30 BUSINESS DAY C002D5556 Monday 16 April 2018 SMART MONEY with Arese What is killing Nigeria’s earning potential? During his visit to Nigeria, Bill Gates made some remarks to Nigerian leaders about the economy. The central message was: invest in human capital to achieve sustained prosperity, which should be a no brainer; a skilled labor force has a significant impact on growth because skilled workers are more productive. However, it got me thinking about a more specific problem with the Nigerian education system and its effect on our ability to earn. When it comes to education, the emphasis is usually on giving more people access at different levels of schooling. However, the greater reality we have to face is that, the quality of the students we are churning out, especially at the tertiary stage is subpar and this has a monumental effect on our economy. An under qualified labor force can’t solve complex problems and ironically, the no 1-finance question millennials ask is how can I make more money? However, one’s earning power is directly linked to the complexity of the problem they are able to solve. There in lies the problem because three things seem to be missing. 1. The Adoption of Critical thinking When I was in secondary school, I was a top three student in subjects like economics and government. I loved these subjects; so naturally, in my mind I was a superstar! I attended Igbinedion Education Centre, which was considered one of the best private schools in the 90s but Imagine my surprise when I subsequently went to The British School of Lome and discovered that in actual fact, I knew nothing! I was shocked and confused. You see in Nigerian schools, we learn to cram theory and regurgitate definitions, so we can pass ex- Arese Ugwu ams but we don’t learn to truly understand, analyze and apply. So even though I knew the definitions of demand and supply, my teachers in BSL were not impressed. They didn’t care about the fact that I could recite the definitions of several economic terms exactly as they were in the textbooks; they were more concerned with my inability to understand the concepts and apply them to real world scenarios. My thoughts on how a war in Bottom line we need more vocational schools! Lets stop pushing people into professions they can never thrive in Iraq would impact Nigeria’s income were more relevant to them than definitions. Another shocking concept for me in this journey of critical thinking was the fact that we could actually challenge our teachers! What a wawuu! Dr Sindall actually expected us to question the validity of his answers because according to him there were no wrong responses to his questions, just different perspectives and proper justifications for the assumptions that we made. Meanwhile in Nigeria, our teachers were always right and in most cases any variation from the teacher’s prescribed answer was classified as wrong, which left little room for original thought. Nothing highlights the folly in this teaching style and its unfortunate impact on the productivity of Nigerian youths like the phrase ‘This is how we do it here’. When I first moved back to Nigeria, nothing frustrated me more than this phrase! Let me explain! It is extremely important to put processes in place so that there is structure in a business but it must never be at the expense of encouraging people to use their initiative. Most staff are taught 1+1 =2 so when they see that sum, they are clear on how to solve the problem. However, if they encounter the same problem with different elements to the sum i.e. 6 minus 4 equals 2, they are thrown for a loop because in their minds, only 1 +1 can equal 2. If we really want to increase the productivity of businesses and subsequently the economy, critical thinking must be employed to boost our ability to solve problems and understand logical connections between ideas. 2. Leverage social media and technology as tools for teaching Social media gets a bad rep, especially in corporate Nigeria. There’s the perception that millennials are so preoccupied with things like Big Brother Naija and other frivolities on social media, which is true. However, I think it’s more important to convert that engagement and preoccupation into gold by using it as a medium to educate. Instead of being so focused on highlighting the dangers of social media, companies need to be leveraging it as a medium to re educate their staff and educate their customers about their products and services. Technology has made the world a smaller place, so education is basically at your fingertips and there’s access to the best practices from all over the globe. But are we using it effectively? 3. Can we get over our obsession with certificates? When all is said and done we like book in this country sha! No one is cockier than a Nigerian that is armed with several degrees and qualifications. It has become an obsession with us! But what do these degrees really mean? When the people who are chasing them are not seeking a deeper understanding or application of the knowledge but are caught up in the chase of what these certificates could mean for their job prospects. At this point the degrees become hollow. It’s a pretty regular occurrence to find people who went to university, to pursue a degree they despised, because their parents wanted them to. However, what has become even sadder is meeting people who are pursuing professional qualifications of their own volition, in fields they have zero interest in, because it might improve their job prospects. I’m all for continued learning because no matter how intelligent you are, constantly improving your expertise and sharpening your skills is key to success but can I ask a question? Why are so many people studying for ACCA and ICAN when they have no interest in becoming accountants? It is counter productive! Why not spend time on something you are actually passionate about and are in the best position to get good at instead becoming mediocre at something you have zero interest in. Now I haven’t figured out whom to blame for this phenomenon, the employers? Who demand these excessive qualifications that have no bearing on the job in question or the labor force? Who haven’t figured out that there’s little point in chasing hollow qualifications they have no passion for and that most people who thrive and become successful, put themselves in situations where they have matched their interests with their skill set and focus on being the best at it. Bottom line we need more vocational schools! Lets stop pushing people into professions they can never thrive in!
