Awoyemi Seeks Financial Reporting Reforms, Collaboration with Banks
By Adedapo Adesanya
The chief executive and founder of Proshare Nigeria, Mr Olufemi Awoyemi, has called on owners of media platforms across the country, especially those operating in the digital ecosystem, to reform their business model to ensure sustainability.
He made this call in Lagos at the weekend, urging Corporate and Marketing Communication Professionals working in Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in Nigeria to reform their focus on core regulatory governance guidelines and aggregate their leverage to deliver on their reputational risk management mandate.
Mr Awoyemi in a presentation at a media parley organized by the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB) held at the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) auditorium, noted that journalists play a pivotal role in sensitising and shaping public opinion on banking policies and economic developments.
Speaking on the theme Reporting the Nigerian Financial Sector in a Dynamic World: What Role for the Journalist? Mr Awoyemi stated that media practitioners must realize that it is a new world and therefore should retool, reskill, and retrain to broaden their understanding, impact and value.
ACAMB is the umbrella body of all corporate and marketing communications professionals working in financial institutions.
According to him, a journalist’s mind may naturally be sceptical, but that does not mean it should be biased toward bad outcomes.
“If the balance of facts suggests that the result of a policy or event is positive, so be it; the journalist is not a hangman but an observer and writer. He or she provides society with a dynamic ‘journal’ of unfolding events,” he said.
The Proshare founder emphasized that the role of a financial journalist in a rapidly changing world is to; gather information and gain understanding; develop context and perspective; apply analytical /numerical tools as interpretative aides; engage constructively with stakeholders; and provide unbiased fact-based narratives.
“It is an avenue for thorough discussions, establishment of guidelines, and the need for a thorough review of policies and processes,” Mr Awoyemi stated.
He further stated that out of all the sectors in the economy, the Nigerian financial service sector is the best example of progress in Nigeria. A leader in innovation, one that has invested most in research, strategic planning, and testing new ideas.
“The Nigerian banking sector is a recognised global leader for its innovation, high-level performance, apex infrastructure system, and the best in terms of settlement system”, he said.
He enjoined journalists that every one of their reports should help move the banking system forward and not bring it down. “This is not about telling you what to do or not, but that a balance must be achieved”, he said.
On his part, ACAMB President, Mr Rasheed Bolarinwa, stated that one of the greatest challenges faced as brand custodians working with DMBs in Nigeria was the threat posed by adversarial Bloggers and few media outlets who deliberately go after brands with adverse news that portrays brands in a negative light.
The rise of online and social media continues to escalate the spread of negative stories and magnifies customer complaints, further driving negative sentiments about brands. This disturbing trend has been further affirmed by KPMG Customer Satisfaction Survey of 2021, he said.
He stated that ACAMB has considered it necessary to facilitate continuous interactive sessions with journalists to facilitate understanding, give feedback, and outline expectations from both parties while expanding the knowledge of media practitioners and pointing out the implications of negative reporting, and fake news for all parties, including the media industry itself.
He opined that the banking industry deserves a better media understanding hinging his call on the fact that, “a sector that has and continues to be the biggest spender on Nigeria media across all spectrum deserve fair reporting”.
ACAMB tasked the media landscape to ensure healthy working relationships, healthy reporting, and promoting a mutually beneficial working relationship with ACAMB and all banks.