#DigiClanSaysNo: Re: APCON
by Orifunke Lawal (Communications Team, DigiClan Africa).
The Advertising Practitioners’ Council of Nigeria (APCON) has just released a circular online stating that there would, henceforth, be a vetting of social media ads by the Advertising Standards Panel. In very simple terms, this implies that before businesses and brands decide to run ad campaigns on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., they will be mandated to first pay a vetting fee of 25,000naira to be granted approval.
This isn’t all; this vetting/approval fee multiplies with an increased number of languages the ads are going to be in, as well as the different models of a particular product or service that your ad might have.
This stance appears to pose a struggle to online businesses by making basic growth, survival and expansion tough for them, to say the very least. The vetting proposal is nothing but a targeted fight against small, honest, Nigerian online businesses who are doing their best to not only make a living but to also ensure that there is a fair share of wealth growth and distribution in the country.
Furthermore, the APCON regulates advertisements by companies established in Nigeria on Nigerian land/platforms. Hence, the absurdity of this new development is also displayed in the knowledge that the body has no right, whatsoever, to charge online businesses for social media ads as most of these social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) are not owned by Nigerians, and do not exist in Nigeria. Nigerians are basically consumers of the product(s), not owners, and cannot be made to pay the fees that owners should normally pay.
While these advertising rules may find some ground with respect to offline businesses, irrespective of how victimizing this also is, asking people to pay a fee to vet social media ads is nothing but an outright trespass of authority.
It is also paramount to note that according to the APCON Act, APCON’s authority does not extend to non-advertising practitioners, and, therefore, online businesses are not mandated to get a vetting/approval from APCON before placing their social media ads.
We stand for a country where every business is given the opportunity to grow, not just for themselves but for every other person. We all know that most businesses have families, generations, and loved ones who are directly or indirectly linked to them.
According to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, micro, small and medium scale businesses account for more than 84% of jobs in the entire country. Internet penetration is also at an all-time high as the NCC reports that more than 91 million Nigerians are online and about 80% of this population are most likely to be inclined to doing business (either buying/selling) online. This is too large a number to neglect when it comes to the economic effect this could have on businesses and on the general country.
Considering that Nigeria ranks as the “Poverty Capital” of the world, it is more than safe to say that a fight against one single online business is an attack on millions of other people in the system.
We, hereby, do not subscribe to the vetting/approval fees for online ads as recently released by APCON. We say no to any proposal or law that could seem like an attack against digital businesses owned by Nigerians and/or focused on Nigerians. We stand to support our digital counterparts in the country every other individual whose life we aim at improving through what we do.
Moving forward, we remain committed to contributing our quota to the economic development of the country at large through digital means.
About DigiClan Africa
DigiClan is Africa’s largest community of digital professionals with over 25 chapters across 4 countries in Africa. Members share the latest trends and insights, connect with fellow digital professionals and leverage massive opportunities together.
For more information, you can reach the Director of Communications via jumoke [at] digiclan.africa