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Advertising practitioners task government on governing council for APCON

By Margaret Mwantok
10 December 2019   |   4:20 am
Advertising experts have urged the Federal Government to urgently set up the Governing Council of Advertisers Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) and allow...

A cross section of participants at the National Advertising Conference…in Abuja

Advertising experts have urged the Federal Government to urgently set up the Governing Council of Advertisers Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) and allow it play its regulatory role without fear or favour. They made the charge at the maiden edition of National Advertising Conference held recently in Abuja. It would be recalled that APCON has been without a chair for almost four years.

Chairman of Troyka Group, Mr. Biodun Shobanjo, said that though the global marketing support appropriation had continued to witness an average annual growth of four per cent, with a global spend of $628.63 billion in 2018, Nigeria’s support appropriation has been declining year on year over the past six years, resulting in a paltry spend of N88 billion or a mere $291.3 million dollars within the same year in a market of 200 million consumers.

According to him, “A situation where interlopers are allowed to infiltrate the business, as is the case in many sectors must be stopped. One keeps hearing stories of how the rules are being bent for children of the strong and powerful. This cannot be good for the industry. “I cannot pretend to be adept at the way government works, given that I have spent about 56 years of my life working, including for government. I still am at a loss to understand why it’s been so difficult to constitute a Council for APCON these past three years or so. Section 10 of decree 55 of 1988 established APCON Council. That same decree spelt out its composition. I am not unaware that some overzealous politicians assume that they can have a role to play in APCON, forgetting that it is strictly a professional body. My assumption is that unless and until government amends the decree, it may be difficult to subvert the intent and purpose of the decree.”

President, Outdoor Advertising Association Of Nigeria (OAAN), Mr. Emmanuel Ajufo, said the theme, ‘Advertising in the Digital Age’ was apt, especially with the digital explosion being witnessed in the advertising eco-system, home, and across the world, as it defines relevance.

He said, “OAAN joins its voice with other stakeholders in the call on the Federal Government to accord the advertising industry the respect and recognition it deserves by treating the issue of composition of APCON’s Governing Council as dictated by the relevant laws. We are also relevant to government at all levels in the critical areas of revenue generation, enhancing the aesthetics of the environment, payment of taxes, and other levies and employment generation.”

Ajufo further called on government to provide the enabling environment for advertising to thrive by providing electricity and other basic things, adding, “We are, to be mild, at the mercy of departments and agencies that are not bothered about our business on which ironically, they depend for huge revenues.

“We, however, call on various partnerships necessary to succeed in this era: government, through the provision of infrastructure and regulatory agencies to appreciate the value of OOH to our socio-economic environment and apply rates and policies that will enhance the industry, financial institutions to offer friendly funding opportunities, and, of course, our clients, who are the reason we are in business, to also appreciate that we can only offer them the desired services when they, too, make the relationship collaborative and mutually rewarding.”

Group CEO, Prima Garnet Africa, Lolu Akinwunmi, listed poor economy, government policies and regulations, poor and inadequate human resources, technology/lack of research, industry debt issue, corruption, and poor capitalization as some of the challenges of the profession. He stressed the importance of a relationship between the profession and government through closer interaction between the ministry of information, other government’s arms and the industry.

“We feel particularly concerned that six years into the Buhari administration,” he said, “APCON does not have a Chairman and Council. For a major parastatal that plays a key role in public communication and serves as a gatekeeper, it is inadequate, and this should be redressed. I will like to use this opportunity to convey to the government and especially the minister of information and culture that the government has a very strong ally in our industry, and we are more than prepared to offer our services and support. We use this opportunity again to call on government to appoint a Chairman and Council for APCON.”

On his part, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, assured adverting practitioners of government’s support for the growth of the profession by according it the required institutional support necessary for its unhindered growth and competitiveness in the African and global market.

He said, “I hereby urge you all to continue to conduct your advertising businesses with utmost professionalism and patriotism in the best interest of Nigerian consumers and other members of the public above any commercial or profit interests. The respect and patronage you can attract to your profession depend a lot on both the benefits accruing from your services as well as the integrity with which you carry out your practice.”