Monday 16 April 2018 BUSINESS DAY 31 CITYFile A scene of an accident at Maryland in Lagos on Friday. Lagos pays N36bn pension to retirees in 3 years JOSHUA BASSEY Lagos State Government says about N35.9 billion has been remitted to the Retirement Saving Accounts (RSAs) of 8,731 retirees, deceased and withdrawn staff of the state public service between August 2015 and date. However, in the last one year, May 2017 to March 2018, the state paid N9.3 billion pension to 2,466 retirees. Akintola Oke, the commissioner for establishment, training and pensions, who released the figures during a session with media to mark the present administration’s three years in office, said the sums were paid to the beneficiaries through Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC). He said there has been continued significant reduction in outstanding backlog of terminal entitlements of retired public servants. Offa robbery: Kwara to acquire additional APCs To beef up security in Offa and strategic locations across Kwara, the state governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, says his government will procure additional Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), and as well build a new police station for Offa within the next 45 days. The governor however, urged well-meaning citizens of the state to resist attempt by anyone to use the unfortunate Offa robbery attack for political purposes. Ahmed, who stated this during the swearing-in of a new Khadi of the state Shariah Court of Appeal, Mas’ud Adebayo Oniye, frowned at utterances made to score political gain. According to the governor, “those utterances do not reflect our values as Kwarans and should stop, out of respect for the dead According to the commissioner, the current administration commenced and maintained the trend of paying terminal entitlements of retired employees monthly, since August 2015. “The ministry will continue to sensitise retirees on activities of pension fraudsters so that they will get their entitlements without hitch,” he said, adding that about 8,000 pensioners aged above 70 have been identified to receive packages from the state government this year. On the payment of death benefit, he said that 80 beneficiaries of deceased employees in the state were paid N220.7 million within the period. The commissioner said that the state’s Public Service Staff Development Centre trained 3, 737 officers in the last one year. The training, he said provided solutions to problems on human capacity through learning and development initiatives, using ... as ACF urges FG to equip Nigeria Police SIKIRAT SHEHU, Ilorin and the injured”. Ahmed assured Kwarans that government will do everything within its power to ensure that the people of Offa and Kwara State never experience such a tragedy again. “For the avoidance of doubt, let me reassure Kwarans that the culprits will be apprehended and brought to justice swiftly. “Presently, the police and other security agencies in the country have begun a vigorous manhunt for the perpetrators of the dastardly and horrid attack on the peaceful and industrious people of Offa,” he said Ahmed advised that “our people must be vigilant and security conscious as part of community involvement in effective policing”. “Those who perpetrated this evil have saddened and inflicted pain on us but they cannot break our spirit. I assure you that those behind this wicked act will soon be NAN technology-driven resources. “The essence is not only for self-development, but for the skills and knowledge acquired to be deployed on the job for impactful service delivery to teeming populace of Lagos State,” he said. The commissioner, who commended the 17 labour unions in the state public service, said “it is historic to note that in the last three years, this administration has not witnessed any form of crisis, protests or agitations by labour unions.” He said the unions’ National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) met and interacted with government four times yearly to take decisions on issues pertaining to workers’ welfare and promote industrial harmony. He assured that government would intensify efforts towards motivating and training the civil servants for better service delivery and protection of interest of residents of the state. apprehended and brought to justice swiftly”, he added. Meanwhile, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has called on the Federal Government to properly equip the Nigeria Police Force to enable it to effectively discharge its responsibilities. Mohammed Ibrahim, the national publicity secretary of the Forum, in a statement in Kaduna, weekend, that the group was shocked by the attacks on some banks in Offa which left about 30 people and several others injured. “It was most unfortunate that innocent persons and security personnel were killed by the armed robbers while some persons sustained injuries. “We are, however, heartened by the prompt action of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) in deploying units of Mobile Police which led to arrest of some of the perpetrators of this heinous crime and the restoration of normalcy in Offa town. 8 Boko Haram kingpins arrested in Borno The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) said it has arrested 8 Boko Haram kingpins who fled Borno. The Corps also said last weekend in Abuja that over 100 suspected vandals of critical infrastructure also apprehended between January and March, are presently facing prosecution. Abdullahi Gana, the commandantgeneral of the Corps, disclosed this when he received participants of course 40/2018 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru, led by Humphrey Okpala Gana explained that the successes recorded by the NSCDC were as a result of the collaborative efforts of the Civilian Joint Task Force which he said had proved to be one of the useful tools for community policing. He said the corps was not in rivalry with sister agencies, but “rather cherishes and always works in synergy with other agencies in combating crimes in the country.” “This synergy has worked in the North- East where the Corps’ personnel arrested Boko Haram members and handed them over to the army. “In states like Taraba, Plateau and Jigawa, armed robbers and rapists were arrested recently, and were handed over to the police,” he said. AVM Okpala told the NSCDC boss that the visit was to find out the Corps’ position on the ongoing research directed by the Federal Government to strengthen the nation’s internal security framework and community policing. “The institute was mandated to carry out the research in order to come up with strategy to tackle burning issues through interaction with stakeholders with a view to reporting back to the President accordingly,” he said. Malaria: CRS adopts Edo style of net distribution The Country Representative, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Rebecca Hallam, says the organisation has adopted the Edo Government model of distribution of insecticidal nets for other states in the country. Hallam said in Benin when she visited the Edo deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, in Benin. “We have learnt some new formula in the course of the assignment which we will use in other states. I commend Edo government for her swift response in addressing challenges encountered during the exercise and call on other states to emulate Edo,’’ she said. Responding, Shaibu said the state government’s commitment was part of her resolve to reposition primary healthcare and strengthening the health sector. Shaibu acknowledged that the net distribution was an avenue for both parties to share ideas, as the state team also learnt some models from the CRS team. “The exercise is also a means for the state government to obtain data to implement other programmes in the primary healthcare sector. The remaining nets from the exercise will be distributed to areas not covered during the exercise, after proper data analysis of the previous exercise to cover the remaining 12 per cent,’’ Shuaibu said. The deputy governor called on other state governments to learn from Edo where chief executives personally monitor the distribution to ensure its success. NAN