The emergence of
financial public relations has provided the focus for a wide-ranging discourse concerning the role of financial institutions
in imparting adequate knowledge to the public, not only in developed economies but also in developing nations.
starting point for the acceptance of the new field of Mass-communication as part of public relations functions is the greater
awareness that financial institutions have roles to play in reaching the public at establishing or retaining their confidence
for reciprocal appreciation and beneficial relationship.
It is discovered that while financial institutions
have a range of services to offer, little is known because no effort is made at getting the public well informed on those
services. Often times, there is need to refute insinuations, correct misrepresentations
and wrong impressions.
The public finance institution, as a sensitive
agent of government, has tremendous responsibilities at addressing fiscal and monetary policies as they affect the citizenry, through a simple, unambiguous term that could easily be deciphered
by all. Their various publics, including financial institutions, government agencies and the citizens, need to be adequately
informed about the emerging trends in the economy which has direct impact on the lives of the society, since macro-economy
is defined as a “broad aggregate such as total employment, national income, total volume of savings, investment, consumption,
expenditures and money supply” (Aiyedun 1998). Like with other financial institutions, statements and expressions are
more often than not measured in figures and laced with financial terms, which may be too technical to the understanding of
a large section of the public.
widely held, financial system consists of a network of financial links between economic units, while financial institutions
deal in or trade on the use of money. This will clearly differentiate, for instance,
the government institutions dealing with the economy from other financial institutions which are profit-making and issue financial
instruments of their own aimed at acquiring funds from savers and allocating accumulated services to firms in the form and
amount suitable to them. The purpose of public relations practice, where the
financial public relations emerged, is to establish a two-way communication at seeking common grounds or areas of mutual interests
and to establish an understanding based on truth, knowledge and full information (Sam Black). Financial public relations as
a subject in communication, therefore, can be vividly comprehended by juxtaposing financial system/institutions with public
the light of the above, financial public relations is only possible, if the institutions concerned will use the process and
method of public relations for financial reporting for effective information dissemination that could establish mutual and
beneficial relationship between the economic operators and their beneficiaries.
been observed, over the years, that financial institutions make efforts at creating public awareness on the economic activities
but unfortunately, little is known and it creates rooms for misinformation and bashing in the media. These problems of inadequacy
of effective and proper public enlightenment make the public skeptical, doubting any programme of the government and services
provided by private companies.
Since its establishment in 1988, for instance,
many Nigerians were not aware of the existence of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, until after its inauguration
in 1999, when Engr. Hamman A. Tukur, the Chairman of now constitutional body, took the bull by the horn, and takes the strategic
public relations steps before the public comes to be aware that, it is responsible for monitoring the accruals and the disbursement
of revenues from the Federation Account to Federal, States, Local Governments and other special agencies on monthly basis;
and also responsible for determining the remuneration packages for all the public and political office holders. The strategic
public relations campaign earns the organisation a lot of respect from the country’s leadership and the populace.
On the other hand, the annual federal budget,
which is prepared by the government, always receives condemnation even before its release.
The positive effect of maintaining foreign reserves and the benefit of some government fiscal policies towards revamping
the economy, hardly receive public goodwill even though they receive media attention. The authority concerned needs to brace
up and monitor the trend to respond positively before the public makes any anticipated outcry.
All these problems are borne out of ignorance
and lack of adequate information management techniques from the organisation whose duty is to enlighten the public about the
Because of the absence of effective publicity
on the finances of the government for public appreciation, it creates problems that deserve to be studied, in order to find
out the level of public ignorance and how to address it. Though several studies
might have been conducted in the area of public relations, only few works are available on financial public relations. This study is yet another attempt at finding solutions to social problems relating
to public finance and mass-communication.
The Federal Ministry
of Finance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is perhaps the most sensitive ministry in the country. It occupies a prime position in the socio-economic development of the nation, as it is responsible for
the formulation and implementation of economic policies of the government, both fiscal and monetary, through direct and indirect
guidelines and directives. It is also the government’s fiscal institution that is responsible for the fiscal and monetary
policies of the nation and general economic policy formulations by preparing and implementing annual government budgets.
responsibilities of the Federal Ministry of Finance are stated in clear terms by legislation, acts and official gazettes. According to the Bank Act 1969, the Minister of Finance, for instance, has the power
to licence banks and revoke their licenses, reacts to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s meeting and banking
policy, currency or proposals; and receive copies of the report of the bank examiners of CBN (Agere16). In addition, the Federal
Government Gazette of July 1975 stated other responsibilities bestowed on the Honourable Minister of Finance to include banks
and banking, capital issues, public debts, Nigeria Security Printing and Minting NSPM, internal borrowing, monetary policy,
credit control, currency, coinage and exchange control.
The Ministry is structured with eight departments
in addition to three extra-ministerial agencies. It has statutory three service
departments of finance and supply, planning research and statistics and personnel management.
The operational departments that handle the general finance and economic matters of the nation are the departments
of Home Finance, African Bilateral and Economic Relations, Multilateral Institution, External Finance, and Foreign Exchange. There is also the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Budget Office,
apart from other government financial agencies, which report to the Ministry. These
include the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigeria Customs Service and National Insurance Commission (formerly known as National
Insurance Supervisory Board). The Internal Audit Unit, Legal Unit and Public
Relations and Information Unit, are integral parts of the Hon. Minister’s office.
Ministry regulates the entire economic direction of the government by coordinating the activities of the Central Bank, National
Insurance Commission, Nigerian Printing and Minting Company, disbursements of funds from the Federation Account and that of
Value Added Tax (VAT) to all tiers of government, monitor all the revenues accruing to the government from relevant agencies,
i.e., Federal Inland Revenue Service and Nigeria Customs Service. The Ministry
also regulates the activities of all the financial institutions in the country.
The ministry is a non-monetary and non-profit-making
financial institution. Through its departments, the Ministry recommends to other
agencies of government that oversee the activities of other financial institutions. For instance, the Department of Home Finance
which has a banking division, receives recommendations from the Central bank, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC),
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) on actions to be taken on the banking
and insurance sectors of the economy. The Foreign Exchange and Multilateral Department
are responsible for establishing favourable and profitable relationships with international finance institutions. They also
study the trends in the International Monetary System (IMS), which is defined as “the rules, institutions, policies
and practice regarding the adjustment and/or financing of external balances, the creation and distribution of international
liquidity and determination of exchange rate”(UNDP/UNCTAD, 1983) Agere P.45.