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Media Organisations to Enjoy Financing at Single-Digit Interest Rates – FG

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Chidimma Uchegbu -Abuja

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, through the Bank of Industry (BOI), to extend its single-digit interest-rate financing to media organizations in the country.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris stated this in Abuja on Wednesday when he received members of the Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria (IBAN) on a courtesy visit to his office.

According to the Minister, the gesture is in keeping with the administration’s resolve to create an enabling business environment for the media to operate in Nigeria.

“Let me say that the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation under my leadership, as part of our five pillars, will support all media platforms in this country, whether they are public or private.

“I can tell you that the President has directed the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to extend financing to media organizations at single-digit interest rates. I think you need to take advantage of that,” he said.

He therefore urged the IBAN members to develop bankable proposals to access the financing facility being offered by the Federal Government.

The Minister also frowned at instances of willful violation of advertising industry payment standards, condemning the habit by some practitioners of failing to remit advertising payments to media organizations within the approved 90 days.

Idris said, henceforth, the Advertising Regulatory Commission of Nigeria (ARCON), would be mandated to ensure that all advertising revenues due to media organizations are released to them promptly.

The Minister advised the private broadcasters to key into the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative of the Federal Government to bring down the cost of their operations through cheaper access to energy.

Idris said with the commissioning of three gas projects by the President and other initiatives of his administration, Nigeria aims to attain sufficiency in gas processing for local consumption and export.

In response to the request from IBAN regarding the resumption of the Digital Switch Over (DSO) rollout, the Minister, who expressed deep concerns over the historically slow progress of the DSO initiative, stressed the need for a renewed and vigorous approach to ensure timely completion.

He conveyed that the President has instructed the ministry to expedite the DSO project by adopting successful models from other countries that have effectively transitioned from analog to digital broadcasting.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of IBAN, Alhaji Ahmed Tijjani Ramalan complained of multifaceted challenges confronting the broadcasting industry in Nigeria, and called for urgent steps to revitalize the sector to stimulate innovation and empower indigenous media owners.

“The Nigerian broadcast industry, a cornerstone of the nation’s information and entertainment landscape, faces significant challenges hindering its ability to reach its full potential. There is the urgent need to take the initiative with a design to revitalise the industry, stimulate innovation, unlock the potential media economy and empower indigenous media entities,” he said.

He identified the high cost of energy, shortage of analog frequencies, delay in the payment of advertising revenues, and unrealistic audience measurement systems as some of the challenges bedeviling the broadcasting industry.

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