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Media deserve relief for COVID-19 overstretch – PTF

Media bodies ask for stimuli

By Chuka Nnabuife

THERE is a growing wave of calls for media people to be included in special relief packages and motivational incentives given to professionals in the frontline of the anti-coronavirus campaign.

  Earlier, today during the Presidential Task Force (PTF) media briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja, Minister of State for Health, Olorumibe Mamora unveiled some federal government’s incentives for health workers in the campaign as well as some that the government is planning. These comprised extension of health workers retirement during the COVID-19 period, plan for insurance and a possibility of extension of ages of retirement for doctors and health workers.

  Dr. Mamora’s disclosure partly gave nod to the request of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in previous fora for higher emolument, special insurance and better work condition for Nigerian medics.

  Engaging the PTF, media men asked for a recognition of their frontline roles too.

  “I know that media people, journalists, are also in the line of duty… There should be some measure of consideration for them”, responded the chairman of PTF and Secretary of the Federal Government (SGF), Boss Mustapha.

  Mr. Mustapha commended the Nigerian media for playing yeoman roles in the fight against the pandemic and said that their special consideration for deserved motivation and better condition of service is something government should consider.

   He urged the Minister of information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to look into the matter.

  It should be recalled that media practitioners and associations in the industry such as councils of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) have earlier made calls for motivation and protection of newsmen and women who take risks and engage  in dire expenditure to ensure that the society are adequately updated on the developments.

  Meanwhile, the Broadcasting Oraganisation of Nig. (BON) and NUJ call for FG funding intervention to sustain operations of Radio, Tv and newspaper houses amid impact of corona cases.

  The bodies projected job losses and need for massive injection of capital to save the industry, hit hard by a projected 80 per cent drop in revenue. They therefore urged government intervention which should include tax rebates, single credit facilities, rescheduling of loans and moratorium in bank grants.

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