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COVID-19: FG grants 2-month licence fee waiver to broadcast stations

THE  Federal Government has granted a two-month licence fee waiver for terrestrial broadcast stations in Nigeria to cushion the effects of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the industry.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this at a meeting with the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) in Abuja on Wednesday.

He also announced the setting up of a committee of Creative Industry stakeholders to advise the Federal Government on the best way to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on the industry.

“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 licence-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.

Lai Mohammed stressed 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.

He said the committee has therefore decided that instead of addressing this problem piecemeal,  should do so wholistically for a more positive outcome,  noting that the creative industry is a very critical sector of the nation’s economy and a major plank of the economic diversification policy of this administration, in addition to creating the highest number of jobs after agriculture.

The Minister said the terms of reference of the committee include to assess the expected impact of the pandemic on the industry in general and advise the government on how to mitigate job and revenue losses in the sector as well as to create succour for the industry small businesses.

The committee is also expected to suggest the type of taxation and financing that is best for the industry at this time to encourage growth and also advise the government on any other measures that can be undertaken to support the industry.

 

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