MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF NTA, AWKA

ABSTRACT

Management in all ramifications has been noted as a critical and indispensable element in all organizations. Nevertheless, public enterprises are in dilemma of some management constraints, which tend to hinder their goals and objectives. Against, the background of the above explication, this research work empirically explored into the management of public enterprises in Nigeria with a particular reference to Nigeria Television Authority, Awka. The purpose of which is to investigate the management problems of NTA, Awka and as well proffer solution to such problems. However, in order to investigate this, relevant data were collected through both primary and secondary sources such as direct interviews and well structured questionnaire distributed to some staff in various departments of the organization. Also other information was gathered from books, journals, newspapers, unpublished materials and internet to complement the primary data. From the analysis of the data, the findings shows that there are factors that constitutes management problems of the company. Among the critical factors are managerial inefficiency and government interference, bureaucratic corruption, poor staff relationship, lack of motivation, conflicting objectives, lack of training and development, excessive control nepotism. These were identified as impediments of operational efficiency of NTA, Awka. As a result of these problems the following recommendations were made. Management should accelerate the growth of the company through increase in skill and knowledge acquisition. Also training and motivation is important. Government should curtail its excessive interference and control on the affairs of this organization. It was also recommended that adequate measure should be in place to check the menace of corruption in the company. Furthermore, improvement should be encouraged in staff relationship. Achievement of efficiency and effectiveness depends to the extent management deviates from the above mentioned problems; otherwise, achievement of goals and the task of promoting economic growth and development will ever remain a dream.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • Background to the Study

In most Countries of the world, particularly the developing ones, the decades following World War II (particularly, the 1960s and early 1970s) witnessed a massive intervention of the government in national economics. One of the ways through which the government intervened in the economies of these countries was by establishing public enterprise state-owned companies. According to Ezeani (2006:211) stated “that public enterprise was seen as veritable tools for achieving national socio-economic development”. Thus, since the 1950s, successive governments have used public intervention in the development process. This was eloquently stated in the Nigeria Second National Development plan (1970-74) thus:

their primary purpose is to stimulate and accelerate National economic development under conditions of capital scarcity and structural defects in private business organizations. There are also basic considerations arising from the dangers of leaving vital sector of the national economy to the whims of the private sector often under the direct and remote controls of foreign large scale industrial combines

Also according to Nwoye (2001:1) opined “that there are many reasons for establishment of public enterprises, which one of them is development emphasis, he further stated that in many developing countries, the resources available to the private sector are not adequate for the provision of certain goods and services for example, the investment required in the construction of a hydroelectricity-generating plant or a water scheme for large urban center are quite enormous and the returns on such investment will take a very long time to realize. Ozor (2004:10) stated that “like many other British-ex-colonial territories, Nigeria realized soon after political independence that she still had to battle for her economic independence. Her weak economic base limited infrastructural facilities, paucity of social service-providing inadequate local financial entrepreneurship etc.

Furthermore, Adeyemo (2005:224) stated that “other factors that accelerated the growth of Nigeria’s public sector was the indigenization policy of 1972 as enacted by the economy, the policy further provided much needed legal basis for extensive government participation in the ownership and control of significant sectors of the economy”. Ugorji (1995:541) also observed that “public enterprises have also been established for political reasons; many government undertakings are used to provide jobs for constituents, political allies, and friends, Public Enterprises and the distribution of government employment were further been defended in the need to maintain “federal character” and promote national integration.

Consequently, the Public Enterprises especially in developing countries became active in likely sectors such as manufacturing, construction, finance, services, utilities, transportation, agriculture, natural resources, etc.

According to Ezeani (2006:21) stated that “the colonial government established some public enterprises to provide essential services like electricity, railway, telecommunication and pipe borne water to mention but a few.”

Also according to Obadan and Ayodele (1998:1) they opined that “it is in order to put socio-economic development underway and also guard government finances under conditions of capital scarcity and structural detects in private business organizations, Nigeria and most other African countries, regardless of Ideological dispositions, unavoidably made fairly extensive use of public enterprises for resource mobilization and allocation, particularly within the utilities and social services sectors as (NTA, Awka) in the 1950s through the 1960s. In both technical and economic perspectives Public Enterprises are seen as:

Organizations whose primary function is the production and sale of goods and/or services and in which government on other government controlled agencies have an ownership stake that is sufficient to ensure their control over the enterprises regardless of how active that control is exercised.

The Public Enterprises approach to resource mobilization and allocation for national socio-economic development is in consonance with the Keynesian approach to economic approach reflected the problem of market failures and the growing demand for citizenship rights such as a decent living standard, adequate education and health care, and minimal social equality, he further stated that whereas in developing countries, this approach became the pivotal policy option to ensure national development, wealth redistribution, employment generation, and economic self-reliance.

