Govt grants debt relief to broadcasters

By Content Nigeria reporter
July 7, 2020


Nigeria’s government has granted a 60% debt relief to all broadcasters in the country that are in debt in an attempt to mitigate Covid-19’s impact on the industry.

Lai Mohammed

During a media briefing on the government’s efforts to bring financial sustainability to the broadcast industry, Information and culture minister Lai Mohammed said the sector had been hit particularly hard by falling ad revenues and sponsorship in the wake of the pandemic.

According to Mohammed, Nigerian radio and television stations owe the government a total of N7.8bn, with many risking losing their broadcast licence.

“Against this background, the management of the NBC has recommended, and the federal government has accepted, 60% debt forgiveness for all debtor broadcast stations in the country,” he said. “However, the criterion for enjoying the debt forgiveness was for debtor stations to pay 40% of their existing debt within the next three months.

“Any station that is unable to pay the balance of 40% indebtedness within the three months’ window shall forfeit the opportunity to enjoy the stated debt forgiveness.”

Mohammed said the government had also approved a discount of 30% on the existing broadcast licence fee for all operating terrestrial radio and television services, effective July 10, in addition to the two-month licence fee waiver already granted to terrestrial broadcast stations by the NBC.

“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 10 to October 6, 2020,” he said.

Looking to the future, the minister added: “It is our expectation that the sector will cash in on this unique opportunity to make itself an effective catalyst for national development.”

Discussing efforts to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on the creative sector in general, Mohammed pointed out that the government had set up a post-Covid-19 initiatives committee for the creative industry, which has already submitted a report containing recommendations to benefit the sector industry.

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