Heads of Advertising Sectoral Groups (HASG) has criticised the federal government over plans to impose N100,000 on brands who air their foreign-produced adverts on TV stations showing in Nigeria.
Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, on Monday, explained that the brands must pay the fine as long as their adverts are showing on TV stations airing in the country.
Reacting in a statement on Wednesday, HASG said: “While there are some merits in the bid to encourage and support local production of contents in a bid to support the local industries, the minister must understand that there has to be allowed to develop organically.”
“First it is important that the minister should understand that advertisers put their advertising investment where the eyeballs of Nigerians are.
“The media decisions are driven by the consumers’ interest, passion, inspiration and aspirations. CNN and other international news channels are watched by Nigerians locally and internationally, the world is now a global village and Nigerians do not only live within our physical boundaries.
“Nigeria based news channels and contents developed locally are also consumed across many countries beyond our borders, with no special fines and levies imposed on companies who place adverts within them.
“Also, many leading advertisers are multinational companies who rationally seek to explore economies of scale in the production of materials, negotiation costs and broadcast of their contents which run across many countries.”
The group also urged the federal government to invest in media infrastructure in order to improve growth in the industry.
“Even with this said, empirical information and trended data shows clearly that investment on local broadcast stations still outweighs that of foreign channels,” HASG said.
“There are many areas where the government can support the industry to grow, this includes funding in the areas of technical infrastructure, content development grants, and investment in tools of measurement of advertising effectiveness and efficiency.
“With the right support for the marketing communication industry, content development, local media investment and media infrastructural development will grow and improve organically.
“The Nigerian music and entertainment industry, as well as the movie industry, did not emerge and become global by forced legislative fiats, but via organic growth and creativity of the practitioners.
“Production and content development capabilities are improving daily as technology and funding improve, these are the areas of support required for the local players and production industry to emerge and lead the world.”
The group urged the minister “to engage the industry players and practitioners more and explore collaboration on issues like this before making these pronouncements that can significantly impact the industry.
“Our sectoral group is made up of integrated marketing communications professionals and we should be engaged and consulted in matters relating to our industry as it is done with other professional sectoral bodies in Nigeria.
“We will continue to reach out and be available to support the ministry of information and culture as well as its regulator, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) in moving the marketing communications industry in Nigeria forward.
“Finally we strongly appeal to the ministry as well as the national assembly, to engage and involve the professional practitioners of the various sectors of the marketing communications industry in the conversations on policies at the point of ideation, formulation and development of these policies”.