Members of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), have kicked against the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun’s hiring of a United Kingdom (UK)-based public relations firm to manage the campaign on Nigeria’s participation at the just-concluded World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington DC, United States (US),
The association asked the government to respect its own “Buy Nigeria, Save the Naira” campaign.
In a statement issued on Thursday by its President, Mr John Ehiguese, PRCAN urged President Muhammadu Buhari to make Adeosun, who led the Nigerian delegation to the meeting to explain whether the process of choosing the UK firm complied with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act on competitive bid from other equally qualified public relations consulting firms.
Ehiguese said: “It will also be of interest to the Nigerian people to know if the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance signed off on the payment of the retainer fee allegedly paid to the PR firm in question.”
Adeosun had on Wednesday in Abuja denied an online report that she hired a British firm to do public relations for her at the monthly fee of $2 million (about N800 million).
The ministry’s Director of Information, Salisu Na’inna Dambatta, in a statement he issued, said that the claim was false, malicious and devoid of professionalism as no attempt was made to contact the minister for input to the story.
According to Dambatta, the public relations firm which the report referred to was hired with the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for N29 million for three years.
But PRCAN president asserted that the minister’s action buttressed the insatiable appetite and penchant of Nigerian political office holders for “foreign is better”, and might indeed have confirmed the feeling in professional circles that Nigerian leaders have no regard for indigenous experts.
Ehiguese said that Mrs Adeosun’s action was not a happenstance as he recalled that her Trade and Investment counterpart, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, had previously engaged the services of the same UK-based PR firm for an undisclosed amount of money to manage the “Ease of Doing Business” campaign of the Federal Government without any competitive bid involving Nigerian firms.
He noted that apart from the fact that Nigerian PR firms have the competence and understanding of the Nigerian issues to manage the campaign, Mrs Adeosun’s action was a further depletion of the country’s foreign resources at a time when the country’s economy was in the recovery room.