A draft law on advertising that proposed abolishing licences for outdoor advertising in a bid to further develop the industry has sparked concern from management agencies.

The law drawn up by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is expected to help the sector overcome shortcomings such as overlapping management and limitations that are not suitable with the country's current development.

Statistics from the ministry showed that the outdoor activities accounted for around 10 percent of the industry's total turnover while those of the advertisements on TV, radio, press and internet was 80 percent.

It stipulates that firms could advertise without applying for a licence on boards, banners and electronic screens in public places, on public transport and on movable objects.

Accordingly, places used for advertisements would have apply for permission from provincial construction, natural resources and the environment as well as culture departments.

Relevant agencies would carry out spot-checks at a later date to eliminate forms and content that violated regulations.

Advertising firms would have to take responsibility for their content under the law.

However, some said eliminating licences would cause disorder and management difficulties.

Bui Xuan Luyen, marketing director of the Vietnam Commerce and Communications Company, said companies would rush to organise outdoor advertising activities without paying attention to content or security at events but he agreed that the abolishment could provide businesses with more favourable conditions.

"However, the regulation is unlikely to boost industry development immediately, but we may see the benefits in the long term," he said, adding that spot checks would not be easy to implement effectively.

Sharing the ideas, vice president and general secretary of the Vietnam Advertising Association Ha Van Tang said the abolishment was in line with the world trend and would simplify administrative procedures.

Tang said the Government should establish an advertising quality assessment council which would include management representatives, communications firms, customers and associations to tighten spot checks.

"It is necessary to have a complete roadmap and a legal framework for the checks," he said.

He added that overlapping management still existed within the industry as the Commercial Law and the Ordinance on Advertising had conflicting regulations relating to advertising activities.

"The Ordinance on Advertising which was put into effect in 2002 has not kept up with socio-economic development, especially the internet boom in recent years," he said.

The law should be beneficial to both businesses and customers, and classify management responsibilities to promote the sector's development, he said./.