Out-of-home Ad op­er­a­tors ap­peal to govern­ment for debt can­cel­la­tion to cush­ion ef­fect of Covid-19

Business Day (Nigeria) - - MEDIA BUSINESS - DANIEL OBI

Op­er­a­tors in Nige­ria’s out­door ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try who are bur­dened by the chal­leng­ing eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment wors­ened by the ef­fects of Covid-19 has pas­sion­ately ap­pealed to the govern­ment for debt can­cel­la­tion in­curred on va­cant bill boards as pal­lia­tive ex­tended to other in­dus­tries within this pe­riod.

De­spite high op­er­a­tional cost, mul­ti­ple tax­a­tions, in­se­cu­rity, in­fra­struc­ture deficit and ad­ver­tis­ing bud­get cut by com­pa­nies, out­door ad­ver­tis­ers are un­for­tu­nately charged fees by La­gos State Sig­nage and Ad­ver­tis­ing Agency (LASAA) on empty bill­boards.

In the spirit of pal­lia­tives to other sec­tors to cush­ion the ef­fects of Covid-19 on busi­nesses, mem­bers of Out­door Ad­ver­tis­ing As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (OAAN) pleaded with the au­thor­i­ties to re­visit va­cant site pol­icy of the govern­ment. “This is be­cause a lot of debts that our mem­bers are car­ry­ing are trace­able to bills sent on sites that did not en­joy any dis­play”, Em­manuel Ajufo, the Pres­i­dent of the body said at the OAAN 35th yearly meet­ing re­cently. This year the meet­ing was held vir­tu­ally.

He strongly be­lieved that there can be no bet­ter time than now to ask for the can­cel­la­tion of the debts owed as a re­sult of bills on va­cant sites. It will be re­called that govern­ment re­cently granted a 60% debt can­cel­la­tion to broad­cast­ing in­dus­try on li­cense fees.

Ajufo noted that OAAN mem­bers too have not shied away from giv­ing their own form of pal­lia­tives which runs into mul­ti­ples of mil­lions of Naira. “Recog­nis­ing that our clients have been badly af­fected by the Covid-19, we gave a whop­ping 25% dis­count on our rates from May to end of Septem­ber 2020, to the ad­ver­tis­ers. On govern­ment side, our mem­bers have also been dis­play­ing Covid-19 mes­sages pro-bono”, he said.

The meet­ing themed, ‘’OOH Busi­ness and Emerg­ing Realities” had heads of key sectoral bod­ies in at­ten­dance, ad­dressed the Covid-19 pan­demic-in­duced chal­lenges be­dev­illing the in­dus­try, and prof­fered so­lu­tions ca­pa­ble of lift­ing the ad­ver­tis­ing sub-sec­tor out of its present dol­drums.

The OAAN boss also de­cried the state of the ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try, cit­ing the pro­longed ab­sence of APCON Coun­cil as the bane of the sub-sec­tor. “Our in­dus­try is like a flock of sheep with­out a shep­herd. This is be­cause APCON has no Coun­cil, and this has been go­ing on even be­fore the out­break of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic”.

The APCON Act­ing Regis­trar, Ijedi Iy­oha, dur­ing her pre­sen­ta­tion dur­ing the meet­ing, thanked the OAAN lead­er­ship and cap­tains of other sectoral bod­ies for liv­ing up to the billing de­spite the daunt­ing chal­lenges pre­sented by the pan­demic.

“I must com­mend OAAN and all the sectoral bod­ies for meet­ing the chal­lenges, posed by the global pan­demic, head on.

Win­ners of var­i­ous Fu­ture Creative Lead­ers Academy were re­cently at the premises of the Ad­ver­tis­ing Prac­tion­ers Coun­cil of Nige­ria, long time sup­porter and spon­sor of the pro­gramme to cel­e­brate their win­ning. They were re­ceived by the Ijedi Iy­oha, act­ing regis­trar of APCON

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