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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
General…

REPOSSESS POWER PLANTS AS LEARNING INFRASTRUCTURE, PROMOTE INDUSTRIALIZATION

WHEREAS WHEN NIGERIA UNBUNDLED THE Power Holden Company of Nigeria (PHCN) into 18 successor companies and sold them to the rich and powerful people/groups in 2013, whereas the newspapers claimed that Nigeria recorded the biggest privatization transaction in global history, indeed it was not a wise thing for a nation to do. Why? That is because the action does not make sense when examined with respect to the demands for industrialization and establishing adequate and reliable infrastructural framework, including that of electricity. Adequate and reliable infrastructural system is a fruit or aftermath of industrialization. Mere unbundling of the PHCN and importation of hardware or erecting more plants will not promote industrialization or establish a reliable electric power infrastructure and adequate power supply.

Industrialization is a state of knowledge, skills and competences. Competence – the ability to do things including manufacturing, is not a commodity that can be bought instantaneously when a critical shortage is a fact as in the case of Nigeria.  Competence being the sum of knowledge, the ability to learn and experience, is uniquely related to persons (Brautaset, 1990). You may invest and erect power plants but you cannot buy the science for establishing adequate and reliable infrastructure through mere capital investment. Capital investments in infrastructure merely assemble capital assets which are Depreciating Assets (DAs) because they begin to depreciate in intrinsic value with time and usage immediately they are acquire or erected. On the other hand the learning-man and learning-woman are Appreciating Assets (AAs) because their intrinsic values appreciate as they learn and work. Whereas the production strength of a capital asset is modeled by a decreasing  function, that of the learning-person is modeled by a growing function. 

All persons are born as crying babies. The baby soon begins to babble (learns how to talk), acquires the competences to talk and talks (Ogbimi, 1990). The baby who could not babble grows up to be a dumb adult. Talking or speaking is a skill (Hurlock, 1972). The child must also learn how to read and write, otherwise, it grows up to be an illiterate. No one is born with the skills to produce. Virtually all knowledge, skills and competences are acquired through learning. One who wishes to be a good dancer must learn how to dance. A nation which hopes to manufacture many products must develop the people to manufacture them. Learning and acquiring new knowledge, skills and competences and applying these in solving problems including production, are the primary sources of achieving sustainable economic growth and industrialization (Ogbimi, 1991). Industrialized nations enjoy the fruits or aftermath of industrialization. These fruits encompass all the good things the West and industrialized nations of Asia enjoy which African nations yearn to have: high productivity, true diversification – many sectors functioning efficiently and effectively, wealth, low interest rates, good and reliable infrastructure, etc.

The intrinsic value of the learning-man or learning-woman appreciates in a compound fashion with learning intensity and time. Thus, when a person commences an educational or apprenticeship scheme, he or she begins from the lowest level or the novice position. Usually, at the end of the first year of learning, the learning-person is promoted to the second level, having learnt the things scheduled for level one. At the end of the second year, the learning-person again, is moved to level three. The growth achieved this way is sustainable. The learning person builds-up capabilities or competences, that is, the ability to do things increases as long as he or she continues to learn. The intrinsic value of the learning-person can be expressed in a quantitative manner. In a nation where learning – education and training, is emphasized, there is continuous build-up of knowledge, skills and competences (KSCs). As the learning process continues, a point is reached where each type of KSCs begins to enjoy the supportive impact of all others and all of them form an invisible KSCs-network, a sort of problem-attacking front. The nation at that point achieves Industrial Revolution (IR) – a technological puberty. Productivity improves dramatically, the nation achieves economic diversification – various sectors of the economy begin to perform efficiently and effectively. The economic transformation described as IR, may be likened to that which the spider achieves when it combines many of its silk-threads to make its web. The single silk-thread the spider spins, is a relatively weak structural material which fails readily under any stress regime. However, the web which is made from the combination of many of the weak silk-threads catches the small creatures on which the spider feeds. In a like manner, no individual solves the problems of a nation, but a combination of many millions of knowledgeable, skilled and competent people transforms an agricultural nation into an industrialized one. Learning transforms an individual or nation from an undesirable status (characterized by mass unemployment, low productivity and poverty) into a desirable status (characterized by low unemployment, high productivity and affluence).

Our quantitative analyses showed that the five variables for planning for industrialization are: 1) N – the number of people involved in productive work or employment in a nation; 2) M  - the level of education/training of those involved in productive activities in the economy and of the people of the nation; 3) L – the linkages among the knowledge, skills, competences and sectors of  an economy; 4) r – the learning rates or intensity in the economy and especially among the workforce; and n – the experience of the workforce and the learning history of the society. All the variables are related to the learning-man and learning-woman and the higher are the values of the variables, the better is the economy. These are the variables Nigeria should promote their rapid development. 

The origin of Japan dates back to the third century B. C. (Hall, 1971; and Reischauer, 1970). The nation was ruled by kings and existed in isolation till 1854 when America entered the nation through force. This led to a subtle military coup which brought the nation to the period known in Japanese history as Meiji Restoration in 1868. Meiji Japan, following her interactions with the United States of America and some European nations, decided to learn from the West, realizing that learning and rapid industrialization is the sure route to living in affluence and enjoying military power and respectable political status.  Japan expanded educational and research systems speedily.  Japan built very many public industrial plants to enable citizens to learn and acquire the capabilities to promote rapid industrialization.  Thus public enterprises in Japan were not built to make profit and provide jobs and service but as learning infrastructure. Japan built thousands of public enterprises. Most of the industries built by Meiji Japan lost money but because they were not built for profit, they could not be sold till the primary objective was achieved. Japan achieved rapid industrialization in the 20-year period 1886-1905 because of high intensity learning. That was after stagnating over the period 300 B.C.- 1868, 2168 years.

No private company is established to promote learning – education (E) + training (T). The private enterprise is established to make profit. That is why the Nigerian GENCOs, DICOs and Transmission Company being operated as private enterprises cannot promote rapid industrialization and establish a reliable power infrastructure and an adequate and reliable power supply system for Nigeria for a very long time. It was a wrong step unbundling PHCN and selling the 18 units as private enterprises. The wise thing to do today is for the Nigerian government to repossess the sold plants, build more and different plants as learning infrastructure and promote rapid industrialization. Reliable infrastructure and adequate electric power are fruits of industrialization.

 


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