Coronavirus outbreak: Outdoor advertising body asks state and Central governments for relief

Updated: Apr 27, 2020, 07:19 IST | A correspondent | Mumbai

IOAA also asks governments to cover salaries of COVID-19 patients from industry

The IOAA wants the Coronavirus pandemic to be declared as a natural calamity under all contracts. Pic/Suresh Karkera
The IOAA wants the Coronavirus pandemic to be declared as a natural calamity under all contracts. Pic/Suresh Karkera

The apex body of the outdoor advertising industry in the country, Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA), has approached the Centre, several state and local governments, and other government bodies such as the MMRDA for financial relief amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

The industry's annual revenue of approximately R5,000 is expected to be cut by half in this financial year considering the economic fallout of the crisis.

While making a case for the relief, the body mentioned how the OOH (out-of-home) industry serves as a powerful media vehicle for public messaging, and that the industry has been supporting the central, state and local governments in such matters.

"The outdoor media industry, with an estimated annual revenue of R5,000 crore, could see a drop in revenue to the extent of almost R2,500 crore in the coming financial year. The pandemic has put our business on a 'pause' mode forcing unprecedented losses and impacting the livelihood of more than a million employed in the industry," the IOAA said in its representation to the authorities.

It has called for measures such as abolishing the 'Advertisement Tax' in any form whatsoever, waiver of at least 50 per cent of the 'licence fee' for the financial year 2020-21, deferring GST payment for the financial year 2020-21 — to be subsequently paid in the financial year 2021-22, deferring all tendering or auctioning activities related to outdoor media by all local bodies until September 2020 and continuing with existing licences, covering the cost of salaries/wages of those infected by COVID-19 and unable to return to work, declaring the pandemic as a natural calamity to be covered under the 'Force Majeure' clause of all contracts.

While Maharashtra and Delhi have acknowledged the appeal, IOAA is yet to hear from other departments where it has made the representation.

IOAA is also working with PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry to initiate dialogues with the central government authorities.

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