NBC gives broadcast stations three weeks to settle N5b debt

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has given broadcast stations in the country three weeks to pay up over N5 billion licence fees they owed the commission.

It also directed all stations that have installed more than the allotted TX power to procure and install 2KW transmitters within six months and warned that it would de-commission such transmitters after the expiration of the grace period.

Director-General of the Commission, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, who gave the warning at a stakeholders’ meeting of broadcasters yesterday in Abuja, said the NBC would be invoking the relevant laws against erring stations in this regard. He added that all stations are expected to complete all payments owed to the commission on or before March 15, 2017.

“The licensees carry on as if they have their licences for keeps and act as if the NBC cannot withdraw their licences. It is important to remind them that all licences are provisional, no matter how long you have held them,” he added.

Kawu said that the commission was also disturbed by the illegal and rampant use of transmission power by stations across the country. He stressed that stations procure transmitters without respecting the stipulated and recommended transmitter power in city-based frequency modulated (FM) stations.

He noted that this had resulted to frequency clashes occurring all over Nigeria and that the NBC had compiled a list of 69 stations around Nigeria that have installed transmitters beyond the transmitter power stipulated in their licences.

According to him: “A top Nigerian politician who was given a licence to instal a 10KW transmitter, began transmission even before NBC gave him the permission and when NBC engineers went to inspect his facilities, he sent his thugs to chase them away.”

The NBC boss pointed out that henceforth, broadcasters would not be allowed to import a transmitter beyond the power allotted in the licences issued while stations must ensure that their broadcasts are limited to assigned areas only; and where these areas require less than 2KW power, they must tune their transmitters below 2KW.

He further frowned at the refusal of some stations to instal aviation warning lights on their masts and gave all stations till February 28, 2017, to ensure that proper aviation warning lights are installed on their masts.

“We have also seen that there are stations that have refused to instal Off-Air recording facilities. We all know that this is also an imperative. NBC monitoring officers around Nigeria will check every station to ensure compliance. These must be in place latest by March 31, 2017. Thereafter, all stations that have not installed these recording facilities would be closed down,” he added.

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