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Dr G. F. Okorafor
The paper is on the relevance of project and entrepreneurship on the life of a nursing professional. It highlighted the general economic well-being of the average Nigerian worker and how the nursing professional fits into the socio-economic cobweb identified as the Nigerian paradox. The average Nigerian nursing professional being honest and hardworking finds it hard to cut corners in order to make ends meet. In order to economically survive, the professionals for one reason or the other have found their way (exodus) out of the profession to the detriment of the societal interest. It was also seen that the management of the retirement benefits in the past in both sectors of the economy has been everything but honest and transparent. In order to enable the professional enjoy today’s full life as well as life on retirement, the need for entrepreneurship and project executions becomes the only viable option.
Keywords: Nursing professional; Project, Entrepreneurship Pension Funds.
this profession deal mainly with the sick and the infirm indicates that their hearts must be made up of loving, tender and kind substances. True nurses cannot be financial merchants and cannot subject their clients to financial embarrassments. Their major pre-occupation is to keep their clients happy whether rich or poor. Members of the profession therefore make all attempts to keep body and soul together with their legitimate take home pays under the paradox situation exhibited by the Nigerian nation.
There is a general saying that only the sick needs the services of doctors and nurses. There is also a saying that economic poverty breeds sickness. The import of these sayings is that a populous Nigeria with high level of economic poverty in the midst of huge resource base will naturally have a lot of sick people and hence an increasing number of nurses to take care of the sick. The question then is does Nigeria have the required nurses to take care of its growing sick people. This question can be answered by a look at table 1. Between 1994 and 2004, the population per a nursing staff rose form 615 to 2872. This actually peaked at 3048 in the year 2000. Within the same period the number of registered nurses dropped from 157, 338 to 45239. In actual sense the annual growth rate of nurses with the period was –6.30%. A lot of dedication can be made from these and these include:
On can conclude that the scenario exists because nurses are made of softer hearts and would not soil their hands by doing illegal things, yet, they live in a Nigerian paradox situation. The best way out to most being therefore to check out of the profession at the earliest opportunity.
Retirement and Life After
The life of a man is akin to a project life cycle. There is the time for development, maturity and finally decay or descent. Every individual who lives a full life has a time when he/she must take a permanent rest from the sequence of activities he/she has been used to all his/her active life. This withdrawal is termed retirement and retirement can either be forced or voluntary. Which ever way the full implication is that the usual sources of livelihood has been closed while life itself still goes on. My friends, the Agulannas (2003) have done a good job in informing the public on the best window to manage this new life. In order to continue a bit comfortably after retirement which must be against the run of age and vitality, new sources of income must be developed. It is however necessary to note that retirement is not restricted to those in paid jobs only. People in private practice can also retire from their normal occupation as a result of age and or sickness a good number of nurses are on there own and hence on private practice. When one is forced to leave his/her normal source(s) of living for whatever reason, he/she becomes a burden unto others except proactive means of alternative sources of living have been put in place. In our country today, most people in paid jobs look up to their pensions and gratuities as the alternative sources of living on retirement. The futility of dependence on these sources have played itself out in our country.
The public sector pension has been non-contributory till of recent and the public sector management of the pension fund has been everything but satisfactory. A good number of retirees including nurses have died in the process of pursuing their pension benefits or turned beggars and dependants
because of the non-availability of the benefits. Receipt of gratuities is a privilege bestowed on a few individuals. Gratuity is a bulk payment made once in order to enable the beneficiary start off a new life. Because of the amounts normally involved, the public sector organs responsible for the processing and payments normally hide under the cloak of unavailability of funds to deny the would be beneficiaries their entitlements. At the end of the day, pension and gratuity become more of paper exercise than reality to the would-be beneficiaries. Under this sceneries, those who fail to make alternative arrangements for the retirement normally end up being customers to nurses but non-fee paying ones for that matter. Nurses in this category become patients or rather friends of the ones still in active service. Hence, over burdening the working nurses without adequate compensation.
