How PR helped Lagos economically, by Richards
Chairman of Promasidor Nigeria Limited, British-born Chief Keith Richards, said last week that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects and programmes in Nigeria lack substance, noting that credibility was the biggest challenge of the CSR industry in the country.
Richards, who was the keynote speaker at the 26th Annual General Meeting and Public Relations Week of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, (NIPR) Lagos State chapter. It had as theme ‘CSR: Prospects and Challenges in a growing economy’.
He noted that many companies produce glossy brochures detailing the much spent to improve communities, yet same organizations take daily decisions that have negative effect on millions of Nigerians.
He maintained that if the issues of consistency, sustainability, relevance, credibility and affordability are tackled in the formulation process, then CSR promoters are on the path to developing a true CSR programme.
According to the former Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria, if an organization had more than one CSR platforms, efforts should be made to ensure that they communicate consistent messages besides adopting the same approach.
On sustainability, Richards said companies must ensure that CSR programmes could be relied on by partners through making it a long time project, which would then build trust, partnerships and reputation.
To make the CSR effort relevant, he said it would require stakeholders feeling connected as well as the projects enhancing and complementing the organisation’s products and services.
For Richards, if CSR efforts lacked the elements listed above then any gain recorded would be short-lived, which would gulp more funding on the long run.
Special guest of honour and Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, acknowledged the leading role public relations has been playing in the development and growth of a society.
He added that it has ensured not only a stable society but also one that grows in leaps and bounds economically, politically and culturally.
According to him, “The stability and growth of a society is measured by its public image and I want to say that public relations practitioners in Lagos State have contributed in no small measure to the development and growth that makes our state a true Centre of Excellence.”
Obasa, represented by Hon. Tunde Buraimoh, said there was urgent need for a robust partnership between government and organised private sector anchored on the development of a virile Corporate Social Responsibility structure. “Nowadays, things have changed,” he argued. “Government has evolved from being the provider of everything to sponsor cum partner seeking institution.
This is exactly why the topic of today’s lecture is apt,” noting that the issue of a virile CSR becomes very imperative for the sustenance and growth of the society.
He further said the private sector should improve on its social responsibility in order to assist government to improve the living standard of living the people.
A discussant, Mr. Ken Egbas said many CSR projects and programmes were not well thought out as many organisations copy what other companies are doing even when they do not know the reasons those organisations are executing such CSR programmes.
Chairman of Lagos State shapter of the institute Mr. Joseph Okonmah also said the lecture was not only apt and timely but also worthy of extended discourse considering the importance of CSR to the lives of organisations.
As he put it, “There are so many nomenclatures including social investments especially when an organisation is concerned about how to improve the status of its investment. In a growing economy like ours, we need to dimension the prospects and challenges, thereby positioning CSR as one of the key parameters of knowing how an organisation is doing in any given environment”.
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