As part of efforts to ease the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the broadcast industry, the Federal Government has granted a 60 per cent debt forgiveness to all debtor broadcast stations in the country.
The radio and television stations are collectively indebted to the Federal Government to the tune of N7 billion. According to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), many of the stations are faced with the risk of having their licenses suspended or withdrawn, in view of their indebtedness.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this at a news briefing yesterday, said that though the pandemic has affected all sectors of the nation’s economy, the broadcast industry has been particularly hardhit due to falling revenues occasioned by the dwindling advertisements and sponsored programmes, in the last six months.
Mohammed explained that for any radio or television station to enjoy the debt forgiveness, the debtor broadcast station must pay 40 per cent of their existing debt within the next three months.
The effective duration of the debt forgiveness shall be July 10, 2020 to October 6, 2020.
The minister hinted on the possibility of getting the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) to work out modalities of advancing soft loans to print media organisations to enable them cushion the negative impacts of the pandemic on their operations.