The federal government says it has revoked the licenses of 54 radio and television stations due to thier inability to pay for their license fees within 60-day stipulated window.
According to Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, 120 other licenses that were paid for within the 60-day mandatory window but were not put to use for two years after payment were also being processed for revocation.
“Frequencies cannot be held indefinitely by individuals. We are delighted that Nigerians are investing in setting up radio and television stations; they create jobs; open up accesses for content producers to showcase talents and are contributing to national development.
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’’, Mallam Kawu said.
He said the stations would henceforth be required to turn in their Annual Reports for NBC to carry out the obligatory assessment of what constitutes a percentage of the annual turnover that they are also obliged to pay the commission.
According to him, though the NBC understood that these are difficult economic times in our country, ‘’but that cannot be justification for not meeting lawful obligations.’’
He said some of the license 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.
Meanwhile the commission yesterday extended the payment timeline for all debtor TV and radio stations to March 31.
Some private and government owned broadcast media companies owe NBC N5bn as license renewal fees, according to the commission.
The NBC DG said yesterday that if the defaulting stations failed to pay by March 31 they would be closed down by April 1.
He said; ‘’At our stakeholders conference with broadcast organizations, I had informed stations of a persistent pattern of refusal to pay license fees. Stations around Nigeria owe the NBC over N5Billion.
“License fees are in arrears; 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 misbehavior has been central to the relationship which many of the licensees had established in the past with the NBC’’.