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Draft Bill on advertising gathers dust at Trade Ministry

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Members of the association voting for new executives. Inset: Francis Dadzie, Executive Director, Advertising Association of Ghana, addressing the AGM. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI
Members of the association voting for new executives. Inset: Francis Dadzie, Executive Director, Advertising Association of Ghana, addressing the AGM. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI

An Advertising Council Draft Bill designed to regulate and sanitise the advertising industry has been gathering dust at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) for the past 15 years.

The bill, which was once discussed at the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism level, is yet to be tabled before Parliament for consideration.

Information sourced from the Advertising Association of Ghana (AAG) indicated that the Attorney-General’s Department had finalised its work on the bill and subsequently referred it to the MoTI for onward submission to the Cabinet.

Efforts

Addressing the media at the 31st annual general meeting (AGM) of the AAG in Accra last Wednesday, its Executive Director, Francis Dadzie, said efforts made in the past 15 years to get the sponsors of the bill, the MoTI, to expedite action on it had proved futile, leaving the association to regulate the advertising industry through voluntary compliance and moral persuasion.

He said a lot of work had gone into the document, with the help of experts and legal consultants, to ensure that the bill met international standards.

When passed into law, Mr Dadzie said, the bill would establish an advertising council to regulate advertising, register practitioners and license advertising companies.

He said the bill would also protect local investment, just as it existed in African countries, such as Nigeria, which hosts some of the biggest advertising firms on the continent.

It would further define advertising, provide a professional code of conduct and ethics, as well as sanctions for recalcitrant practitioners and institutions, he said.

The acting President of the AAG, Mansa Amoa-Awuah, said the greatest challenge of the industry was the absence of a single regulatory framework to standardise activities within the marketing communications sector.

According to her, Parliament was not able to pass the bill because of the structures of the country’s laws, adding that the processes had to be started all over again with the Eighth Parliament.

“We believe strongly that the Advertising Bill will be passed before the end of the Eighth Parliament,” she said.

Collaboration

The President of the Institute of Public Relations, Ghana (IPR-Ghana), Mawuko Afadzinu, said the country was at the crossroads, for which reason it required practitioners to work in partnership to overcome existing challenges.

“This means that if we do not team up and play as a cohesive whole, we cannot deliver,” he said, adding that “you only win when you are together moving as a single unit; victory comes to those who work together in unity”.

New executives were elected to steer the affairs of the AAG for the next two years.

The President-elect of the association, Andrew Ackah, said he was honoured and deeply humbled by the opportunity to serve.