Broadcasters under the aegis of Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria have condemned the excessive demand for tax from them by state governments, arguing that broadcasters were already remitting taxes to the Federal Government and it was not right for states to demand taxes from them.
Chief Sonny Adun, Chairman of the association spoke at an event to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the National Broadcasting Commission in Abuja on Monday, reacting to aaccusations that state governments were excessively taxing broadcasters.
“They do this in order to raise their IGR and it is important to note that double taxation is counterproductive to any business,” he said.
Adun particularly cited the Lagos State Government as an example, noting that the state governments used armed law enforcement agents to seal off the offices of broadcasters who fail to pay taxes to the states.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government and the NBC to do something about this as it is not good for the business and the industry,” the IBAN chairman said.
The Federal Government had declared that Nigeria currently has the biggest broadcast sector in Africa.
The NBC noted that with 27 campus broadcast stations, 63 federal radio stations, 133 federal television stations, 122 state radio stations, 68 state television, 51 Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Services, 26 Direct-to-Home services, 97 private radio and 43 private television stations, Nigeria can boast of having the largest broadcast industry on the continent.
Mr. Emeka Mba, Director-General, NBC, said the broadcasting landscape had enjoyed tremendous growth and had blossomed into a vibrant industry with unlimited potential.
Mba said, “It has transformed from a single, domineering, authoritarian voice into a beautiful democratic orchestra of multiple views and perspectives. In practical terms, we have grown from a handful of government-owned broadcast stations to over 600 diversely owned stations. Truly, we would not be immodest to announce to the world that ours is now the biggest broadcast sector in Africa.”
However, the NBC boss noted that the most critical challenge in recent times had been piloting the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting, adding that Nigeria unfortunately missed the June 17 deadline for the switchover due to factors beyond its control.
He also assured that the commission was on course to meet the new deadline of June 20, 2017.
The 23rd anniversary lecture of the NBC, he said, was being organised for the first time and its aim was to stimulate intellectual discourse, place salient matters of the industry on the front burner, chart a fitting navigational strategy, and translate into positive dividends.
By Patrick Aigbokhan