Open up to PROs to boost gov’t communication – Oppong Nkrumah to appointees

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Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information

The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has entreated government appointees – especially ministers of state, heads of departments and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) – to open up to Public Relation Officers (PROs) at their various institutions to help boost government communication.

According to him, the PROs have been well-trained and aligned through a network to promote government activities and properly inform the public.

He is of the view that some PROs are left with little or nothing to do in state offices, because heads of the institutions do not integrate them in planning, packaging and dissemination of information – a development that stifles government’s coordinated information machinery.

Speaking at the second annual Information Service Department (ISD)/ State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) Public Relations Officers (PROs) summit, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said it is time for Ministers, Heads of Departments and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to give some more priority to the work of their public relation units.

“One of the key challenges that PROs face apart from logistics, which I know the administration is committed to provide, is access to information from the ministers, heads of department and heads of SOEs.

“Many heads, I regret to say, do not open up enough to enable PROs get information and make this information available to the government communication machinery. For those who recognise the role of PR, they may prefer to use outside consultants or personal aides.

“The consequence is that the main government communication system tasked with the mandate of churning out information is therefore not able to go full steam and stay ahead of the curve all the time. We want you (the Chief of Staff, Frema Osei Opare who was the guest of honour) to use your good office to whip all government actors into line to open up to PROs and let them get the needed information so they can deliver,” Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said.

IPR Registration

He added that his ministry has been able to register all PROs with the Institute of Public Relations (IPR), where they have received and will continue to receive training on modern PR tools to enhance their operations. He noted that the professionalism of a PR officer is important to better government communication, as the focus of information dissemination will not be mainly reactional but proactive.

Projecting government

He also advised the PROs to ensure that their communication schedules are daily, and activities should be crafted to project their various institution.  “The people of our country who pay taxes always want to know what the central and local governments and state-owned enterprises are doing. In the absence of this knowledge or information, they will rightly conclude that these institutions are not working.

“The job of the media is not necessarily to promote what government is doing; it is rather our job as heads of communication across the various government offices to forcefully dominate the communication space with information on what our ministries, departments, agencies and state-owned enterprises are doing for and on behalf of the people of Ghana – not just once in a while, but every day and regularly. Also, not only when there is a crisis or some allegation to respond to but as our daily work.”

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