The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has revoked licenses of 54 broadcast companies that refused to pay their fees within the mandatory 60-day window.
The Commission also disclosed that another list of over 120 licenses that were paid within the mandatory period but were unable to come on air, within the mandatory two years were being processed for revocation.
The Director General of National Broadcasting Commission, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu announced this on Monday at a press conference held in Abuja.
The Commission had earlier given directive that the licenses of the 54 companies that refused to pay their fees within the mandatory 60-day window and another 120 licenses that were paid within the mandatory period but were unable to come on air be closed down.
‘‘Frequencies cannot be held indefinitely by individuals. We are delighted that Nigerians are investing in setting up radio and television stations; they create jobs; open up accesses for content producers to showcase talents and are contributing to national development.
‘‘But no one has a right to hold on to allocated frequencies indefinitely, when the resource itself is finite and there are other people waiting and ready to make use of those frequencies,’’ he warned.
According to him, the decision to extend the earlier dateline of 13 March was taken after consultation with stakeholders that the time line be extended.
He affirmed his earlier position that all indebted broadcast stations would face outright close down at the expiration of the new dateline to enable the Commission recover all the outstanding debts.
‘‘I want to affirm that the Commission would close down all stations that refused to clear their debts after March 31st, stations that refuse to meet their license fees obligations to the NBC, would be closed down! Period!.
‘‘While every licensee is aware that every license issued by NBC is provisional and could be withdrawn at any point, stations carry on as if they own those licenses and can do as they pretty well please.
‘‘License fees are in arrears; there is no plan by many of these stations to pay; while some even have the temerity to write NBC, the regulatory institution, that the amount they are obliged to pay is too much; consequently, they then tell us how much they are willing to pay, and even adding the time they are going to pay such sums that they have decided to pay.
‘‘In truth, a pattern of gross indiscipline and misbehavior has been central to the relationship which many of the licensees had established in the past with the NBC.’’
After they have collected the outstanding license fees, he stated that all the affected stations would then be requested to turn in their Annual Reports for NBC to carry out the obligatory assessment of what constitutes a percentage of the Annual Turn Over that they are also obliged to pay the Commission.
While acknowledging the difficult economic times the country is into, he said that the situation cannot be a justification for any broadcast station not to meet their lawful obligations.
Recall that the Commission had earlier given a time line of March 15, 2017, for all stations owing outstanding license fees to effect payment but rescind the decision to give the indebted stations to make their pay.happy wheels