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The Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria has raised the alarm that the broadcast industry is under threat due to the economic reality in the country.
In a press statement by the Executive Secretary of BON, Dr. Yemisi Bamgbose, on Saturday, stated that the sector is overwhelmed, adding that government billings rise from time to time.
Dr Bamgbose noted that the role of the broadcast sector cannot be jettisoned, thus, the need for the government to review its levies on the industry.
He said, “There are ominous signs that danger of high magnitude is looming in Nigeria as the conventional media, that have been the stabilising factor in maintaining political stability, security and peace of the country is under serious threat due to the harsh economic environment
“The National Broadcasting Commission’s levy of 2.5 % on turnover (not profit) outside of Station License fees, Federal Statutory taxes, State and Local Government taxes and Levies combine to impose a huge burden on the retained revenues of Broadcast Licensees.
“All broadcast stations (Radio and Television, Private and Public) are supported by the same pool of advertisers and while broadcast stations are increasing in number, the advertising spend has been reducing over the last ten years, owing to the dwindling economy, and this has adversely affected the income of Broadcast Organisations even as operating costs are increasing daily.
“Radio and Television stations typically need approximately 500,000 to 700,000 and 700,000 to 1,000,000 daily to run generators, which have become their main sources of power supply, to maintain their transmissions and keep the equipment at the optimal temperatures necessary for the efficient performance and sustaining the projected lifespan of their equipment.”
He further said the issue needs to be addressed because the industry, which is keen on fighting misinformation is threatened.
“These issues have to be addressed urgently to avoid the total shutdown of operations by Broadcast Organisations, most of whom have resorted to reducing transmission hours.
“If is the issues raised above are not addressed immediately, it portends grave consequences for the Nation as accurate, verified and information dissemination, pubic enlightenment and entertainment provided by conventional media organisations might no longer be available giving way to the uninhibited proliferation of fake news and unverified information.
The Secretary-General posited that the government should review the constitution inaccordance to other countries of the world.
He said “We advise that both the Executive and Legislative arms of Government take advantage of the current amendment of the constitution to resolve the lingering issue of Radio and Television License fees with which Public Broadcast Stations are funded in Europe, South Africa and Ghana. The amendment will be to remove the collection of these License fees from the Local Governments and have same be collected by the Federal and State Governments as the local governments do not have any role in Broadcast Operations.”
He added, “The collection of the Digital Access Fees should be domiciled in the National Broadcasting Commission immediately.
“Federal and State Broadcast organisations should be designated as Public Broadcasters which should only be funded through the Radio and Television License Fees and should not play in the advertising space.”