Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, has blamed the Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) for the public furore that greeted an attempt to prosecute defaulters of the decades-old TV licence.
According to Mr Hamid, Dr. Kwame Akuffo Anoff-Ntow single-handedly took the decision to request the setting up of courts to prosecute persons who have not paid the annual tax.
“The Attorney-General didn’t know, the National Media Commission [NMC] didn’t know, GBC Board didn’t know, the Ministry of information didn’t know.
“The Director-General of GBC, on his own, writes to the Secretary of Judicial Service and says that he should set up a court. In fact, it is the response of the Judicial Service Secretary to him, saying that in response to your letter…we have set up these courts. That letter was then leaked into the public space. Otherwise, we wouldn’t even know sitting here that any courts have been established,” he revealed on Thursday.
Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo’s decision to grant the request of Dr Anoff-Ntow for the setting up of the Special TV Licence Courts to ensure people pay their TV Licence as required by law drew raging condemnation from the public.
Although a section of the public supported the tax, Dr Anoff-Ntow muddied the waters when he stated that the levy is not being charged for owning a television set – which the law stipulates – but for content on GBC.
Many say the programmes on the various outlets of GBC, especially its flagship TV station, GTV, were poorly packaged and hence does not deserve the fee.
Responding to the controversy on current affairs programme, Upfront, on the Joy News channel on Multi TV Thursday, the Information Minister said the GBC Director-General was rash in his approach to get Ghanaians to pay the unpopular tax.
“Even the whole understanding about why people should pay TV licence [is not there]…people are not even sure whether TV licence is paid in respect of the sets that people own or in respect of the content that they consume.
“I pointed out to the Director-General that he has not done enough education, that is number one. Number two, he has not put in place proper mechanisms for collecting these levies,” he noted.
[The discussion on the TV tax starts 10mins into the video link above]
He has revealed that the board of GBC and the National Media Commission (NMC) will meet on the matter on Friday, January 5, 2018 “to deliberate on the matter and then whatever their response is they will put it out in the public space and people will know.”