By Edward E.C
National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), yesterday, gave a September 9, 2023 deadline to broadcasting stations, asking them to liquidate their liabilities or risk revocation.
Specifically, the regulatory agency demanded license renewal debtors and defaulters pay 2.5 per cent yearly income remittance.
Addressing practitioners and media owners at a stakeholders’ meeting in Kano, NBC Director General, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, lamented poor compliance by stations that have failed to remit statutory dues.
Commenting on litigation by civil society organisations challenging NBC’s power to fine broadcast stations, Head of Legal Unit, Asukwo Unyu, said three court judgments were secured in favour of NBC.
He, however, described the ruling by Justice James Omotosho of the FCT division of the Federal High Court, which relegated NBC’s powers to fine broadcast stations, as default judgment.
Ilelah, who said many broadcast stations were yet to meet their mandates, disclosed readiness to issue stiffer penalties.
He said, henceforth, indebted stations who fail to meet the ultimatum would be considered illegal operators and saboteurs of the national economy.
He added: “None payment of license fees means that the broadcast station is not permitted by law to be on air. For over 20 years, the commission has not reviewed its license fees, yet the licensees have reneged on their financial obligations to the commission. This has greatly affected operations of the commission, considering the fact that it does not receive any budgetary allocation from the government.”
Reacting to NBC’s position, media managers appealed for a review of the ultimatum, which they considered unrealistic. They also sought permission of the regulator to service their debts through payment restructuring.
One of the speakers, Managing Director of Freedom Radio, Kano, Abbas Muhammad Dalhatu, said stations were barely surviving on zero monthly revenue amid high costs.
Another, Yusuf Isa, urged NBC to seek budgetary allocations to reduce pressure on operators, whose sources of revenue have been hit by harsh economic realities.