KARACHI – The Pakistan Advertising Association (PAA) held its Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting on 10′ December, 2018. The participants discussed in detail, the issue of pending recoveries from the Provincial and Federal Government of Pakistan, while the authorities do not seem to understand the gravity of the situation. The advertising agencies and the media — both Print and Electronic, are currently suffering from a cash-flow crisis, because the Provincial and Federal Governments are not paying the rightful dues of the ad agencies, print and electronic media. This financial irresponsibility could also damage the credibility of the Government.
To make things worse, the proposed draft of a new policy for print, electronic and digital media is virtually a death-sentence for the advertising industry. So, the propositions are totally rejected by all the main stakeholders including Pakistan Advertising Association (PAA), All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA). PAA is in favor of meaningful changes or reforms that are directed to improve transparency and merit based processes of the Government for selecting capable agencies on merit having a good repute.
The Chairman of PAA- Ali Mandviwalla stated that: “The Advertising Association is fully committed to support the Government in rooting out all the non-merit based elements from the advertising agencies, as well as strengthening the relevant government bodies, like the Press Information Department (PID) and the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. The Government can only achieve positive results if they take concrete and meaningful steps to enhance the transparency of its internal processes and procedures.’
It is important to note, that the advertising agencies create no additional costs, or financial burden, for the Government. The advertising professionals provide valuable creative services- free-of-cost, to the public sector, while the agencies’ expenses and costs are met from the commissions they earn from the Media. PAA wants to inform all stakeholders about some harmful measures proposed in the new policy. If adopted, these measures will actually back-fire, adding to the government’s expenditure, instead of saving any costs for the national exchequer.
These controversial propositions will not allow the government to use the services of Advertising agencies. So, the decision will result in heavy extra costs and more operational pressures for the government. Currently, these resourceful advertising agencies are providing free-of-cost infrastructure and qualified man-power to perform various processes for the government. They handle payment-matters between hundreds of publishers, channels, PID and the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
In case, these responsibilities are shifted to the Accountant General Pakistan Revenues (AGPR), this government institution will need additional infrastructure, thousands of more employees and unnecessary cost-burden to perform these tasks — which the advertising agencies perform at no additional cost to the Government Exchequer.
Before making any decisions on policy resulting in errors already experimented in history and in the past, it is imperative that the relevant stakeholders of the industry are aligned for collective decision making on forming an improved policy.