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Training, development and utilization of personnel in organization is a very important personnel management venture in any organization for improved work performance, efficient and effective service delivery, and staff skill update and quality production. The vital nature of this motivated this study. This study examined manpower development and utilization in Nigeria. In the development the study looked at the nature of training in the local government and the utilization of trained staff. This work was divided into five chapters in order to deal with the problem extensively. Chapter one introduced the topic, portraying the background, statement of the problems that actually instigated this research with the questions that the research is meant to answer; the posed three null hypothetical statement on the topic; purpose or objectives of the study; the significant of the study to the society; and the scope and limitations of the study. The second chapter reviewed already existing literatures from other scholars on the topic and discussed the method of research. Third chapter discussed extensively on the background of the study area-Abakaliki local government area council. Chapter four, analyzed and presented data gotten from the questionnaire administered using simple percentage and the hypotheses were tested with chi-square. It also enshrined the result and findings; and implication of the findings. Finally, the study in chapter five summarized the research; proffered recommendation and concluded the study.
1.1 Background to the Study
Organization is established to provide for the needs, yearnings, interest and desire of the employees within the work place or environment, to earn loyalty, dedication, involvement and commitment necessary to compete favorably and effectively to maintain and retain its innumerable staff and patronizers. Therefore, for any organization or institution such as the local government, some factors have to come into play through their availability and reliability. The factors in this context include manpower development and utilization, which would be extensively discussed in this study.
It will not be out of context to say that manpower is the strong pillar of private or public organization, just like Harbison (1973) aptly observed;
Human resources, not capital, income or material resources, constitute the ultimate basis for the wealth of nations. Capital and natural resources are passive factors of production. Human beings are the agent who accumulate capital, exploit natural resources, build social, economic and political organization and carry out national development. The above score made it clear that as the world even turns to a global village, one cannot but attribute its possibility to the dexterity and intuitive nature of human thinking and ability. Another conviction of human ability and input in the work is the computer. What is computer if not the human brain since computer is ‘garbage in garbage out’. It becomes imperative to realize that one cannot do without manpower in an organization. In fact, the evolution of manpower in Nigeria can be traced back to the era of industrial revolution when the slave trade was abolished in favour of buying and selling of goods and services, establishment of industries and schools. It is at this period that the importance of development and utilization of human skills is felt in an organization. This view was supported by Adesua (1988), Fafunwa (1974) and Yesufu (2000) who opted that investment on human resources in Nigeria started in 1843, when different missionaries from
European countries started with funding of schools introduced by them. Human resources from this ambit have been recognized as the most critical resources of the factors of productions, without it an effective utilization of all other factors of production remains untapped. Manpower has to be developed effectively and efficiently, to enhance and harness other resources for the actualization of organizational goals. In collaboration with the above contemporary global arrangement, human resources is prelude to long term investment by both the state and individuals for the continued existence, preservation of cultural values and improvement of the society.
Concept of manpower development according to Abegeze (1994) tackled an important current issue in African manpower development planning, He asserts that manpower development is the building and enhancement of human resources through formal education and training. He emphasizes the important prerequisite for national development; African countries have expanded a significant part of their meager resources in planning development and utilization of manpower resources. Similarly, Omole (2004:76) asserts that human resources development is concerned with providing learning and development opportunities making training intervention and planning, conducting and evaluating training programmes. He further disclosed that the aim of manpower development programme is to see that the organization has the best and quality workforce it needs to attain its goals for improved performance. Therefore, manpower development is defined as a process of extensive education, planning, training and evaluation of training programmes on the employees in order to boost their performance in an organization.
Manpower development requires an integral approach that addresses multidimensional aspect of employees, ranging from enhancing technical and interpersonal skills to creative thinking and leadership. Organization with high productivity have no doubt made manpower development an integral part of their business culture. However, in the Nigerian context, at times in the university environment, staff may be trained but may not be effectively utilized to give out their best on job. Therefore Kiggundu (1989:157) states that human resources utilization is the extent to which available human resources are effectively deployed for maximum achievement of the organizational goals and objectives. In this study, manpower utilization will be defined as the deployment and placement of staff in the right place, position and time for the actualization of organizational goals. An organization may be endowed with sumptuous manpower but may not actually develop and utilize them well. Therefore, in this premise, this study seeks to assess manpower development and utilization in the local government system: a case study of Abakaliki local government.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
According to Uchendu (1982:57), the manpower challenge for Nigeria is not finding the people; it is rather finding the people with the right type of skill at the right time and in the right places. As Uchendu rightly argues, we often find specialized talent in wrong kinds of activity and highly capable people in fields, which offers little challenge or incentive. This situation creates constraints, which sap labour morals, erode productivity and lead to rapid turnover. Thus the issue of manpower and its utilization becomes germane in an effort to improve efficiency in service delivery or performance. Human resources both mental and physical are utilized or invested in an organization in pursuance of its goals. There has been a meticulous plan in organizations such as the local government on their investment in physical and capital resources and those plans are reviewed with utmost, rapt and undivided attention to the detail while rarely organizations pay attention to human resources investment which makes the capital and equipment to be in vein. Not many local governments consider the necessity for a well defined and sustained training, planning, performance appraisal, development and utilization of staff in order to upgrade their performance or they cannot cope financially with training and development programmes. As Ubeku (1975:14) regrets this tendency when he notes that ‘There are many organizations in this country that regards training and development as expensive ventures and avoid them like the plague. What such organizations are interested in are the immediate returns. But in a changing world, of which Nigeria is a part, this attitude can no longer hold good… In organizations where the need for employee training is recognized, it requires a lot of time and money commitment to training and development, the exercise is inappropriate, haphazard or premised on a faulty diagnosis of organizational training needs. In other situation, where training happens to occur, deployment of trained staff may be without regard to the skill acquired, leading to frustration of personnel trained and also general inefficiency in the system. Manpower is generally under-tapped, under-utilized and therefore falls short of its anticipated contributions to the realization of organizational goals.
