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Senate Scold NTA over Non-profitable Ventures

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The Senate again on Monda subjected the Director General of the Nigerian Television Authority ( NTA) , Yakubu Ibn Mohammed, under attack over unsatisfactory submissions on operational and revenue drive of the Information outfit .

Mohammed was particularly taken up on the joint venture the television station has been running with Startimes for the past eleven years without any profit .

The DG who was accused of making unsatisfactory submissions on operational and revenue drive of the information outfit  over the years by the Senate’s joint committee on Finance and National Planning, was ordered to appear before it again on Tuesday along with the Managing Director of NTA TV Enterprises, Maxwell Loko, supervising the  the joint venture with Startimes.

The DG of NTA, who first  appeared before the Committee last Friday was ordered to reappear on Monday for purportedly making unsatisfactory submissions on financial records of the Institution in respect to internally Generated Revenues ( IGR) and details of its alleged  debtors .

The DG ran into trouble at the Monday sitting when he told the committee members that no profit has been  been made from joint operational venture it entered into with Startimes since 2008 .

” As an Executive Director in 2009 in NTA, not a single kobo was made from the joint venture with Startimes , the same situation I met in 2016 when I returned as DG .

” Infact , on assumption of office as DG , that was the first question I asked , upon which records of non- profitability was presented by the NTA  subsidiary outfit running it .

” The non- profitability status of the venture remains till today ” ,he said .

Irked by the submission, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola ( APC Lagos West ) , asked  the NTA DG whether he was certain of what he said .

” Mr DG are you telling this committee that for solid eleven years ,the joint venture agreement NTA had with Startimes has not yielded any profit despite using your facilities for over over one million subscribers.

“This is completely unfair to Nigeria . Something is cooking. You must come with the MD of your subsidiary unit overseeing the contractual and operational agreement”, he said.

Another member of the committee , Senator Danladi Sankara ( APC Jigawa North West), in his contribution , described the venture as fraudulent since according him, Startimes did not register with the National Broadcasting Commission ( NBC)

” Startimes as far as the laws of the land is concerned , is running an illegal business in Nigeria and very unfortunate that such is being aided and abetted by NTA “, he said . the

The DG came under fire again , when asked to submit details of debtors owing NTA N1.8billion with his response that the Indebtedness was purely from COVID-19 adverts which have not been paid for , despite presentations to that effect to the appropriate authorities twice .

Specifically , a member of the committee , Senator Ayo Akinyelure kicked against his submission on the grounds that the National Assembly earmarked money for publicity on COVID-19 out of the N500billion appropriated as intervention fund.

” This Senate and by extension, the National Assembly provided money for publicity  out of the N500billion intervention fund appropriated.

” Therefore your submission that NTA has not been paid any money in that respect is unacceptable.  You must collect whatever the said N1.8billion from the Presidential Task Force in charge of COVID-19″, he said .

Consequently the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adeola , ordered the DG to come with documents on presentations made for payment of the N1.8billion on Tuesday.

He said : ” NTA based on appearances and submissions made by its DG to this committee last week Friday and today , is an exceptional institution that has serious challenges in balancing its accounts books despite being funded with N10million on yearly basis by the Nigerian government .

“Some people somewhere in the organisation are playing funny which will not be accepted by this committee .

” Therefore you have to reappear before us tomorrow ( Tuesday),  with your management account, contract documents with startimes and Audited account generally”.

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