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NTA/Startimes venture: We haven’t made profit in eleven years – DG

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The Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Yakubu Ibn Mohammed has revealed that the NTA and the Startimes partnership has not yielded profits in the last eleven years.

Speaking at his appearance before the Senate joint Committee on Finance and National Planning which is scrutinising the 2021-2023 MTEF-FSP on Monday, he said, the NTA could not remit revenue into the Federation Account for lack of profit.

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Angry with the development,
NTA boss was taken up on the joint venture the television station has been running with Startimes for the past eleven years without any profit

Consequently, 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. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Recalled that the DG of NTA, first appeared before the Committee last Friday but ordered to reappear Monday for allegedly making unsatisfactory submissions on financial records of the Institution as regards 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 not a single dime has been realised 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 sure 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 DG came under fire again , when asked to submit details of debtors owing NTA N1.8 billion 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 N500 billion 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 N1.8 billion 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.

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