Staff of Kwara State government owned Radio Kwara, The Herald and Kwara Television are to receive their August salaries this week. This follows the release of N5m as part of their subvention for the month.
This was disclosed by the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Media and Communications, Dr. Muideen Akorede while addressing journalist in his office in Ilorin on Wednesday.
Speaking on the protest by staff of the Kwara State Broadcasting Corporation (Radio Kwara), the media aide noted that it was as a result of issues regarding their operational expenses about which he has been engaging the station’s management and unions for the last couple of days. He added that the delay was due to the economic challenges the country is facing as allocation to all tiers of government has dropped but is gradually increasing.
Speaking further, he clarified that the monthly state allocation was received in the state on Monday and that salaries and overheads of parastatals including Radio Kwara are expected to be paid before the end of the week.
Akorede stressed that, like other parastatals, subventions to media houses are paid regularly, except for some months with regard to the media houses which were part paid and will be completed as more funds become available. He however stressed that subventions are always released directly to the station and are disbursed based on the budget and operational needs as approved.
Akorede, therefore, denied an online report attributed to unnamed staff of the station that that he withholds or otherwise intervenes with the funds, adding that government procedures do not permit such interference other than ensuring funds are channeled to critical areas such as purchase of diesel.
Akorede said the government of Alhaji Ahmed has priotized payment of salaries as first line charge followed by operational expenses of parastatals in the state.
On the speculations that the state government intends to sell the station, Dr Akorede said that government has no plan to sell any of its media houses, which were set up by law and cannot be disposed of without the concurrence of the state House of Assembly and the National Broadcasting Commission which supervises broadcast stations in the country.
Dr Akorede said the studio operations of Radio were transferred to Budo Efo following a fault in the newly purchased Studio to Transmitter Link (STL) which was damaged by a recent thunderstorm that is not covered by warranty.
According to him, the decision was then taken with the station’s management to transfer operations to Budo Efo studio pending the repair of the STL.
He, however, disclosed that the previous plan to migrate Radio Kwara to FM band in line with digital technology was put on hold owing to concerns by staff and other stakeholders. He said the funds were then utilized for the purchase of additional equipment for Radio Kwara and Midland FM as well furnishing for the stations which were highlighted at the beginning of the exercise.
Akorede noted that the government of Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed is committed to complete the ongoing repositioning of the media houses to improve their efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery, make them self-sustaining, as well as increase their revenue generation capacity before the expiration of its tenure in 2019.
He emphasized that KwaraTV’s repositioning is virtually completed following the full digitization of the station as witnessed in its clarity of signals, improved programming and building overhaul.
On Midland FM, he said the station now boasts of digital live and recording equipment while awaiting the delivery of a 10 kilowatt transmitter this month. According to him, Radio Kwara has been supplied with a 32-track Behringer recording console, an audio processor and other equipment necessary for its operation. He added that a new transmitter for the AM station is not covered in the ongoing repositioning owing to the original plan to migrate the station to FM band.
On Herald, he emphasized that the ongoing construction of a new building for the newspaper will be completed soon while efforts to give the station a stronger online presence will be stepped up following the launch of its website and that of Radio Kwara.