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

COVID-19: FG grants two-month licence fee waiver to broadcast stations
May 06
19:54 2020

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says terrestrial broadcast stations in the country will be given a two-month licence fee waiver amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Segun Adeyemi, spokesman for the information ministry, in a statement, said Mohammed announced the new development during a meeting with the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) in Abuja on Wednesday.

The minister said the measure, which followed a request by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), was to help ease the negative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the broadcast industry.

“Before I announce the terms of reference of the committee, let me say that in the interim, I want to announce that I have approved the request by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to grant a two-month licence-fee waiver for terrestrial broadcast stations in Nigeria,” he said.

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“I make bold to say that while BON members have been hit hard by the current pandemic, they are not alone. In fact, 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.”

He also announced the setting up of a committee of creative industry stakeholders to look into and advise the federal government on the best way to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on the industry.

Mohammed explained that the committee was constituted to, among other things, assess expected impact of the pandemic on the industry in general and advise the government on how to mitigate job and revenue losses in the sector as well as to create succour for the industry small businesses.

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He also said the committee is expected to suggest the type of taxation and financing that is best for the industry at this time to encourage growth and also advise the government on any other measures that can be taken to support the industry.

The committee, which has Ali Baba, a veteran comedian, as its chairman, is expected to submit its report in four weeks times.

In her remarks, Sa’a Ibrahim, the chairperson of BON, said there is need for more drastic measures to help broadcast stations stay afloat amid the pandemic.

Ibrahim, who was represented by Godfrey Ohuabunwa, said privately-owned broadcast stations have contributed over N2 billion worth of airtime (free of charge) for public sensitisation and awareness campaign for the containment of the disease in Nigeria as part of their corporate social responsibility.

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