By Simeon Mpamugoh
The Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) recently marked its annual Management Day in Lagos with an engaging lecture.
Titled “Management Challenges in Emerging Economies,” the lecture was delivered by Mr. Adetunji Oyebanji, managing director and chief executive officer, 11Plc. The event took place at the Dr. Chris Abebe auditorium, Management House, Idowu Tailor Street, Victoria Island.
In his welcome address, president of the NIM, Emeritus Professor Munzali Jibril, said the event has been an avenue to diagnose the challenges of management practice, proffer solutions in line with international best practices to achieve excellence and address shared values of the institute for the growth and efficiency of the Nigerian economy.
He said the November date for this year’s event was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of the father of modern management, Prof. Peter Drucker. He averred the event would give credibility to the institute’s request to the United Nations to declare November 19 World Management Day. He called on the federal government to also support the initiative by also declaring November 19 Management Day in Nigeria.
Jibril said: “Management is everything and the importance of entrenching the ethos of good management is crucial in our everyday life, beginning from the home front to the workplace and the larger society.”
He observed that, if almost every conceivable issue under the sun has a day set aside by the United Nations to commemorate it, management should also have one.
In his paper, Oyebanji explained how he navigated the challenges that he faced in managing the multinational company in the Nigerian environment and in other emerging economies
He noted that Drucker’s mantra was quite helpful and he was able to find a way to work with the existing corporate culture in order to achieve the goals of the company.
Oyebanji said one of the factors that gave relevance to the concept of emerging economy was the decentralisation and simplification of global processes at a local level, pointing out that trying to implement certain polices that were built as ‘one side speak all’ kind of arrangement locally had been extremely challenging.
“When we are talking about global companies in a local environment, sometimes, the corporate head office could be so distant that issues that affect employees at the local level become secondary.
“For the Nigerian environment, I think it is very important to focus on employees and their issues,” he said.
He listed some of the characteristics of an emerging economy as: “rapid growth, increased industrialisation, manpower, high investment risks, political instability, poor infrastructure, policy instability, weak institutions, as many of the institutions that are set up to monitor, control and regulate are themselves weak, underfunded and under-capitalized.”
Others include external price shocks, volatile currency, “where one can find in an emerging economy currency swings of 10, 20 and 30 per cent. In some other countries, it is more than 100 per cent, making it very difficult to plan.”
Oyebanji observed that Nigeria had a very huge and fast-growing population, large workforce, large number of unskilled workers, high poverty rate, challenging political environment and strong labour unions, particularly in the oil and gas industry, which made it a major issue as an emerging economy.
He also pointed out the complex regulatory framework, especially multiple taxation, as a feature of an emerging economy: “You find state, local government and, in some cases, federal government coming to tax an organisation for exactly the same thing, such that as you are dodging one level of government, another level of government is waiting for you by the corner.”
Management expert, Dr. Michael Omolayole, commended the speaker for obeying the rules of working with the multinational and going through the ropes without scandals.
The deputy president of the institute Prof. Olukunle Iyanda, in his closing remarks, urged members of the NIM to endeavour to be above board in terms of corruption and other malfeasance that could compromise the interest of organisations.
The event was capped with the conferment of fellowship award on Mr. Adeyemi Adebayo.