By Modupe Gbadeyanka
President Muhammadu Buhari has been commended by the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN) for signing the Executive Order making it unlawful to grant visas to expatriates to come into Nigeria to render professional services which could be otherwise provided by Nigerian professionals.
PRCAN, the regulatory body of Public Relations consultancies in Nigeria, described the Executive Order as a valid extension of the ‘Buy Nigeria, Save the Naira’ campaign of the Federal Government of Nigeria, which a large number of government officials had treated with contempt.
In a statement issued and signed in Lagos by the association’s President, Mr John Ehiguese, and Publicity Secretary, Mr Israel Jaiye Opayemi, PRCAN described the Executive Order as “exceptional, courageous and an act of nationalism which puts our country first over and above the popular penchant of government officials for all things foreign, and particularly Caucasian.”
The association assured President Buhari of its readiness to play the role of Whistle Blowers in relation to the Public Relations and marketing communications sector, promising to avail the Presidency with the details of foreigners operating agencies illegally in defiance of the laws regulating the industry in Nigeria.
“President Muhammadu Buhari can rest assured of our support in this regard. We will compile the names and addresses of those currently operating illegally here against the extant law regulating the Public Relations practice in Nigeria.
“That law is among those you promised to enact and enforce in your capacity as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to protect businesses in Nigeria. We will make this task easy for you so that relevant government agencies can enforce the Executive Order and other extant laws,” PRCAN said.
Last year, PRCAN took up the gauntlet with Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, when news broke that her Ministry retained the services of a United Kingdom-based Public Relations firm to manage the campaign around Nigeria’s participation at 2017 World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington DC, United States.
PRCAN had challenged President Buhari to intervene by finding out if the Minister complied with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act in hiring the services of the said company without any competitive bid from other equally qualified Public Relations consulting firms.
The association also raised a poser as to whether the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance signed off on the payment of the retainer fee allegedly paid to the Public Relations firm in question.
PRCAN had similarly condemned the Trade and Investment Minister, Mr Okechuknwu Enelamah, who had engaged the services of the same Public Relations firm Mrs Adeosun hired for an undisclosed amount of money to manage the ‘Ease of Doing Business Campaign’ of the Federal Government without any competitive bid involving Nigerian Public Relations firms.
PRCAN is legally chartered by a Bye Law 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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