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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Community Relations is a branch of Public Relations that has emerged from what used to be referred to as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Community Relations is concerned solely with how to create an enabling environment in the host community so that the company can carry out its activities without any hindrance, but rather with the assistance and support of host inhabitants. An example of an articulated community relations policy which must be sensitive to local customs and the developmental aspirations of communities in the areas of healthy, education, infrastructure and economic self-reliance have become expedient. Hence, tangible and long-lasting projects that are beneficial to majority of the people must be embarked upon. This is against the background that a healthy and enlightened rural community that is well provided with infrastructure that can support co-ordinated economic activities will contribute more significantly to local and national development efforts.
The community‟s perception of a company derives principally from the company‟s employees who would be either good or bad ambassadors to the community. Their views and feelings about their companies are transmitted to the community as a whole. Good community relations, therefore, should be from the company itself. Employee and community relations can be considered, to some extent, by having employees participate in community relations‟ activities. Such involvement can create an effective programme and boost employee morale.
Therefore, communities have realized that they cannot remain passive, and so are getting to be more active and vocal in their expectations and demands. There are two reasons for this,
firstly, communities realize that business tend to gain more from them than the other way round. In a lot of cases, communities are exploited by companies, Secondly, with business and industries coming up in the communities, problems like pollution, over pollution, breakdown of law and order, slums, inadequate health facilities and other such pockets of neglect, besiege the community. Therefore, it is necessary for organisations/ businesses to be proactive and have established community relations programme.
Dangote Cement's Plant in Ogun State is one organisation whose business activities are national. Commenced cement production in December 2011 and was officially inaugurated in February 2012 by His Excellency Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. At a stroke, the Ibese plant transformed Nigeria into a nation self-sufficient in cement production. The $850m Ibese plant has two 3-Smillion tonne lines built by Sinoma, using state-of-the-art Chinese and European technology. It takes limestone from a nearby quarry with an estimated reserve of 90 years. The plant is gas-fired for both kilns and power, with coal back-ups for its kilns and diesel for its power plant. Work has already commenced to double the size of the Ibese factory by building two more lines alongside the existing facility. The plant is expected to have a capacity of 12 million tonnes per year by the end of 2014, providing ample supplies for the rapidly growing South West region of Nigeria, as well as the ability to export cement and clinker through Dangote Cement terminals in Lagos.
Since inception, the Group has experienced phenomenal growth on account of quality of its goods and services, its focus on cost leadership and efficiency of its human capital. Today, Dangote Group is a multi-billion Naira company poised to reach new heights, in every endeavor competing with itself to better the past. The Group's core business focus is to provide local, value added products and services that meet the 'basic needs' of the populace. Through the construction
and operation of large scale manufacturing facilities in Nigeria and across Africa, the Group is focused on building local manufacturing capacity to generate employment and provide basic products for the people.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Consumers have diverse motivations, tastes and preferences. They constantly seek solutions to these various state of deprivation(needs). And as they do these, they are guided or influenced by certain decisions which could be internal and external. Internally, Consumers are influenced by their belief system. And externally, they are influenced by their socio-economic and cultural background . Since community relations activity are meant to influence consumer patronage, and Dangote Cement Organisation in Ibese has had a dose of community relations activities, this study therefore seeks to examine the impact of Dangote Cement community relations activities on the patronage of consumers in Ibese community.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This study is designed to examine the impact of community relations on consumers‟ patronage in recent times among the people, Ibese in Ogun state. The Specific objectives of the research are:
i. To find out whether Dangote Cement community relations activities profit everyone in the community.
ii. To ascertain what makes consumer patronize Dangote cement.
iii. To examine the impact of community relations on consumer‟s patronage of Dangote cement.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This research answers the following questions.
i. Does Dangote Cement community relations activities profit everyone in the Community?
ii. What makes consumers patronize Dangote cement?
iii. What is the impact of community relations on consumers‟ patronage of Dangote Cement ?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The findings of this study will lay a thorough foundation on the study of the impact of community relations on consumers‟ patronage on the society as a whole. Although a number of empirical works has been done on the study of the impact of community relations on consumers‟ patronage in different part of the world but not on the aspect of Dangote Cement, this paper seeks to present an up-to-date empirical analysis of the aforementioned. This study also serves as an additional fact finding work for other researchers who may be interested in the subject of this research. The findings of the research work will also be beneficial to the management of various organisations, community relation experts, as more knowledge would be gained from the research work.
1. 6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
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