of productivity and the service that the federal government provides. And this, we have also done elsewhere for over 2,500 civil servants in about 25 states across the federation.
Again, we have just concluded training for all the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) on General Management Workshop. And I am sure we are all witnesses to the transformation going on in the Nigeria Police and likewise the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).We are now talking to INEC to ensure that we can provide the relevant training to ensure that the workforce they have are equipped with the relevant skills so that they can deliver on what is actually expected from them.
There are also varieties of departments in the power sector. We are training about 180 of their managers in areas of leadership and management. There is this myopic thinking that when someone is an engineer, doctor, historian, pharmacist and accountant he does not need management training. Such thinking to me and any reasonable person is wrong in totality.
But the truth is that; everyone one of us needs one form of training or the other in the area of management and leadership because management is about dealing with people and making sure that you work together with them to achieve a set objective so that nobody is immune from those kind of training. And we are working selectively with key institutions in positions of power, authority and decision making. Likewise, we are currently training a lot of trainers across the country so that we can add value and make the sector much more efficient and competitive.
Essence of implementation committee on Long Term Strategic Repositioning
First, like I said, when you look at the mandate of CMD and functions of NCMD, there, you would see the need for alignment. We really need to step up, get focused and be better than where we are now. So we have to set up this committee to help us to be better and achieve the aspirations of the country. We are the ones regulating standards and as such, we are supposed to be the best example in terms of practice. And it is us that can cascade and disseminate those kinds of factors.
Basically, if you lack infrastructure, human capital, capacity and capability to do that, then you are actually having a mandate which you are not discharging.So, we really need to have a committee of this nature to wake us up and tell us the challenges and draw out an action plan which would serve as a guide for us to overcome those challenges so that we can drive the sector and remove working in silence and lack of focus and vision in terms of training and productivity in the country.
We also wanted to make sure that we create improvement in terms of work life balance and an atmosphere where each organization will value and respect human capital development. It is very critical for an organization to continuously develop its workforce either through statutory responsibility as a regulatory agency because one is supposed to do that or self personal development for the individual or for the sake of achieving the vision of the organization.
Certainly, if we don't have the pedigree in terms of being a world class organization, then certainly there are no way we can operate as a world class organization?
And for the implementation, the people on board that are part and parcel of the committee would help to enable us to pick up the key issues and make sure they have a responsibility in translating those issues into deliverable outcomes.
Again, we need to start an executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme.And that means engaging somebody that will work with us to enable us to do that, not just to give us a report and walk away. We are not really interested in that. We want to really work with those that can always check on us to see how we are really implementing the recommendations they gave to us. And where they discover that we have or derailing they can always put us back on track.
Organizations and Training Budgets
Do you think the level of those who are lettered and those who are not are the same, never. Or can ignorance ever be an excuse, no. It is just simply unimaginable and unrealistic for organizations to think of cutting training budget or simply wanting to stop improving on the skills of the workforce. The implications for doing that are just too grave to be imagined.
Again, lack of need identification, incursion of quacks and cutting corners with budgetary provisions remained some of the reasons why some organizations pay lip service or relegate the importance of training to the background.
Many organizations don't bother to identify the specific training needs of individuals in organizations before they are sent on training and this affects resource utilization at the end of the training programme because the individual will not add value to the organization.
'Training is just like an investment in business. Investments in the sense that; when you invest in certain kind of business it takes some time before you begin to rake in profit. So also is training because the improvement in job performance as a result of the training embarked upon would have a long term effect on the business which may not reflect immediately' he said.
It does not make sense for organizations to think they are saving money by making people less efficient, economical, productive and effective. That is why the money should be allocated to training. And that is why anywhere I go; I tell them that 20 percent of our budget is to be allocated to training because if you go anywhere else in the western world that is what they do. And that is why they are ahead of us. This is so because they believe in high level skills, effectiveness and efficiency.