To equip financial journalists with the required knowledge to enlighten the public on the importance of deepening financial inclusion in the country, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr. Ahmed Kuru has called on media owners in to ensure regular trainings and capacity building programmes for financial journalists that write for their stable.
Speaking at the second edition of Financial Journalists’ and Banks’ Communications Managers’ Parley, organized by Centre for Financial Journalism (CFJ) in Lagos at the weekend, the AMCON boss, who was represented by Prisca Ndu, a senior management staff at AMCON said financial journalists should be in the forefront of creating awareness for financial inclusion also said the typical financial journalist in the country has a lot of challenges, which makes it difficult for him to deliver as expected.
He said, “…financial inclusion has become a priority for policymakers, regulators and development agencies globally. If we must align with the rest of the world, it must also be a priority for us as Nigerians (and like I pointed earlier, we are already aware but we need to deepen it). That for me is where financial journalists and banks’ communications managers must lead the pack in creating the awareness for financial inclusion and sustaining same. “In that sense, and going with the maxim that “…you cannot give what you do not have…” it means that the ideal financial journalist must have full grasp of financial inclusion in its entirety to be able to explain it to the public. Therefore media houses and media owners must as a matter of priority send their financial reporters on training and retraining programmes to equip them to do deliver on their jobs.”
Still making a strong case for the welfare of journalists in the country, Kuru again said, “For me, I think that journalists should be among some of the highest paid professionals because of the importance of the media in nation building. In developed countries, journalists are well paid and well respected but what do we have in Nigeria – we have a situation where media houses owe salaries, which jeopardizes the standards of media profession. So the society expect a lot from the financial journalist that is grappling with all sorts of challenges including simple things like the basic inability to receive his salary at the end of the month. That is absurd to say the least.
“On the other hand, Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) or those who serve them as communications managers must see, appreciate and work with financial journalists as partners in progress, which is why I commend the CFJ for this initiative because it creates the environment for both parties to rub minds on the way forward not just as it concerns financial inclusion but other areas of mutual interest.”
In his final submission, the AMCON boss argued, “To deepen financial inclusion therefore, it is my submission that it is in the place of the communications managers and their creative agencies to continually come up with market penetration initiatives and programmes that would create the desired public awareness and interests regarding financial inclusion, while the financial journalist leverages the information emanating from the financial houses to engage the public on the benefits and why they need to key into the scheme.”