Government grants 60% debt forgiveness to debtor broadcast licencees

The Federal Government of Nigeria has granted 60% debt forgiveness to licencees indebted to the NBC. This is in addition to the 2 months licence fee waiver granted earlier to the Industry as palliative to cushion the devastating effect of Covid-19 on the economy of Broadcast Media in Nigeria.

This was made known by the Hon. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday, 6th July, 2020, at a press briefing held at the National Press Centre, Abuja.

In his speech the Hon. Minister noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected all sectors of the Nation’s economy, adding that the Broadcast Industry has been particularly affected due to falling revenue, occasioned by the dwindling adverts and sponsored programmes.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed stated that these measures were put in place as a result of the report submitted by the Post-Covid-19 Initiatives Committee for the Creative Industry, which was set up to help mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on the Creative Industry as a whole, adding that the report also contained recommendations that will benefit all the component of the larger Creative Industry.

He stressed that the measures were, in addition to the two-month licence-fee waiver granted to terrestrial broadcast stations in the country by the NBC, as part of efforts to ease the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Broadcast Industry.

The Hon. Minister also pointed out that according to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), many Nigerian radio and television stations remain indebted to the Federal Government to the tune of 7.8 billion Naira in total and many of the stations are faced with the reality that their licences will not be renewed, due to the indebtedness.

In view of this, the Hon. Minister noted that the Management of the NBC made some recommendations and the Federal Government has accepted the following measures to revamp the Broadcast Industry which will help reposition it for the challenges of business, post-Covid-19:

  1. 60 percent debt forgiveness for all debtor broadcast stations in the country.
  2. The criterion for enjoying the debt forgiveness is for debtor stations to pay 40 percent of their existing debt within the next 3 months.
  3. Any station that is unable to pay the balance of 40 percent indebtedness within the 3 months
  4. Any station that is unable to pay the balance of 40 percent indebtedness within the 3 months window shall forfeit the opportunity to enjoy the stated debt forgiveness.
  5. The existing license fee is further discounted by 30 percent for all Open Terrestrial Radio and Television services effective July 10th, 2020. 5. The debt forgiveness shall apply to functional licensed Terrestrial Radio and Television stations only.
  6. The debt forgiveness and discount shall not apply to pay TV service operators in Nigeria.
  7. The effective date of the debt forgiveness shall be July 10th 2020 to October 6th, 2020.

In conclusion, the Hon. Minister added that the Federal Government has made these interventions with a view to re-positioning the Broadcast Industry in other to enable the industry play its critical role of promoting democracy and good governance in Nigeria.

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