FG Needs Local Communications Consultants to Sell Policies—Economist

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The need for Federal Government to make use of the services of Nigerian Public Relations and Marketing consultants to frame the nation’s economic narratives has been emphasised by one of Africa’s leading economists, Dr Biodun Adedipe.

Speaking at a Fireside Chat organised by the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN) at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, recently, the economist advised President Muhammadu Buhari to tap into the expertise of Nigerian PR and Marketing Communications consultants to help the government frame its economic narratives and distil the message for better understanding of the populace.

While speaking on the theme of the session, ‘Macro-economic Factors That Will Impact the Nigerian Marketing Communications Industry in 2018,’ Mr Adedipe opined that, “Nigeria has exited recession going by the GDP growth recorded in the last two quarters. Government will therefore need to communicate better than it has ever done to be able to receive social approval for some of its policy initiatives and options.”

He cited the example of the initial opposition to the government borrowing plan as an example of how using communications consultants could have made the task easy for the Federal Government.

“It took a single session with members of the Nigerian Senate for them to understand the wisdom in using long-term loans for infrastructure development.

“The Nigerian Senate approved the borrowing plan immediately the economic case for taking such a loan was well articulated before them. This is your job. This is what the Nigerian government should rely on you for,” he said.

Mr Adedipe also counselled communications consultants in Nigeria not to wait for the invitation from government. He advised them to always put forward their professional opinions on what government should be saying and doing per time.

He said, “You must always have a voice in the room. Your professional opinion on key national issues must always be articulated and put forward to the government, whether solicited or not.”

On the economic outlook for 2018, Mr Adedipe said there was no doubt about the fact that Nigeria had exited recession.

“We have had two quarters of positive growth back-to-back and there are strong indications that the last quarter of the year 2017 will record more GDP growth too,” he stated, advising businesses to begin to watch out for recovery signs.

Mr Adedipe further said, “A nation can go through the different phases of boom, recession and slump to recovery. So, there are recovery signs you need to begin to watch out for. Nigeria now has a brighter outlook. You must keep your eyes on sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, ICT, real estate, mining and trade amongst others.”

He explained that these were dominant contributors to the nation’s GDP as they were of interest for government.

Mr Adedipe also advised PR and communications consultants to commit to research, best practices, top quality services, relentless improvement and to conduct proper diagnosis on the businesses of the clients they hope to service.

In staying true to its values, PRCAN used the opportunity presented by the event to induct a new PR agency, Media Panache Nigeria, into its membership at the event. The Public and Social Relations agency is led by Mr Timilehin Bello.

PRCAN is legally chartered by by Law No. 3 (1993) of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), to cater to the interests of the consultancy side of PR practice in Nigeria.

It currently has a membership of 51 PR consultancy firms providing services across at least 21 PR practice areas.

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