We are not against regulations but repressive laws-Ajufo

By Oghale Mafuru

Against the backdrop of the series of regulations aimed to reposition the advertising industry, the President of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria, OAAN, Mr. Emmanuel Ajufo has maintained that the body is committed to all regulatory standards geared towards growth and inclusivity.

The President of the association who made this assertion while fielding questions from journalists at a recent symposium organized by Nimbus Media Limited, a leading digital outdoor agency, stated that the association is only against repressive laws capable of stifling the growth of its members.

“So, let me make it clear that we are not against regulation. What we have an issue with is when the regulation begins to reduce us. We believe that regulation should actually improve our business if it is done well. Because we strongly feel that regulation should set the standards and once the standard is set, all of us will follow.

“What it seems now is that they put money ahead. IGR now becomes a regulation. IGR should not be a regulation. I think IGR should be the end of regulation. So that if things are done well, and we do good business we should be able to pay what we are supposed to pay to the government.

“if regulation becomes strangulating, Then, of course, some of our members will go with it as it happened when LASSA came. A lot of our members lost their businesses. Some also had to go into some serious illness”.

According to the OAAN boss, stakeholders’ engagements is critical to the success of any decision-making process and must not be undermined in the regulatory framework of the industry as it is imperative to accommodate varied opinions for a more holistic approach and impact.

He said: “I think that regulators should take a marketing approach to regulation. Discuss with the stakeholders. Let everybody be onboard. Even the National Assembly before they pass laws, they call for public hearing. Whatever it is worth, they will take one or two things from the people.

So, when you are trying to come up with a law, you should carry us along. For instance, the concession decision the state government made, if that was discussed and if for instance money was the reason for concession, then we can discuss it and even talk about better solutions. if regulation is not well done, the negative impacts are much more likely than the positives” he said.

The OAAN further stressed that the association is not against efforts to increase Internal Generated Revenue but implored that such initiatives should be humane for businesses to avoid devastating impacts on practitioners.

“We don’t have a problem with IGR. Anybody that works should pay the government. But we have a problem where you are not earning anything and government wants you to pay. For instance, LASAA say we should pay for vacant sites.

“We have proposed to LASAA that there should be two components to a billboard, the land charge and advert fee. So, if the board is not occupied, let us pay the land charge and of course we know what land charge is.  That is not the commercial element. It is the advertisement that is the commercial element.

“When they throw up this issue of debts that we are owing, it is those vacant sites they are counting. Nobody will pay for vacant sites when they are have not aired it” he stressed.




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