Regulators Are Pulling Down Billboard Structures Over Unpaid Debt – Adedoyin | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Regulators Are Pulling Down Billboard Structures Over Unpaid Debt – Adedoyin

Posted: Apr 3, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

No doubt, the effect of downward slide in Nigeria’s economy has taken its toll on different sectors including the out of home industry. In this interview with Olamide Bakare, the President of Outdoor Agencies Association of Nigeria, OAAN, Babatunde Adedoyin, speaks on the state of the industry, some of the challenges affecting its growth and other issues.




As someone who has been in the industry for a while, how will you assess out-of-home in the first quarter of 2016?


I must say that things have not been particularly rosy economic wise. If one needs to be truthful, the economy at this time is in total recession. Therefore, in a situation like this, there is no way it would not affect our industry. I must confess frankly that this first quarter of this year is not rosy at all. If you take a look at what is happening, you would realize that clients are cutting budget. As I speak, some clients are not sure what they want to do this year and some can’t even access foreign exchange to bring in raw materials. And since they do not have raw materials needed to produce, hence they can’t advertise. The problems are there and we are hoping that next quarter would be better.


For the first quarter of this year, as we speak, there are no media orders from most companies, some of them are still trying to put it together because of the uncertainty that we are facing today. That is the basic truth.


Considering the hard time facing the industry, how well are you coping with the issue of regulations and regulators?


Unfortunately, the regulators are not helping matters as they see our sector as cash cow without bearing the pains of what we go through. All they seem to be interested in is to boost revenue. Often time, they hide under the excuse that it is all about environment. Primarily, all they are concerned is about money. That explains why they are doing all they can to source for money especially at a time when the allocation from the centre seems to have dropped. I am aware they have tasked all revenue generating agencies including the finance department to look inward in generating more revenue for the state. If you are a landlord in Lagos, you will understand what I am talking about from tenement rate to ground rate and it has been all kind of charges. Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) is trying to collect money at all cost and everybody is looking for ways to get money from operators because allocation coming from the centre is little or nothing. Therefore, most of them are now thinking in the way of internally generated revenues but unfortunately we are also suffering from the same problem from clients who are already reducing the budget. As we speak, they are not giving orders and are not paying the debts owed.


This is not peculiar to Lagos but all of them. As we speak, our boards are being pulled down in Kaduna, Rivers, Abuja. We have been to all these places and the story is all the same except that charges in Lagos are higher because they are the pioneer of these agencies. However, the most unfortunate part of it is that we don’t have any sympathy from regulators.


OAAN seems to have established relationship with LASAA, does that kind of relationship exist with other states regulatory agencies?


First and foremost, we have not settled anything with Lagos. At the moment, we are still discussing. We are trying to arrive at an amicable solution; we are praying and hoping that, in a short time, this would come to an end. You realise that this is a professional association and as a company you are compelled to practice in all the state of the federation. We have some of our members that practice only in the east, we have some that practice only in the west and we even have some that practice only in Lagos. And whatever policy that we have, it should be safe whether it is in Lagos or outside Lagos. That is why we try not to put our annual general meetings in Lagos all the time. As I speak, someone is in Kaduna and Abuja doing some discussion with the regulators there. It is a professional association and the policy is the same whether you are in Lagos, Abeokuta or Uyo. Their problem is our problem.


We learnt on good authority that Lagos state is planning to franchise strategic locations to a foreign outdoor company. How true is it?


We are not sure but we are hearing it as rumour because we don’t have fact. And if we do not have fact, it becomes speculation. We have asked the LASAA MD that we heard from a reliable source that this foreign company came to their office and a meeting was held, he neither denied nor confirmed it. To us, it is still a rumour. We also asked the registrar of APCON who told us that, to his best of knowledge, they have not visited him and cannot practice in Nigeria without going through APCON.