Uriel Oputa was joined in the kitchen by the popular Mbadiwe twins as she showed viewers the healthy way to make potato porridge. Ozee and Ocee Mbadiwe proved to be great company as they chatted with Uriel about a number of things while she prepared what […]
The quote “Business continues to grow when brothers and friends pay for services” is a very popular business caption pasted on the walls and entrances of lots of Nigerian businesses. In government owned businesses whether the federal government or state government, the brothers and friends are the workers as well as their friends and relations.
Government owned businesses are poorly run and supervision doesn’t exist. Businesses survive when goods and services are paid for but this is not the case of government owned businesses. A lot of the top officers hardly pay for services. They will not pay and also expect their own family members and friends not to pay for these services.
When the now defunct Nigerian Airways was operational, so many top government officials hardly paid for flight tickets. The airline company started running at loss rather than making profits. Also apart from not paying for services rendered, there was poor financial accountability which had created loopholes for stealing and embezzlement.
When the airline could no longer generate enough finance, it signaled the end of the business.
It was this same attitude that made Nigerian Virgin Atlantic airlines to leave Nigeria because the owner was not ready for such kind of business mentality. He became tired of the “Big Man Power” where top government officials will not pay for services rendered. There are some discounts offers arrangements in some of these government owned businesses for top officials and workers but they will still not pay. They want everything to be free and in most cases, it is more of a show of power and status to family members and friends.
The business of railways is being revived nationwide. In the same way, that the Nigerian Airways was ran to the ground, the Abuja – Kaduna railway operation is heading that direction as most top government officials don’t pay for tickets. Apart from that there is a hoarding of tickets that it is only a few that can struggle to get these tickets and most times the coaches are empty. The business is currently running at a loss.
A friend told me of how a top government official had ordered for online taxi services only to get to his destination, he refused to pay saying that he works directly with a minister. He had ordered four of these taxis to carry him and his entourage. The same thing happens daily in commercial buses where uniformed men don’t pay transport fares. They claim to be “staff” of the bus. It is very common with policemen in Lagos state.
The solution is to outsource it to a private company that will remit to the government a certain amount. This how Lagos State is running the toll gates in the state. It is leased to HFP, a private organization that does not care whether you are a top government official. It is a must for you to pay at the toll gate and everything is computerized with superb accountability. The toll gate run by the federal government is running on a manual platform where any paper is given as tickets. There are cases where you can just drive your car without any means of stopping you because most times the barrier bar is always open.
One of the good things that happened in the country was the sale of the power distribution units to private bodies that is running it. Ikeja Distribution Company is one of the best discos in Lagos. The power supply for areas with prepaid meters is superb. The railway businesses should be leased to private companies and the effectiveness of the business will reflect.
It is high time that governments should leased out their businesses to reliable private owners to run it for them and cure the disease of not paying for services rendered as well as poor accountability and management.