The Nigerian government has commended Nigerians for their resilience despite the tough times occasioned by the economic recession, assuring them that the government remains committed to implementing realistic policies that will reverse the trend.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, gave the commendation in Lagos in his keynote address at the 4th Commonwealth Public Relations Congress.
“We are not unaware of the harsh effects of the recession on the citizens. We share in their pains and we make no excuses as we continue to work round the clock to ensure that this tough time is quickly brought to an end. The good news is that the prognosis for a quick end to the recession is encouraging.
“As the saying goes, the recession is a bend in the road, not the end of the road. The challenge for us as a government is to turn the bend, and we are doing just that,” he said.
Mr Mohammed said that while the Buhari Administration rode to power on the crest of change, there can be no change without discomforts.
He, however, assured Nigerians that with persistence on the part of the government and perseverance on the part of the people, there was definitely light at the end of the tunnel.
“The government is investing massively in infrastructural development: roads, railways, power and creating jobs in the process, as part of efforts to pull the country out of recession,” the Minister said.
On job creation, he said 200,000 of the 500,000 jobs promised under the N-Power Volunteers Programme had already been filled and that those selected would start work on December 1.
Mr Mohammed also explained that an alternative funding of the Oil and Gas Industry Joint Ventures, which had been approved by the Federal Executive Council, would also impact positively on the economy.
”This alternative funding is set to increase the net Federal Government revenue per annum by about two billion dollars, lead to an increase in national production from the current 2.2 million barrels per day to 2.5 million bpd by 2019, reduce Unit Technical Costs from $27.96/Barrel Oil Equivalent (boe) to $18/boe and double the net payments to the Federation Account, from about seven billion dollars to over $14 billion by 2020,” he further explained.
He told the gathering that the funding mechanism would also allow the JV business to be self-fund, restore investor confidence, raise the prospects of higher investment in growth activities by the partners and arrest production decline.
Speaking on the theme of the congress “Strategic Management of Reputation Risk in an Interdependent World,” the minister outlined some of the increasing challenges confronting Public Relations Managers, especially the impact of the Social Media which has democratised the means of gathering and disseminating information, and urged participants to come up with innovative ways to surmount the challenges.
“This theme could not have been more relevant. For those of us in the business of managing government’s image. We hope the outcome of your deliberations will offer us a fresh perspective to better handle this increasingly challenging task.
“I said increasingly challenging because as we strive to project a positive image for the government and keep the citizens informed of government activities, we are constantly being forced to devise innovative ways to ensure a better, two-way communication between the government and the people”.