Company clarifies issues on government grant

FBC chief executive offi cer Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (left) and Public Accounts Committee chairperson Ashneel Sudhakar (right) at Parliament yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

THE chief executive offi cer of Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) Riyaz SayedKhaiyum and company CFO Vimlesh Sagar yesterday made clarifi cations to Public Accounts Committee (PAC) members on
the accounting treatment of public service broadcast (PSB) grants received.

Mr Sagar had said their decision to treat this as capital grant and not fees was based on an earlier Cabinet decision to treat grants as such which was why there was a departure from the international accounting standards.

“In 2016 there was another Cabinet decision to classify all public service broadcast grant as fee and now we have reclassified this in our financials to record the grant as revenue and they are now in accordance with international reporting standards,” Mr Sagar said.

He said they were caught in a position of complying with the cabinet decision while there was a departure from international accounting standards.

The PAC chairman, Ashneel Sudhakar, then said, according to the OAG the main purpose of the PSB grant was to acquire long-term assets to which CEO Mr SayedKhaiyum said that was not entirely true.

“We at FBC have a Public Service Broadcast Contract with Government for services rendered for public service broadcast which includes educational programs etc.

“That money was not treated in the right way right from the start in our books and was always referred to as a grant.

“It is something that we had taken up with Government because rightfully it should be called a fee,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said this was because it was received specifically for the services offered under the PSB Contract with Government.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum told this newspaper during an interview that FBC made acquittals for this grant to Government yearly.

“And the expense in providing the public service broadcast after acquittals currently sits at about $25 million and in return we now get $11.5m,” he said.

The PAC was chaired by Ashneel Sudhakar with MPs Mohammed Dean, Aseri Radrodro and Mere Samisoni in sitting including reps from the OAG and Ministry of Economy.

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