Outdoor practitioners must resist tax imposition on billboards – Expert


Business operatives and stakeholders in Nigeria’s Outdoor Advertising Industry have been called upon on the need to rise up and take a collective stand against the rising trend of the imposition of special levies on billboard adverts by some state-controlled outdoor advertising regulatory agencies in the country.

Specifically, the leadership of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) has been advised to join forces with business operatives in the industry in the fight against the rising trend of multiple taxations and other economic impediments to the growth and development of the sector.

Making this call recently was a leading outdoor advertising practitioner, the Managing Director/CEO at Adgozo Limited, Chike Anyaonu, while speaking recently in Lagos.

According to him, some state-controlled regulatory agencies were in the habit of imposing multiple taxes on outdoor installations, and for this, he said stakeholders in the industry alongside the leadership of OAAN must come together as one body to fight against the spate of multiple impositions of taxes.

He particularly decried the current practice in some states where special levies were imposed on billboard advertorials by regulatory agencies describing the development as inimical to the growth and aspiration of operators in the industry.

“Another issue I must tell you is in terms of the dislocation, the suffering, the disadvantages been suffered by outdoor practitioners. For example, your paper and magazine belongs to the print session. You print your magazine and you have adverts on it.  You sell your magazines and also collect revenue from adverts therein. So also is applicable to newspapers.  If I have my newspaper for instance by whichever name I chose to call it, XYZ newspaper, if am lucky it has a wider coverage or readership, I sell to my readers and then the adverts therein and also collect money from them.  And so you have two sources of revenue; the same thing applies also to Radio and Television.

“But outdoor is not that kind of medium. So, I have my board on the road, the structure is massively done, and at the end of the day somebody comes and says he is a regulator and because you have adverts on it you have to pay us a percentage of what I get from the adverts, I mean, it’s ridiculous,” he lamented.

Continuing, Anyaonu added: “Whereas the other media go home with their advert takings or revenue, the outdoor person must part with, or give away some percentage of his takings to regulatory agencies. I don’t know, I have tried to make enquiries, I have some contacts in china, it’s not done like that in China, and am sure it’s not done like that in the UK. It is also not like that in the USA; so why are we punishing ourselves here, trying to kill outdoor for no reason?

“That is also a serious worry, and that is also something that can be challenged. I am not using the word challenge because I want Io go to court, but because I want peace to be maintained in the industry, so that there will be an environmentally friendly and level playing ground.”

He, however, expressed strong optimism that despite the shortcomings and high handedness by the various regulatory agencies, the future was bright for outdoor advertising, adding that the industry was bound to survive in so far as new businesses continued to emerge and competition gets healthier in the economy.

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