Saturday, September 26, 2020

StarTimes rejects Senate report, says N200bn not lacking

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For Prince Osuagwu, High-tech editor

The management of NTA-Star TV Network Ltd, on Thursday, dismissed a report from the Senate National Planning and Finance Joint Committee stating that N200 billion earned from a joint venture between the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA and StarTimes Group was missing. .

The company said it was open to a forensic audit on its finances and operations, if the government wishes to conduct an audit.

In a statement from StarTimes Nigeria Public Relations Manager Lazarus Ibeabuchi, the company said: “We also want to clarify that there is no shortage of revenue as gross profit has been repeatedly reinvested in the cost of production to cover the cost of components.

“These include transmitters, equipment, generator and satellite sets, content acquisition, as well as operating costs, which include salaries and other operating costs, incurred within our 10 years of operation.

“NTA-Star TV Network Limited is a responsible corporate organization, whose business activities comply with statutory laws and regulations.

“Our accounts are audited by one of the four largest auditing firms in the world, widely known for its integrity and professionalism in the field of auditing.

“Apart from the fact that our statutory audits are carried out by external auditors, our financial activities are audited by the Federal Internal Revenue Service, FIRS.

“The loss in our operations over the years is the result of the fact that our huge initial investment is in US dollars and long-term cost recovery has faced brick walls with successive years of naira depreciation.

“The pay TV business is capital intensive and has a long gestation period. More than 80 percent of the inputs to our operations are denominated in dollars.

“Fluctuations in the naira have not been good for business, making it increasingly difficult to meet dollar-denominated obligations.”

Ibeabuchi, however, said the company regretted the outcome of the Senate hearing and said it amounts to a media trial without due diligence.

He said that, to that extent, StarTimes was open to proper investigation into its operations and finances.

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