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APCON gives unlicensed advertising agencies ultimatum for compliance

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Garba Bello Kankarofi


Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has resolved to take on advertising agencies that are operating in Nigeria without license. The council has, therefore, sent out a warning that agencies that are not relicensed will face the music.

APCON, which is yet to have a board after three years due to the delay by the Presidency, also warned that advertisers who patronise and engage unlicensed agencies for business are working against the law and will be prosecuted. To avoid confusion on licensed or unlicensed firms, the council through its Acting Registrar/CEO, Ijedi Iyoha, promised to make the list public.  She also assured that the council will inform Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (ADVAN) and other relevant stakeholders on its resolve to prosecute unlicensed agencies after May 1, 2018.

“The question is for how long we will keep condoning those that are not willing to be licensed,” he said. “We met as a committee and we agreed that come May 1, 2018, we will come up with publication of those that have been licensed and those that are yet to be licensed.

“We are saying that it is now illegal for advertisers to engage agencies that are not registered with APCON for any advertising business. We expect them to make use of those that are duly and legally registered with APCON. The advertisers will be sanctioned if we find them wanting because it will be illegal business.”

Iyoha stepped in as Acting Registrar early this year following the retirement of former Registrar/CEO, Bello Kankaroffi. She encouraged all the agencies to come to APCON and check their corporate status for membership. According to her, the aim of re-licensing is to sanitise the industry going forward.

Also speaking, Chairman of Corporate Licensing Committee, Lekan Fadalapo, who is also the Executive Director/CEO, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), said the committee has inspected about 200 agencies, which is about 80 per cent of all the agencies in the creative, media specialists and out of home business since April last year towards sensitising them on the need for relicencing. So far, some have complied, he said.He explained that the licensing is in two categories. There is ‘Window A’ for agencies, who are members of recognised sectorial group and ‘Window B’ for those who are not members of any sectorial group.

Lekan, who regretted that the business of advertising has suffered unethical practices and there is need for sanity in the industry, said the council has shifted the goal post for the implementation of this reform up to three times.

“It was initially scheduled for October last year, but stakeholders appealed to APCON to give them three months,” he said. “In December, we had another meeting and they requested for another three months to regularise their registration.”He said if the reform of 2013, including the relicensing is properly implemented, it has the potential to create over 200,000 jobs for Nigeria in the next year.


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