By Raheem Akingbolu
Foreign agencies that are ready to explore the Nigerian advertising market within the ambit of the regulations guiding the practice in the country, are free to practice, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), has declared.
Speaking while speaking with journalists recently, the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the council, Dr. Lekan Fadolapo, however, said there are laws guiding advertising practice in the country, adding that such laws should be respected by any individual, interested in playing in the nation’s advertising space.
He added that the agency, was quite in tune with the federal government’s drive for foreign direct investments, and would therefore do everything possible to encourage such investments in nation’s marketing communications industry, as long as they did not contravene the advertising law.
“What we are trying to do at APCON is to ensure that rules of engagement are followed, especially by foreigners that want to be involved in the practice here. This has become necessary because we just don’t want to wake up one day and discover that all our agencies have been over-run by foreigners.
“And don’t forget that one of the promises of this government is to create jobs and leave the economy better than it met it. So we will not, before our very eyes, allow jobs meant for Nigerians, to be taken over by foreigners. We are very committed to protecting Nigerians’ interest,” he added.
Fadolapo also hinted on the possibility of the agency’s council getting inaugurated in a few weeks.
While he would not be specific with the date such inauguration would take place, the new APCON Registrar however expressed the belief that the issue of non-inauguration of the agency’s council would ‘soon’ be a thing of the past.
He insisted that talks were on to inaugurate the council and announce a new chairman that would oversee the affairs of the council, in no distant future.
Fadolapo, however, sought the support of the media in highlighting the reforms the agency would be embarking on, and the need for practitioners to play by the rule.
Four years ago, stakeholders in the Advertising stood against multinationals hiring foreign agencies, insisting that Act No 55 of 1988 that established APCON must be perfectly followed.
The multinational companies in the country that were hiring the services of foreign advertising agencies with no established offices and local affiliate agencies in the country, were therefore condemned and their actions were described illegal and brazen disregard for the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria.
Specifically, the multinational brands that jettisoned local agencies in business partnership were said to be involved in a practice that would stunt the growth and development of the service industry while finally crippling the national economy.
Prior to the period, some multinational companies with global brands were clandestinely resorted to hiring the services of some foreign creative, media and digital agencies in apparent disregard to the rules governing the practice of advertising business as enshrined in Act No 55 of 1988.