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Joe Mucheru2DAILY NATION By NATION REPORTER

Wednesday August 8,2018

The Government Advertising Agency (GAA) plans to cut out the media and place all state advertising on a website.

The agency sees this a way of reining in government entities which book adverts but do not pay and possibly as a way of getting around the mass of debt it has accumulated.

GAA head Ngari Gituku told Nation that MyGov, the weekly pamphlet of government adverts and propaganda that is inserted in daily newspapers on a rotational basis, will soon become a website. This would be in a bid to help the government stop reliance on media houses for delivery of the messages.

While digital is the way of the future, less than a third of the population have access to the Internet and smartphones that would allow them access government opportunities.

Governments are ordinarily obliged to use the media with the widest reach to ensure that they reach as many citizens as possible.

MEDIA OWED SH2.5 BILLION

The other measure is for GAA to require its advertisers to pay upfront for the agency’s services, ensuring that the current spectre of media houses being owed more than Sh2.5 billion is not repeated.

“We are at an advanced stage of riding on technology to deliver government content through a website,” Mr Gituku said.

The agency, he said, would also bar serial defaulters from its services. For seamless operations, Mr Gituku said the agency should be made a fully semi-autonomous unit with powers to enforce payment by government ministries, departments and agencies. The agency is now under the government News and Information department in the ICT ministry.

“We might adopt a system where government departments pay up on booking,” Mr Gituku said, adding that he had reached out to head of the public service Joseph Kinyua to find the best way of clearing the debt owed to media houses.

DROP IN THE OCEAN

He revealed the plans as Nation learnt that the Agency paid Sh404 million in the past financial year — its entire allocation for media services — to media houses.

The amount was, however, just a drop in the ocean and the method used to allocate payment was also not very clear.

The schedule shows that Mediamax Network was paid Sh74 million while the Standard Group and Nation Media Group were paid Sh41 million and Sh33 million respectively.

Royal Media Services was paid Sh47 million and Star Publications which received Sh21 million. In the list of payments are beneficiaries like Professional Marketing (Sh30 million), Sunday Publishers (Sh28 million) and Business Times (Sh18 million) whose debt could not be immediately established.

Also in the list are government agencies like Kenya Yearbook which got Sh40 million and KBC (Sh11 million) as well as several outlets that received sums ranging between Sh2 million and Sh9 million.

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