Mr Mawuko Afadzinu, President of the Institute of Public Relations (IPR) Ghana, has urged Parliament to expedite the passage of the IPR bill currently before it, into law.
Mr Afadzinu said passing the bill into law would enable the Institute to regulate public relations practice in the country and ensure professionalism, enhance trust and credibility of the profession.
He made the call in an interview with the media on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of a three-day National Public Relations and Communication Summit and Annual General Meeting of the IPR, in Nkwatia-Kwahu, in the Eastern Region, on Thursday.
Being held on the theme: “Staying Credible Through Rough Patches”, the conference will offer the Institute an opportunity to reflect on activities of last year, look at new trends, and bring new practices to bear, as well as plan towards the following year.
It will also enable the Institute to strengthen its advocacy towards the passage of the IPR bill, as it marks 50 years of existence.
Mr Afadzinu said Ghana today, was faced with numerous challenges, which required effective communication to tackle.
“Now, rough patches are the difficult moments and it is in those times that we naturally will want to give in to the temptation to lower our guard and to make compromises and to cut corners,” he said.
“As PR professionals, we have one responsibility, and that responsibility is to engender and engineer quality relationships that deliver value to all the publics, which is to say, all the partners in that relationship and we believe that there is no better space and tool to do that than effective, powerful, credible communication,” he added.
The president indicated that, as part of efforts to raid the profession of unqualified practitioners, the Institute was going to ensure that its continuous professional development programmes became an integral part of its annual accreditation process.
“Which is to say that, anybody in the Institute, every member is expected to constantly upgrade and improve ourselves to meet the challenges of today, because the weapons of yesterday might just fall short in dealing with the challenges of today, and we have to be battle ready particularly in such a time like this,” he added.
The conference brought together communication professionals and experts from both the public and private sectors.
Among them are Dr Kenneth Ashigbey, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Brigadier General Eric Aggrey-Quarshie, Director General, Public Relations, Ghana Armed Forces, Mr Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Mr Kabral Blay Amihere, former Chairman, National Media Commission and Mr Gayheart Mensah, a Communications Expert.
Mr Ashigbey, CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, emphasised the need for communication professionals to be credible and trustworthy to enable them to effectively deliver on their mandates.
He explained that effective communication was critical in getting the support of the public to accept policies and programmes, stressing that, many policies of the government, in recent times, had faced resistance as a result of poor communication.
“Let’s look at the IMF. We said we were not going to the IMF, we have gone to the IMF. You take it from E-Levy, we said it was going to be the solution to our problems, what happened to that? If you look at the debt exchange, we said there is not going to be haircut, but it’s happened,” Dr Ashigbey said.
Molieli Molekoa, Managing Director, Magna Carta Reputation Management Consultants, South Africa, urged PR practitioners to use their powers to move nation building agenda for the development of the country.