MDAs advocate alternative funding for public broadcasting

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

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The Nigerian government has been urged to adopt global best practice in funding the public and external broadcasting, to meet their financial need.

The Director General Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu made the plea while defending the 2020 budget of the agency before the Joint Committee of the National Assembly on Information and National Orientation.

Mr Okechukwu said, proper funding of the agency would enhance its performance in fulfilling the constitutional mandate.

“If you look at other international media like VOA, it is funded through the US agency for Global Media…If you go to BBC for instance BBC World Service is funded through TV Licence……If you go to SABC for instance, Channels Africa is funded through TV Licence and partly funded by the government.

”They channeled a lot of funds into the external broadcasting, because that is diplomacy at play,” he emphasised.

No fund
Appraising the agency’s 2019 budget, Mr. Okechukwu said apart from the overhead and personnel component, VON did not receive any fund for the 2019 Capital project.

He explained that “The overhead has been implemented 69%, and personnel to date has been implemented 76%. The personnel is being handled by the Office of the Accountant General and we expect that it will be implemented 100% before the end of the year.”

The agency proposes over 2.9 billion Naira for 2020 fiscal year out of which about 430 million Naira was for capital while 564 million as overhead.

VON’s Director General was represented by the Executive Director Finance, Mr. Geofrey Okeke.

The Director General, Federal Radio Cooperation of Nigeria, FRCN, Dr. Mansur Liman while defending the agency’s budget appealed for more fund for FRCN to resuscitate its Short and Medium wave Transmitters.

Explaining the agency’s revenue shortfall in 2019, Dr. Liman said FRCN is competing with organisations that are more equipped to meet the need of the client.

He said; “We are not satisfy with the Internally Generated Revenue FRCN is generating, but the simple issue is that if you are in a market, you are competing with others…. So we are competing with organisations that has state of the art equipment, we don’t have that and we are competing with them in the same market.”  

In 2019, FRCN projected internally Generated Revenue of about 980 Million but three months to the end of the year, about 500 million Naira was realised representing 50.8% of the projection.

 

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere