Nigeria’s Federal Government has announced moves to assist newspaper houses to overcome some financial issues they face in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who made this known to newsmen today, September 14, after a private audience with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, said that so far, government had done a few things to intervene in the broadcast subsector of the industry.
He added that government is waiting for the the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) to come forward with a submission on how government could help.
“Government has done a lot the media, especially the broadcast industry, during this pandemic. The first thing we did was to give a waiver of two months payment of license fees to all broadcast houses, between May and July, after which we gave an amnesty as 60% discount or debt forgiveness, for all broadcast houses, except the Pay TVs, and also slashed by 30% the licensing fees because of the COVID-19.
“I also met with the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, we met virtually and I’m still waiting for them to come and make their submissions.
“Definitely, the government is willing to look into the hardships and the challenges the media is facing and within our means to see how best we can intervene. I’m still waiting for the NPAN to come back to us to see what we can do to ameliorate the situation.”
The Minister said that the federal government is serious about developing the entire creative industry, especially because of the huge job opportunity in it, adding that President Buhari is particularly interested in the industry.
“This government is putting a lot of emphasis and promoting the creative industry, which is tourism, which is hospitality industry, which is the music industry, which is the film industry, which is publishing, which is broadcasting.
“We’ll continue to support this industry and have the Mr President’s support. He was quite excited about the portrait because he’s able to see what kind of jobs can be created through this cultural festivals.”