ARCON gives Turkish coy ultimatum to pay ₦481 million debt

The Turkish company Hayat Kimya has been given a seven-day deadline by the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) to settle its N481 million debt to Mainsail Media Limited, a Nigerian media planning and buying agency.

In a statement made accessible to newsmen in Abuja, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, Director General of ARCON, gave the ultimatum.

According to Fadolapo, the ultimatum came after numerous attempts to settle the debt dispute between Hayat Kimya and Mainsail Limited were made by stakeholders in the advertising sector.

He said that despite the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), the predecessor to ARCON, and the Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria's assistance, Hayat Kimya had been reluctant to pay its obligation (MIPAN).

According to news sources, Hayat Kimya Nigeria Limited is a division of Hayat Holding, a Turkish company with a significant presence in a number of nations, including Nigeria.

The business also competes in the FMCG industry and belongs to the Nigerian Advertisers Association (ADVAN).

On the other side, Mainsail Media Limited belongs to the Nigerian Association of Media Independent Practitioners (MIPAN).

In the statement, the director general of ARCON recalled that Mainsail, a media independent agency, had been hired by Kimya Head Office in Turkey to handle media buying and placement while working with Hayat Kimya Nigeria Limited.

According to him, the contract had a 12-month initial term and was up for renewal each December.

Fadolapo claimed that sometime in June 2021, Hayat Kimya claimed that a whistle-blower had given evidence claiming that Mainsail had violated the terms of a media contract while working in collusion with a company that provided media monitoring services.

He claims that the Nigeria office of Hayat Kimya was unaware of or uninvolved in the investigation that the head office of the company launched.

Fadolapo claimed that Hayat Kimya carried on doing business with Mainsail despite the whistle-blowing until around September 2021.

”Hayat Kimya disengaged Mainsail in November, 2021; the outstanding invoice as at the time was N481,349,854.45 (Four Hundred and Eighty -One Million, Three Hundred and Forty-Nine Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty Four Naira, Forty-Five Kobo only).

“Hayat Kimya did not inform the management of Mainsail of the whistle blowing up until the meeting called by the advertising industry regulator – the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) now the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON),” he said.

Fadolapo claimed that despite the fact that the inquiry into the allegation had been ongoing for a year as of the meeting, the Hayat Kimya offices had ignored all correspondence from Mainsail and had failed to pay off the unpaid amount.

He warned that if the debt is not paid off within seven days, ARCON will be forced to cancel any advertising approvals given to Hayat Kimya until the matter is settled.

Fadolapo added that until the problem is fixed, the regulator might stop approving any more of Hayat Kimya's promotional materials.

He added that ARCON might add the company name to the Nigerian Advertising Register's black book.

Fadolapo further threatened to petition other pertinent government regulatory agencies to look into Hayat Kimya's business and economic operations in Nigeria.

He explained that this will be done in order to ascertain whether such operations were carried out unethically and against the law.

The director general stated that if any legal provision was found to be broken, ARCON might potentially start the prosecution of Hayat Kimya or its officers.

He promised that ARCON would continue to uphold ethical marketing and advertising practises in Nigeria.