TV LICENSING

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs):

1 WHY DOES ONE NEED TO PAY A TELEVISION LICENCE FEE?

1.1 Legal Obligation
The payment of television licence fees is a statutory (legal) obligation in terms of an Act of Parliament, namely the Namibian Broadcasting Act No. 9 of 1991, as amended that governs the NBC’s activities. The current fee is N$204.00 per annum for a Household/Private Person per TV set, N$60.00 per annum for a Pensioner/War Veteran/Disabled per TV set, N$220.00 per annum for any Business (including private & public schools, government departments , clinics & hospitals, bars, shebeens, etc.) per TV set, N$440.00 per annum for a Furniture Retailer/Dealer/TV Repair Company/Company hiring out TV sets per demonstration set and certain category fees for accommodation establishments like lodges, hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, etc.
1.2 What if one never watches NBC TV?
The licence fee remains payable even if one never watches NBC but one watches only the private broadcaster One Africa TV or the digital DStv satellite service, since the signal still reaches one’s television set via the broadcasting frequencies.

1.3 Licence or Service Contract?
A TV licence is therefore not a “service contract” in terms of which the NBC has to provide all kinds of “services” to “subscribers” before the licence fee becomes payable. A TV licence is not a “product” of some kind, “purchased” by “consumers” on the basis of it offering better value than similar competing products. Like a vehicle licence or a liquor, hunting or fishing licence it is nothing more and nothing less than an official authorisation – in this case, the right to have in one’s possession and/or use a television set.
1.4 Viewer demands
The Broadcasting Act makes no provision for the NBC having to meet licence holders’ demands before the licence fee becomes payable. In the same way that one cannot refuse to pay one’s motor vehicle licence because of dissatisfaction with road or street conditions or for any other reason, TV licence payments may not be withheld on ANY grounds.

1.5 “I no longer have a television set”
Just as one cannot simply stop renewing one’s motor vehicle licence every year and then, years later, inform the licensing authority that one “no longer owns a motorcar” or “did not own a vehicle for quite a number of years” that is not a valid excuse for defaulting on TV licence payments.

1.6 Cancellation of a Television Licence
Similarly, a TV licence does not “lapse” and isn’t cancelled “automatically” if a licence holder stops paying his/her licence fees. Specific procedures for cancellation of a television licence are laid down in regulations under the Broadcasting Act. A TV licence is cancelled only once ALL moneys outstanding on an account have been paid, and on receipt of an affidavit (sworn statement) indicating what has become of the television set previously in the possession of and licensed in the name of the licence holder.

2 BROADCASTING LEGISLATION

2.1 What is a television set?
According to the Namibian Broadcasting Act No. 9 of 1991, a “television set” means a device which is, alone or in combination with any other device, capable of receiving by radio or cables or wires, transmissions broadcast in a broadcasting service and reproducing them in the form of images or other visible signals, with or without accompanying sounds.
2.2 Who needs a Television Licence?
Any person or entity that has in his/her possession and/or uses a TV set. A licence remains payable, irrespective of whether a television set in one’s possession is used or not.
2.3 What are the various types of Television Licences?
There are currently five types::
A Household licence, for households and/or individuals, authorising the use of the licensed set(s) at the user’s registered residential premises only;
A Pensioner/Disabled Person/War Veteran licence, for people over 60 years, who are physically disabled or are war veterans, authorising the use of the licensed set(s) at the user’s registered residential premises only;
A Business licence, for entities (including schools, hospitals, churches, government departments, etc.) authorising the use of the licensed set(s) in their business/commercial activities or on premises occupied for business purposes;
A Dealer licence, for businesses selling TV set, hiring out TV sets and repairing TV sets;
An Accommodation Establishment licence, for hotels, lodges, bed & breakfasts etc.

2.4 For how long is a TV Licence valid?
A television licence is paid in advance every year. When a new TV set is bought, say, in July 2015, a pro-rata TV licence fee is payable and the licence is valid until 30 September 2015. A TV licence is valid for a period of 12 months for existing sets.
2.5 What do I need when renewing my Television Licence?
On renewal, one needs to present one’s CLIENT ACCOUNT NUMBER. This number is a number that is produced by the NBC’s Oracle database system. Clients are requested to contact the NBC for their account numbers.
2.6 Is a TV Licence transferable from one licence holder to another?
A TV licence is NOT transferable. When a TV set holder, sells or donates a TV set to another individual/institution, such new owner or beneficiary MUST obtain a new TV licence FIRST before taking ownership of the TV set. The amount of the licence to be paid during change of ownership is determined according to the month when it is sold or donated to the new owner.
2.7 What are the consequences if I fail or refuse to pay my TV Licence?
Consequences may vary according to a specific situation as follows as described in the Namibian Broadcasting Act No. 9 of 1991:

