The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has been hauled over the coals from Nigerians on social media over its new directive stating that all Nigerian brands are now required to submit their adverts for vetting and also pay the sum of N25,000 to the Council before placing such advert on social media and websites.
APCON is the governing body that monitors and ensures ethical advertising practice in Nigeria.
According to a letter announcing the new directive signed by the Acting Registrar of the council, Ijedi Iyoha,
“Article 21 and 80 (a) of the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice, Sales Promotion and Other Rights Restrictions of Practice” quoted in the directive means that APCON’s mandate covers all areas of advertising, including those deployed online.”
Hence, before any Nigerian brand can put up ads online, it needs to first get approval from APCON, and each ad clearance will cost ₦25,000 (~$69) for each ad concept, much like for offline ad clearance.
According to the new directive, failure to pay the appropriate due will attract six months imprisonment or a ₦500,000 (~$1378) fine from the Council.
Of course, many Nigerians didn’t take the directive serious since it was reported in some sections of the media a few weeks ago until a social media user shared a letter from APCON informing a Lagos-based company that it had violated the new directive.
A Twitter user @chandni_lish shared a copy of the letter from APCON dated 4 September, informing a Lagos-based fashion shop of not presenting its online advert for vetting by the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP), a statutory committee of APCON.
My fellow entrepreneurs, it’s like this country finds every little way to snuff life out of you. We are still dealing with the VAT increase, APCON is sanctioning social media adverts . Please take a look at these pic.twitter.com/rUYYyFV8Pq
— Canadian AphroDité (@chandni_lish) September 12, 2019
Some entrepreneurs have condemned the directive saying it would cripple entrepreneurship and send many of them still struggling to survive out of business.
Many also argued that APCON has no right to charge social media adverts because the social media companies are located outside Nigeria.
Check out some of the angry reactions on Twitter below…
This APCON fee is a slap on the so called Ease of Doing Business the govt has been pushing.
Power is poor,low employment, increased VAT charges and yet some vision less persons wants to place unreasonable embargo on online ads.
Who thought of this rubbish?
— Jude Akhabue (@Lord_Babajay) September 12, 2019
I’m just finding out about this APCON nonsense. What is this government actually thinking?
25k for vetting!!? Vetting what bikonu? For small online businesses?? Must be a joke!
It’s definitely crack. pic.twitter.com/AxIL4iWULt
— Chimdimma Ike (@ChimdimmaIke) September 12, 2019
Facebook does not own a single server in Nigeria.
Therefore, any adverts you make on Facebook are advertising in America not in Nigeria.
Write to APCON and demand proof the advert happened on a Facebook server located in Nigeria.
If they can’t prove it, tell them to fuck off. https://t.co/3B3AvSqaFT
— Suga Dono 🌕 (@sugabelly) September 12, 2019
Whatever it is the guys at APCON are smoking, I’d really love see a sample. You want businesses on social media to vet any advert through you for 25K before they post. That meins…
— Wale Adetona (@iSlimfit) September 12, 2019
APCON wants to start charging for Social Media Ads… you know what,
Kuku send us to our village… who are these guys that sign these policies just to frustrate the masses.. why tho? 🤷🏿♂️
— Do2dtun Energy gAD (@iamDo2dtun) September 12, 2019
A regular advert cost as low as N400 on IG but #APCON wants entrepreneurs to pay N25,000 for vetting. Nigerian entrepreneurs are already struggling with the taxes & levies. Dear VP @ProfOsinbajo, please help us look into this! I know you are passionate about entrepreneurship. pic.twitter.com/Q7PLt4TOwP
— Yej (@sophiebello) September 12, 2019