By Tunde Oguntola, Abuja
The minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has disclosed that the federal government will soon adopt a policy to give the right of first refusal to indigenous consultants in its projects.
The minister disclosed this in Abuja when he received the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PR-CAN) on a courtesy visit to his office.
He said even when a foreign consultant is coming into the country; the company must involve indigenous consultants.
“I remember that at the last federal executive council meeting, it was hotly debated that in all forms of consultancy, we should as a matter of policy, insist that no consultant should come without his own Nigerian partner.
That way, we believe that it will make it easier for us to develop the capacity, skills and the expertise of our home-grown consultants,’’ Mohammed said.
He said when enacted, the policy will not only give impetus to job creation but it will also assist in the development of the capacity of the indigenous consultants.
“When you involve your own consultants in your projects, you are not just taking expert advice, you are also employing people who have already bought into the project and who appreciate the fact that the success of that project is the success of the country.
“We believe in skills and technology transfer but if you don’t give your people a chance, who is going to give them a chance? People argue that the Nigerian consultants don’t have the requisite experience.
Even if that is the case, how will they get it if you continue every time to shun them and you prefer foreign consultants? These foreign consultants got to where they got to because they were given the opportunity from their country,” the minister said.
He said once the policy is active, government ministries and agencies will begin to involve consultants like PR-CAN in their programmes.
Alhaji Mohammed said even in the development of the “Change Begins With Me” campaign, indigenous consultants also made their contributions to the project and he expressed the willingness to continue to engage them in the national re-orientation campaign.
In his remarks, the president of PR-CAN, Mr Johnson Ehiguese, sought to make available, the skills and expertise of the association to support the government’s policy communication programmes.
“Honourable minister, the overriding reason for our seeking this audience with you today is to share some of our thoughts and ideas with you on how we, as professionals in the area of strategic communications can, with your assistance, contribute our quota to supporting the numerous policy communication programmes and campaigns which you superintend by virtue of your office,” he said.
He expressed the optimism that the numerous challenges confronting the government can be effectively tackled through effective and proper communication.
Mr Ehiguese expressed the association’s appreciation to the minister for “the great job you are doing in trying to bring about genuine change in our country, as well as to market the government’s policies and programmes.”