The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has stated its readiness to take all necessary and legal steps to sanitise the Nigerian advertising industry.
According to the Council, ARCON remains the industry regulator and will not submit to any group that threatens to undermine the growth and development of the advertising industry.
This was contained in a statement by the Council on Monday, signed by Head, Corporate Affairs, Winifred Akpan in response to the Advertisers Association of Nigeria, (ADVAN)’s claim that the newly introduced advertising law is in breach of Nigeria’s constitution, and therefore unacceptable to practising advertisers.
The Council stated further that, its duty is to set minimum acceptable industry standards for advertising, advertisement and marketing communications.
“The standard is a framework to guide all transactions involving stakeholders.
“All regulatory agencies set standards and framework to guide all transactions involving stakeholders but some ADVAN members that engage in oppressive policies with impunity over the years are uncomfortable with the new fair-trade practice framework.
“They want to continue taking the industry for granted through exploitative policies, fleecing other stakeholders, which they cannot do in other countries.
On the ban of foreign models, ARCON explained that the local content policy of the Council is aimed at enabling Nigerian and Nigerians have benefits of advertising.
“The policy stipulates minimum local content percentage in all advertisements encouraging all organisations with intention to advertise in Nigeria to use Nigerians as part of the critical element of the advertisement.”
This policy according to the Council has improved the quality of marketing communications practices as well as enable Nigeria as a country and Nigerians as citizens to enjoy benefits of the industry.
“The attitude of some companies that crave for imported advertisement has led to loss of jobs in the industry, with over N120bn loss by Nigerian companies in revenue annually and we cannot allow this to continue.”
Also, contrary to ADVAN’s claim that they did not participate in the ARCON law review, the Council stated that the law is an act of the National Assembly that took into cognizance input from all stakeholders and the public.
“The public hearing was done at the National Assembly, and all stakeholders attended including ADVAN and they made submissions orally and in writing, the record is there for everyone to see.”
Pointing out the position of ADVAN that the payment policy is not acceptable, ARCON asked ADVAN to explain what happens in other market or clime as it relates to payment policy.
“It is an industry-agreed standard, you get service and you pay for it within 45 days at most.
“But rather than pay, they offered to further improvise the other stakeholders with unfair practices and unethical policies, thereby endangering the Nigerian Advertising industry,” ARCON explained.
For ADVAN to say that some sections of the ARCON law are draconian, the Council explained that some ADVAN members that have enjoyed the benefits of unfair business practices with impunity are resisting changes that will improve the Nigerian economy and allow Nigerians to enjoy benefit of advertising but they cannot continue to hold the industry to ransom.
On ADVAN’s disagreement on disengagement policy, ARCON stated that the only reason some ADVAN members are against the policy is because of the equity and fairness the policy brings to the table in which everyone has a right to hire and fire an agency or terminate any contractual obligation.
“However, whenever you terminate such contract, do reconciliation, and honour outstanding obligations arising from the contract before bringing another agency to the business, this is the position of ARCON that ADVAN insists is interference.”
Responding to ADVAN President’s statement on the AOT Chairman, ARCON said the statement credited to the ADVAN President, that retired Judge cannot make a valid judgement as Chairman of a Tribunal is not only unfortunate but a display of his lack understanding of the Nigerian Legal System and this goes for some of the opinions he has publicly expressed on critical industry issues at different times.
Also on the statement that ADVAN has not been engaged or involved in industry issues, the Council disclosed that ADVAN currently has two representatives on the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP), they also had a representative on the AISOP Committee that worked on the Advertising Industry Standard of Practice and a representative on the Nigerian Advertising Code Review Committee, Fellowship Committee, National Advertising Conference Committee.
ARCON act signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently, the Act which repealed the Advertising Practitioners (Registration, etc.) Act, Cap. A7, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and enacted the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria Act, 2022 to establish a Council for advertising, advertisements and marketing communications as the apex regulatory authority for the Nigerian advertising industry, make provision for the regulation and control of advertising, ensure the protection of the general public and consumers, promote local contents and entrench the best international practices.