Outdoor advertising industry is facing plethora of challenges from regulatory agencies to competition. In this interview, the President of Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria, OAAN, Babatunde Adedoyin who said he has been able to enthrone unity among members, said the industry is engaging various stakeholders, embarking on research for survival of the industry. Adedoyin, the CEO of MediaView Limited who is re-contesting for presidency at the association’s meeting this week further said outdoor operators are heavily taxed. Daniel Obi reports
If you take a look at recession and OAAN, where is the industry?
It is obvious that recession did not only affect advertising alone. It is important to note that in recession, there is still need for companies to advertise. But unfortunately, most companies during recession always cut marketing communication budget. The last two years have been very severe on advertising business. We cannot say we are totally out of it because we are still experiencing it. In our industry, clients usually spend money on 12 months basis but these days they have adopted one to 3 months duration and this has been going on in the last 3 years. But we are hopeful that things will get better if the economy is managed well.
What is your relationship with regulators including LASAA?
Before now, we have been paying rates to local governments. But about 10 years ago, Abuja started with establishing agencies for regulations and this was followed by Lagos. We suppose to have an input in the establishment of those regulatory bodies but we were not involved. Unfortunately again, the regulators are looking at financial aspect of regulation and how much revenue they can rake in for government and this resulted into some unfriendly rates. In the last 10 years we have been battling with regulators for a common position on rates. We need rates that are friendly to business. If they charge clients very high, automatically they will spread this to their products. Today regulators have made our medium very expensive as only multinational can afford it now whereas in the past SMEs could come on board.
How does this affect government revenue?
This is our point of argument because if rates come down, government would generate more revenue as more firms would come to advertise. Unfortunately some of the regulators are not commercially oriented and they don’t look at issues deeply and some of them can not face their board or governor for this argument. Some of them cannot defend the scientific method on how they arrived at the rates they charge us. If we understand this, this will enable us to present same to our clients. We will however continue to engage and discuss with them on these issues. DGs of those regulators should be advertising practitioners so that they would understand our argument.
Some regulators came up with fees on vacant billboards which you opposed, what is the situation now?
In some states, the issue of vacant bill billboards has been resolved but Lagos has not been resolved but the MD of LASAA promised to look in to the issue with certain conditions as some boards that are on the roads have not been carrying messages for years. However we want to keep engaging the states on the issue for survival of business and employment.
For survival of the industry, won’t the industry think of re-focusing and strategising like considering M&As?
No one can fault the issue of M&As as it can come voluntarily and you cannot force it on anyone. For OAAN, we have been doing a lot of restructuring and that is why we are still surviving as more medium are competing with outdoor. Now some of our members are dropping their prices to survive the hardship on different platforms.
Could you, in specific terms, tell us the effect of OAAN challenges on employment and revenue to governments?
There is multiple taxation on our business and secondly the rates are high and we have been appealing to government to bring the rates down. Presently there is loss of employment of up to 50 percent in our industry in the last one year. The high rates including bills on vacant boards that are not generating money, have put much pressures on our members. I am sure that if many businesses are not doing business, it is likely to affect the revenues of government.
Last year you complained over non-payment of job to APC party during campaign, have you been paid?
We are yet to collect our money but we seriously believe that we will collect that money. We are still engaging government on the issue. We are not relenting on collecting that money which runs into a N1 billion.
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