The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has called on Government Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) to take advantage of its reach to sensitised citizens on their programmes, policies and activities.
Dr Garba Abari, Director-General of NOA, made the call during his opening remark at the `Roundtable on Local Content Policy: Benefits and Prospects: The Down Stream Regulatory Perspective’ organised by the Agency.
“I make this call in the light of the fact that experience has shown, that our messaging platforms are extremely effective.
“This is because they are largely inter-personal and offer opportunity for immediate feedback through our special reports and pulse of the nation reports.
“We have offices in the 774 Local Governments spread across the country; our critical role is to ensure that residents in all the Local Governments have clarity and benefits from government programmes, policies and activities
“However, we communicate such feedback to the top echelon in the three arms of government,’’ Abari said.
The NOA boss also explained that lack of knowledge of meaningful opportunities provided by government programmes, policies and activities contributed to a sense of despair and the escalation of the current security challenges.
He emphasised that there was no gain saying the fact that those security challenges have taken a huge toll on the country’s dwindling revenue.
“This further underscore the dire need for NOA to intensify the tempo of its collaboration with MDAs of government to showcase policies that hold benefits for the Nigerian people and how these benefits can be accessed by citizens.
“In addition, inclusive economic growth, national integration and change are important pre-requisites for a virile peaceful and prosperous nation.
“We cannot ensure sustainable inclusive growth if the larger percentage of our citizen do not have clarity as to how to access the benefits and prospects of government programmes, policies and activities.
“It is in the light of this that the NOA National Roundtable on government programmes, policies and activities in various sector of our national life shall remain a regular and constant features in our citizen’s engagement.
“It should be noted that this fits in with NOA’s responsibility in commitment 12 of the Open Government Partnership which puts our agency as the lead agency for citizens engagement,’’ Abari.
In his goodwill message, Mr Osita Okechukwu, Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), said there had been provision since 2010 to ensure local content in different sectors of the country.
He said the provisions became necessary when multinationals were replacing Nigerians with expatriate even when it was glaring that Nigerians were equal to the task.
Okechukwu, who was represented at the event by the Director, Strategic Planning and Corporate Development in VON, Mrs Edith Udo-Udo stressed that the incidence was mostly in the downstream sector.
“However local content can also be extended to the media; this is why NBC has proscription to foreign content in the country’s broadcast space; we also must be concern on the media content we broadcast.
“At VON, we dedicate 50 per cent of our programmes to local or indigenous content to reflect Nigeria and Africa, making Nigeria to be heard in all parts of the world.
“We broadcast in English, French, Arabic and other languages including indigenous ones. Our broadcasters in all these languages are Nigerians. It has helped to expand employment and production.
“By and large, we all have a stake to comply with local content policy to avoid the total shut down by foreign expatriate,’’ Okechukwu stressed.
Similarly, Mr Abdulkerim Kadiri, Acting Director-General of National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), said the roundtable was a welcome development and a step in the right direction.
According to Kadiri, there is need for synergy among MDAs to add value to the goods and services provided for the citizens.
“I therefore call on colleagues in other MDAs to collaborate and cooperate so as to improve our production to improve the GDP of this country’’.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other Agencies that made presentations at the event include Local Content Development Board, Petroleum Product Price Regulatory Agency, NIMASA and others.