The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has assured of the determination of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to improve the economy and make food available for all Nigerians.
Speaking with journalists yesterday in Asaba on the sidelines of the 46th National Council on Information meeting, Mohammed said that some of the steps taken so far to address the recent economic recession include job creation, ease of doing business among others. The minister said that the government was also taking steps to urgently address the Niger Delta crisis, which has severely affected crude oil production, the mainstay of the Nigerian economy.
The minister, however, predicted hard times during the forthcoming Christmas as result of the current hardship occasioned by economic recession, noting that the Federal Government will ensure an improved production of crude oil to kick-start the economy.
He said: “Everyday the government is recording success. Only recently both the IMF and World Bank released a quite encouraging report that the measure government is taking is definitely leading to a lot of progress.“I can assure you that before Christmas we will be able to resolve a lot of the challenges that we have especially in the Niger Delta area. And once the production improves, there will be more money in the system. “There was this seven big wins that was launched by the president in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources which are the steps Nigeria is taking to ensure that even if we are diversifying the economy, oil and gas still remains a major pillar of our economy and these are things we are doing to revive it.
“I want to assure Nigerians on behalf of the Federal Government that we are working day and night to ensure that the hardship of Nigerians is reduced.”
In a paper entitled: ‘’Leveraging on Information and Digital Technology to Sustain the Change Agenda of Government,’’ the minister advised information officers to key into the information and digital revolution for better service delivery. He implored managers of government information to be factual into drowning “out those who are bent on misinforming our people and making it impossible for them to be a part of the change agenda” through various platforms in the social media.
“We must always stay ahead of the pack. We must be proactive rather than be reactive. We must never let down our guard because, for information managers, there should be no down time, because while you are fast asleep, those who will make your task impossible are fully awake. “We must understand and harness the enormous powers of the traditional and the new tools of information dissemination to communicate the activities of government and also get feedbacks,” he added.
Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said the current scenario that allowed for citizen participation in information dissemination and management through social media platforms calls for a paradigm shift in the interface between government and the public. Okowa remarked that information officers must be more scientific in approach and go beyond the realm of dissemination to embrace the more strategic function of communication.