Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that the Federal Government has decided to write off 60 percent of the N7 billion (about $1.944 million) owed the government by radio and television stations in licensing and renewal fees.Mohammed also announced that the government has also slashed the existing licence fee by 30 percent for all open terrestrial radio and television services with effect from July 10, 2020.
The Nigerian editors had under the aegis of the Nigerian Guild of Editors earlier appealed to the government for a bail out for the country’s media industry, which the editors described as distressed due largely to the negative effects of the coronavirus on the sector.
The Punch newspaper report on Tuesday said that the minister told a news conference he addressed with the acting Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, in Abuja on Monday that the N7 billion being owed the Federal Government by the broadcast industry was the total outstanding from television and radio stations on renewal of their operating licences.
Mohammed explained that for any debtor station to benefit from the 60 percent debt relief, it must be ready to pay the 40 percent balance within the next three months.
According to the minister, the debt relief offer would open on July 10 and close on October 6, 2020 and that the measures announced are aimed at giving a lifeline to the broadcast industry, which had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.