Advertisers protest ARCON’s N3m advert vetting fee

Advertisers protest ARCON’s N3m advert vetting fee

Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo.

Director-General, ARCON, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo

The Advertisers Association of Nigeria has expressed outrage at the decision by the Advertising Regulatory Council to impose a N3m vetting fee for advertisements produced outside Nigeria.

According to ADVAN President, Osamede Uwubanmwen, who stated this during an exclusive interview with The PUNCH, the Federal Government’s decision to remove ARCON from the national budgetary allocation was driving the council towards an aggressive taxing regime that is stifling players in the advertising industry.

He also expressed dismay that the regulatory body had yet to respond to a suit filed against it months after ADVAN challenged the legality of some of the provisions contained in the new ARCON law.

He said, “They came up with what they call special vetting fees. If you shoot an advert abroad, they’ll charge you N3m to vet it. We, as marketers, are not producing outside again. To a large extent, people have not read the new law.

“If we are not careful, we will be told to vet obituaries. They have not answered the suit we filed against them until today. They have not responded to the court in any way. So, they are not ready to address the matter in any way. So they can continue doing what they are doing.

He also expressed dismay that the regulatory body has yet to respond to a suit filed against it months after ADVAN challenged the legality of some of the provisions contained in the new ARCON law.

Speaking further, the ADVAN president lamented the negative effects some of the provisions of the new law were beginning to affect the Nigerian entertainment industry.

He recalled that the advertisers’ association had warned ARCON to reconsider its stance on banning the use of foreign models in local adverts, a warning which went unheeded.

He added, “As I speak to you now, I have heard that they have moved our Nollywood to limited time in some neighbouring countries. They are not showing it all the time, like before. I got this information from a media buyer that has companies outside Nigeria.

“So, I was telling them not to announce it. Don’t make the proclamation. So, when I said they should not do a model ban, they felt I was opposing it because I wanted to be going out to do shoots. But I said it because we have a relationship with other countries.”

According to Uwubanmwen, ADVAN has had productive discussions with the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Malagi and will be meeting with him this week to outline the key concerns of the advertisers.

He also pointed out that despite repeated requests by ADVAN to the regulator to avail the association of the gazetted copy of the new law, the advertisers had yet to see the law upon which ARCON was embarking on a comprehensive sweep of the industry.

However, an ARCON source confirmed to The PUNCH that the gazetted law was available for purchase at the ARCON office in Lagos.

In recent months, ADVAN has been at loggerheads with its regulator over the stipulations in the new ARCON law, which replaced the code guiding advertising under the defunct Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria.

On its part, the regulator had insisted that the new law was imperative for the sanitisation of certain underhanded practices in the industry.

In an exclusive interview with The PUNCH, the Director-General of the ARCON, Olalekan Fadolapo, said the council would not give free rein to industry players to perpetrate shoddy and unethical practices.

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