The New Times Corporation (NTC), publisher of the Ghanaian Times and The Spectator newspapers, has served notice to its debtors to redeem their debts or face legal action.
Managing Director of the corporation, Martin Adu-Owusu, told the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament yesterday in Accra that taking legal action against its debtors had become the only way out if it were to retrieve its locked up funds from customers and vendors.
The Auditor General in its 2020 report on Public Boards and Corporations noted that debtors of the state-owned media organisation have become numb in redeeming their indebtedness to the NTC.
“Customer balances recorded by head office showed GH¢196,603.73 and GH¢185,935.76 in respect of stopped subscription and vendors as against GH¢151,932.93 and GH¢124,807.19,” the report said.
Responding to the findings, Mr Adu-Owusu said though some of the debtors have started responding following a February 1, 2023 deadline, the NTC would be exploring legal action against recalcitrant ones.
“We have made several efforts including the Minister of Information writing to our debtors to do the needful.
“What we have done, since last year, was to serve notices in our newspapers so that those who owe us would come and pay.
“The deadline was February 1. I have started receiving letters from the debtors coming to arrange for payments. From this stage, we will move a step further by taking legal action against the debtors because we have done all that we could but the situation is not improving,” Mr Adu-Owusu told the Committee.
Backing the NTC Managing Director, the Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George, rallied individuals and organisations indebted to redeem their indebtedness to the company to enable it function effectively.
Mr George said the locked up funds with the debtors go into the running of the publisher and that their failure could run the company aground.
“To all those owing the NTC, we are using this opportunity to urge you to pay your debts to enable the corporation function effectively,” Mr George advocated.
In the operational and profitability of the corporation, meanwhile, Mr Adu-Owusu said all efforts to access government support over the last three decades have yielded no result from successive governments.
“We have asked for support for over 30 years but we have never received the support. We have now taken our destinies into our own hands trying to do the best that we can to revive NTC,” he said.
Asked if government had any plans to support the company to turn around its fortunes, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said plans were far advanced to extend support to the NTC.
“Over a year ago, we asked the company to submit a plan to us so that we could support them. We have taken that plan upstairs and there are a number of options on how to get them the support to be a well-functioning and profitable entity for the Republic,” Mr Nkrumah said.