There is an Akan saying that: ‘If you can’t help the sick, you don’t spoil their medicine’. But the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) and the Ghana Gaming Commission seem to have done just that to the showbiz industry.

Endorsement is another way for celebrities to survive in this difficult creative arts industry where there are no proper structures put in place to support them.

However, it seems the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) and the Ghana Gaming Commission are trying to make the lives of the celebrities extra hard, especially in this era of COVID-19, where social-distancing has led to the suspension of all events.

I still wonder: what at all has the government done for the creative arts industry for these helpless celebrities to survive on? The government can continue to ban celebrities from advertising but the truth is: betting is the job for most of the youth, since there are inadequate jobs in the country.

The Ghana Gaming Commission has banned betting companies from using celebrities in their advertisement or as ambassadors.

The decision, they have explained, is due to the increasing number of celebrities endorsing betting companies – an action many say could lure young fans into gambling.

Many showbiz personalities have been hit hard after the announcement, describing the new guidelines as heart-wrenching and ridiculous. 

Nadia Buari, Wendy Shay, Efya, Jackie Appiah, Moesha Boduong, Salma Mumin, Selly Gally, Zynell Zuh, Sandra Ankobiah, Lilwin, and KiDi were all signed as ambassadors for Bet Planet.

In a new guideline issued for operators, the Commission stated that companies cannot encourage people to bet using these individuals with huge social media following.

Almost everything is done online these days, even the old game of lottery has moved on from the days of long queues.

The narrative has changed; now you can stay in the comfort of your home and stake lotto on your mobile app with no hustle.

One of the biggest sports betting companies in the world is using Barcelona players for advertisement and you think hungry Ghanaian celebrities are more powerful than these players in terms of influencing the youth? Rethink the decision because it’s a waste of time. 

The government should think of creating jobs for the youth and also make the creative arts industry attractive before thinking of banning celebrities from advertising for alcoholic beverages and sports betting.

In 2015, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) banned celebrities from advertising alcoholic beverages.

The FDA said at the time that the ban was not only in adherence to a World Health Organization policy but was part of efforts to protect children and prevent them from being lured into alcoholism.

The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the FDA at the time, Mr John Odame Darkwa, told Adom FM that research conducted by the World Health Organization had revealed that alcohol-related diseases among children were on the rise and attributed the development to the continuous involvement of celebrities in advertising alcoholic beverages.

Five years on after this publication, I bet you that the kids today consume alcohol even more than the elderly ones especially the females, so what has really changed? I’m not encouraging the youth to drink but I think there is more to do than banning celebrities from advertising for alcoholic beverages.

It is pointless to say that because they are celebrities, they should not endorse an alcoholic product.

The companies have stated that the drinks are for people above 18 years, so, how is the celebrity influencing underage people? They should kindly allow the hungry celebrities to advertise for these alcoholic beverages.