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Opinions of Saturday, 11 July 2015

Columnist: AFAG Leadership

GBC is a liability- TV license makes no sense

The GBC and other stakeholder on 6th July, 2015 held a news conference at Broadcasting House in Accra to inform Ghanaians that they have reviewed the Television License fee and are scheduled to begin collection of the annual fees from August of 2015. In the 80th anniversary lecture presented by the Director General of GBC Major Albert Don-Chebe, he expressed gratitude to all the key players and also to parliament for approving the upward review of the TV License.

Breakdown of how the income generated from this TV license fee would be shared among four (4) institutions namely Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Media Development Fund and National Media Commission (NMC) was also explained at the same event. Out of the total amount collected GBC would receive the lion's share of 72%, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) would have 15%. The Media Development Fund will take 4%, another 4% would go to National Media Commission, Film will take 2% and GBC who would be the fund managers would have an extra 2%.

Domestic TVs users will pay Ghc36.00 per TV set. Whereas those who own two or more TVs would pay Ghc60.00. Commercial licensed users will pay Ghc3.00 per TV set which is Ghc36.00 a year.TV repairers and Tv retailers are required to pay Ghc20.00 and Ghc60.00 monthly, respectively.

Frankly the introduction of a TV license is another desperate attempt by a failing government to introduce a new tax and push hardship on its people. This makes no sense. GBC has suffered excessive interference by this regime. It is non attractive to viewers because that station is very bias and have most non-productive programs airing. GBC has never attended any AFAG press conference obviously because of their quest to censor and please government. How can members of AFAG pay TV license to a very hostile and non performing TV station?

No one should be forced to watch or listen to GBC. It is a dead outlet. They can generate consumer confidence only when they are willing to be independent of government control, modernize their shows and run their institution as a proper business entity by going for an IPO. Indeed if privately owned television stations are able to manage themselves independently, why can't GBC do same?

Over the years, the public is aware of the galore of mismanagement and misappropriation of millions of cedis by both the board and the management of GBC. The total breakdown of the internal audit system of the Ghana's premium broadcasting corporation has contributed to the continuous financial malpractices that has engulfed GBC.

It is obvious that, the TV license is another IMF cost push measure in the offing. Ghanaians are no zombies to merit this excessive torcher from John Mahama's government. As a country we are in the darkest period of our lives since the onset of the forth republic in 1992. President John Dramani Mahama has succeeded in making life tasteless and insipid for millions of Ghanaians.

We do not see how GBC alone would generate income from commercial activities like advertisements and announcements, receive yearly subvention from government and still want every TV user to pay Ghc36 annually. This is another attempt by government to milk Ghanaians just as they have done to the NHIA. Though Ghanaians pay 2.5% NHIA levy per any transaction, less than 1% is given to the NHIA.

The only source of entertainment for most poor people in Ghana today is a television set and this government wants to take that too away? How cold-blooded can john Mahama be?

AFAG call on all to resist any attempt by this government to bully Ghanaians into paying this illegal fee. We are not Zombies. Simply, we should not comply. Everyone must brace him or herself up for another positive defiance.