Federal Government has announced a 60 percent debt forgiveness for broadcast stations in Nigeria as part of financial sustainability plans to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on the industry.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said the measures became necessary owing to the fact that the broadcast industry is hugely affected by falling revenues following dwindling adverts and sponsored programmes.
The Minister noted that according to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) many radio and television stations are indebted to the Federal Government to the tune of N7.8 billion.
Mohammed revealed that the government has now approved 60 percent debt forgiveness provided the indebted stations are able to pay the remaining 40 percent within three months.
The minister said;
The Post-Covid-19 Initiatives Committee for the Creative Industry, which we set up to help mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on the Creative Industry as a whole, has submitted its report which contained recommendations that will benefit all component parts of the larger Creative Industry.
These measures are in addition to the two-month licence-fee waiver granted to terrestrial broadcast stations in the country by the NBC, as part of efforts to ease the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Broadcast Industry.
He added that existing license fee is further discounted by 30 percent to all open terrestrial radio and television services effective July 10, 2020.
However, the Minister stated that debt forgiveness is available to licensed broadcast stations only and not pay-TV service operators.
He said the decision is based on a previous meeting held earlier on May 6 with the leadership of the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON) who sought interventions from Federal and State governments due to the pandemic.
Mohammed further noted that the Federal Government made the interventions with a view to repositioning the broadcast industry to play its critical role in promoting democracy and good governance in Nigeria.