Measuring Productivity

The measurement of productivity varies from nations, business, team and individuals. Some experts believe productivity is to measure labour input, such as the number of workers or the number of hours worked. But productivity in a simple term is output per unit of input.

In effect, productivity becomes the attainment of the highest level of performance with the lowest possible expenditure of resources. It represents the ratio of the quality and quantity of products to the resources utilised.

At the national level, productivity translates to what is known as human efficiency which affects directly the purchasing power of the population. It can therefore be said that National Productivity is equivalent to the Gross National Product over Working Population.

The current trend in Nigeria is such that the country focuses more on the oil sector to boost its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), forsaking the human capital that is the engine room of the productivity of any country. In Nigeria, the human capitals are not adequately trained, not appreciated and invested in which greatly affect our capacity to produce global products.

Our gross domestic product should involve the creation of more products that have international market and bring money to the country. Early this year, the National Bureau of Statistic (NBS) affirmed in a release that: “The non-oil sector continued to be a major driver of the economy recording 7.93% growth in real terms in the first quarter of 2012 compared with 8.73 per cent at the corresponding period in 2011.” So the important of building the non-oil sector is key to achieving full productivity of what Nigeria can do as a country.

Follow-me Syndrome
The follow-me syndrome is also affecting the performance of the country. Nigerians like to follow a particular trend as long as it’s bringing in money per time. People do little or no research on self and business before they start a business venture. If clearing and forwarding business is making money, everybody runs in there. If consulting is the new thing in town, thousands will become consultant overnight. There are no new innovations around; it’s just a copy and paste generation. All people do is change the name in a proposal letter and replace with theirs.

But no matter how bad Nigeria’s case may be, there are still few people who are doing the right things in this country. So I am very optimist and strongly believe we can change as a nation. We must realise the place of personal empowerment in starting businesses that will enhance the productivity of the country. Increased productivity for us as a nation would make us more prosperous.

In the latest report by the World Economic League Table, compiled by the United Kingdom-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) in 2012, it was revealed that Nigeria’s economic growth rate dropped from 8.90% to 6.80%. It was also forecast that the country's economic growth rate would remain at 6.80% in the four-year period of 2011 to 2015, compared with the 8.90% recorded in the 10-year period of 2001 to 2010. Consequently, the country dropped from its fourth position last year to 10th position on the current rankings.

It is interesting to note that Ethiopia (8.10%), Mozambique (7.70%) and Tanzania (7.20%) moved up to occupy third, fourth and fifth positions respectively, with Vietnam (7.20%) coming sixth. Congo (7.00%), Zambia (7.00%) and Ghana (6.90%) have become the seventh, eighth and ninth fastest-growing economies. However, South Africa –which was first in Africa, is set to rise to the 28th largest economy in the world in 2020, from its 29th current position.

Importance Of Productivity
As revealed by economists, the importance of productivity to economic growth and development can hardly be overemphasized. At the national level, steady growth in productivity guarantees non-inflationary increases in wages as well as solves pressing problems of unemployment, increased trade deficit and an unstable currency.

In business, productivity improvements can lead to more responsive customer service, increased cash flow, and improved return on assets and greater profits. More profits will therefore translate to availability of investible funds for the purpose of capacity expansion and the creation of new jobs; hence, increased productivity becomes a panacea to unemployment problem.

Remi Dairo is the author of PRODUCTactIVITY, and the President, School of Productivity.