The senate has queried the management of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) over a non-profitable venture with StarTimes, one of Nigeria’s pay-TV operators.
StarTimes is a Chinese electronics and media company with strong presence in Africa.
The company offers digital terrestrial television and satellite television services to consumers, provides technologies to countries and broadcasters that are switching from analog to digital television.
When Yakubu Ibn Mohammed, NTA director-general, appeared before the senate joint committee on finance and national planning on Monday, Solomon Adeola, its chairman, said it is unfair for NTA to claim that zero profit was recorded during the 11 years joint venture agreement with StarTimes.
“Mr DG are you telling this committee that for solid 11 years, the joint venture agreement NTA had with StarTimes has not yielded any profit despite using your facilities for over one million subscribers? This is completely unfair to Nigeria,” he said.
“Something is cooking. You must come with the MD of your subsidiary unit overseeing the contractual and operational agreement.”
In his response, the NTA DG said no profit was made between both parties as of 2009 when he was executive director.
Mohammed said the situation did not change when he returned to the agency in 2016 as its director-general.
“As an Executive Director in 2009 in NTA, not a single kobo was made from the joint venture with StarTimes, the same situation I met in 2016 when I returned as DG,” he said.
“In fact, on assumption of office as DG , that was the first question I asked , upon which records of non- profitability was presented by the NTA subsidiary outfit running it. The non- profitability status of the venture remains till today.”
The committee directed Mohammed to reappear before it on Tuesday, alongside Maxwell Loko, managing director of NTA TV Enterprises, who supervises the joint venture with StarTimes.