The Federal Government says it will soon adopt a policy that will make it mandatory for local consultants to be involved in government projects across Nigeria.The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made this known while meeting with a delegation from the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN) in Abuja.

He explained that the policy which was debated recently at the Federal Executive Council meeting would ensure that indigenous consultants are given priority for government projects.

“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,” the Minister said.

He added that foreign consultants may be engaged for their expertise where necessary, but only if they come with Nigerian partners.

“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,” he said.

Mr Mohammed noted that once the policy is active, government ministries and agencies would begin to involve local consultants in its programmes.

He said even in the development of the “Change Begins With Me” Campaign, indigenous consultants also made their contributions to the project, while he expressed the willingness to continue to engage them in the national re-orientation campaign.

In his remarks, the President of PRCAN, Mr Johnson Ehiguese, sought to make available the skills and expertise of the association to support government’s policy communication programmes.

“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.

Mr Ehiguese noted that the numerous challenges confronting the government can be effectively tackled through effective and proper communication.

He expressed the association’s appreciation to the Minister for “the great job you are doing in trying to bring about genuine change in our country, as well as to market the government’s policies and programmes”.

The leaders of the delegation also extended an invitation to Mr Mohammed to serve as Guest Speaker at the forthcoming 2017 PRCAN Gold Medal Lecture, an invitation which the Minister has accepted.