Re: Self Dispensing Pumps…Bad Economics

As is the case with us in this part of the world, we tend to copy the wrong things. It is still difficult to fathom why so many years after independence we are unable to fashion our own official dress code, but instead copy either western style suits, most inappropriate for our weather, or Arabian regalia best suited to combat sand storms in the desert.

It is largely the same reason why we insist on drinking tea or coffee in the morning when its clearly too hot to do so, and build houses and offices without due consideration for our weather. We are usually out of touch with our reality.

Or how else can we explain the much celebrated self dispensing pumps filling station in an environment with epileptic power supply, less than efficient automated payment systems (what happens when the all too familiar ‘issuer bank not available’ response comes up) rampant crime, and most of all, high level unemployment!

ProverbsIt is in fact borderline criminal for any Nigerian business to automate systems or procedures which can be managed by actual live employees. In its fast growth era, the government of India encouraged businesses to reduce automation levels especially in construction and heavy industry and instead increase the level of human engagement to help in tackling unemployment.

Bollywood for instance had scripts written with large dance sequences to allow for more actors partake in every movie production, even if only in roles known in Nigerian parlance as ‘wakapass’.

It puts money in the pockets of the otherwise unemployed. Economists may argue about the inefficiency of ‘under employment’, but in real life situations, especially in developing countries, it not only works, it is vitally important for maintaining civil order.

We need to address national economic issues more holistically, and while it is best done top down, we all need to be more sensitive to our reality. Our very safety may depend on it. As the French Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau famously wrote, ‘when the poor shall have nothing left to eat, they will eat the rich…’

The self dispensing pumps fuel station in a developing economy undergoing such harsh transitions such as ours, is a bad idea and should not have been approved.

All projects private or public must show as an integral part of the business plan, what strategies have been put in place for skilled/unskilled employment. Conversely, it is high-time the central government, and possibly even the Lagos State government, set guidelines which determine minimum levels of employment proposed by investors, vis a vis the size of investment.



Original Story: Lagos records its first self-dispensing filling station owned by Pinnacle Oil and Gas Limited [read more…]

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