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ADVAN Urges ARCON To Revisit Ban On Foreign Models, Calls For Caution In Hayat Kimya, Mainsail Media Case

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L-R: ARCON DG, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo and ADVAN President, Osamede Uwubanmwem

The Advertisers Association of Nigeria, (ADVAN), the national body that represents advertisers in Nigeria, has disagreed with the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, (ARCON) over the ban of foreign models in Nigerian advertising, and the manner in which the apex advertising regulatory body had handled Hayat Kimya and Mainsail Media Limited alleged indebtedness.

In a statement from the Executive Council of the Advertisers Association of Nigeria, the advertisers sectoral group said that “It is ADVAN‘s standpoint that the recent ban on foreign models, was not well thought out. It is a poorly researched and ineffective attempt at seeking a solution for sustainable growth in the advertising industry.

“Nigeria, as a country in the global economy, has an expatriate policy which allows for non-Nigerians to be gainfully and legally employed by Nigerian organisations, in adherence to the stipulations of the law, adding that “Any such ban contravenes the aforementioned policy, and presents Nigeria – a country that has a significant percentage of its population seeking income opportunities outside Nigeria, as a strict, insular, and nonreciprocal society. It is a widely known fact that Nigerian model, creatives, and voice-over artists are also beneficiaries of the friendly cross-border work/trade interactions that currently exist. This ban puts a distinct demography of Nigerians of employable age – especially youths who make up the large number of those in this space, at a significant disadvantage with their global counterparts.”

Speaking on the issue earlier exclusively to Brand Communicator, The President of ADVAN had said,” By our law, foreign experts can still work in this country. Nigeria is a signatory to the International Labour Organization (ILO) law.

We also have the ECOWAS agreement and Africa Continent Free Trade Area (AfCTA) agreement so you cannot just get up and just place a ban just like that”.

“Furthermore, ADVAN, therefore, believes that such a ban is not only harmful to Nigeria and Nigerians, but is also discriminatory, exclusionary, and does little to advance Nigeria’s commitment for instance, to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement AfCFTA, which Nigeria and Nigerian businesses stand to benefit from. Neither does it protect (as it claims), the interests of Nigeria’s burgeoning youthful population- many of who are in this field.

“While it is beneficial to create opportunities for local businesses and talents, it is counterproductive to do so in a manner that creates a harmful perception of the Nation, as an over-regimented and unwelcoming society,” Executive Council of ADVAN stated further.

He added that the use of foreign models by advertisers, does not represent a significant percentage in the Nigeria advertising scene. This is evident in the monumental growth in the Nigerian music, creative, and movie industries, where it has been made apparent that Nigerian talents are very respected and sought after – home and abroad.
Nigerian brands have also wholeheartedly embraced home grown talent in their brand building activities and have done so without any unnecessary government fiat, therefore, such a ban is totally unwarranted and self-serving in nature.

In its recommendation, ADVAN said, “In seeking development for the Nigerian advertising landscape, our recommendation will be for government to embrace comprehensive stakeholder interactions and inclusivity in their policy creation and implementation. This will provide clarity for reasons behind the decline of advertising budgets, and the most beneficial solutions in attracting increased spend. Regulation and regulators must be collaborative and inclusive, rather than confrontational in nature to help develop a given industry.”

Meanwhile, on the press release ARCON issued recently on Hayat Kimya Limited, ADVAN said that it reads with deep regret, the statement put out by ARCON, a government agency, seeking to meddle in an unwholesome manner, in a contractual dispute bordering on alleged fraud that is currently the subject of investigations by the appropriate law enforcement agency(ies).

“ADVAN states unequivocally that ARCON’s statement reeks of an underhand attempt to subvert the ongoing process in what has been alleged a criminal issue. This is against the rule of law as espoused by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

ADVAN, therefore, wants to use this medium to reiterate that Hayat Kimya Ltd, a member of ADVAN, is a responsible and law-abiding organization in Nigeria,” the statement stated.

The ADVAN signed press statement emphasised on the need for contractual agreement tobe upheld parties, it further stated that “While advertisers body supports the need for contractual agreements to be upheld by all parties concerned, we also advise all parties including ARCON to allow the relevant bodies empowered by the Nigerian constitution on issues of dispute resolution and, or breach of contracts, to carry out their full investigation and make available their findings after the completion of investigations.

“It is an overreach for ARCON as a regulatory institution, to demand an outcome in an ongoing business and contractual dispute, that has already been reported to relevant authorities when it is neither a law enforcement agency nor a court of law.

It is our hope that ARCON in its position will create structures towards ease of doing business in an already chaotic advertising environment, as well as be the catalyst for peaceful co-existence among stakeholders.

“We would like to reiterate that the entire industry is better served in an atmosphere of collaboration, mutual respect, and trust. We, therefore, enjoin ARCON and other relevant stakeholder associations to see businesses-who represent the bulk of advertisers in Nigeria, as partners in progress,” the statement reassured.
ADVAN has reiterated its close working relationship with APCON, now ARCON through the years, collaborating in various capacities, to support policy implementation, towards the growth and advancement of the industry.

The ADVAN President, Osamede Uwubanmwem said that ADVAN was a very active member of the debt reconciliation committee set up by APCON, in 2012, to investigate and seek out a lasting solution to the purported industry debts, and ADVAN continues to serve in various committees on ARCON.

ADVAN is the only national body that represents advertisers in Nigeria (Multinationals, large corporate establishments, and SMEs) which utilize the activities of marketing to promote their goods and service, since its establishment in 1992.

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