Member of the governing New Patriotic Party [NPP], and former Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has kicked against attempts to resort to the use of special courts in getting people to pay the mandatory TV license fees.
He said although the collection of TV license fees is in itself laudable, efforts must be focused on how to efficiently collect the fees rather than prosecution.
[contextly_sidebar id=”aOsGqcQ0DTmG3C79gLctMdEizSdeieNY”]The Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, last December, set up a special TV License Court to deal with people who refuse to pay the mandatory license fees.
The eleven courts, which are located in the 10 regions of the country, are expected to fine and or jail persons who fail to pay the fees.
But Mr. Otchere-Darko in a Facebook post said, “GTV [must] concentrate more on building the infrastructure that can help them to collect [the fees].
“We should not be averse to paying TV license. I think it is an important good and can help GTV serve us and their staff much better. What I disagree with though is having a special court to enforce payment or punish defaulters. Let GTV concentrate more on building the infrastructure that can help them to collect. Ask yourselves, when was the last time you received a demand notice at home or in the office over nonpayment of TV license?,” he said.
GBC officially reintroduced the collection of the TV Licence fees in 2015 after years of putting it on hold due to non-payments.
While domestic TV users are to pay between GH¢36 and GH¢60 for one or more TV sets in the same house every year, TV set repairers and sales outlets are to pay an annual sum of between GHc60 to GHc240.
For commercial TV operators, they are to pay GHc36 per annum for each TV set.
GBC had in the last two years since the re-introduction, appealed to Ghanaians to voluntarily make their payments.
Implications of Special TV license court
Following the setting up of the special court, it is expected that recalcitrant TV owners or operators who previously were adamant about not paying the fee will be prosecuted.
According to Section 1(a) of the TV licensing Act 1966 (NLCD 89) as amended, “Any person who contravenes any provision of this law or regulation shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.”
Opposition to payments
Meanwhile, some Ghanaians have kicked against the payments accusing GBC of not providing compelling content to motivate them to pay the fees.
Police to help enforce TV license payment – GBC
The GBC Director-General had earlier said the Police Service will help in the pursuit of persons who refuse to pay their TV licence fees.
Dr. Annof-Ntow said the police involvement is to help forestall further challenges with the collection of the fees.
“We made a formal appeal not only to the court, but also to the IGP because we anticipated that we were going to hit a snag and some people will deliberately refuse to pay. So from where we sit, I’m delighted at the fact that the Chief Justice has granted our request. What it means therefore is that, this is an encouragement for everybody to go and pay the television licence.”
By: Jonas Nyabor/citifmonline.com/ghana