Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) has been delaying the delivery of government’s COVID-19 palliatives to newspapers in the country.
Speaking with newsmen after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday at the Presidential Villa, the minister said the government was ever ready to provide its promised COVID-19 palliatives to all newspaper houses.
Muhammed, who said that government had done a few things to intervene in the broadcast subsector of the industry, added that government was only waiting for the NPAN to come forward with a submission on how government could help. “Government has done a lot in the media, especially the broadcast industry, during this pandemic.
The first thing we did was to give a waiver of two months payment of license fees to all broadcast houses, between May and July, after which we gave an amnesty of 60% discount or debt forgiveness, for all broadcast houses, except the Pay TVs, and also slashed by 30% the licensing fees because of the COVID-19. “I also met with the NPAN, we met virtually and I’m still waiting for them to come and make their submissions.
“Definitely, the government is willing to look into the hardships and the challenges the media is facing and within our means, to see how best we can intervene. I’m still waiting for the NPAN to come back to us to see what we can do to ameliorate the situation,” he said.
Speaking on why he met with President Buhari, the minister said: “I came to make a presentation of a portrait of the Argungu Festival to Mr. President. “You’ll recall that sometime in February this year, after almost 10 years of hiatus, the Argungu Festival made a comeback. The Argungu Festival is one of the two UNESCO recognised festivals and it’s on the UNESCO list of heritages.”