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ARCON sparks controversy with N3 Million vetting fee for foreign advertisements


The Advertising Regulatory Council (ARCON) has ignited a contentious debate in the advertising industry by imposing a hefty N3 million vetting fee for advertisements produced outside Nigeria.

The move has drawn criticism from the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), raising concerns about the impact on creativity and innovation in the sector.

ADVAN President, Osamede Uwubanmwen, expressed deep apprehension over ARCON’s decision, pointing out the troubling direction the council is taking due to its exclusion from the national budgetary allocation by the Federal Government. Uwubanmwen emphasized that this exclusion is driving ARCON toward an aggressive taxing regime, stifling creativity in advertising.

The ADVAN president highlighted the imposition of special vetting fees, specifically the N3 million charge for vetting advertisements shot abroad. He emphasized the financial burden this places on advertisers and warned of potential future absurdities, stating, “If we are not careful, we will be told to vet obituaries.”

Uwubanmwen expressed frustration at ARCON’s lack of response to a legal challenge against certain provisions in the new ARCON law. He raised concerns about the lack of transparency, alleging that ARCON has not provided the gazetted copy of the new law, leaving advertisers in the dark about the regulations governing their industry.

The impact of the new law extends beyond financial constraints, adversely affecting the Nigerian entertainment industry. ADVAN had previously warned ARCON against banning the use of foreign models in local adverts, but the plea went unanswered. Uwubanmwen revealed that Nigerian content exposure abroad is diminishing due to these regulations.

In response to the escalating tensions, ADVAN has engaged in productive discussions with the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Malagi. Uwubanmwen emphasized the urgency of addressing the challenges faced by advertisers and outlined key concerns during the discussions.

ARCON’s Director-General, Olalekan Fadolapo, defended the new law, stating that it is essential for sanitizing certain underhanded practices in the industry. In recent months, the regulatory challenges between ADVAN and ARCON highlight the need for transparent communication and collaboration to foster a thriving creative landscape in the advertising industry.

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