Strip GBC of mandate to collect TV license fees – Lecturer

Lorlornyofm
By Lorlornyofm January 2, 2018 22:46

Strip GBC of mandate to collect TV license fees – Lecturer

A Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Faculty of Law, Clement Akapame, has suggested that agencies like Ghana Standards Authority or the Ghana Revenue Authority should take charge of the collection of TV license fees instead of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).

In his view, this will give the license more legitimacy and ease the concerns some Ghanaians have with respect to the utilization of the revenue collected.

GBC officially reintroduced the collection of the TV Licence fees in 2015, after years of putting it on hold due to non-payments.

Domestic TV users are to pay between GHc36 and GHc60 for one or more TV sets in a household, while TV set repairers and sales outlets are to pay an annual sum of between GHc60 to GHc240.

This has been followed by the setting up of a special court to prosecute defaulting TV users or operators.

“I am not against government raising revenue to resource a public broadcaster. I am against the appropriateness of a tax and how the tax is even collected,” the lecturer said.

“The appropriate institution to be collecting these fees or to set standards for the payment of TV license fees is not GBC. GBC is only interested in the revenue and people are against GBC collecting it because we’re not getting value from GBC.”

When the revenue collection is stripped off the GBC’s purview, “it becomes independent of the GBC so that those funds that come to government, the government can now decide how to allocate those funds,” Mr. Akapame explained.

“…But if GBC is going to collect these funds and GTV is going to use it for itself, people are going to start questioning… GBC, as it stands now, as the regulator and also as a player, is not best placed to be collect these licenses.”

Definition of TV set

He alluded to some inconsistencies on the matter of the licenses by stating that: “the genuine issue we need to look at is what we are paying for.”

Commenting on the matter earlier, Director-General of the GBC, Dr. Akuffo Annor-Ntow, explained that the license is to cover content and not the ownership of TV sets.

“You aren’t paying for the television set. You are paying for the content. So the principle is that the public service broadcaster will be generating content and that content is useful and to the extent that it is mandatory to provide that service, the public funds it. So it is not the television set that you are paying for. You are paying for the content,” he said.

But the TV licensing Act 1966 makes not mention of levies for content and the GBC’s online portal FAQs on the license payment note that the levy is “for installing and using a Television receiving set and not for content or programmes.”

Countries like South Africa provided clarity on such matters by defining a TV set as “any device designed or adapted to be capable of receiving a broadcast television signal. That includes a PC fitted with a TV tuner card, or a videocassette recorder (VCR) connected to a monitor or TV screen.”

By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana

Lorlornyofm
By Lorlornyofm January 2, 2018 22:46
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