BusinessDay

COVID-19: FG grants 2-month licence fee waiver to broadcast stations

The federal government has granted a two-month licence fee waiver for terrestrial broadcast stations in Nigeria to cushion the effects of the Coronavirus disease COVID-19 pandemic in the industry.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed announced this on Wednesday during a meeting with members of the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria, BON.

The minister also informed that government had decided to set up a committee of industry stakeholders to look into and advise it on the best way to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on the industry.

Mohammed noted that the entire Creative Industry, which also covers the Broadcast Industry, has been affected by the pandemic that has inflicted extensive damage on the economy of nations across the world.

“We have therefore decided that instead of addressing these problems piecemeal, we should do so holistically for a more positive outcome,” he said.

Mohammed stressed that the Creative Industry is a very critical sector of the nation’s economy and a major plank of the economic diversification policy of this Administration. He said it creates the highest number of jobs after Agriculture, especially for the youth.

“Therefore, there is no doubt that we need a collective and government-supported approach in dealing with the immediate, short-and long-term palliatives and initiatives for the industry, in order to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on the sector,” he said.

Sa’a Ibrahim, chairman, BON, however called on government, especially state governments to as a matter of urgency provide adequate funding for the running of the state-owned media houses at this time, to save the sector from imminent collapse arising  from declining revenue.

Ibrahim urged government to grant one-year moratorium in the payment of Annual Operating License fee payable to the NBC, approve tax rebates for the broadcast stations and provide guarantees or comforts to de-risk the loans the Broadcast Industry requires to enable Independent Private Broadcasters to access credit facilities.

“The Honourable Minister’s kind intervention with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the urgent payment of the approved compensation of relocated 2.5GHZ MMDS cable television operators whose business have been stalled,” he said.

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