On seeing the futility of relying on the old pension scheme as a source of living after one’s working life, the Federal Government of Nigeria has gone ahead and repealed the old pension Act and introduced new ones. The new and the old scheme are indicated in Table 2. The only major change in the new scheme is the concept of participatory contribution. We strongly believe that the ills of the old scheme may not been cured by the new scheme. The problem has never been the percentages paid out as gratuity or pension but the management of the schemes. We are of the opinion that the beneficiaries will still have to pay their way through the various structures put in place for the scheme’s management. The scheme has been handed over to the so-called private sector profit motivated agents whose main drawing force is project maximization and not the welfare of the beneficiaries. A critical study of their operations would reveal to any critical mind, that these insurance companies were only out to milk innocent contributors dry. The same agents have turned around to become managers of public sector pensions. Many God save this country.
In view of the low purchasing power of our currency which makes nonsense of the
jumbo salaries received by the Nigerian working class and the failure of both the public and private sector managed pensions in the past, the success or failure of living after an active career life of a professional like a nurse will depend on such factors as age and health of the concerned; the socio-economic environment obtainable; the family stability and the network of people built up while in active service. These must be proactively planned for if healthy living is anticipated. The planning and plan executions are products of projects and entrepreneurship.
Many authorities have tried to define a project in the past and have come up with varied definitions depending on the leanings of the authors. A few of these definitions may be useful here. Gray and Larson (2003) defined a project as a complex, non-routine, one time effort limited by time, budget, resources and performance specification to meet customer needs. Frankel (1990) just defined a project as organized activities, which are meant to make things happen; stting that successful projects cause improvement to those concerned. Kerzner (2003) preferred to define a project by stating what a project is identified with. These include:
Projects in Nursing
Nurses from a critical component in the health service delivery system, hence no health service delivery can be complete and comprehensive without the inputs of nurses.
Are there some health services that can be delivered on project basis? if yes, it then means that some nursing inputs can be delivered on project basis.
Existing health service programmes in Nigeria like the NPI, ORT, the mosquito eradication consist of clusters of activities called project. Each cluster is time based, needs budget and has specific output specifications. The success of the programmes are therefore dependent on the related projects.
The import of the above is that the success of the programmes depends much on nurses
acquiring the vital knowledge of project management.
How do entrepreneurs get started? Longenecker et al (1997) identified four ways through which entrepreneurs can get started and these include.
In order to have successful entrepreneurs, two elements are very critical. These are education and experience. Time is normally needed to acquire these elements. There is a minimum time to gain the necessary education and experience. We believe that all present here knows how long it takes to produce a qualified and registered nursing professional. Equally, we are aware that the acquisition of the paper certification does not necessarily make one a nursing professional. A period of practice is needed. We note however that the acquisition of the two named elements does not signal the emergence of entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship involves embarking on project executions and project execution involves risk taking. A good number of Nigerians inherently dislike work and the attendant risks. This view corresponds to the view already expressed by McGregor (1960). In order to produce successful entrepreneurs from the nursing professionals, it is necessary to consider the issue of capital accumulation. This is very necessary because financial resources are needed to meet current family responsibilities which many members of the profession find hard to meet. Gambling with the little financial resources available with high potentials for failure against current family obligations becomes a matter for serious consideration. We are aware of the saying that fortune favours the brave i.e. the higher the risk, the higher the returns. As a result of man’s dislike for risk taking, successful entrepreneurs are normally created by what Longeneker et al (1997) called precipitating events. These events include loss of jobs, job dissatisfaction and or unexpected opportunities. In this country, loss of jobs appears to be the main motivating force behind the emergency of many entrepreneurs.
Few reasons are normally adduces for the emergence of non-forced entrepreneurs and these include:
These benefits make an entrepreneur a more fulfilled individual than an employee of other persons or institutions. Bearing the above in mind, nursing professionals do not need to wait for the precipitating events to occur before embracing the entrepreneurial sprit.
