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NTA–StarTimes: We are open to forensic audit of our operations

The management of NTA-Star TV Network Limited, a joint venture between the Nigerian Television Authority and the StarTimes Group, Thursday, said it welcomed the forensic audit on its finances and operations, as requested by the Senate’s Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning.

In a statement by its Public Relations Manager, Mr. Lazarus Ibeabuchi, the company also clarified that no revenue of N200 billion was missing, as its gross earnings had been repeatedly ploughed back into cost of production to cover cost of components, namely transmitters, equipment, generating sets and satellite; content acquisition; as well as operating costs, which include salaries and other running costs, incurred within its ten years of operation.
The company declared that it remained a responsible corporate organisation, with its business activities conforming to statutory laws and regulations, adding that its accounts are audited by one of the big four audit firms in the world, widely known for their integrity and professionalism in the audit field.

Aside its statutory audits being carried out by external auditors, the company added that its financial activities were fully audited by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.
It explained that the loss in its operations, over the years, was as a result of the fact that its huge upfront investment was in the United States dollars, while the long-term cost recovery had met brick-walls with successive years of naira depreciation.

The company said: “Pay-TV business is capital intensive and has a long gestation period. More than 80 per cent of inputs into our operations are dollar-denominated. The naira fluctuations haven’t been favourable to the business, making it more and more difficult to meet dollar-denominated obligations.
“We however regret the outcome of the Senate hearing, especially as it amounts to a media trial without proper due diligence. To this end, we are open to a proper investigation into our operations and financials, especially as we believe the company is run in a prudent, responsible and sustainable manner.

“With the support and trust of the public and business partners, StarTimes operating environment is fast improving, performance is rising, and our losses have been decreasing. We believe that as a going concern, we will eventually achieve profitability shortly and make greater contributions to society.”

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