KAMPALA: Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) officials continue to face trouble over many issues. The latest is that six outdoor advertising companies have sued the Authority seeking a refund of Shs26 billion they have been paying for advertising rates and fees for 10 years now.
The companies that have sued KCCA over the matter include the National Outdoor Advertising Contractors Association Limited, Prime Media Network Limited, AD Concepts Limited, Level 5 Associates Limited, Capital Outdoor Advertising Company Limited and Adman Source and Contacts Limited.
The firms have filed an application against the Authority before the High Court Civil Division through their counsels of M/S Alaka and Company Advocates.
The firms want court to declare the advertising rates and fees levied on them by KCCA illegal and unlawful basing on the Outdoor Advertising Policy of 2008 that was revised in 2018.
According to the revised rates, the registration fee was hiked to Shs 5 million from Shs2 million, application fee increased to Shs50,000 from Shs10, 000, Bus Adverts hiked to Shs2.5 million from Shs1.5million, LCD/LED Boards raised to Shs5 million from Shs1.3 million per signage and roundabout Shs10 million among others.
The companies also want court to declare the advertising rates published in the Uganda Gazette of January 11, 2019 illegal, excessive and unreasonable since the same is already charged under the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Regulations of
In 2008, government instituted an Out Door Advertising Policy. It listed various advertising rates and fees to be paid by advertisement firms. As a result, the companies started paying the fees on an annual basis as earlier directed by the Works Ministry and UNRA.
In 2011 when KCCA was established, it worked closely with the advertisement firms to streamline outdoor advertisement, which was conceived as a partner in facilitating trade, commerce and generally as a channel of information to the general public.
The companies argue that this was so because some of their services on roads/ streets, stage signage and other information sources was being done freely.
They say that since the increment of the advertisement rates in 2018, KCCA has been defacing and destroying their bill boards, signage and other Outdoor advertising tools in the event that payment is delayed.
Their counsels allege that they have tried to engage KCCA but in vain. The companies accuse KCCA of creating serious business uncertainty yet they are also important sources of revenue in the country.
“The Plaintiffs (companies) have at all times survived on running contracts with their clients who are the real advertisers and their patience with the defendant is mainly hinged on fear to breach contracts with the advertisers,” reads the document in part.
The companies also want to be paid damages of Shs400 million.