In most developing countries like Nigeria, where ideology has not played any significant role in the shaping of their economic activities, the reason for the spread of public enterprises can be found mainly in the realm of political, social and economic considerations, but not ideological. Thinking in the direction, S.A. Sosna in Ozor (2004:110) asserted that:

The emergence of a fairly extensive public sector is a major regularity in the development of the young states. Although, the scope and pace of the change differ form country to country, the public sector and related problems are central to their economic polices. To a certain extent this is independent of what social forces that hold the reins of government; the reason being objective factors, which are not rooted in political and ideological motive alone but are associated with the processes occurring in the multi-structural economic patterns of these countries and with their economic and social situations.

Implicit in the above citations of eminent scholars in the subject matter, is the fact that public enterprises are established for various reasons which include not only ideological but also objective factors such as, the provision of essentials services. Ozor (2004:111) also maintained that public enterprises are established to provide certain essential services and public wants which if left in the private hands these services will be beyond the reach of the average man in the society. Even when the exclusion principle can apply in the satisfaction of these services, they are considered basic necessities of these services; they are considered basic necessities or merit goods.

Government must, therefore, step into provide such services and subsidies their consumption; otherwise the discretionary pricing policies of private monopolies will render their consumption too exorbitant for the average consumer/citizen. This is why government establishes social services like NTA, Awka in order to achieve its education and information objective. This explains the existence of state governments.

Some public enterprises are established for the purpose of mineral exploration and exploitation. The rationale is that the benefits of such minerals should accrue to their owners. i.e. The public; in the producing country. This is the reason for the establishment of the Nigeria Coal Corporation, Nigerian National petroleum Corporation (NNPC) etc. Indeed a prime reason for enterprises to undertake such major functions as transportation, communication and manufacturing.

Public enterprises may also arise as a result of governments desire to create an integrated national economy and to stimulate balanced regional development throughout the country. The establishment in Nigeria, of steel, rolling mills at Oshogbo, Jos, Katsina, and Ajaokuta are clear examples. Also, at times, public enterprises are set up by government in response to the complaints of its citizens regarding poor services, extortionate prices, uneven performance, and discrimination in private service delivery by private concerns. For example, the establishment of state transports companies by various state governments as well as the incorporation of the national freight and cargo handling company about the high fare charged by private transporters. In order, therefore to effect a fair distribution of service and national resource and thereby achieve economic integration, various governments in the federation had to address and redress some of these complaints.

Another reason for the blossoming of public enterprises is strategic. In most countries, national security has constrained the government to assume direct responsibility for certain activities such as the production of arms and ammunition including transport and fighter vehicles, military air fields and defense installations. For one thing, investments in them are quite exorbitant and sometimes prohibitive. For another, the security of the nation may be at stake if private investors handle and thus become acquainted with information regarding vital defense equipment and strategic military locations and installations etc. This is the rationale for the establishment of the defense industries Corporation (D.I.C) of Nigeria and the Government of the United States of America’s Intervention in providing some military establishments in America.

  • Statement of the Problem

Public enterprises are expected to have their hallmark and watchword as efficiency and effectiveness. This is predicated on the rational behind their establishment by both the state and federal government, but unfortunately the reverse has been the case most contemporary public enterprises are associated with inefficiency and ineffectiveness, which have led to liquidation of some enterprises like the Nkalagu Cement Company,

This is reason Adeyemo (2005:223) stated that “inspite of the impetus given to public enterprises especially in Nigeria criticisms are leveled against them. He further stated that their problems are so enormous that even left the Nigerian public in a state of great disillusionment. These criticisms vary from lack of profitability and reliance on large government subsidies. Also Ogundipe (1986:7) once argued that between 1975 and 1985, government capital investments in public enterprises totaled about 23 billion Naira, in addition to equity investments government gave subsidies of 11.5 billion to various state enterprises. All these expenditures contributed in no small measure to increase government expenditures and deficits.

Similarly, public enterprises suffer from gross mismanagement and consequently resulted to inefficiency in the use of productive capital, corruption and nepotism, which in turn weaken the ability of government to carry out its functions efficiently. NTA, Awka is not excluded from this problem. Still on the problems associated with public enterprises in Nigeria. Obadan (2000:8) argue that, “in country after country, unbridled state expansion has led to the following.

  1. Economic inefficiency in the production of goods and services by inadequate and costly delays in delivery of the goods produced.
  2. Ineffectiveness in the provision of goods and services such as failure to meet intended objectives, diversion of benefits to elite groups etc.
  • Rapid expansion of the bureaucracy severally straining the public budget with huge deficits of public enterprises becoming massive drain on government renounces inefficiency in government etc.
  1. Poor financial performance of Public Enterprises reflecting a history of huge financial losses, overstaffing, and burden of excessive debts. Also

Ezeani (2006:223) opined that “most public enterprises operate at a loss, and therefore, constitute a massive drain on government resources through transfers and subsidies”. Obadan (2000:10) further maintains that:

In Africa, the poor performance of Public Enterprises attracted a great deal of criticisms, particularly, in the 1980s as the macro-economic policy environment, arising from the impact of the global economic crisis became less accommodation to the resulting inefficiency in resource allocation.

