Monday, 13 March 2017

Licences Revocation: NBC sets new deadline for broadcast stations

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on Monday announced the extension of time line from March 15 to 31 for broadcast stations to meet their licence fees obligation.
The Director-General of the Commission, Malam Is’haq Modibbo-Kawu, made this known to newsmen at the National Headquarters of the NBC in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the director-general recently revealed that some stations owed more than N5 billion as licence fees.
He warned that the commission would be invoking the relevant laws against erring stations.
He said that all stations were expected to complete all payments owed the commission on or before March 15.
Modibbo-Kawu, however, said that after consultations, the time line was being extended to March 31, adding that stations that refuse to offset their licence fees would be shut.
He noted that some stations have persistently refused to pay their licence fees.
The director-general said that even the statutory act of informing NBC, six months before expiration of licences and signification of intention to continue as licensees was wilfully ignored by them.
“ There is no plan by many of these stations to pay; while some even have the temerity to write NBC, the regulatory institution, that the amount they are obliged to pay is too much.
“Consequently, they then tell us how much they are willing to pay, and even adding the time they are going to pay such sums that they have decided to pay.
“In truth, a pattern of gross indiscipline and misbehaviour has been central to the relationship which many of the licencees had established in the past with the NBC.
“There are those who used political connections with the top most political leadership of Nigeria in the past to get illegal and undue favours that run contrary to the NBC Act and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
“That is the only way they have operated and it is the way they know. But this is a new era at the NBC and in Nigeria,’’ Modibbo-Kawu said.
The director-general reiterated that all outstanding sums owed the NBC would be collected, stressing that after the new deadline, any station that decline to pay would be shutdown.
“Let me re-assure our colleagues that we do understand that these are difficult economic times in our country, but that cannot be justification for not meeting lawful obligations.
“Some of these licence fees were due even before the economy entered a recession; it means that they had refused to do the right thing even in a period of economic normalcy.’’
He recalled that the NBC had directed in the last two weeks that 54 companies that were issued licences but had refused to pay their fees within the mandatory 60-day window be revoked.
According to him, there is another list of over 120 licences that were paid within the mandatory period but were unable to come on air, within the mandatory two years.
He disclosed that those stations are also being processed for revocation, adding that frequencies cannot be held indefinitely by individuals.
The NBC boss noted that the commission was delighted that Nigerians are investing in setting up radio and television stations which create jobs and open up accesses for content producers to showcase talents.
“But no one has a right to hold on to allocated frequencies indefinitely, when the resource itself is finite and there are other people waiting and ready to make use of those frequencies,’’ the director-general declared.



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