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We are constrained to return to the subject of defaulting radio and television stations and to make pertinent remarks much needed at this time of government’s efforts to make the country work again after a long lull.
Our decision is prompted by the reckless remarks from some persons who benefited from the non-payment of the appropriate fees and electricity charges by the companies. Such persons have decided to politicise the subject in a manner bereft of reason and logic. Not used to seeing government working productively, they find the action of the National Communications Authority (NCA) uncalled for and would rather the status quo remains.
We have learnt painfully that some of the radio stations which were slapped with fines for failing to pay the appropriate fees even as they continued to operate were in breach for a decade or so.
Besides the foregone some of them also have not paid for the electricity they consumed for a similar period. Others who were in breach for just a few months were threatened with immediate closure during the past political administration.
The selectiveness with which government business was undertaken in those days contributed immensely to the decay which visited the state of affairs in the country.
Radio and television stations considered government-friendly because they served as propaganda outlets, were given free rein to operate. They neither paid the appropriate fees nor the electricity they consumed.
If the NCA and the Communications Ministry under which it operates could fold their arms as the wanton breach continued, there is need to find out the public servants who overlooked the default and to demand that they too be sanctioned; the dividends from doing so being immense and deterring.
Actions should not be delayed or even wavered on individual or companies who or which breach the laws of the land. If importers can be chased to come and pay for the taxes they evaded and to be made to pay extra for the breaches, it stands to reason that defaulters in other private businesses should also be treated as such.
Unless we begin to treat matters of state this way, we would continue to suffer drawbacks in the management of the country.
Naming and shaming under the circumstances would go a long way in forestalling future recurrence of such breaches.
If the idea was to have most MPs on the other side of the political divide float FM stations in their constituencies, we can say without an iota of doubt that a major propaganda operation was the objective regardless of the commercial viability of these channels.
Little wonder, most of them if not all, were unable to break even let alone pay the accompanying fees and other charges. Now the chickens have come home to roost and here we are with dwarfing indebtedness staring them in their faces; the Godfather government no longer around to give them the uncanny cover under which they remained concealed for close to a decade or more.
Let them be sanctioned who supported them to fleece the state. Our country must work again.
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