The Majority Leader is demanding details of how much the state broadcaster, Ghana Broadcasting Company (GBC), received as proceeds from political advertising in the run-up to the 2016 elections in December.
According to Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, such monies should be accounted for before government looks at possible ways of helping GBC settle its indebtedness of about ¢44 million.
Contributing to the debate on the budget of the Information Ministry, which has oversight over GBC, Kyei Mensah-Bonsu called for a forensic audit into the activities of the state broadcaster.
“Mr Speaker, the Ministry stands for transparency, accountability in government and GBC should radiate same principles. In the lead up to the elections, we know of private media houses that took advertisement from the various political parties.
“GBC and GT, in particular,r were inundated with several advertisements from various political parties. It will be interesting to know how much they earned and how much indeed was paid to them. It will help greatly in reducing the indebtedness to GBC.
“I will serve notice to the committee, as part of their oversight, let them indicate to us how many of such adverts GBC, both on radio and television took, and what were their earnings on radio and television.
“Mr Speaker, let it be the assignment of the committee before they talk to us about any indebtedness,” said the Majority Leader.
The GBC has been struggling to operate smoothly due to the huge debt owed various service providers including the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
The ECG has on several occasions disconnected some branches of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) over outstanding debts.
In November 2017, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s Garden City Radio in the Ashanti Region, was taken off air after the Electricity Company of Ghana disconnected the facility from the national grid, leaving management with no option than run on a standby plant.
The GBC is said to owe the power company about ¢1.75 million.
GBC is not the only media institution that is struggling to settle huge debts. Metro TV, a private broadcaster, is battling with similar challenges.
On Tuesday, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) shut down the Accra-based television station reportedly over their failure to pay their taxes.
A visit by Citi Business News to the Cantonment premises of the television station revealed that, the GRA had restricted entry into the company with a seal of the Commissioner General.
The station was later reopened after it “made the necessary arrangements”.