Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited made consecutive losses from 2010 to 2015 according to the company’s audited reports tabled in parliament.
However Chief Executive Officer of FBC, Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says they now envisage no more losses for FBC as the money given by the government for public service broadcast for radio and television is now going into their accounts as a fee and not a grant.
According to the annual reports, FBC made a loss of $516,943 in the year 2010, a loss of $1.137 million in the year 2011, a loss of $7.103 million in the year 2012, a loss of $5.602 million in the year 2013, a loss of $3.924 million in the year 2014 and a loss of $3.361 million in the year 2015.
According to the reports, FBC was getting annual public service broadcast grants of 2.9 million dollars to run Radio Fiji One, Radio Fiji Two and FBC TV public service broadcast programmes.
The public service broadcast grant from government to FBC was increased to 11 million dollars in the 2017/2018 National Budget. This is now being inputted in FBC’s financial books as public service broadcast fees.
The reports also reveal that FBC is paying it’s loan with the Fiji Development Bank at variable interest rates. As at 2015, the loan payable amount for FDB stood at 17.581 million dollars. Interest rates ranged from 12 percent to 5.5 percent between the years 2010 to 2015. The loan has a government guarantee of $21.594 million.
The auditors stated in the 2013 annual report that the finance statements that year have been prepared on a going concern basis notwithstanding that at 31st December, 2013, FBC had negative cash flows from operating activities of $1.319 million and deficiency in shareholder’s funds of $342,887. In addition FBC recorded a loss of $5.602 million that year.
The auditors stated that the directors considered it appropriate to prepare the financial statements on a going concern basis, given that the company’s shareholder, Ministry of Public Enterprises, has provided the company with a written undertaking to provide sufficient financial assistance necessary to the company as and when needed to enable the company to continue its operations and fulfill all of its obligations now and in the future. This undertaking was provided for a minimum period of 12 months from the date of the report.
The 2015 annual report also revealed that FBC was in advanced discussions with the Fiji National Provident Fund in regards to the refinancing of the loan held with the FDB. The report states that an offer was received from FNPF which had been accepted by FBC’s board of directors and signoff was expected in April 2016.
We asked FBC’s CEO, Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum what the future holds for FBC knowing that it recorded consecutive losses from 2010 to 2015 after getting the public service broadcast grants from the government every year.
Sayed-Khaiyum says the public service grant should have always been recorded as a fee.
He says although the government is now giving 11 million dollars in public service broadcast fees on an annual basis compared to the 2.9 million dollars a year in the past, FBC still needs more money to meet the costs for public service broadcast.
Sayed-Khaiyum says FBC took out a massive loan to upgrade their broadcasting infrastructure and this also has to be taken into account.
He also clarifies that FBC’s loan is still with FDB and they are still in negotiations with FNPF to refinance the loan.
Sayed-Khaiyum says anyone will look for the best rates and FBC is in the process of doing that.
2010-2015 FBC Annual Reports tabled in Parliament:
- 2015 FBC Annual Report
- 2014 FBC Annual Report
- 2013 FBC Annual Report
- 2012 FBC Annual Report
- 2011 FBC Annual Report
- 2010 FBC Annual Report