Nigeria’s government is writing off 60 per cent of the debts owed by local broadcast stations. The rationale is the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 virus, and the government’s intention is to help ameliorate the impact of the virus.
Nigeria says the total debts owned by TV and radio operators to the government is NGN 7.2 billion (€16.5 million). This equates to some NGN 4.32 billion which has been waived.
Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, said existing licence fees are further discounted by 30 per cent for all Open terrestrial radio and television services. The minister said the debt forgiveness and discount is one of the recommendations of the nation’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to revamp the broadcast industry and help reposition it for the challenges of business post-Covid-19.
However, the broadcasters are required to pay their other obligations within the next 90 days. Local reports say this may not be possible for some broadcasters who may end up closing.