Information Minister Mr. Labaran Maku says the ministry is reactivating its foreign offices to adequately project the image of Nigeria to the global community. He made this known in Abuja while speaking with newsmen shortly after he met with staff and management of the Federal Ministry of Information.
Mr. Maku stated that the ministry had received presidential approval to that effect and that as soon as some of the logistical challenges are addressed, the foreign offices would become operational.
“Foreign posting has been approved. We need information officers in all the key embassies abroad. The question of promoting Nigeria’s image will be their daily task. They will reply stories that are negative about Nigeria in those countries. They will write positive stories; they will post whatever we are doing in the nation, they would coordinate and expose us in those countries.
“They will campaign about the opportunities for investment; they will reply anything about Nigeria and set the record right”, he said.
The Minister clarified that the foreign posting is not a luxury but crucial to the image of the country.
He disclosed that the Federal Information Offices across the country have been revamped through the allocation of resources to enable them to carryout some publicity activities on the programmes and projects of government.
Speaking on the Federal Government Printing Press, which is yet to become operational, Mr. Maku regretted that the funds allocated to the project last year could not be operated but assured that the ministry would do whatever is necessary in this year’s appropriation to get the printing press ready.
While addressing the staff on the issues of capacity building and welfare, the Minister said the sum of N100 million was expended on staff training last year.
Mr. Maku explained that unlike in the past where staff training was outsourced to consultants, under his leadership, funds for staff training were channelled to the National Institute of Public Information (NIPI) which was statutorily established to train staff of the ministry.
He said the ministry is now giving priority to staff training and development to achieve optimal performance in service delivery.
The Minister stated that though not all the programmes relating to staff welfare were addressed, the ministry had placed emphasis on staff promotion so as to motivate them to put in their best in service to the nation.
Mr. Maku made a commitment that every staff that sits for the promotion examination and passes deserves to be promoted to the next level without delay.
He remarked that with the advent of the Information Age, the ministry is exploring the Social Media to reach out to Nigerians in every part of the world and charged Resident Information Officers posted to ministries, departments and agencies to step up regular filing of reports to saturate the Social Media with the activities and programmes of the Federal Government.
The Minister informed that power has been stabilised in the ministry to ensure that the radio stations within the ministry complex operate without interruption.
“Before now, we are running power on generators and I asked a question is there nothing we can do? So we discovered that we have been getting power just from the general line. This ministry is so strategic because the radio network is here. So we decided to go and take power permanently from the high tension line”, he stated.
He told the staff that funding has been a constraint on the implementation of some of the programmes designed by the ministry, but additional funds are being sourced from the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) to address some of the challenges.
Mr. Maku reminded the staff about the campaign for Made-in-Nigeria products and said in compliance with earlier directive, every staff should ear Made-in-Nigeria fabric on Fridays and that award has been instituted for the best dressed staff.
He thanked the staff for the industrial harmony being enjoyed in the ministry and promised that more social activities especially sports would be promoted among staff.