Ngari Gituku: Director, Government Advertising Agency.

The Government’s Advertising Agency (GAA) has failed to cut public advertising expenditure as it marks two years since it was launched.

According to supplementary budget estimates, the GAA has not been able to meet the self-imposed target of saving 50% government spend on advertisement in various media channels.

The National Treasury has now been forced to scale down by half the ambitious target set by Dennis Chebitwey, its founding director, to just 25%.

The agency is now headed by former President Mwai Kibaki spokesman Ngari Gituku after Chebitwey was deployed back to the public communications after he reportedly fell out with senior officials at the Ministry of ICT. By the time Gituku too over in February, the Government owed media houses over Ksh1 billion in unpaid advertising bills.

GAA has now been tasked to ensure all the ministries, departments, parastatals and semi-autonomous and autonomous Government agencies advertise through it or face sanctions. The government has imposed a ban on advertising in commercial media and launched its on biweekly newspaper which comes as an insert in mainstream daily papers.

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The Government under the news and information services has  increased allocations that were not explained in Treasury’s supplementary budget II, The Standard reports. The budget line under which GAA lies has received an additional Ksh299 million without an indication of what the money would be spent on.

Initially, the agency’s budget was Ksh2.5 billion, but it has now been increased to Ksh2.8 billion without clarity on whether the money will go into recurrent or capital spending.

On its MyGov website, the agency said it had been able to get more bargaining power to negotiate for favourable rates for Government advertising.

“It has standardised rates and enabled better negotiation power, generating savings as well as eliminating duplication,” says the agency.

[crp]

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