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FG waives two months license-fee for broadcast stations amid economic downturn

By Idowu Abdullahi,

As part of efforts to cushion the effect of coronavirus broadcast industry in the country, the Federal Government has announced the granting of a two-month license-fee waiver for terrestrial broadcast stations in the country.

It explained that the waiver requested by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), was to lessen the effect of coronavirus induced economic downturn which had hit the broadcast and creative industry.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said he had also approved the distribution of protective equipment to some community broadcast stations across the country by the NBC.

The Minister, who announced this at a meeting with the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) in Abuja on Wednesday, revealed that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government was putting measures and right policies in place to support every sector and ease impact the deadly respiratory disease.

Part of the measures, he said, was the setting up of a committee of Creative Industry stakeholders to look into and advise the government on the best way to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on the industry and submits its reports in four weeks time.

“Before I announce the terms of reference of the committee, let me say that in the interim, I want to announce that I have approved the request by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to grant a two-month license-fee waiver for terrestrial broadcast stations in
Nigeria.

“I make bold to say that while BON members have been hit hard by the current pandemic, they are not alone. In fact, the entire Creative Industry, which also covers the Broadcast Industry, has been affected by the pandemic that has inflicted extensive damage on the economy of nations across the world,” he said.

The minister said the need for 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 industry, cannot be overemphasized.

According to him, the creative industry remains an integral sector of the nation’s economy and diversification policy of the Buhari’s government in maximizing the potentials of the nation’s youth.

The committee, he said, has Ali Baba, a renowned comedian, as Chairman while Anita Eboigbe of the News Agency of Nigeria will serve as Secretary. Other members of the Committee include Bolanle Austen Peters, Charles Novia, Segun Arinze, Ali Jita, Baba Agba, Kene Okwuosa, Efe Omoregbe, Prince Daniel Aboki, Chioma Ude, Olumade Adesemowo, Dare Art Alade, and Hajia Sa’a Ibrahim.

He added that representatives of the Fashion, Publishing, Photography as well as Hospitality and Travel sectors are also to be included in the committee.

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