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Association wants government to save advertising sector, reconstitute APCON

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Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN) has urged the Federal Government to re-constitute the board of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) without further delay to save the industry from collapse.

As an umbrella body of journalists covering brands and integrated marketing communications in Nigeria, the association, in a statement recently signed by its president, Goddie Ofose, decried the dissolution of the council for almost two years, saying the non-existence of a council for APCON has been crippling activities in the industry, leaving it with little or no rule enforcement.

According to BJAN, without a council being in place, the integrated marketing communications (IMC) industry and several other businesses have suffered over exposure.

The body noted that while it is pertinent that despite the sub-committee put in place by APCON to make recommendation for the online monitoring and regulations, the committee has remained redundant because it lacks power to go after anyone online to vet his or her adverts.

According to BJAN, “As it is right now, both APCON and FG are losing money because nobody brings an online advert to APCON for vetting. APCON’s sub-committee lacks the power to go to any online to vet their adverts because there is no council. And when the council is not there, business and our industry actually suffer over exposure.”

The body also noted that the absence of APCON council has unfortunately been aiding the unregulated influx of foreign agencies into the country, an action that is not healthy for the industry.

It would be recalled that in July 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari had dissolved APCON governing council along with other boards of agencies, commissions, and parastatals. Prior to the dissolution, SO&U Group Managing Director, Udeme Ufot, had headed the APCON Council, which was inaugurated on March 26, 2015, thus making history as the most short-lived, having spent only four months in office.

Similarly, the association has also expressed worries over recent development in the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN), where about 32 workers were allegedly sacked by the board. On December 23, 2016, the institute had, in a memo, announced the disengagement of all employees of the institute, giving till January 6, 2017 for those still interested in their jobs to re-apply.

Ofose said, while congratulating the newly elected president of the institute, Mr. Tony Agenmonmen, that the association found it worrisome that just months after the new president was elected, the entire workforce would be sacked.

According to him, “While BJAN is not comfortable with the position, the association is urging stakeholders to maintain status quo by calling everybody back, review the NIMN position in order to avoid the incident that happened in 2003 when the institute had division.

“The association wishes to remind the president about the past struggle of the institute when the Federal Government had to step in to reconcile the two warring factions by setting up a law, Act 25 of NIMN of 2003.”

Ofose said Nigerian brand journalists were not only members but also very functional stakeholders of the institute, adding, “BJAN is concerned about the balkanization of the marketing institute once again. If the current leadership of NIMN goes on with its planned retrenchment, BJAN fears that NIMN might divide into two again, a development the association would not want to witness again.

It would be recalled that while the institute was originally granted power through Act No. 25 of 2003, which was promulgated into law on July 25, 2003 by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, accordingly, two professional bodies, the Nigerian Marketing Association (NIMARK) and the Chartered Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (CIMN) had existed as separate professional bodies competing for membership and authority to regulate the practice of marketing profession in Nigeria.

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