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Broadcast stations get Feb 17 deadline to renew licences

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
24 December 2021   |   4:22 am
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has said N4 billion licence renewal fees are being owed it by some 100 broadcast stations.

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

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has said N4 billion licence renewal fees are being owed it by some 100 broadcast stations.

Consequently, the regulator gave the erring outfits up till February 17, 2022 to pay up or have their licences withdrawn and reallocated to prospective licensees. It also advised the new players to pay their fees to avoid penalties.

HOWEVER, the commission is to establish Institute for Broadcast Policy and Regulation for training of broadcasters with a view to institutionaliding professionalism in the industry.

Addressing reporters yesterday in Abuja, NBC’s Director-General, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, stated that in September 2020, the commission released a list of 159 companies, institutions and communities granted provisional broadcast licences by President Muhammadu Buhari, to operate radio and television (stations) in the country.

He stated that the NBC had initially planned to publish names of the indebted broadcast stations but later backpedalled after the intervention of the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON). It, nevertheless, warned that the February 17 remains sacrosanct.

The NBC boss observed that with the Digital Switch Over (DSO), there will be over 200 channels and probably over a 1000 organised production outfits looking to feed them with content, adding that “all these will require infrastructure investment, in production destinations, with studios, graphic and sound hubs among others.”

Ilelah noted that the management has been working frantically to reposition the commission and add value to the industry.

On the DSO project, Ilelah said: “We have taken very important progressive steps towards the actualisation of the project in Nigeria. With the commissioning, the driving government agency for the project, working closely with the Ministerial Task Force on DSO and Digiteam Nigeria, as well as the implementation committee, has shown commitment to the transition through the implementation of several critical requirements.”

He said: “In my first one month, I established an NBC Steering Committee which reviewed the challenges of previous launching of the DSO across the country from the pilot launch in Jos in 2016, to Lagos this year. On November 2, 2021, my team was in Kano for the switch on of digital terrestrial television broadcasting signals, which has so far brought digital experience to viewers of television contents in the state. We have equally trained over 500 information officers, staff from the national orientation agencies, technicians and equipment installers in Kano and River States since I assumed office.”

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