Nigeria: U.S.$500 Million Loan Not for NTA Alone – DG

The $50m loan being sought by the Ministry of Information and Culture is not meant for the Nigerian Television Authority alone, the Director-General, Yakubu Ibn Mohammed, has said.

Media reports had quoted the minister, Lai Mohammed, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Loans, as saying that the ministry was seeking the loan for the NTA to compete favourably with the likes of America’s Cable News Network.

But in an interview with Daily Trust yesterday, the NTA boss said: “There are three major components to the loan being sought by the ministry of information and NTA happens to be only one of the three.”

According to him, the aspect of the loan that concerns the NTA is the digitization of 119 stations nationwide, including upgrade, purchase, and installation of relevant TV broadcast equipment that are compatible with the digital switchover products and accessories necessary for the production and broadcast of digital programmes.

He said the NTA component of the loan constitutes between 25 to 30 percent of the entire loan sum, amounting to about $111m.

He gave the other two components of the loan as the development of an ultra-modern media center (to cost $245m) as well as construction of headquarters and transmission network for Integrated Television Services; the government-owned signal distributor in the digital switchover chain (to gulp $ 232m).

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