Nigeria SavesN300bn Annually in Overseas Training- Dr. Kabir K. Usman- DG CMD.
The Centre for Management Development (CMD), under the leadership and tactful guidance of Dr. Kabir Kabo Usman has gone beyond its core statutory mandates by infusing noble ideas in every area of its operation. With the aggressive but visionary approach adopted by him, the Centre’s grip is now firmly on ground to galvanise and sustain its leadership role in the research and manpower development sector in Nigeria, apart from being a reference point in the art of policy formulation and capacity building.
Aged 60, Dr Kabir who hails from Kabo Local Government Area of Kano State, attended Kabo Primary School (1964 to 1970), Government Secondary School Dambatta, Kano State (1971 to 1975,) and Federal School of Arts and Science, Sokoto (1975 to 1976). He was at Bayero University Kano from 1976 to 1981, Manchester University, United Kingdom, 1983 to 1984 and again at Manchester University from 1984 to 1988, for his B.Sc, M.Sc and Ph D qualifications respectively. Dr Kabir Kabo also holds a Certificate of Education, a Post Graduate Certificate of Education (Teaching Qualifications) of Huddersfield University (1994 to 1996) and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration obtained in 2006 at Manchester Metropolitan University also in the United Kingdom.
In this exclusive interview with the team from Economic Confidential Magazine, led by the Managing Editor, Ewache Ajefu, Dr. Usman opens up on the huge savings made on behalf of the Federal government via overseas training and other sundry issues on national development. Excerpts:
EC: What has changed since your appointment as Director General of CMD?
On the 8th of January, 2010, the then Minister of National Planning, Dr Shamsuddeen Usman told me I have been appointed the Director General of CMD. He asked me to go and transform the training centre. I took over officially on 19th January, 2010. The first thing I did was to look at the staff development and conducted staff skills audit of all the staff to see their capacity and or lack of it, their competences their capabilities and check their relevant qualifications so that people can be placed where they can be very productive.
EC: What did you discover on your assumption of office?
We discovered there were capacity gaps and there were skills shortage areas. We really had to work very hard with a lot of my members of the team, with particular reference to very key Directors. We went round the country to try to look for collaboration and partnerships particularly with relevant agencies that are coming to support us; from the UNDP, Chinese Counsellor and USAID, DFID, EU and others. We managed to send over one hundred of our staff to overseas training and that is a significant achievement. The essence of establishing the Centre is to respond to make sure that the Council deliver its mandate. And part of that critical mandate is to advise the Minister of Budget and National Planning. And we also have to make sure that there is quality assurance put in place about training in Nigeria in areas of management development in the country. We looked into areas of planning and budgeting, project management, performance management system and good governance with strategic leadership and also change management. WE successfully address all that
EC: How many offices do you have?
We have six Zonal Offices that are operational in Benue, Kano, Gombe, Akwa Ibom, Imo and in Oyo States. The vision was let us take the programme to the people. If the people cannot come to us we should go to them. The CMD Office in Lagos handles operations. We train the police and host workshops and Trainings about public private partnership, procurement, strategic leadership and middle management in terms of manpower.
EC: Are Management consultants in Nigeria accredited by CMD?
All management consultants operating in Nigeria must be accredited and if you they are not accredited by CMD, then they are operating illegally. We work together with the International Standard of Americas and the ones in Europe to make sure that we are delivering training in that level. We have also done quite a lot in terms of accreditation and issues about quality assurance, issues about impact assessment and I really want to emphasize that this is a very important activity to us because some management consultants moving around with briefcase are not doing what they are supposed to do in terms of providing quality training. Some are compromised, but we have ensured that this is not the case. We gave the Carrot and not the Stick to support training agencies with benchmarks, with guidelines, with rules and regulations so that they can operate in a very ethical manner.
EC: Who are some of your major stakeholders or clients?
We are instrumental to the quality training that is been provided by the Office of the Head of Service in collaboration with the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, ASCON, and the Public Service Institute. We have partnerships in collaboration with many other agencies of the government mainly the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS and other management development agencies. We provide a lot of trainings to EFCC, ICPC and many other agencies of government that we felt have strategic responsibility of moving the country to the next level.
EC: Do you have foreign supports too?
We got partnership with the African Capacity Building Foundation that is based in Zimbabwe. It is actually a project that was created in the UK out of concern of some Africans about lack of capacity in the African region. The foundation gave us a grant and we did a lot of training for about ten years (from 2004 to 2013). The grant was $700,000 but we started using the funds in 2010 when I came. We used half of this fund for training in planning and budgeting across the country and it was free as the participants were not charged, rather we provided feeding, accommodation and rest of it to the participants.
EC: How has CMD addressed the challenge of local content agenda?
On the local content agenda, there was a Circular from the Office of the Head of Service that Civil Servants should not just go for overseas training except and unless they got an approval that the kind of training cannot be acquired in Nigeria. So, when you look at it and to be very honest with ourselves, we get about 500,000 Nigerians going for one training or the other overseas. Even if you reduce the figure to 100,000 and we pay about ten thousand US dollars for each person, you know we are talking of $1 billion dollars. So if you translate it to Naira, it tells you about N300 billion. So, even if we are going to have one per cent of the local content being domesticated, we would save at least N1 billion and you will see the kind of the jobs we are going to create. When we were doing our accreditation exercises, we always tell the management consultants that their role is to create jobs, eradicate poverty, provide knowledge and skills. So these people by spending N1 billion, you are creating even a hundred thousand jobs in country. So we have been working and trying to see how we can support the Head of Service and also the Sectary to the Government on how this local content agenda can be implemented. We are not there yet, we wrote a lot of letters and we are engaging them to see how we can support these initiatives.
