Discussing the seven point agenda of the current administration at the federal level which include; Power and Energy, Land Reforms, Qualitative/functional Education, Security/NigerDelta, Mass transportation, Food Security/Agriculture and Wealth Creation with some friends, we all agreed that they were lofty goals no doubt but the question of ‘How’ we can get these done didn’t seem to enjoy a consensus opinion.
Usually we proffer political solutions and that has been what our government has done for the past 50 years. We talk of Fighting corruption, of transparency in Government, of deregulation, of privatization, Rule of law, free and fair elections etc. As important as these are to the growth and development of any society, they are still not enough. They might help build institutions but they can not make institutions deliver on their mandate. They can help create brilliant ideas and policies but they can not change policies into tangible and functional systems. They could lead to growth especially in economic indices but then development would still be a far cry.
There is therefore, a need to take a further step towards actually turning ideas on paper into visible structures that can add value to the lives of the people. Hence the need for Project Management.
Countries and corporations all over the world are today adopting the principles of Project Management in their activities in order to ensure success. Using comprehensive Project Management methodologies, countries like China and the UAE which are today the cynosure of all eyes have been able to stimulate economic growth and development and are currently on their paths to greatness.
On the other hand, it is obvious that the obvious lack of effective use of project management approach in Government Managed projects is chiefly responsible for the many project failures in Nigeria. Today not one of the lofty seven point agenda has been delivered on and indeed the seven points have recently been reduced to three yet there doesn’t seem to be any likelihood that they would be achieved without a change in approach.
Project Management in simple terms is a systemic defined approach that ensures that projects are delivered on time, according to specifications and within budget and time schedules. It is a professional concept that helps companies and Governments better manage scarce resources towards fulfilling their needs without compromising quality.
In today’s globalised economy, Nigeria can not continue to lag behind hence the urgent need to equally adopt project Management principles in carrying out Government business. It is in order to jump start this that has made organizers of the National Project Management Conference (ProMaCon) to make the theme of this year’s conference “Project Management: The Key to National Development”
Tagged “ProMaCon 2010” The Conference is the second in the series of the annual conference which aims to bring together project management professionals, practitioners, business owners, captains of industries, politician and players in the public sector to brain storm on contemporary global trends in project management and how this can be domesticated for use in our Country.
The first edition of the conference which was highly successful and well attended was the first time the private sector (where there is already an appreciable practice of Project Management) met on the same platform with players in the public sector on the issues of institutionalizing project Management into the national psyche. It attracted the Honourable Speaker of the House Demeji Bankole who chaired the opening ceremony as well as ministers and federal permanent secretaries. The three day conference featured delivery of many technical papers and a workshop on effective Project Management and Organisational project Managemn (OPM 3).
The robust communiqué at the end of the conference provided thought provoking recommendations to both private organizations and public agencies on how to employ project Management as a catalyst for economic Growth.
This year, the organizers hope to attract an increased participation of the public sector as that should really be the focus if we are to break free from the current shackles of underdevelopment which is largely borne on the wings of poorly planned and poorly executed projects. Aside professional project managers and those aspiring, the conference is suited for those involved in planning as well as projects monitoring and evaluation in Ministries, departments and Agencies. This year’s conference would feature such topics as; Project Finance Management, The Role of the Financial Sector in Project Risk Management, Stakeholder Management in the Up & Down Stream, sector, Effective project Management in Construction projects among others.
This is sure an opportunity for our country to begin to get it right. We certainly cannot continue to do things in the same way and hope to get a different result. For us to deliver on lofty national plans and beautiful promises by our political leaders, we must begin to institutionalize Project Management in our system and build strong institutions which like Hillary Clinton opined during her last visit, is the only solution to our nations many problems.
ProMaCon 2010 is scheduled to hold from 21-22 September 2010 at The Nicon Luxury, Abuja. Details of how interested persons could be part of this novel idea can be found at the conference website at www. promacon-ng.org
Currently working in Project Management, Sylva Nze Ifedigbo has a great interest in advocacy and believes the youths must take charge to initiate change in Nigeria. He is one of the coordinators of the Enough is Enough Nigeria Coalition and blogs at http://nzesylva.wordpress.com/