Lai Mohammed defends $500m loan for NTA

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Thursday, at a press conference defended the 500 million dollar loan being sought from China as a necessity to upgrade all the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) stations across the country.

The minister also disclosed that the loan would be used for digitisation of all NTA Stations at the Headquarters, 12 zonal stations, the 36 states and FCT as well as 78 community stations.

A section of the media had reported that the minister, while defending the loan before the National Assembly, said it was for the upgrades of facilities to enable NTA compete with the likes of America’s Cable Network News, CNN.

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“In an era of social media, the real news is usually sacrificed on the altar of sensationalism and disinformation.

“That’s how I will describe the hysteria, in a section of the media, over the reportage of the 500 million dollars loan being sought from China,” he said.

Mohammed explained further that the loan would also cover the construction of a headquarters complex and transmission network for Integrated Television Services (ITS), the Federal Government-owned signal distributor and a major component of the country’s Digital Switch Over (DSO).

He said the fund would also be used to upgrade, purchase and install relevant digital TV broadcasting equipment compatible with DSO products and accessories.

Mohammed stressed that the equipment were necessary for the production and broadcast of digital programme contents in addition to provision of power system and manpower training. He said the fund would also be used to build an ultra-modern Media City in Ikorodu to have, Indoor/Outdoor shooting area, Animation Production Facility and Digital Media Training Centre.

He said other facilities in the city would include World Class Cinema, Four-Star Hotel, an Amusement Park and Amphi-theatre.

The minister said the loan would also be used for acquisition of digital movie production equipment for rental as well as power system.

He disclosed that the Media City Training Academy was only the second of its type in Africa and the first is in Egypt.

He said the facilities would be used to train Nigerian broadcasters and filmmakers in the production of high quality media content programmes and make Nigeria a hub for digital movie production in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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