EC: Are there sanctions and penalties against illegal management consultants in Nigeria?
When I came in 2010 I realised that there was not much the CMD was doing in terms of its regulatory functions of accreditation of management consultants and management development institutions. So I quickly and with vigour established a department of accreditation, curriculum development and quality assurance and appointed a director to head the department. By looking at our mandate it is clear that CMD has the responsibility to check the type of programmes the management consultants are running, the duration of the programmes, the locations of where the programmes are offered, their levels, cost evaluation and value for money. If you look at the National Council for Management Development it has one of the highest number of members that you can think of, about 20 members and we don’t have the capacity in terms of funds to sustain that and all we need is not the quantity but the quality and also there was no provision for sanction. So if you are a management consultant and not accredited by CMD all we can do is to pursue and convince you to get accredited and see the value for money in the training you are going to undergo. But we are including sanctions in the review of the law establishing the Centre. The act was enacted almost 40 years ago so a lot of things have changed in terms of what we should be asking for and what we should be doing. So now we have difficulties and the only thing we can do is we check if you are not accredited by CMD we will write to you and say you are operating illegally. Some people saw the light. Then we must try and address the issue of lack of enforcement of sanctions. We have to go to the Corporate Affairs Commission and work with them and we have talking to the Federal Inland Revenue Service. So if you want to go and register your management training organisation they will ask you have you been accredited by CMD? If you are not, they will not give you the licence to practice.
EC: Is the government supporting the move for appropriate sanctions?
The Offices of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation and that of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation have been very supportive. They said if you want to do a management training for any government agency you must be accredited by the CMD. We went to the universities and told them that their consultancy outfits are existing illegally because they are management development units and even some of the units in faculties of management and social sciences have to be accredited by CMD because there must be a certain level of operation and certain level of ethical code of practice which you must have been embedded in their operations.
EC: When will you start the accreditation for this year?
This year, we are starting our accreditation this month May 2017 across the country and you will see me with Policemen going round and wherever sanctions need to be applied, it will be applied. Not only that, we are working very hard to link up with partners in each zone who will give us intelligence reports about the operations of quack management consultants and those operating without licence. All of them will be brought to book and the necessary action will be taken against them. We are very much concerned with quack management consultants who move about with brief case and collect money from unsuspecting clients. They run programmes that are supposed to be done in five days but are done in two days and even certificates are issued. I am warning everybody that training is not the same as welfare. Training is mandatory for staff development and it enhances professional development. You cannot do without enhancing and consolidating your skills.
EC: What is the update on National Council of Management Development (NCMD Act) Amendment Bill at the National Assembly?
The issue was discussed with the new Minister when he came in and we asked for his support and which he is doing right now. It was the previous National Assembly that was deliberating on the bill and we are now starting all over again. There are two ways to it. We can once more go through the rigorous process of discussing and getting the approval of the Federal Executive Council or else we can go and get a member of the National Assembly and the Legislature can have it as a Private member’s bill. I have discussed with the Senator from my Senatorial District and he said there is no problem for him to adopt it as his own bill to present or sponsor it at the National Assembly. We are hoping to see in the next two months a revised or reviewed NCMD Act sponsored as a bill at the National Assembly.”
EC: Are other tiers of government keying to the standard?
We have done a lot programmes for some states and local governments. We trained councillors, heads of finance, heads of primary healthcare and heads of education departments. We specifically focused on budgeting and areas of finances and results based and monitoring and evaluation. If you say you have a project, we say yes but where is it? What value does it add? What impact has it made? So we have devised all those kind of programmes and we have done some of them in Kaduna, Gombe and a couple of other states. Our position is “take it and use it.” Domesticate it. This is how we set standard and we control the quality of what we are doing. With the little money at our disposal but with a wider role across the country we have to be intelligent enough to be doing what we are doing. We have been to all the states, collected data, we are now analysing them, we will harmonise the results and give our recommendations and point out the issues in capacity gaps for the states.
EC: What about the legislature?
We presented training programmes to the National Assembly and I wrote to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and informed them of our willingness to train members of the National Assembly on Strategic Leadership and Change Management to tackle the issues of Corruption, Lack of Infrastructure and so on and so forth. We also wrote to the Political Parties to acquaint them with our mandate and programmes. We requested to see their manifestoes, what were their promises (to the electorates) during the campaigns, what are now their commitments to the people and how are they going to translate that? Who are the people they are presenting to contest and do they know their expectations? For example, if you want to become a Senator then what is the role of a Senator or to become a member of the House of Representatives, or Governor or Councillor then you have to know what will be your role if elected. All these require prior training on management skills. We have done all these but not all will actualise because after presenting these proposals to the various agencies some of them do engage private management consultants to run the trainings and we say no problem we will not stop them because what we are interesting is the acquisition of the knowledge.