The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says the willingness to assist the print and newspaper subsector of the media industry is being delayed by the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria which is yet to present a submission on how government can offer its support.He said this in an interview with State House reporters on Monday after presenting a portrait of the Argungu Fishing Festival to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mohammed said the government had done a few things to intervene in the broadcast industry and was still waiting for the NPAN to come forward with the proposal on how it could intervene and address the challenges facing the print sub-sector of the industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the first thing the government did for the broadcast industry 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 phone line of NPAN President Nduka Obaigbena was repeatedly busy when our reporter called him for a reaction last night.
He also did not reply to a text message sent to his line as of the time of filing this report.