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Stakeholders lament high operational charges, stringent regulations of NBC

By Murtala Adewale, Kano
28 September 2021   |   3:07 am
Stakeholders in the media industry have raised concern over high operational costs and stringent regulations set by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), which pose challenges in the industry.

Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)

Stakeholders in the media industry have raised concern over high operational costs and stringent regulations set by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), which pose challenges in the industry.

The media professionals, both practitioners and academics, as well as the veterans decried what they considered as professional misconduct, poor capacity among other challenges bedeviling the broadcasting industry in Kano and Jigawa states.

The stakeholders, main indigenes of Kano and Jigawa states, made the submission recently during experience sharing colloquium on “Investment and Growth Potentials in the Media Industry “, organised by Kano/Jigawa Professionals Forum in collaboration with Dangote Business School, Bayero University, Kano.

Veteran broadcaster, former Director-General, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Federal Radio Corporation (FRCN), Alhaji Muhammed Ibrahim, faulted the high cost of operational licence charged by NBC.

Muhammad, who currently holds the traditional title of Makama Ringim, Jigawa State, believes that the cost of securing a radio licence is outrageous considering the economic reality of Northern Nigerian.

The ace broadcaster insisted that the regulator might have defeated the essence of the broadcasting industry, which is primarily aimed at widening the spectrum of audiences just as he urged NBC to look at the means of reducing the additional burden on owners.

On her part, the Chairman of Broadcasting Organisation of Nigerian (BON), Hajia Sa’ah Ibrahim, is also worried by the cost implication of the much-celebrated digital switchover, adding that multiple charges especially on content aggregation, signal distribution and other mandatory costs charged by NBC might be difficult to sustain.

Hajia Sa’aa, who is the director-general, Abubakar Rimi Television (ARTV), argued that several broadcast stations, especially in the North, might find it difficult to join the digital migration because of the dwindling economy coupled with a drastic decline in revenue from advertisers.

On his part, another media manager, Adamu Ladan, wondered why NBC is fast assuming revenue-generating agency status instead of regulating the industry. Ladan urged NBC to rather check the prevailing professional misconduct across several broadcast media in Kano and Jigawa states.

Reacting to concerns raised, the immediate acting Director-General of NBC, Professor Armstrong Idachaba, explained that NBC will not compromise professional standards, adding that the regulator will continue to strengthen its enforcement operation.

Idachaba reminded that despite the social and developmental responsibility of the broadcast industry, the area of revenue generation would not be overlooked.

He, however, urged stakeholders to move for possible amendment of the laws through the national assembly to address their concerns.

Chairman of Kano/Jigawa Professional forum and former minister of Budget, Shamsuddeen Usman said the colloquium did well to address challenges and opportunities abound in Kano/Jigawa media industry.

He said the forum was established to encourage and nurture professionalism and provide support for the sustenance of socio-economic development in the two states.