Another 120 face closure by March 31 over N5b debt
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has revoked 54 television and radio licenses while another 120 licenses are being processed for revocation due to offences bordering on inability to pay for their licenses within the mandatory 60 days period and failure to go on air two years after the licenses were issued.
The Director General of the commission, Ish’aq Modibo Kawu, who disclosed this to newsmen yesterday in Abuja observed that frequencies cannot be held indefinitely by individuals as there are other people waiting and ready to make use of those frequencies.
He also announced that NBC has extended the deadline for the payment of the over N5 billion debt owed the commission from March 15 to March 31, 2017 adding that after the date, any station still owing the commission would be closed down.
Kawu, who warned that the harsh economic realities of the country was not an excuse for stations not to meet lawful obligations, disclosed that some of the licenses expired since 2015, stressing that every license issued is provisional and could be revoked at any point.
He said: “There has been no plan by any station to pay. Some even wrote us that the amount they were expected to pay was too much, suggesting to the commission the amount they intend to pay.
“However, this is a new era. All outstanding sums owed the NBC must be collected. The practice of using political connections or going to the Aso Villa to seek black market endorsement will not work,” Kawu said.
The NBC boss stated that the commission has commenced the settlement of all indebtedness arising from the contracts awarded in respect to the Digital Switch Over (DSO), especially to the Set Top Box manufacturers to the tune of N5billion.
According to him, the next phase of payment being processed is that of the signal distributors, Pinnacle Communications and it is to enable them meet their obligations and deepen the efforts to meet a nationwide DSO.