Stakeholders advocate collaboration for effective regulations

Stakeholders in the integrated marketing communications, as well as allied industry, have advocated collaboration between regulatory agencies and industry players for effective and efficient regulations.

This call was made at the Advertisers Association of Nigeria, ADVAN Industry Dialogue 2022 in Lagos recently.

The 2022 ADVAN Industry Dialogue whose keynote speaker was Jumoke Oduwole, Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria, spoke on the topic themed: the role of government regulations in the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

Other dignitaries who attended the industry dialogue include Olalekan Fadolapo, Registrar/CE, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, Mrs Dozie-Nwapa, Deputy director of NAFDAC, Osamede Uwubanmwen, President ADVAN, Emmanuel Ajufo, President Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria, Tunji Adeyinka, President Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria and other related associations and regulatory agencies.

Speaking on the need for collaboration, Oduwole said that “our collaboration with the private sector has continued to make it possible for us to know where the shoe pinches and creates a constant flow of ideas for pragmatic interventions.

“It is gratifying to note that in the last three decades since its establishment in 1992, with top 100 companies in Nigeria as 11 pages of the newspapers continued to attempt to articulate something more.

“It appeared that in addition to the known formal taxes, levies and charges, MSMEs bear multiple unquantified costs (both official and unofficial) associated with regulatory compliance from several government agencies, which, when taken cumulatively, significantly impact the business’ bottom line, hindering their ability to plough back such revenue into productive ventures.”

Thus, in 2019 the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, commissioned a pilot study around the formal and informal regulatory cost of compliance for MSMEs in Lagos and the FCT with a view to identifying and targeting successful reforms towards boosting the productivity of these businesses, thereby fostering the creation of jobs for millions of Nigerians and an increased GDP.

The Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business said, “Empirical evidence from the pilot survey confirmed earlier anecdotal feedback by showing that 51% of MSMEs paid 12 unofficial fees for regulatory services. The survey equally revealed that actual compliance cost was higher than official stated costs, while process timelines overshot timelines published. It was also established that there is a huge communication gap between regulators and MSMEs.”

Therefore, speaking directly to the integrated marketing communication industry, Oduwole stated that bringing this all home to today’s dialogue, by our assessment, the advertising industry in Nigeria is regulated by a combination of federal laws, state and possibly local government laws, with other subsidiary legislations including regulations and guidelines.

“There are at least five regulatory agencies involved in regulating advertising. Foremost among which is the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON. Other regulatory bodies include – National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, and Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency, LASAA, and possibly others.

“I have recently been intimated of some specific and more general regulatory challenges that ADVAN members are currently experiencing, including delays in obtaining regulatory approvals from some agencies, and perhaps even more disturbing to us at the PEBEC is the inference of regulatory interference in day-to-day operations by the imposition of 18 to deliver the reforms that will enable your businesses to thrive.

“I am confident that this dialogue will contribute significantly to the smoothening of any rough edges in the relationship between regulators and the advertising community as a whole going forward,” she posited.

Fadolapo, the Registrar of APCON, during the panel discussion, explained that the new Advertising Standard of Practice was a means to an end, which he explained was to promote fairness and equity in the Industry.

Also in the panel was Dozie-Nwapa, Deputy director of NAFDAC representing the DG, reported that NAFDAC regulatory policies were to ensure that the advertisement messages were in conformity with the actual features of the products.

Responding on behalf of Advertisers was O’Tega Ogra, an Executive Council Member of ADVAN, as well as the Group Head, Brands and Corporate Communications, BUA group, said, “No Advertiser was against regulation, but that regulations should facilitate business, and that regulators should give the opportunity for decent equitable partnerships with stakeholders”.

Also in attendance were representatives from Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency, LASAA, The National Economic Summit Group, Lagos State Ministry of Trade and Commerce, as well as other key agencies.

The ADVAN President, Uwubanmwen in his remark thanked the keynote speaker for honouring the Association’s invitation to speak on this burning issue as well as other government regulatory agencies and head of advertisng sectoral groups who were present.

He said that the dialogue was not on the APCON recently promulgated Advertising Industry Standard of Practice document, AISOP, but to find a common ground for members of ADVAN to operate in a harmonious way.

“We are not here to discuss AISOP. ADVAN members have multiple regulators, therefore, APCON cannot be the only headache we have. We are regulated by NAFDAC, SON, APCON, so we have invited the expert in the ease of doing business to share knowledge with us,” the ADVAN president said.

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