• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Self-regulation, constitution of APCON Council seen as solutions to grow Nigeria’s ad industry

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Practitioners in Nigeria’s advertising industry gathered Tuesday in Abuja where they took critical self-assessment of the profession with far-reaching suggestions to tackle the numerous challenges confronting the industry.

The solutions they arrived at include: urgent re-constitution of APCON council, adequate capitalisation of agencies in the industry, mergers and acquisitions to guarantee bigger firms, and collaborations within the industry.

The maiden national advertising conference initiated by Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), with representatives from all sectoral groups, is concerned about the non-appointment of APCON council by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government for about six years, a development that impedes the industry growth.

The forum, with over 400 delegates, notes that the less attention government is paying to the industry makes it mulls the idea of taking its fate in its hands by adopting self-regulation to grow the industry.

Opening discussion at the forum, the CEO of APCON, Ijedi Iyoha, who is driving the body in spite of the absence of a council, solicited for more perceptive support, encouragement and partnership of various levels of government with the private sector in the advert business.

Read also: Buhari meets Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, today

“The advertising profession is essential bridge which requires no dichotomy between public and private sector. The intensification of promotional policies by government for this profession will translate to immeasurable boost in the economy,” she said.

According to Iyoha, Nigeria is a destination to reckon with in investment in Africa, as “we have the desired market for every business and this market comes the need for advertising.”

She underscored the contribution of advertising to economic growth, stating that advertising brings positive balance in dealing with nations and people, and hoped the conference with the theme: Advertising in the Post Digital Age: The Profession, The Business and Nigeria’s socio-economic Development’ would  come up with solutions for the industry.

Leading the discussion on the topic, Lolu Akinwunmi, chairman of Prima Garnet, called for immediate reconstitution of APCON council as the apex advertising body had many roles to play in economic growth.

“It was inconceivable that last chairman of APCON was in 2015 and he served a few months before Buhari administration scrapped all boards of parastatals, including APCON. Sadly, APCON has been running without a council since then,” Akinwunmi said.

APCON plays major roles in ensuring that offensive communication is not shared in the public space, he said, as APCON also supervises the programmes in higher institutions and determines and registers higher institutions and practitioners.

Akinwunmi hopes that government resolves what is holding it in appointing the board for APCON to allow the industry function effectively.

The market communication practitioner who took a holistic view of the industry also noted that globally, businesses and professions including advertising industry were facing challenges and more so in Nigeria, as a developing country. “Most of the challenges are related to the profession while others are of general interest,” he said.

Some of the challenges are poor economy, government policies and regulations, multiple taxations, poor and inadequate human resource, and lack of research by agencies, inadequate capitalisation, corruption and industry debt, which is rising.

On poor capitalisation, he told the audience that this meant that agencies cannot adequately attract right talents and compete with foreign agencies that invest in Nigeria. “Many investors will not like to touch agencies who are inadequately capitalised,” he said.

During the panel discussion, Steve Babaeko of X3M Ideas, said APCON without a council was like flying aircraft with control tower, believing that the advertising industry could operate like the banking industry in terms of tenure of CEOs and capitalisation which could encourage M&As, he said the industry needs internal self-regulation.

On the necessity for M&As in the industry, Steve Omojafor, a frontline advertiser said the industry cannot achieve much with small agencies. “Agencies should find areas of collaborations to play big in the market”, he said.

Other members of the panel including Lanre Adisa of Noah’s Ark; Bunmi Oke, former president of AAAN and Femi Adelusi of MIPAN endorsed the idea of self-regulation in the face of government lethargy towards the industry.

In his speech, the minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed who was represented by his Permanent Secretary, Grace Ekpe appealed the advertisers to always make national interest paramount in their undertaking.  He advised that the Code of advertising ethics should not be taken lightly.

She said in branding and in any other form of advertising, “we must be mindful of our diversity and show respect to others who may be different from us in terms of their ethnicity, religion and political beliefs.