Govt signs multimillion naira PR deal with US firm
The Federal Government has awarded a N275million yearly contract to a United States public relations firm to manage its image, especially relating to the failure to rescue the abducted Chibok school girls.
Levick Strategic Communications was engaged to assist with a range of government affairs and public relations matters.
The agreement is with effect from June 16, for an initial term of 12 months.
The contract, a copy of which was obtained by The Nation, was signed on the government’s behalf by the head of a government media out fit on June 13.
According to the contract, professional fees for Levick staff will be billed at the rate of $100,000 per month (about N15,573,000).
Levick is to engage Jared Genser of Perseus Strategies, “a lawyer in the international human rights and democracy community”, to assist in the firm’s objectives “to promote transparency, democracy and the rule of law throughout Nigeria”.
The sub-contract to Genser will attract additional $25,000 per month (about N3.9million) and “will be passed through in its entirety Perseus Strategies”.
Levick will bill travel-related expenses and meals to the government.
“We estimate these to average $22,500.00 per professional per trip,” the firm said.
Additionally, the government will pay a percentage of the fees upfront.
“It is our policy to invoice our clients a flat 4.50 per cent of monthly fees to cover these costs,” Levick said.
Fees for other services, such as paid media, video production and web development, will be borne by the government in addition to the fees for Levick staff.
“Actual long-distance or conference calling charges incurred on behalf of the client will be billed separately, at cost,” the firm demanded.
The government will also bear third-party vendor expenses, such as private newswire, outsourced printing, copy jobs, and significant costs for postage and handling.
Levick is to begin work upon receipt of advance quarterly retainer and interest of 1.5 per cent will be charged on all balances outstanding over 30 days.
Under scope of services, Levick is to provide government affairs and communications counsel with the primary objective of changing the international and local media narrative related to:
the Government of Nigeria’s efforts to find and safely return the more than 200 girls abducted by the terrorist organisation, Boko Haram, in the Borno State of Nigeria;
assisting the government’s efforts to mobilise international support in fighting Boko Haram as part of the greater global war on terror; and
communicating the President Goodluck Jonathan administration’s past, present and future priority to foster transparency, democracy and the rule of law throughout Nigeria.
The government also agreed to indemnify and hold Levick and its agents “harmless” with respect to any claims or actions for libel, slander, defamation, copyright infringement, idea misappropriation or invasion of privacy arising out of the firm’s consultation.
It was agreed that work would begin upon Levick’s receipt of the signed agreement and initial payment.
The funds are to be sent by cheque to Levick or by wire transfer to its banker, BB&T, Washington, DC, with account number 5156166334.
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