Nigerian local government have been consistently chided for using more than 80 percent of their fiscal allocation for settling wage bills to the detriment of their primary objectives. Indeed, the local government of Nigeria, Abakaliki, has been using more than 100 percent of its fiscal allocations for the payment of salaries and allowances since 1990 (Ikoku, 1992:18). The local governments have been engaged in laying-off their staff, especially the non-administrative staff, and some of them have stopped engaging new staff, for budgetary reasons. With this trend in our local governments, our problem becomes more apparent (Onah, 2003:123).
In the local governments, where manpower development is effectively and efficiently developed and utilized, there is improvement in the skill and ability of employees as well as development in the workplace. Cases abound in the Nigerian local governments that actually carryout this staffing function yet no improvement, the movement of things seems to be retrogressing, discouraging if not unpromising in such local government. What could be the cause? It is in this premise that the researcher deemed to delve into the study on issue of manpower development and utilization in the local government system, using Abakaliki local government, as a case study.
Based on the above statement, the researcher came up with the following research questions which would be answered in the course of the study as follows:
1. What is the perception of staff training and development programmes in Abakaliki local government?
2. How well are the trained personnel effectively placed and utilized?
3. Do staff training and development programmes enable the recipients to increase their proficiency and productivity?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of the study is to carry out a thorough study on manpower development and utilization in the local government system, using the staff of Abakaliki local government as a case study. The specific objectives of the study are anchored on the following;
To examine the perception of staff training and development programmes in Abakaliki local government.
I. To assess the extent of consistency of the development programmes in Abakaliki local government.
II. To assess the placement and utilization of trained personnel in the local government.
III. To ascertain the importance of manpower development and utilization in the productivity and performance of the recipient.
1.4 Statement of Hypotheses
A research hypothesis is a tentative statement about relationships that exist between two or among many variables. It is conjectural statement about relationships and need to be tested and subsequently accepted or rejected (Asika, 2009).
The study intends to examine the following null hypotheses;
1. The staff development programmes in Abakaliki local government are not consistently pursued.
2. A good number of staff of the local government is not well utilized.
1.5 Significance of the Study
Manpower development and utilization in the local governments enhance productivity and service delivery; promote efficiency and effectiveness in the institution. In addition to this, the local government is a place of learning administrative skills, management techniques and career development, values and norms; therefore, the significance is to avail the local government the opportunity to develop and utilize its staff.
However, the local government is seen as the grass root developer. Generally, manpower development and utilization improves the nation’s state of economy.
Empirically, having painstakingly and thoroughly studied manpower development and utilization in the local government system as well as providing answers to the research questions, making sure that the objectives of the study were attained; and that the hypotheses were tested statistically, findings and recommendation well handled with proper referencing, the study will serve as a guide and as well help those who would like to embark on a research in this topic or related topic in establishments. It is hoped that this study will be of benefit to a number of people. In other words, future researchers in the field will find the research a resourceful and reliable reference material.
1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The study focused on manpower development and utilization in Abakaliki local government council. The researcher used the Abakaliki local government area council staff in the study. The study faced a lot of challenges, constraints, which were considered as stumbling blocks to the study. The researcher encountered many hitches and hard times that in one way or the other delayed the work. The researcher was able to come up with something reasonable.
The success of any project depends on the availability of finance. Insufficient funding was seen as a constraint to the study. This is so because the study is quiet tasking and demanded a lot of financial backups. Unfortunately, the study was delayed as a result of finance.
Finally, administration and collection of questionnaires from the respondents posed a great challenge to the study. Actually, not all the questionnaires distributed were returned and the delay in collection of questionnaires affected the work.
Notwithstanding those constraints, the researcher made a concerted effort to ensure that the study was comprehensive and successfully carried out to meet the desired goal.
1.7 Operationalization of the Key Concepts
Some of the key concepts need to be clarified with regards to their usage in the study. This would enhance the easy and proper understanding of the literature. Therefore, the concepts are as follows:
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