Senator says NTA, FRCN, VON ‘no longer make sense’; should be sold

Nigeria_Television_Authority_(NTA)
Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) [Photo Credit: Wikipedia]

The senator representing Bayelsa East, Ben Murray-Bruce, has called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to sell government-owned media companies.

Mr. Bruce said the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, and Voice of Nigeria, no longer make sense and should be sold to relieve the budget of recurrent expenditures.

The Senator said this while making his contribution to the debate on the 2018 budget which started at the Senate on Tuesday.

Mr. Murray-Bruce said the recurrent expenditure of the budget was over-bloated and should be trimmed.

“We have downgraded our economy and the reason we are downgraded is we cannot meet our revenue projection. It is understood that this is a budget of consolidation; I would rather describe it as budget of active imagination,” he said.

“If you look at the budget from 1960 to the present, you have agencies that were designed for 1960, agencies that were designed for the Nigerian civil war, agencies that were designed to suit some certain conditions in life. 60 years later, those agencies still exist in the budget.

“If you look at the budget, you will see some agencies, they get recurrent expenditure, they pay salaries, they get houses, computers, cars but they have no money to do any work. No money to do any work, we pay salaries. Some agencies are so bloated it defies logic but these agencies exist. So, we have 2.4 million people consuming 60percent of the recurrent expenditure of Nigeria, it doesn’t make any sense.”

Mr. Bruce listed some of the agencies he wants the executive to privatise.

“I called President Obasanjo on phone two days ago and he said to me; the National Orientation Agency was necessary when we had no political party, what is the value of the National Orientation Agency in today’s world for instance? Yet billions of Naira is spent in that agency.

“Let us look at agencies that make no sense. FRCN, sell it to the staff. FRCN has 8, 000 workers sell it to them. Sell NTA to the staff. Voice of Nigeria. Who listens to Voice of Nigeria? Sell it. If the staff want to buy, let them buy it. Set up a cooperative like Awolowo did, sell it to them. If we spend 71 percent on recurrent expenditure, we will never get out of this predicament we find ourselves.”

The lawmaker also criticised the agreement reached by Nigeria and China in the construction of rail lines in the country.

“I sent a letter to the Minister of Transport and I asked him to send us the contract he has with the Chinese. Let’s say we spend 10 billion dollars with the Chinese and they give us a loan what percentage of that money is spent in the local economy? How many Nigerians are employed? Which steel product are we producing locally?

“The last time I checked, rail lines were produced 300, 400 years ago. It’s not rocket science, we have Ajaokuta steel. So if we have the capability of producing steel or we have the capability in slow motion of making this work as Nigerians, we don’t need to borrow $10 billion from the Chinese and then give them back $10 billion, what do we benefit in our economy?

“The United Nations projected that in February 2018, Nigeria will have more people in poverty than in India. We have a population of 180 million people, India has 1.3 billion. Then, if we are going to have more people in poverty than India, then we have to create jobs. Once we create jobs we can then export our Naira to China, to India or some other place.”


DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD:ADVERTISE HERE! CALL 07088095401


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


  • Abdullah Musa

    Who sold VOA, BBC, DW and CCTV?
    Our preference is that Senate should be scrapped.
    It is a useless burden on Nigerians.

    • ACTION MAN in ACTION

      Yes o

    • xandril

      Remember BBC has been commercialised and practically runs on its own. I think it should be reformed or scrapped

  • 45Degree

    We run a government of “sharing national cake.” Why in the world would ANYONE watch NTA? I get my news from Channels TV and Arise. What in VON? FRCN who?

  • ACTION MAN in ACTION

    Mr commonsense is making very common sense here. He should have ended his speech with a motion to repeal the laws setting up these moribund agencies. This is the work of lawmakers. But rather than do this, they are more concerned with debating and padding the budget from where they turn around to get the contracts from the back door.

    Thus commonsense senator thinks we have no commonsense to remember that he was the DG and the lord of NTA and while he held sway he never thought of buying NTA for the staff. Its not about making long, sweet speeches on TV . its about doing the talk.

