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FBC: Those Were Budgeted Losses

FBC: Those Were Budgeted Losses
Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Financial Controller Vimlesh Sagar while making their submission to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee on May 22, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar
May 23
11:04 2018

The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) has clarified that the FBC’s audited reports for 2010-2015 covered budgeted losses.

FBC Chief Executive Officer Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said since the report was tabled in Parliament last week, the FBC accounts had been a hot topic in the media industry and social media.

He made this clarification during submissions to the parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts on the 2015 Audit Report on State Owned Entities and Statutory Authorities yesterday

“The losses seem to be the talk of town. People have to realise that they were budgeted losses,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“They were losses that we were expecting, the reason is we had taken out a $22m loan to rejuvenate FBC,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said when he joined FBC in December 2007 one of the first things they did was conduct an audit of the company.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said FBC was going to close within a year and half if they were not going to do anything.

“We were more off air than on air, our service was terrible we were running radio transmission throughout the islands on car stereos,” he said.

“It’s a shame for a national broadcaster to use car stereos to relay services throughout the country. We did an audit and it was either we rejuvenated FBC and start almost from scratch or we close it down.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this was an option they put to the Government at that time.”

He said they came up with a plan and Government’s only form of support was to guarantee FBC a loan.

“We went ahead got a loan and did the project and did well, think about it for US$11m we were able to not only rejuvenate all our radio station, the whole entire broadcasting house and start an entirely new national TV service that had a much higher reach.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they borrowed from the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) at 12 per cent interest rate and they continued to pay the same amount without any default.

“We are a success story. When you start a business from scratch and nothing’s going for yourself and take a huge loan, you will budget for losses for a number of years and everyone knows that,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said that whoever or whatever elements were spreading rumours that FBC was not doing well was because of what had been stated as losses between 2010- 2015.

He said such people were either deliberately misleading people or they didn’t understand the basics of business fundamentals.

He said it was election year and some people would mislead others for political mileage.

“They have to be careful because anything that is defamatory, brings disrepute to FBC or any of its staff we will take action.”

Meanwhile, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said their audited report for 2016 were already signed off and would be with the Ministry for Public Enterprise and they were waiting for the board to sign off the 2017 report and this would be handed to the ministry.

He said their financial year from 2016 and beyond would not be recording losses, but more profits.

Edited by Epineri Vula


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