A two-month licence fee waiver has been granted to terrestrial broadcast stations in Nigeria to cushion the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic in the industry.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the announcement on Wedneday May 6, during a meeting with the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) in Abuja.
A request for the distribution of protective equipment to some community broadcast stations across the country by the NBC, was also approved by the Minister who stated that the federal government has been taking a holistic approach to address the damage inflicted by COVID-19 on the creative industry.
Lai Mohammed said;
“Let me stress here that the Creative Industry is a very critical sector of the nation’s economy and a major plank of the economic diversification policy of this administration.
“It creates the highest number of jobs after Agriculture, especially for the youth.
“Therefore, there is no doubt that we need a collective and government supported approach in dealing with the immediate, short and long term palliatives and initiatives for the industry, in order to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on the sector.”
BON’s chairman, Sa’a Ibrahim on his own part appealed to state governments to provide adequate funding for the running of the state-owned media houses at this time, to save the sector from imminent collapse arising from declining revenue.
The federal government was also urged to grant one-year moratorium in the payment of Annual Operating License fee payable to the NBC, approve tax rebates for the broadcast stations and provide guarantees or comforts to de-risk the loans the Broadcast Industry requires to enable Independent Private Broadcasters to access credit facilities.