During the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in Kampala, Uganda, the leadership of NAB indicated that non-government payment for media services delivered and a repressive regulatory framework are the key inhibitors to the growth of the media industry.
The association raised the issue of the outstanding amounts owed to the media, saying that the government still has an outstanding debt of US$3,4 million to clear with the media industry.
Speaking at the gathering, the chairman of NAB, Kin Kariisa, said there is a need to educate the government from the head of state about the importance of paying media on time.
Kariisa proposed that it is high time for the association to introduce ageing debts/attracting interest in government business.
He further explained that this is because the government is their biggest client and beneficiary, but it takes more than 90 days, sometimes three years or more, to pay does not leave the outstanding amount with the same value in the economy.
“1 billion in 2019 is not the same in 2022, hence the need to introduce the interests and surcharges when they fail to pay within an agreed period. We shall engage our commercial arm on this proposal,” Kariisa said.
On amendment of the media laws by the government, the association, in exercising its mandate, managed to meet the Ministry of Finance & ICT, where it requested in-depth consultation of the stakeholders and industry players before the laws were passed.
However, it noted that the amendment to the Computer Misuse Act was passed regardless of its reservations and opinions hence its current vagueness and the threat it might be to the rights and freedoms of expression and the press.
Kariisa notes that the association is now asking the government to have numerous meetings with the media stakeholders, especially NAB, to gather tried, tested and experienced opinions from the industry players because these laws will affect them more than any other entity.