It is with great excitement and relief that the Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria, ITPAN, received the delightful news that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the National Assembly and the Director-General of Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria have finally and jointly decided on a more effective regulatory framework to guide and protect the practice of Advertising and its ancillary businesses in conformity with the best practices within the global advertising community.
According to a release signed by its Director-General, the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, ARCON has just announced its policy of compelling a “minimum of 75% cumulative local content in advertisements targeted at the Nigerian market.” It went on to state that “ARCON, being the apex advertising, advertisement and marketing communications’ regulatory agency of the Federal Government, has, in accordance with its statutory mandates, responsibilities and powers as conveyed by the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria Act No. 23 of 2022, ban use of foreign models and voice-over artists on any advertisement targeted at the Nigerian advertising space with effect from October 1, 2022.”
The above, according to the DG, conforms with the Federal Government’s policy of developing local talent and achieving an inclusive economic growth for all sectors, including advertising. With an annual loss of about N120bn annually “to production of advertising, advertisements and marketing communication materials outside the country”, it is little wonder why the industry in Nigeria has all but collapsed with the attendant massive loss of jobs and weakened capacity to contribute to the country GDP. This has led to some of the core advertising agencies branching out into other areas of mass communications to stay afloat while hundreds of employees have lost their means of livelihood. Even those in the allied businesses of audio-visual productions, casting and modeling have had to move away into other fields of human endeavour just as training investments have continued to dwindle overtime.
A statement signed by President, Adeyinka Oduniyi further noted that ITPAN has long been an advocate and campaigner for urgent and critical policy interventions to save the practice and business of advertising in Nigeria. This was made even more imperative by the frightening rate at which the production of audio-visual materials like tv commercials and documentaries were being ferried away from Nigeria by advertisers and their agencies due to an abysmally weak regulatory environment. In the ADNEWS publication dated 11 October 2002, the former President of ITPAN Mr. Femi Odugbemi lamented “Our advertisers and agencies are investing locally generated money to develop the production industry in other countries” which obviously do not need our generosity.
It is therefore gratifying to identify with and fully endorse the noble determination of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, not only to stem the hemorrhage but to deliberately put in place a policy environment that will protect and encourage the rebuilding of a viable and sustainable advertising industry for the overall good of our national economy, to the profit of the practitioners and for the cultural benefits of our people. At fruition, this new policy will put an immediate end to the acts of ferrying production of audio-visual advertisement materials to producers in foreign countries as well as discourage the use of foreign models and voice-over artistes thereby returning the jobs to equally and even better skilled Nigerians.
As a direct consequence, the very many lost briefs and jobs shall return while our languishing production equipments shall find opportunities for productive engagements. On their parts, business owners shall be encouraged to reinvest and re-employ those who had been redundant; new investors and investments shall be attracted to bring in funding opportunities that financial institutions can leverage on.
This bold commitment by the regulator and government deserves the total support and equal commitment of all stakeholders’ organisations including ADVAN and other practitioners to bring the initiative to full fruition for our mutual benefits. To this end, we strongly recommend that ARCON must demand total compliance with this new policy regime in order that the Advertising industry and its ancillaries may fully return to add value to our national desire to become Big, Strong and Formidable.
On our part, ITPAN hereby commits to engage with ARCON and other critical stakeholders to begin the rejuvenation process by developing ideas and strategies as well as implementing strategic partnerships and business opportunities that can lead to a more prosperous and sustainable industry for Nigeria and it’s people.