2.7.1 A person or institution may be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N$2000.00 or, in default of payment, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six (6) months, and the court convicting him or her may, in addition to any penalty that it may impose, order:
2.7.1.1 the confiscation by the State of any television set in connection with or by means of which the offence was committed;
2.7.1.2 the payment of all arrear licence fees and any amounts incurred as a penalty.
2.7.1.3 in addition to the above, the NBC shall forward your details to a debt collector, where you shall be liable for all attorney-client costs plus all other costs that are incurred in the tracing process.

2.8 What may a TV Licence Inspector demand of me If he/she visits my premises?
An authorized NBC Inspector may ask you to produce your TV licence, ID document and/or TV licence account number. He/she can ask that a TV set be produced for inspection. Information such as receipt numbers, number of TV sets, brand names and serial numbers, addresses (postal and residential) etc. may also be requested in order to determine the validity of a licence. A business, dealer or lessor may be requested to furnish information about any transaction involving TV sets, such as sales, rental agreements, etc. Inspectors may enter any property to carry out an inspection.

2.9 Do I still need a TV Licence if my set is used only to view videos/DVDs/Blu-Ray discs?
Since a videocassette recorder (VCR) or a DVD/Blu-Ray player/recorder has its own built-in “tuner” it is capable of functioning as a receiver. When connected to a television set (or to a monitor or a plasma or LCD screen) the combination constitutes equipment “capable of receiving broadcast television signal” as defined in the Namibian Broadcasting Act and therefore requires to be licensed.

2.10 What are a licence holder’s obligations when moving to a new address?
It is the TV set owner’s obligation to notify the NBC within seven (7) days of a change of address. The NBC must also be notified immediately when a TV set changes ownership or is broken or stolen.

2.11 When is a TV Licence no longer needed? What must one do to cancel it?
One no longer requires a licence on selling or otherwise disposing of one’s TV set(s) (see 1.6 and 2.5 above). The NBC must be notified of the changed circumstances making possession of a TV licence unnecessary. No licence is cancelled while moneys are still outstanding on an account. All arrears and applicable penalties become payable if one is found in possession of a television set after cancellation of one’s licence.

2.12 What are the types of payments I can make when paying my TV Licence?
Payments are cash over the counter or by bank guaranteed cheques only. No cheques other than bank guaranteed cheques are acceptable. One may also pay via electronic transfer or direct deposit. The NBC bank details are as follows:
Bank: First National Bank of Namibia Main Branch, Windhoek
Name: NBC TV Licence
Code: 282672
Acc. No.: 620 611 996 02

2.13 Can a Dealer/Retailer/TV Repairer or TV Hirer sell, give or supply me with a TV set without a TV Licence?
Section 16(1) (d) of the Namibian Broadcasting Act prohibits any Dealer/Retailer – i.e. any institution selling television sets – to sell, give or supply any television set to any person or institution if such a person or institution is not in possession of a valid TV licence. In fact, no person or institution must take possession of a TV set before FIRST having obtained a valid TV licence. The same goes for institutions/individuals repairing TV sets and those hiring out TV sets.

2.14 Must institutions using broadcasting devices for promotional purposes also have TV Licences for such devices?
Devices used for promotional purposes in, e.g. commercial banks or other private/public businesses must have valid licences for such broadcasting devices. Irrespective whether the device is not receiving a broadcast signal, one still must pay licence fees for such devices as they (devices) are capable of receiving broadcast signals. Institutions making use of devices that, e.g. are used at commercial music shows – when a well-known artist is performing a LIVE show for example – must also be in possession of a valid TV licence.

2.15 What are the roles of NBC TV Licence Inspectors?
The role of NBC TV Licence Inspectors vary, and they are there to ensure that all TV holders comply with the relevant sections and regulations of the Broadcasting Act.

2.16 How do I contact the NBC Television Licence Department?
You may contact the NBC TV Licence Operations Section as follows:

a) Via telephone numbers 061 – 291 3111 or 291 3393/4/5 or 291 3105 or 291 3352/3112/3287;
b) Via fax number 061 – 250 755;
c) Via e-mail tvlicence@nbc.na
d) Via SMS by forwarding your inquiry to the number 62227.

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