  • Ade

    If you sell NTA for example, all the NTA stations throughout Nigeria will be on pay TV, then how do you expect the common man who has no money for decoder to watch the news and entertainment freely, I hope this senators will not come up with idea of putting radio stations on pay and listen one day. I think this so call red chamber should be dissolve and cancel permanently to save the nation from money waste, only House of Rep. is enough.

    • Tola

      You are being sentimental. Are Channels and TVC not available? Wazobia and all are available. They sustain themselves through ads. Google is available once you have internet, it sustains self through ads. They may need voice of Nigeria (VON) for external image work but NTA had been ignored by opposition during PDP and today they are ignored by those loyal to PDP so nobody watches it and advertisers will not put money in the drain. Better sold to be able to sustain itself.

  • item7

    This is man who borrowed money from union Bank to to set up silver bird and other radio stations that have virtually collapsed. The poor depositors in union bank where he criminally cornered still have their hands on their mouth should union bank go under because of he and cohorts unpatriotic activities. How much is your total package, take home from the senate that you want FRCN, VON and NTA sold. Rather, I advocate that the senate be scrapped and let us have only the vibrant houss of representatives . Please pay off your accumulated bad debt to union bank.

  • oyoko

    This how they argued that we should sale off our national carrier, now they are at it again ready and waiting to buy another national monument. Unfortunately for them, this is not a greedy Govt that will listen to hogwash as this. Ben Bruce tell us what is happening to our media outfit. You were once a DG of one of this outfit, what happen at the end of your tenure; tell us.

  • ACTION MAN in ACTION

    Mr commonsense is just making very commonsense here. Its a no brainer. He should have ended his speech with a motion to repeal the laws setting up these moribund agencies. This is the work of lawmakers. But rather than do this, they are more concerned with debating and padding the budget from where they turn around to get the contracts from the back door. This commonsense senator thinks we have no commonsense to remember that he was the DG and the lord of NTA and while he held sway he never thought of buying NTA for the staff. Its not about making long, sweet speeches on TV . its about doing the talk.

  • MNO

    For once BMB is making some common sense.

  • ACTION MAN in ACTION

    Mr commonsense is just making very commonsense here. Its a no brainer. He should have ended his speech with a motion to repeal the laws setting up these moribund agencies. This is the work of lawmakers. But rather than do this, they are more concerned with debating and padding the budget from where they turn around to get the contracts from the back door. This commonsense senator thinks we have no commonsense to remember that he was the DG and the lord of NTA and while he held sway he never thought of buying NTA for the staff. Its not about making long, sweet speeches on TV . its about doing the talk.

    • xandril

      He spoke well having been an insider. Those agencies particularly VON has to be reformed or scrapped

  • Moneyz N Horseyz

    Mr. Selfie advertising himself once again ! As a senator from the Niger Delta, what was your comment as regards the recent unrest in the region? On Corruption scandals as big as the NNPC contracts and the criminal reinstatement of Maina, you lost your voice. Now you want to advertise yourself as usual, making bread & butter calls. These self-seeking idiots should be voted out of power come 2019.

  • Suleiman Alatise

    Scrap the fucking senate instead.

    • Otile

      You mean, scrape the Senate so that Dullard Buhari can rule as sole dictator.

  • Ms. Smith

    @Dear Editor,

    NTA could never make any sense under the chairmanship of Chief Duro Onabule
    who never had a reputation as a good thinker up till his 7th birthday currently. Anyone thinking of real change in NTA could never have appointed 77-year-old garrulous charlatan like Duro On able as Chairman of NTA. That was the moment President Buhari fumbled yet again with a nepotist appointment and brought Nigeria down to its knees. Since Onabule was appointed as NTA Chairman more Nigerians have stopped watching NTA as it worsened into a drab and dull spectacle.

    • Abugu Jude Chukwunonso

      Is the chairman the Director General?

  • Chukwudi Kingsley

    Truth is bitter, thank you Mr senator

  • xandril

    Please scrap Voice of Nigeria. I am a staff there and I am tired of the corruption being perpetrated there. The station is moribund except the agency is urgently reformed

  • Pluti

    Accurate words though, paying workers and the shocking thing is that these agencies never engage in true research whereas other strong nations before they sold theirs out actually made a lot of breakthrough in satellite tech and other scientific leap cos of their focus on research and the staffs zeal to get better.