Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister for information and national orientation, has admitted that government-owned media organisations are being hit by a lack of funds.
Mohammed was speaking during a session of the Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation attended by media organisations at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
Broadcast organisations at the event included the News Agency of Nigeria, Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission.
“We know what to do to run FRCN and NTA profitably but we have an obligation to provide social services and create employment for Nigerian youth,” he said. “We want to make money but we are constrained.”
Ibrahim Mammaga, director of the News Agency of Nigeria, which used to be 100% financed by the government but no longer receives funds, said his agency remits 25% of the money it generates to the government.
“Our responsibility is to educate, just like FRCN and NTA. We operate in all the states of the federation with 28 district offices,” he said. “Until recently, when we established the multimedia unit, we didn’t generate revenue. What we generate from our subscribers is too small to the extent that it will not finance 1% of our operations.
“We have equipment in all the states of the federation, but the equipment is not working. If not for our laptops and smartphones, we would be in a difficult situation.”
Mammaga noted that even though the agency provided content to its subscribers, little in the way of earnings was generated. He added that it earned only N130m in 2017, which was not even enough to cover its electricity bills.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and public Affairs, Adedayo Adedeye, urged the government to manage information in the social media era and also advised the agencies to generate more revenue to run the stations as well as contribute to the government.