KMC to look into West Bengal Outdoor Advertising Association plea for fee & tax waivers
By Ria Banerjee - April 28, 2020
The association is also approaching building owners with plea for non-payment of rent in the crisis period
Reflecting on the appeal made by the West Bengal Outdoor Advertising Association (WBOAA) for relaxation of fees and taxes on the outdoor assets for the current financial year, Debashis Kumar, Mayor-In-Council, MMIC-Advertisement, Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), told Media4Growth that “in this unprecedented time we have received an appeal from the Outdoor Advertising Association and solemnly express our sympathy towards to the operators in this untoward situation. We are waiting for the pandemic to subside, after which we will consider the industry plea in conjunction with guidelines from the Central government and municipalities of other states.”
The WBOAA association had approached Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, KMC Commissioner Khalil Ahmed, and Debashis Kumar, seeking their support to keep the outdoor advertising business afloat in the face of the pandemic and lockdown. Since the lockdown phase had started, all outdoor media barring a few featuring the awareness message regarding Covid-19 had been lying vacant.
Also, as advised by the Central and state governments, the regional OOH firms had not opted for employee layoffs or salary cuts. Hence, the association feels that the authority should come in support to their businesses.
Arup Chaudhary, President, WBOAAasserted, “We have made an appeal to the state government to waive off the fees and taxes associated with outdoor advertising in FY2020-21. We feel that all the sectors including telecom, jewellery, FMCG etc. have their online services and they are into business even in this critical scenario, but since the lockdown has started, the outdoor industry has come to a standstill. The State CM has directed that salaries of employees should be paid in full and that there shall be no any lay-offs during this time. As we are abiding by that advisory, we can expect that there can be some relief on fees and taxes in this FY.”
The association has also decided to approach the building owners to refrain from charging rent on media structures that are being operated from their premises, for the next six months. Also, they would be approached to charge only 50% of the rent in the next quarter.