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Interior minister tips National Productivity Centre to achieve full potential

Minister, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo,

By Ukpono Ukpong

Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has urged the National Productivity Center (NPC) to boost its performance, emphasizing its failure to reach 10% of potential.

Speaking at the 5th National Productivity Summit in Abuja, Tunji-Ojo highlighted the imperative for NPC to enhance national productivity by conducting regular audits and gap analyses across organizations.

“I want to beg you, the National Productivity Centre, you have a lot to offer this country. But, I will tell you, I am a very frank talker. Anybody who knows me knows that I always speak my mind, and I move on.

“You are not the agency at the moment. You are just scratching the surface. You have not attained 10% of your potential, and I will tell you why. Because productivity is not just about labour. Even in terms of business operations, in terms of even capacity building, collaboration with government agencies.

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“For example, I want to welcome you to the Ministry of Interior and see you carry out productivity audits of my agencies and see how productive they are. Look at gaps, do gap analysis, and be able to proffer solutions.

“These are things I want to see. If you do this in all agencies. Just like we have procurement audits. You should be able to give me productivity audits. Which will contain my technology audits, gap analysis, my skills set audits, and all the rest. It is a complete circle.

“In case you do not know, you are one agency that cuts across every sector, every ministry, and every agency in Nigeria. You are a sleeping giant. This is the time for you to wake up and let Nigeria feel your impact.

The Minister, who highlighted the importance of technology in boosting productivity, explained how his ministry was able to clear 204,000 international passport backlogs, using automated processes, when he came on board in 2023.

“We can not be productive if we are not efficient in life. And I think as a nation and as a country, we must be concerned about the super-productivity of the business environment.

“I will give you an example. When I became the minister of interior, I looked at the whole process and the workflow, and I saw that we can not keep doing the same things year after year and expect a different result. I called my management, and I said, listen, this is 2023. We are not in 1983. This is the era of technology. Because for you to be efficient, you can not divorce your processes from technology. Once you accelerate technology in your operations, you will activate incompetence and inefficiency.

“That is just the way it is. The first thing we did was we went through the whole workflow. Because I noticed that one problem we always have in government, or in the public sector, is that we run public enterprises the way we would not run our private enterprises. That is the truth. Because when you run your business, you run with a high level of efficiency because you want a high return on investment. But when you run a government enterprise, it becomes everybody’s business, nobody’s business.

“And so, we had to bring an unusual approach to government business. And what did we do? We looked at the work process and saw what we could automate. And I tell you, it used to take us months, for instance, in the area of international passports. In two weeks, I met a backlog of 204,000 passports.

“In two weeks, the same set of officers, the same technology, the same people cleared 204,000 backlogs. And what did we do? We brought in what I call the hybrid approach. What is the hybrid approach? For you to be efficient, for you to be productive, you have to use a combination of technology and human factors.

“If you develop the human factor and you neglect the technology, you will keep moving around the vicious circle. And if you bring in the technology without a motivated workforce, technology will not work.

“So, motivating your workforce and of course, bringing in innovation and technology needed to automate the process will give you a higher yield and a higher return on investment.”

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