Broadcasters to pay at least $2.5M for annual licence fee

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 December 2015, 21:01 by GxMedia

Chair of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority Bibi Shadick

Broadcasters will have to pay an annual licencing fee of no less than $2.5M, says Chairperson of the Board of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) Bibi Shadick.

At a news conference on Wednesday she explained that the Broadcasting Act makes provision for a licence fee to be set by the minister.

“The decision of Cabinet was the annual licence fee for all licenced broadcasters, radio, TV and Cable, being equivalent to three percent of the year preceding licencing for commercially operating firms … provided that the three percent is no less than 2.5 million Guyana dollars,” Shadick said.

However, she said the Board realised that broadcasters would not have had their gross revenue figures for 2012 at the end of the year and it was decided that audited figures for December 31, 2011 would be used for those broadcasting prior to the Act.

New broadcasters would have to pay the $2.5M as licence fee.

“For all of the broadcasters that we have approved so far only two are paying more than $2.5M because they declared monies of which the three percent was more than the $2.5M,” Shadick said while declining to name the entities.

The Act also provides for broadcasters to pay a fee for the use of the spectrum with the fee worked out by the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) along technical lines.

The former human services minister also announced that the Board had sent out letters of approval for licences to eight TV broadcasters, eight radio broadcasters and six cable operators, all of whom were current operators. Two other TV operators are also to receive approval letters.

The Board, she added, was yet to deal with new applicants.

“We are trying to regularise what exists before we go look to put more population into the broadcast area,” said Shadick while likening the current situation to a squatter settlement.

Shadick also announced that the Board at its meeting on Tuesday approved the names of five persons for the GNBA’s Monitoring Committee. But she added that those persons were still to be notified and until then their names would be withheld. She noted that one of the five had to be a Board member as specified by the Act.

According to her, she was “sure” the broadcasting community would be satisfied with the other four nominees.

“I’m hoping by the 1st of July that Committee would be up and running so those names would be given to you.”

The GNBA is yet to be established and the Chairperson said they were looking for a building to house the Authority and the NFMU. She explained that the NFMU’s current building was to be replaced by a “new and bigger building” to accommodate the broadcast and telecommunications regulatory agencies.