Allow us regulate NBC, operators urge FG

Operators in the nation’s broadcast industry have called  on the federal government to steer clear of the control of the  National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)  and avail industry practitioners the opportunity to regulate  the agency to make it truly efficient.

Speaking in Abuja, the Federal  Capital territory,  at the Town Hall Meeting on  Media and Regulation, organised by Daar Communications Ltd, recently, the chairman  and founder of Silverbird Group, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce,  argued  that the Commission had not been able to, effectively,  discharge  its statutory duties; since it is presently bogged down by bureaucracies.

The Silverbird boss added that  70 percent of the board should comprise  practitioners, from the various broadcast stations, spread across the country, to truly make the agency efficient.

“I think to make the NBC truly effective,  70 percent of its board  should comprise folks from AIT, Silverbird, Galaxy, Channels and others. They should regulate themselves and have a say in the policy directions of their businesses,” he argued.

The  former lawmaker also queried the  operating fees  being charged  the nation’s broadcast stations by the Commission, describing it as ‘rather high and a disincentive to business’.

“Besides, what the agency charges these companies are too high. Perhaps such would have been understood in the days when AIT, Channels, Silverbird and few radio stations, were the only broadcast stations in the country.

“Now you find hundreds of radio stations, hundreds of  TV stations. But the cost structure is still the same as when Abacha was in office. You are killing the industry by doing this.  It’s affecting many companies to the extent that  they are finding it difficult paying  salaries on time.

“So I’m asking the current leadership of NBC to look at the economics of Nigeria, today,  and rejig what they charge, to make it possible for the folks in the industry to make a living.

In his contribution,  Chairman of Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi called for the review of the NBC Code, while urging the federal government to stop interfering in the affairs of the agency.

“When I look at what is happening in the nation’s broadcast industry today, I weep. There has been no clear definition of how private broadcasting must be funded, and how public companies should be funded. That is why we see local government areas collect broadcasting licences.

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