Federal Government Making Efforts to Bailout Ailing Media, Says Information Minister

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture

The Federal Government says it is exploring models of financial support to the media as part of its ongoing efforts to help the Nigerian media industry fulfil its functions and to ensure the survival of the industry during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on April 30, 2020 during the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing

The Minister said: “We are not oblivious of the fact that the creative industry, which comprises the media is the most badly affected in the COVID-19 pandemic and that we are already working towards alleviating the challenges.

“Yesterday, a stakeholders committee held in Lagos on the creative industry and we are almost about getting ready the list of special stakeholders committee that will address the issue of the post-COVID-19 creative industry.

“As soon as we get the terms of reference, we would announce the membership and the terms of reference.”

The COVID-19 global pandemic has thrown independent broadcasters in the dire financial situation due to loss in advertising revenue amid as advertisers have had to shut down due to the pandemic and there are indications that some media organisations might not be able to meet their financial commitments or be able to pay staff salaries in months ahead.

Early on, independent broadcasters in Northern and South-west Nigeria lamented the decline in revenue saying they may have to shut down their operations.

The Minister said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had set aside creative industry financing to ensure the industry is resurrected post-COVID-19.

He disclosed that sometimes in 2018, he led a team of the creative industry stakeholders to meet the Central Bank on how to provide finance for the industry adding “The CBN creative industry financing initiative was as a result of that effort. What we need to do is leverage this particular fund made available by the central bank to revive the industry.”

He also said that the digital switchover in broadcasting would be a panacea to the creative industry as it was capable of creating thousands of jobs in the country.

According to him, “The broadcasting organisation will be meeting with my ministry to explore ways of helping the broadcast industry which we will all agree is one of the biggest victims of this pandemic.

“I have been in contact with the leadership of newspapers to get a solution to the ailing economy of the newspapers and the entire media industry.”