Experts advocate increased stakeholder engagement to achieve better PPP projects
Experts have attributed the resistance usually put up by communities during Public Private Partnership projects in the country to the perception citizens have of government – with trust deficit and lack of integrity resulting from inadequate stakeholder engagement prior to commencement of the projects.
Integrated Marketing Communications experts made this known during the 11th edition of Brands and Marketing Conference 2023 hosted by Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN), on Friday, December 15, 2023 at Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Featured as members of the discussion panel were Victoria Uwadoka, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs Manager, Nestle Nigeria; Godfrey Adejumoh, Head, Corporate Communications & Sustainable Business, Unilever Nigeria and Adeola Kayode, Head of Brands & Creative Services, 9Mobile while the session was moderated by Sola Salako- Ajulo, Hon. Member (South-West) Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal.
Speaking on the theme, “Private Public Partnership: Infrastructural Development Strategy for Government, Communities & Brands,” the speakers posit that there is a win-win in every PPP project for the government, the investing organisation and to the community.
According to Godfrey Adejumoh, the government is doing a lot of things and engaging in various good projects. However, if people at the various community don’t get involved, they may not understand it. To appreciate it, he called on citizens at every community to involve in every CDA activities so they can be aware of some of the programs of the government and to be able to get answers when the need arises.
Speaking, Victoria Uwadoka said working with government, “we understand that there is the advantage and sometimes the disadvantage because of the trust issue.
“When we approach any community for our development programme, they usually don’t open up initially because of the trust issue. However, as brands, again we must realise that it takes time and cannot happen in two days. There must be consistency for the people to take you serious and once they trust you then you can bring the government in. With this, we are able to build trust with the community, the youth and the women in on the plan, on what we are doing.”
Speaking earlier in her keynote address, Dr. Olajumoke Akiode, Convener of Women in Infrastructure Community Africa (WICA), noted that PPPs can be a powerful mechanism for driving development when executed effectively. She, however, pointed that a lack of effective communication among other factors have been contributing factors leading communities to resist some government initiatives.
According to her, a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is a collaboration between the public and private sectors aimed at delivering a project or service traditionally provided by the public sector. Dr. Akiode stressed the need to actively involve communities in PPP projects to instill a sense of ownership.
“Yes, there are opportunities for PPP, they are beneficial, and there are challenges but we must start with a strategy that help to build trust and then bring in the government because if you try to do it the other way, one then may run into challenges.”
“When a community is engaged in a project, they own the project and protect it. They adopt the ‘it’s our project’ strategy,” she said.
Organised annually by journalists covering the Integrated Marketing Communications industry, the conference is a flagship event that brings experts in the IMC and allied industry together to discuss issues that affect the economy and tend to proffer solutions to some of them.
In her opening speech, Chairman, Brands Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN) said: “As we explore this theme, guided by the overarching belief that collaboration is the catalyst for transformation, we aim to foster discussions that transcend rhetoric and lead us to actionable insights. Our goal is to provide clarity, especially for the new governments at various levels across Nigeria and the brands that operate within our borders. We recognise the enormous infrastructure deficit that challenges our nation’s development and economic growth.”
Some outstanding individuals and corporate organisations that have impacted the industry in 2023 were rewarded for their efforts.
Among them were Steve Babaeko who bagged Practitioner of the Year Award, TeksightEdge won PR Agency of the Year Award while Trophy bagged the Alcoholic Beverage of the Year award.