In order to appreciate the relevance of projects and entrepreneurship in enhancing the quality of life people, nursing professional inclusive, we illustrate with a hypothetic case of a nursing professional. In doing this we need to note the following facts:
Option A: Pension and Gratuity
If the nurse is not a risk taker and only depends on the anticipated pension and gratuity because contributions to these are mandatory as per the pension Act, the contribution to the pension fund compounded at 6% for the 35 years is equal to N11,143,478.00. When the employer’s counterpart contribution is added, the account balance stands at N22,286,956.00 on retirement from active service at the age of 60 years, our hypothetical professional is entitled to 300% gratuity and 80% monthly pension. These are based on the terminal emolument which in this case in N100.000.00
The gratuity would amount to N30,000.00 and monthly pension of N80,000.00
Option B: Financial Investment
We assume here that contribution to the National Pension Fund is mandatory to all employees but that this employee wants to be an entrepreneur. To do this, he/she has elected to save another 7.5% of the monthly emolument towards the realization of this dream. This means that the employee saves 15% of the monthly emolument distinct from the employer’s 7.5% contribution to the pension fund.
The monthly savings amount to N7500.00. if this is left in a savings account at 6% per annum compounded, the balance at the end of the first year will amount to approximately N98,500.00 this amount can now be invested in a high yielding equity that currently sells at N15.00 per share. The total shares purchased will be 6566 shares.
If we assume that the equity earned 50k per share in the first year and the share price rose to N20.00 per share and script issue of 5 to 1 given to the equity holders, the scenario would appear as follows:
From the above, the employee can utilise the realised dividend to take care of family financial requirements while the worth of his / her investments continues to increase. This is scenario for the first year only. The same N7,500.00 would be available monthly for further investments and the investor has the opportunity of shifting the investments to various portfolio according to market situations.
Option C: Investment in Small Businesses
In the option C, our professional decided to be an entrepreneur from day one. In order to achieve this, the seed capital is saved from the first year of service. The seed fund is taken to be the 7.5% monthly emolument saved in the year and this approximates N98,500.00. This amount is invested in a small business in any of the ways already indicated by Longenecker et al (1997) if proper planning is carried out, a minimum return of 25% would be expected at the end of the second year and this will be equal to N24,625.00. The implication is that the original N7500.00 per month saved in the first 12 months would have become about N123, 125.00 by the end of the second year. The savings in the second year will still be in tact. From the above, it would be seen that the employee,
The conclusion involves restating the following:
CBN (1998,2000,2004) Annual Reports and Statement of Accounts, Lagos, CBN
Drucker P.F. (1986) Innovation and Entrepreneurship; New York; Harper and Row
FGN (2004) Pension Reform Act: Lagos, FGN press
Frankel E.G. (1990) Project Management in Engineering Services and Development; London Butterworth’s
Gray, C.F. and Larson E.W. (2003) Project Management: The Management Process; New
Karzner H (2003) Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling: Ohio; John and Sons.
Lexicon Publications (1995) The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language; Danbury. CT
Longenecker, J.G.; Moore, C.W and Petty, J.W. (1997) Small Business Management: An Entrepreneurial Emphasis; Cincinnati-Ohio; South Western College Publishing.
McGregor, D. (1960): The Human Side of Enterprise; New York, McGraw-Hill
PMI (2004) PMBOK Guide Newtown Square Pennsylvnia
Stoner, A. F.; Freeman, R.E. and Gilbert, D.R. Jr (2000) Management, 6th ed. Englewood Cliffs, N.J; Prentice-Hall Inc.
Table 1: Vital Statistics
Source: statistics derived from the 1998, 2000 and 2004 CBN Annual Report and Statement of Accounts.
Table 2: Public Sector Pension And Gratuity %
Source: FGN (2004) Pension Reform Act 2004; Federal Government Official Gazette No. 60 Vol. 91.