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ARCON unveils sweeping reforms to transform industry landscape

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To rejuvenate and reposition the Nigerian advertising business for long-term growth and development, the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has unveiled a comprehensive package of reforms.

At a press conference in Lagos, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, the Director-General of ARCON, presented the government’s action plans and strategic priorities aimed at bringing about change in the advertising industry. The many efforts included in the reforms are aimed at improving financial stability, developing capacity, promoting local talent and resources, and enhancing regulations.

A pivotal aspect of the new regulatory framework is the introduction of mandatory N1 billion professional indemnity insurance for advertising agencies operating under sectoral associations such as AAAN, EXMAN, MIPAN, and OAAN. This requirement, effective April 1, 2024, aims to fortify service delivery standards, enhance capacity, and ensure long-term stability within the industry.

Additionally, ARCON is undertaking a review of minimum capital and working capital thresholds for agencies in collaboration with industry stakeholders. The objective is to align these requirements with economic realities and capacity-building programs while fostering a conducive business environment.

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In addressing the critical issue of payment terms, ARCON is collaborating with relevant authorities to enforce a maximum 45-day payment cycle for advertising services. Organizations deviating from this policy risk being labeled as economic saboteurs and may face punitive actions.

Furthermore, the council is implementing measures to restrict the use of foreign talent in advertisements targeting Nigerians, emphasizing the primacy of local professionals. ARCON will scrutinize requests for the use of foreign models or voices, granting approval only when deemed necessary.

Other reforms include the establishment of a comprehensive data bank for agencies through a nationwide audit, the deregulation of media rates, adherence to engagement and disengagement procedures outlined in the Advertising Industry Standard of Practice (AISOP), and the publication of a register of approved advertising practitioners following a membership review.

ARCON also announced the formation of a national workshop and committee to develop a regulatory framework for the out-of-home advertising sector in collaboration with stakeholders.

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