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project topic :management of public enterprise in Nigeria: issues, problems and prospects, using Ezzamgbo building materials as case study.

 project topic :management of public enterprise in Nigeria: issues, problems and prospects, using Ezzamgbo building materials as case study.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1    BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The variety of approaches to the theoretical background of management have provided their own versions of what is meant by such key word as management. There is no generally accepted definition of management as an activity. Management has been defined by different authors. Frost G. (1966:13) defined management as the act of directing human activities in such a way as to achieve the greatest possible measure of conformity with company policy. Kast and Rosenzweig (1974:28) refer to management as the process whereby resources of men, machines and materials, time, money and space are converted into useful and effective enterprises.

Management is a process of organizing and employing resources to accomplish predetermined objective as well as planning the means of reaching them. Despite the differences in approach, the various authors have one thing in common and that is the planning and directing of resources towards the accomplishment of a set goal.

Public enterprises are mainly government owned business organizations charged with the responsibility of providing services that are of public interest. In Nigeria, public enterprises include Universities, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Federal Radio Corporation, Nigeria Television Authority, water Boards, the Ezzamgbo building material industry etc.

Each of these organizations is established by the government, hence the extent of their operation and ownership of property are subject to control by the government. According to William A. R. (1989:46), the major concerns of public enterprises are to provide vital services for people’s welfare and progress and to accelerate development.

The question however, is whether these public enterprises have been fulfilling their public functions to the public.

The origin of public enterprises in developing countries dates back to colonial period when many European nations utilized public corporations as an arm of their government for seizing foreign territories (Pabrikant 1976 quoted by Okpata 2004: 360).

Historically, the system of public enterprises began in Nigeria in 1888 when the British Colonial Administration undertook the Railway Transport project in Nigeria from Iddo in the capital city of Lagos to the Hinterland. This was followed by coal mining, electricity and marine which later became ports (Tokumbo 1990 quoted by Okpata 2004).

Among the earlier public corporations include Nigeria Railway Corporation (1955), National Electric Power Authority (1952), Nigerian Produce Board and Development Board (1950) among others (Okpata 2004:360).

Still on historical perspective of development of public enterprises in Nigeria, after the political independence of Nigeria in 1960, the influx of public enterprises increased immensely as the Nigerian Policy formulators resorted to the use of public enterprises as viable instrument of implementing development programs.

The major Landmark in the evolution of public enterprise in Nigeria came in with the conversion of public utilities operated under government departments into public corporation. Public utility is an organization that supplies water, electricity, gas etc to people while public corporations are established by the government to cater mainly for the society. The impetus for this change came as a result of the

growing commitment in Britain after World war II to expand private investment  in colonies to create new demands on the existing infrastructure and a simultaneous potential organizational model from the way in which the infrastructure were managed to meet demands, was the first reason for the conversion of public  utilities to public enterprise while the second reason was the new doctrine of greater state economic intervention in the British economics reflected in the establishment of new corporations which later had some effects in Nigeria. Nigeria witnessed a rapid growth of public enterprises during the post independent era thus emphasis on public enterprises varied with development plans (Okpata 2004 : 360).

Meanwhile, a close and critical look at some public enterprises be it federal, state or local government owned, reveals that something is wrong somewhere. This really calls for a serious investigation but already, Agulua (1991:36) thinks that the current commercialization and privatization of government parastatals and companies throughout the country, would permanently put to an end the inefficiency, mismanagement and lethargy which he feels, had characterized these organizations.

There is no doubt that some of these public enterprises that do not seem to be living up to expectations of the public, have a role to play in the overall National development; the developmental role of the public enterprises is set out clearly in the country’s constitution which provided for the economic objectives of the state policy. To achieve the economic objectives, the government in the Nigerian policy should assume the role of the entrepreneur and set up the public corporations (Ademolakun 1983:47).

 project topic :management of public enterprise in Nigeria: issues, problems and prospects, using Ezzamgbo building materials as case study.

This bold step taken by the federal government as a solution to the problem of poor performance of the organizations owned by the government is a clear indication and admission that the general idea of poor management directed against most government or public enterprises has strong base.

 

1.2               STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

There is no human endeavour that does not require proper management for its proper functioning. All types of enterprise require good management and performance to function efficiently and effectively.

Public enterprises depending on the goals set out for each are expected to render some welfare services to the people, generate revenue with which to finance developmental projects; undertake certain infrastructural facilities such as ports and harbours and also provide employment opportunities. It is unfortunate that these enterprises being established by government have been viewed as being unable to perform up to the standard expected of them by the public, that they are meant to serve.

This has attracted a lot of attention and general comments in several quarters, both from the government and the governed, the private and the public sector itself. The general idea far and wide is that these public enterprises are suffering from poor management. These comments both positive and adverse need some investigation and that is what this project intend to do. This study therefore focuses on the management of public enterprise in Nigeria: issues, problems and prospects, using Ezzamgbo building materials as case study.

 

1.3               OBJECTIVES OF STUDY

From the statement of the problem, the research work is meant to achieve the following objectives:

  • (1) To examine the nature and issues of public enterprise in Nigeria.
  • (2) To find out the problems facing pubic enterprises especially the Ezzamgbo building material industry.

(3)    Another objective is to look for strong measures which if adopted, would definitely improve on the management of public enterprises and to make recommendations where necessary.

 

1.4   RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1      What is the nature of the problem existing in the public enterprises?

  1. What are the strengths and weaknesses of such organization?
  2. Does the type of management structure have effect on the operations of the organization?
  3. Are there ways of improving or strengthening the operations of the organization?
  4. Are there any benefits in having a government owned company?

 

1.5   SCOPE OF STUDY

The study covers the issues of public enterprises: The basic problems with public enterprises in Nigeria and the problems associated specifically with the management of the Ezzamgbo building materials industry Abakaliki. For convenience sake the researcher has decided to use Ezzamgbo building material industry as a case study.

 

1.6.  SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

(1)    The study will be of benefit to a whole lot of managers, policy formulators, policy makers and executors, all of those that run the affairs of government or public businesses and future researchers on the management of organizations, particularly government or state owned ones.

(2)    The study would help to make public mangers or intending young public managers more knowledgeable and informed on how best to achieve high performance and sound management in public enterprises.

(3)    The research work is important in that it would bring to lime light, the contributory factors to the problem of poor management in public enterprises and the general implications on the enterprises, the environment and the people, that the enterprises are meant to serve.

(4)    The work will also serve as a source of literature for students and researchers who may want to carry out further researches on similar or related issue or topic.

 

1.7.  LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

In the course of this study of public enterprises in Nigeria, the researcher encountered some unavoidable constraints. These constraints placed some limitations including time as the work should have taken at least one year to accomplish rather than few months within which the researcher worked.

Furthermore, the prevalent economic crunch and the attendant financial and mobility constraints played another devastating role in preventing the researcher to use certain approaches and methods in the course of this study.

 project topic :management of public enterprise in Nigeria: issues, problems and prospects, using Ezzamgbo building materials as case study.

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