Generally, speaking the performance of these enterprises has been disappointing perhaps, these form the reason government embarked on restructuring and strengthening of public enterprises in the country via privatization and commercialization the purpose of which is to make them more viable result oriented and formidable. This is the reason Rondinelli and Lacono (1996:247) viewed that “Latin America countries such as Chile and Argentina had transferred large-state controlled telecommunication railways, power and energy, airline, mining and oil and petroleum industries to private ownership or management during the 1970s and 1980s.” Also Ostrum and Ostrum (1992:309) argued that in terms of improving state-owned enterprises performance. Market forces are only half the equation. After all, market are unforgiving. Even when carefully structured, they produce inequitable outcomes.

Quite a number of public sector enterprises are operated without respect to financial cost or returns. Not all such investment is expected to yield immediate financial return as some of the benefits are social rather than private in character that is, they accrue to particular or denominated individuals.

Okigbo (1998:16) suggested that the production method must be efficient and that the price change should at least cover the cost of operations, therefore commercialization which differ from privatization is one of the policy thrust of the reform of state-owned enterprises. Also Kuye (1990:7) once asserted “countries such as United Kingdom, France, Canada, Turkey, Nigeria etc. which adopted mixed economy, the government of these countries have now accepted the obvious truth that if all, or at least most of the public enterprises were turned over to the private sector they would be better managed and their economy would fair much better in terms of the set out goals.

In Africa, the poor performance of Public Enterprises attracted a great deal of criticism, particularly in the 1980s as the macro economic policy environment arising from the impacts of the global economic crisis became less accommodating to the resulting inefficiency in resources allocation.

Also Ukwu (1985:80) he stated that “structure and management problems real enough and should be addressed directly.

According to Ozor (2004:155) opined that “the performance of public enterprises in Nigeria is nothing to write home about”, he also stated that public enterprises in Nigeria have failed to perfume the initial role for which they were established striking at this Augustine Otiji, in Ozor,(2004:156) maintained that “the bane of the Nigerian Public enterprises has been that of to underlined roles”, it is confusing to play a welfare role and at the same time run a profitable venture the image of the public enterprises is so bad that has come to symbolize inefficiency, red tapism, lack of initiative and corruption, this may not be totally justified but it reflects apparent dissatisfaction with public establishments. Implicit in Otiji’s assertion is the fact that public enterprises have failed to live up to expectations and have therefore become unviable.

Specifically looking at NTA Awka which is not excluded from the above problem, it can perhaps be posited that management problems of the company are multi-faceted such as operational inefficiency, poor employees relation, over staffing lack of coordination at staff level, poor motivation, conflicting objective and functional connection syndrome vis-avis under utilization of staff.

However, against this backdrop, the primary questions that require investigations and which these studies intend to address are:

  1. What is management and public enterprise?
  2. What are the management problems of NTA, Awka?
  • What are the effects of management problems on the          operational

efficiency of NTA, Awka and the measures for overcoming these problems?

  • Objective of the Study

In a nutshell, the objectives of this study are categorized into two: the general and specific objectives. The general objective of this study is to explain the management of public enterprise in Nigeria, especially NTA, Awka.

On the other hand, the specific objectives are stipulated as follows.

  1. To explain the meaning of management and public enterprises
  2. To find out the management problems of NTA, Awka.
  3. To find out the effects of management problems on the operational efficiency of NTA, Awka and as well suggest possible panacea to these problems.
  • Significance of the Study

Theoretically, this research shall be a relevant material and a contribution to scholarship, constituting a reference material on the studies of management of public enterprises in Nigeria and related subject matter for further research. It will also expose the management of public enterprises in Nigeria including NTA, Awka to the modern styles of management and leadership, as well as other strategies for improving public sector performance such as Total quality management, Capacity Building, Decentralization, Ethics, Accountability and Information and Communication Technologies.

Empirically, at the end of this study, it is hoped that it will create awareness and assistance on the need to improve the management of public enterprises in Nigeria especially the management staffs of NTA, Awka.

In addition to this, the study provides baseline data on the numerous management problems undermining operational efficiency of NTA, Awka to the management of the enterprise, particularly the policy makers as making such information available will help to forestall future of the organization.

Apart form contributing to empirical research and increasing the quality and quantity of information available in the field of management, most often; poor performances or services of some of these enterprises have attracted criticisms without any devoted attempt to identifying causative factors of these anomalies. It is on this premise that an in-depth research becomes imperative to pin-point these variables and at the same time proffers solution.

This study at the end will enlighten the management of the company on the implication of employing mediocre instead of competent and skilled labour in the name of functional connection and ethnic consideration.

Finally, this study exposes us to the effects of management problems of NTA, Awka on the operational efficiency and thus, it serves as correctional measure to the company and to other related enterprises that have similar problems, which erode and impair the productivity or rather performance of the company.

  • Scope and Limitations of the Study
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