By Bashir Bello
The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC has on Thursday issued December 20, 2021 deadline to broadcast stations to settle their debt of licence fees or risk their names published in the national dailies.
This was as the commission further threatened to also revoke their licence and assign frequency withdrawn from debtor stations to interested operators after two weeks of publication.
The Commission’s Director General, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah disclosed this during a stakeholders meeting with Commissioner for Information, Chief Executive Officers of broadcasting stations and their General Managers in Kano.
Ilelah said the decision by the commission was necessitated because the operators pay little or no attention to the prompt payment of their licence fees noting that it will not fold it arms and watch the stations continue violating the provisions of the Commission’s establishment Act.
According to him, “the commission has observed that the industry has not paid much attention to the prompt payment of license fees acrueling into huge debt burden, which has adversely affected the operations of the Commission negatively.
“It is quite appalling to observe that both the State Government owned Media Organization and Private Companies have formed alliance to owe Commission. Many debtors Stations failed, neglected and refuse to utilize the incentive(s) granted by the federal Government which started on July 10, 2020 to October 9, 2020. This was even extended to April 30, 2021. in view of the above, it is pertinent to state that the commission will no longer fold its arms and watch the continued violation of the provisions of the Commission’s establishment Act.
“Any broadcast station that is not up to date in the payment of its licence fees has been given up to December 20, 2021 to settle all its outstanding debts. The commission will publish names of debtor stations in the national newspapers two weeks after the expiration of the deadline.
“The commission is compiling register of debtor stations and will publish same in national dailies as earlier stated. Two weeks after the publication, the license would be revoked and the assigned frequencies withdrawn and reassign to interested operators.
“Any licencee who failed to utilize its licence within two years after issuance shall have such licence revoked and the assigned frequency withdrawn and reassign to any willing and serious operators,” he said.
The NBC Chief, Ilelah however, advised the broadcast stations to initiate quality content that would build about a harmonious Nigeria and abstain from divisive contents.
In their separate remarks, the Commissioners of information of Kano, Bauchi, Yobe, Borno and some Broadcast licence owners described the meeting as timely.