City Hall mulls direct billing of client ads as advertising firms delay payments

Companies seeking to have their advertisements on billboards across Nairobi may soon be forced to pay the county government directly.

This comes as the Nairobi City County raised issue with outdoor advertising companies over unpaid fees.

According to officials, the county is owed in excess of Sh168.3 million as of December 31, 2016.

In a notice in the dailies, Nairobi County Secretary Dr Robert Ayisi gave the firms, seven days to clear the arrears.

“Failure to pay within the above period will compel the county to commence enforcement action and start billing the clients directly,” Dr Ayisi said.

Magnate Venture owes the county a total of Sh66.5 million from billboards and street light advertisements. Others that owe the county money are Ad Site (Sh8.4 million) Ingenious Concept (Sh2.72 million) and Tangerine Investments (Sh17.1 million)

Growing consumerism in Nairobi and most counties has led to increased outdoor advertisements especially along busy highways as firms seek to attract new buyers.

Nairobi is estimated to have in excess of 22,000 advertisement billboards and thousands of large format ads that go on the sides of buildings.

In the 2015/2016 financial year, the Nairobi City County made Sh1 billion off outdoor advertising.

The move to bill clients directly is bound to add to the complexity of the advertising industry.

Counties charge ground rent and a charge for the actual advertisements placed on billboards and gantries.

Report by Brenda Nyamichaba