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

In a statement signed by the Executive Council, Advertisers Association of Nigeria, “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.

“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 non-reciprocal society. 

“It is a widely known fact that Nigerian models, creatives, and voice-over artists are also beneficiaries of the friendly cross-border work/trade interactions that currently exist. This ban puts the distinct demography of Nigerians of employable age, especially youths who make up a large number of those in this space, at a significant disadvantage with their global counterparts.

“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 whom 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.

“Additionally, 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 film industries, where it has been made apparent that Nigerian talents are well-respected and sought after, at home and abroad.  Nigerian brands have also wholeheartedly embraced home-grown talents in their brand-building activities, and have done so without any unnecessary government fiat. Therefore, such a ban is unwarranted and self-serving.”

In its recommendation, ADVAN said, “In seeking development for the Nigerian advertising landscape, our recommendation will be for the 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 spending. Regulation and regulators must be collaborative and inclusive, rather than confrontational, 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 organisation in Nigeria,” the statement stated.

ADVAN further emphasised the need for contractual agreement to be upheld by parties, adding, “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.

“We 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.”

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