By Florence Israel, Abuja
The Federal Government has said it will soon adopt a policy that will give the right of refusal to indigenous consultants in its projects.
Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this in Abuja while receiving Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PR-CAN), when it paid him a courtesy visit in his office, on Friday.
In a statement made available to The DEFENDER on Saturday, the Minister said that the policy it planned to adopt would operate in a way that would subject foreign consultants to indigenous consultants.
He noted that the policy when enacted would not only create jobs but also would assist in developing the capacity of the 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,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
“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 also noted that during the development of the “Change Begins With Me” campaign, indigenous consultants contributed immensely and expressed his willingness in continuing to engage them.
In his remarks, the PR-CAN President, Mr. Johnson Ehiguese, told the minister about the skills and expertise of the professional body and its anticipated benefits by way of helping drive the policies of government.
Ehiguese said, “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.
Speaking further he expressed optimism that the numerous challenges confronting the government could be effectively tackled through effective and proper communication.
Mr. Ehiguese also expressed the association’s satisfaction to the Minister for the great job he had done trying to bring about genuine change in the country, as well as to market the government’s policies and programmes.
He extended an invitation to the Minister to serve as Guest Speaker in the 2017 PR-CAN Gold Medal Lecture coming up in Abuja soon, an invitation that the Minister had accepted.