The Government Advertising Agency (GAA) problems did not start recently. The advertising agency which was introduced to reduce cost of spending in the government is slowly becoming a bigger problem. The agency has become a thorn in the flesh for most media companies.
The agency has in the last year cost most media houses a lot of revenue in advertisement. This led to some media houses making drastic decisions such as reclaiming their debts. In 2016 Nation Media Group hired a debt collector to collect its `105 million shilling debt which was accumulating in arrears.
However the debts do not seem to stop at all. This year the debt has hit the 2.5 Billion mark and has led to most media houses complaining about the whole issue in their editorials and to expose’s about this whole issue. The Nation Media Group has led the onslaught by publishing an expose of the story.
On Tuesday 14th August they put a story of how money that could have been used to pay the Nation Media group was channeled into the Campaign last year. The story goes on to explain how the money was channeled out. The creation of dummy corporations and companies was the road to go for the officials. This even invited the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to carry out investigations on what is now being described as a growing cash cow for government officials.
The GAA has been very evasive about the going on and why they are having problems paying media houses. Though it claims it has paid 404 million it is not clear how they plan on offsetting the bills and who will help them do that. however it is becoming clear that it will take some time before the bills will be off set.
In his weekly column Mutuma Mathiu , Managing Editor at Daily Nation. He complained that this was the worst idea ever and that the GAA should be done away with for once and for all and the government departments start paying for advertisement before.
The government advertising agency is slowly becoming a face of bad publicity which is ironical because it was set up to spread good news and keep the government image positive. This should be a wake up call for ministry officials and the minister in charge to ensure that freedom of speech is respected.