COVID-19: Nigerian Govt. grants broadcast stations 60% debt relief

Solomon Chung, Abuja.

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Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture.

As part of measures aimed at instituting post COVID-19 financial sustainability among broadcast stations in the country, the Nigerian government has announced a 60% debt relief of licence fees to all indebted broadcast stations in the country.

This was disclosed at a press conference by the country’s Information and Culture Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Monday in Abuja.

The Minister said many Nigerian radio and television stations remained indebted to the Federal government to the tune of 7.8 billion Naira in total.

The Minister, however, said there will be 60 percent debt forgiveness for all debtor broadcast stations in the country.

“The criterion for enjoying the debt forgiveness is for debtor stations to pay 40 percent of their existing debt within the next 3 months.

“Any station that is unable to pay the balance of 40 percent indebtedness within the 3 month-window shall forfeit the opportunity to enjoy the stated debt forgiveness

“The existing license fee is further discounted by 30 percent for all Open Terrestrial Radio and Television services effective July 10th, 2020. The debt forgiveness shall apply to functional licensed Terrestrial Radio and Television stations only.

“The debt forgiveness and discount shall not apply to pay TV service operators in Nigeria. The effective date of the debt forgiveness shall be July 10th 2020 to October 6th, 2020,” the Minister explained.

He said that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all sectors of the nation’s economy, but the Broadcast Industry has been particularly hard-hit due to falling revenues occasioned by the dwindling adverts and sponsored programmes, in the wake of the pandemic.

The Minister revealed that the Post-COVID-19 Initiatives Committee for the

Creative Industry, has submitted its report, which contained recommendations that will beneficial to all component parts of the larger Creative Industry.

“The Nigerian Government has made some of these interventions with a view to re-positioning the Broadcast Industry to play its critical role of promoting democracy and good governance in Nigeria,”  the Minister added.

Meanwhile, in his remarks, the Ag Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission in Nigeria, Professor Armstrong Idachaba, said the interventions were necessary to help the industry come out stronger.

Idachaba also hinted that some of the issues raised from the recent 6th amendment of the BBC code are in national interest and urged Nigerians to continue to support the effort of the Federal Government in that regard.

 

Amaka E. Nliam

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