I read the recently published achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan. The list of achievements include creating new institutions (Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NEBT) Plc), formulating new plans (machinery to establish 37 Skills Acquisition Centers) and a few “tangible” improvements (claims of improvement in power supply). There has been a backlash on popular news sites and Social Media questioning how tangible these achievements.
My first impression is that the list has far too many items, many of which are plans, policies and programmes. While I appreciate the list was published to coincide with the administration’s first 100 days in office, I don’t think the items on the list are weighty enough to be celebrated. When you are cooking soup, you don’t announce to the world that it will be the tastiest treat that has ever titillated their taste buds. Let people decide if the soup is actually worth all the noise.
A preferred approach to indicating progress or otherwise would be to select a few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on a national vision and key objectives. In management parlance, this is called a Scorecard. Many multinational companies measure their performance using Total Return To Shareholders (TRS). This indicator shows if the company has added value to its shareholders through capital appreciation and dividend payments. Of course there are other KPIs tied to it but everyone watches just this one number. The lower level KPIs managed by the Leadership Team are often less than 10.
The Government would best be served if a few measurable KPIs are developed which show if a nation is developing or not. The average person doesn’t care about many of the achievements on that list. He is more concerned about food on the table. I suggest a short list of less than 15 items which tell of the current state of things and projects what they will be at the end of this administration. For example, a KPI could be school enrolments in 2011-25%, 2015-55%. This way, all eyes will focus on outcomes and not just activities and plans. These KPIs should have measurable targets against which to assess performance regularly, say quarterly.
The scorecard may contain the usual economic indicators such as GDP, External Debt, Interest and Exchange rates, Capital and Money market efficiency. KPIs could also cover infrastructure e.g kilometres of tarred roads, corruption, poverty, health, education etc.
My top KPIs would be as follows
- Hours a day without light
- Number of people who can afford Western standard healthcare with less than N5,000 a year
- Days without a major security incident
- Ability to feed a family with N1000 a week
- Time taken to drive from Kano to Lagos
Behind each of these KPIs will be a number of plans and programmes but if these things have not changed by 2015 then we will consider the administration a failure.
In addition, some of the more traditional measures could be included.
- Absolute and per Capita GDP Growth
- External Debt Levels
- Interest Rates
- Exchange Rates
- Power Generation (and % of generation that actually gets to consumers)
- Kilometres of Tarred Roads
- % of Nigerians below the poverty line
I believe adopting this transparent approach will give the Government focus especially if visually displayed at Government offices and shared with all Nigerians. If you were to measure the effectiveness of Government, what KPIs would you choose and how would you measure them?