President of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), Isreal Jaiye Opayemi has predicted that Public Relations Consulting firms in the country would witness enhanced growth performance record in the course of the current business year, 2020.
Opayemi, who disclosed this recently in Lagos, observed that though operating firms in PR consultancy sector fared not too well during the just-ended the year 2019, adding, however, that there were strong indications that the current year 2020 would bring about greater opportunities for enhanced growth performances.
Though unspecific in figure terms as to the volume of business contribution by PR firms to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the association’s boss noted that the abysmal performance by the PR firms in the period owed largely to developments in the larger economic sphere in the country.
According to him, during the course of the ended year, the government was slow in passing the national budget and, consequently, corporate organisations and client companies played the waiting game.
He noted that government expectations were focused on tax collection and borrowing, and for that reason business operators would rather brace up to the emerging economic challenges in the New Year.
“I think on a balance of scale, it was not a good year, and it was not because of the agencies or the PR companies. No, it was more because of what went on in the economy. You will recall that many corporate organisations played the waiting game before the budget was finally passed.
“They played the waiting game from the first quarter of the year to the second quarter of the year until the budget was finally passed. But thankfully we are hopeful it’s going to be a better year because now there is a clearer direction of where the economy is at least going,” Opeyemi explained.
He continued: “We probably just need to brace up for a more challenging year, but at least the fact that I know that the road is going to take is a very tough one prepares me ahead. Now that is different from if I do not even know the road I am going to take.
“The previous years had been that the businesses did not even know the roads they were going to travel, but now at least we know that it’s going to be a tough road based on the fact that government expectations are from the collection of taxes. So, there is that clarity now that government expects 2020 budget will be financed largely from collection of taxes and from borrowings.”
The association boss who also is Managing Director/CEO, Chain Reactions Limited, a leading PR firm in Nigeria highlighted further on the various challenges bedevilling PR consultancy business in Nigeria, including among other things, absence of retainers arrangement between consultants and client companies and lack of adequate loan’s support from banks and other financial institutions.
He further lamented that most client organisations were in the habit of not respecting their contractual payment agreements with consulting firms, a situation that has resulted in a chain indebtedness between agencies, the media organisations and other suppliers in the business chain.
He disclosed that the current the leadership of the association was working hard with a view to sensitising stakeholders in the industry, especially PR firms and client companies of the need to give compliance to provisions of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) legislative act that empowers PRCAN to regulate and control public relations consultancy practice in Nigeria.
He added that the association was working towards ensuring that the rights and privileges of all member firms of the association and the clients are well protected and preserved by the law.