The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Tuesday pledged to assist in the process of securing the N10 billion Nigeria Media Intervention Fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The minister made the promise in Abuja at a virtual meeting with the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) on the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the media and efforts to salvage the industry.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the meeting presided over by Mr Nduka Obaigbena, the Chairman of NPAN and founding Chairman, This Day Media Group was attended by representatives of major traditional media outfits, the new media and Guild of Editors.
While responding to the requests by the association, Mohammed assured that he will follow up on the loan request to ensure it is granted in zero or single digit interest rate.
“I can assure you that I will take your message to the CBN Governor and I will also raise the matter at the next Federal Executive Council meeting on the need to salvage the industry,” he said.
The minister equally assured that he would meet with the Minister of Finance and the Comptroller-General of Customs on the request of NPAN for waivers and relief tariff in the importation of media equipment and consumables.
Mohammed underscored the importance of the media in managing the COVID-19 pandemic through mobilisation and sensitisation especially at the time when there is no known vaccine or medicine for its cure.
He called on the NPAN to make available to him a proposal on how government can influence Facebook, Google, Twitter and other social media platforms to pay for the contents sourced and used from the Nigeria media.
“if I get the a proposal from you, I will work on it speedily because I am more than willing to ensure that content owners get maximum reward on their intellectual property and productivity,” he said.
The minister said that the government has not neglected any sector, including the media since the COVID-19 started and it has been working to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the economy.
He stressed that the importance of the media cannot be overemphasized in mobilisation and sentisation of Nigerians to the reality of the pandemic and the preventive measures from contracting and spreading it.
“We are thanking you for the sacrifices you make daily to bring our messages to the public through the advertisement, messages and daily coverage of our briefings which some broadcast live.
“A recent survey conducted showed that 99 per cent of Nigerians are aware of the pandemic while 95 per cent know what to do to avert contracting it, and this is made possible by the media,” he said.
Mohammed, however, called for the understanding of the association on the reality that all the sources of government revenue had been affected by the pandemic.