It is indeed with excitement that I take advantage of this privilege to share with you certain issues that are of serious concern to members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria, (OAAN).We really cherish this opportunity as it will enable us share some of the burden of our practice in our industry with this gathering with the expectation that this platform would be able to proffer solutions to some of the issues.
The Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria is a body of all firms that have been duly licensed to engage in the practice of Outdoor Advertising (or out-of- Home Media – asit is popularly known) by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). APCON as you all know is a creation of law, as it was established by Act No. 55 of 1988, as amended by Act No. 93 of 1992 and Act No. 116 of 1993 and is charged with the primary responsibilities of:
• Determining who are qualified advertising practitioners;
Setting the standard of knowledge and skills required of such practitioners;
Compiling, maintaining, and keeping the register of practitioners;
Regulating and controlling the practice of advertising in Nigeria;
Conducting qualifying examinations in the profession;
• Performing all such other functions as are incidental or conducive to the aboveresponsibilities or any of them.
Where these responsibilities affect the practice of outdoor advertising, the Council has vested such powers in the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN).
Thus OAAN has been duly recognised in law to regulate and control the practice of Outdoor Advertising in Nigeria.It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the Outdoor Advertising Media industry is an important sub-sector of the economy as it is a major employer; and the members pay substantial part of their income as taxes to all the tiers of government. It is also reasonable to conclude that this very important sector of our economy should be given all the necessary assistance and encouragement to flourish.The reality however is that operators,especially members of my Association, are groaning under the burden of practice, most of which are unnecessary yokes placed on us by the powers that be.
It is a well-known fact that the place of outdoor advertising to the success of all forms of marketing communications efforts cannot beover emphasised. As a matter of fact, its influence has continued to be on the increase.This is largely because of the dynamic nature of the platform .It is one that can always easily adapt to prevailing trends. It has consistently been influenced by and has benefited tremendously from prevailing technological advancements. Furthermore, outdoor advertising has also helped to light up and beautify our environment.It makes the skyline of our cities more beautiful.
Above all, outdoor advertising is the most viewer- friendly platform when compared with other media platforms.It is the only platform from which the viewers get valuable information at no cost to them.
As a group of highly responsible professionals, our association is committed to the highest ethical standards. We are also committed to making the practicebetter and to accommodate the desires and expectations of the advertisers to the extent that we continue to help in the actualization of their visual communications objectives – there by further elevating their high level exposure in the market place. We are also committed to making our environment a great beneficiary of the beauty of outdoor advertising.
There are within this gathering ladies and gentlemen that can attest to it that we are investing more than ever before in the business, and in the environment.
Some of the challenges
I am mindful of the fact that this opportunity you have given me may not allow me to present and discuss all the nagging issues in details, I crave your indulgence, however, to present and briefly discuss some of them here.
Prominent among the industry’s headache arethe twin yokes of unrestricted government regulations and multiple taxations. Lack of appropriate and inadequate infrastructure (electricity) and influx of illegal operators are also issues that are of serious concern to us and a potential threat to the survival of the sector.
There is also the issue of huge indebtedness, especially by the clients.Permit me distinguish ladies and gentlemen to briefly discuss some of this issues.
Unrestricted govt regulation
It is a common knowledge that a section of the laws of the land recognises the local government for the purposes of controlling and deriving revenue from Outdoor Advertising, by way of permit fees. Lately, however, a number of states have hijacked such powers from the local governments and have now warehoused, so to speak, the powers in a new creation (perhaps not known to the laws of the land) called Signage and Advertisement Agencies. In the Federal Capital Territory, it is known as the Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage, DOAS.
And there is the issue of federal highwayshere both the respective states and the Department of Federal Highways have separate controls that the Outdoor operators have to cope with. There is so much Confusion; so much headache.
Closely related to the issue of multi – level regulation is that of multiple taxation. Each level of government now arbitrarily fixes rates on the basis of which are largely – unknown. As it is, most states have identified Outdoor Advertising as a surer source of revenue after oil and gas.The effect of this on our business is that it has grossly discouraged our clients, who ultimately pick the bills from patronising us. Unfortunately they have other alternatives that they go to, to the detriment of our sector. The multipliers effect is the loss of business to us; the loss of employment to our staff; and the loss of lives in some cases.
Lack of Appropriate
The dynamic nature of our media platform demands the availability of the relevant infrastructure, especially unhindered supply of power. It is a well-known fact even at this gathering that this has not been the experience in a long while now. Thus, it has become fashionable for operators to invest in alternative sources of energy.This has also added to the cost of doing the business.
Influx of Illegal operators
The relevant laws, especially the APCON Acts, forbid anyone who has not been approved and licensed by that body to practice advertising in any aspect for gain in the country. And for a firm to practice Outdoor Advertising, it must have been duly registered as a member of OAAN, or must have obtained the APCON’s license to practice without being a member of the Association. The experience however is that a number of individuals and firms are operating in the industry and they are neither legally registered by APCON to do so; nor are they registered with OAAN.
This has been made possible by the Signage and Advertisement Agencies who allows anyone with the financial means to practice in their states, even when such violates the laws of the land.
We need your help
The list of our challenges is endless. But we, sincerely, believe the problems are not insurmountable. And that is why we are delighted at this opportunity to make this presentation. Our expectation is that you will help with the interpretation of the relevant laws and, beyond that, assist us in communicating it to the right places that the laws must be obeyed and respected and that illegal structures created by government (aka Signage Agencies ) should be dismantled anddouble taxation stopped forthwith. We do, honestly, think that the signage and advertisement agencies are an aberration, and unknown to the laws of the land. They are illegal structures that must be dismantled. But we need you to help us in this regards.