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Business Facing, Nigeria’s route to steadfast and sustainable growth and development

By on March 6, 2012

I know of no more encouraging fact, that the unquestionable ability of man to elevate himself is through conscious endeavours. We are therefore what we repeatedly do. I believe excellence then should not be our act but our habit, continually improving; this is known as the “Kaizen technique” by the Japanese.

It is no news that Nigeria is a country endowed with a colossal level of human and natural resources but a course as to where the ship of the nation heads. The nation has been graced with the presence of many transformational leaders or better still rulers in different colours, creed and class but yet not a definitive true north.

For Nigeria to achieve and utilise its optimum potential, the nation must henceforth incorporate a business-facing agenda so as to drive the nation’s untapped human and natural resources to a pinnacle of its own self-titled nickname as “the Giant of Africa”

The business-facing agenda of the nation would see to it that, she is focused on the core ambitious goals of her federation by firstly developing new and creative approaches to delivering the most fundamental needs of the citizenry, the accountability of governance, the socio-political discipline with a commitment to adding value to the populace, economy, investors, regional, national and international economies.

The premise of a business-facing nation is that the national governance and business ideology need to work on an integrated and collaborative basis, if the country is to establish a unique global competitiveness in the fast paced 21st century arena.

This brings to bear that the nation is operated in more of a business mindset, by ensuring that there is a beneficial-to-the-nation reason for introducing or implementing a project or whatever the case maybe. This oversees that best practices are in place and in such a manner some of the disparities, cases of gross misconduct and frequent abuse of office being displayed in the current spate would not for any reason known to nature be tolerated.

The business-facing agenda focuses on building stronger institutions using operating principles vis-a-vis legislature and not the idea of having a strong man as the chair of the board. For strong men would one day exit but the stronger institution remains and maintains an unchallengeable set of key practices and principles.

In practice, this means that every penny we budget for would be ascribed to designing and commissioning projects with the sole aim of solving the community problems, ensuring that the facility is independent to future-run itself and generate new and innovative applications for its benefactors by extension, generate some form of employment.

With this level of integration, this would ensure that there are constantly exceptional demanding goals for continuous improvement and a scrutinised response by the executive political body through a leverage and decision-making process over both the content and delivery of skills and employment programmes. Consequently, the government will be expected and pressured to be responsive to what employees and employers actually want.

This concept I propose in with these few lines are both the knowledge and skills I acquired whilst serving on the Board of Governors for my University.

I realise that the epic growth of the organisation not just as an education provider but also a captain of other ventures was credited to the sole reason that in strategic planning, we only brought to the table what was keenly business-oriented such as realising remarkable investment returns but will also serve its defined purpose and however be able to self-operate itself in the years to come. For example, the Department of Estate, Hospitality and Contract service houses several businesses under its arms that declare annual turnover in millions of pounds.  This department consist of five (5) business units which are Conference and Events, Hospitality and Catering, Security and Data management, Health and lifestyle as well as Transport. All these business sectors are operated as individual companies on the University campus with respective Managing Directors and other staff. The University receives funding from Government, its Departments are all allocated budgets and yet they go the extremely-extra mile to deliver even more. For this singular reason they offer the best of services in the state.

Being powered by the business-focused model, hence their huge annual turnover which translate to profitable return on investment. With the manner with which the businesses are operated, they cannot afford to fail or deliver bad services or any other ill effect. They all ensure the best of service delivery, means of recouping back investments but not on the dire detriment of the customers who are also the members of this University.

Now translate the case to a nation like Nigeria, with states [as departments] receiving budgets statutorily and some even more with respect to % of Oil derivation amongst other bread and butter funds from local and international organisations. But the only difference is that, our government have not found how to use this model in service delivery. AT ALL!

Should you have doubts to this model, A High definition example would be my Emirate brothers. A firm by the name Mubadala Development Company PJSC, which was only established in October 2002, is a wholly owned investment vehicle of the Government of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirate. As at 2009, Abu Dhabi has just a population of 896,800 people, which cannot be compared to a state in Nigeria.

Mubadala’s mandate is to facilitate the diversification of the Abu Dhabi’s Economy. Its focus is on managing long-term, capital-intensive Investments that deliver strong financial returns and tangible social benefits for the Emirate. The Company pursues opportunities with the potential to deliver strong returns for Abu Dhabi as well as generating commercial profit.

The Company has seven business units operating in diverse range of strategic sectors deemed important to the economy and just a  few highlight on some; the Capital Sector has huge investment in the most famous General Electric (GE), the Energy sector seeks to build on Abu Dhabi’s heritage in oil and gas by pursuing opportunities to meet its future needs hence has large chunk of investments in most Oil nations including owning oil blocks, the same scenario with Healthcare where it has investment in the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre and finally they are the proud owners the well-known telecommunications service provider in Nigeria; Etisalat.

The case of Mubadala proves in all ramifications the business-facing strategy and how the multiplier effect is unequivocally remarkable. This case could be linked to a Delta state in Nigeria owning all these investments both within and outside the shores and move from our present mindset of constant fuelling of generators, to more proactive means of miniaturising the generator into a more portable and green-efficient energy provider.

On my honour, I believe in the very essence on this model and its competitive advantage. The practical sense of it and the deliverables far overweigh the injection. Therefore, with the full implementation of the Business Facing principle in the Nigerian economy, we would gracefully tell our children in the generation to come that the labours of our heroes past were not in vain as this model will definitely unbridle the nation’s army of resources.

God bless the Federal Republic, God Bless us ALL.

  • Ao3bg

    Excellent piece. Only if the leaders could follow suite.

  • dr cole

    Generously worded, I like the two models you cited; if only we could integrate this into our system, we will definitely reap bountifully. One centralism is never the way forward; empowerment of independent sectors under one government have been under estimated for a long time. It’s definitely time for a change, well done Emmanuel.