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Minister Allays Fears over Effect of e-Waste on Digital Migration

13 Dec 2012

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Mrs. Omobola Johnson

Emma Okonji

The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, has assured Nigerians that the volume of electronic waste (e-Waste) that would be generated from the planned migration from analogue to digital, would not affect the migration process.

Johnson, who was reacting to the fears raised by some industry stakeholders pertaining to the effect of electronic waste on digital migration, told THISDAY in Lagos that there were several ways to manage e-Waste during the migration process, assuring that the ministry of communications technology was working with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to address the issue.

Some industry stakeholders had raised fears that the volume of e-Waste from analogue television and other electronic devices might hamper a smooth migration process, since Nigeria did not have recycling plant that could process and covert analogue electronic gadgets into digital devices.

Nigeria has a mandate from the International Telecoms Union (ITU), the world telecoms regulatory body, to migrate from analogue broadcasting to digital broadcasting by the June 17 , 2015. However, with barely two years to the migration date, the country is yet to commence the initial preliminary processes like the local manufacturing of set-up boxes that will facilitate easy transmission of digital contents after the migration exercise.
Their fear is that Nigeria is yet to commence the initial move that is supposed to address the disposal of all analogue devices and the manufacturing of set- up boxes for the smooth transition from analogue to digital, insinuating that the volume of e- Waste from the transition process may hamper the whole exercise.

Addressing a large audience in Lagos at a recent stakeholders' meeting on the preparedness of Nigeria for the transition process, guest speaker who is a consultant on Broadcasting and Communications Engineering, Mr. Edward Amana, identified e-Waste and insufficient funding on the part of government, as possible factors that could hinder the transition process from analogue broadcasting to digital broadcasting.

Delivering a paper on: “Technical Imperatives of Digital Transition in Nigeria,” Amana raised the issue of funding and e-Waste as major factors that might likely hinder the switch-on to digital broadcasting. According to him, "if government releases funds, after setting up and inaugurating an implementation committee for the transition process, by early February next year, the committee could conveniently achieve the transition by June 2015.

He suggested local production of the set-up boxes in Nigeria, to enable affordability and availability.

With just two years and few weeks to the proposed switch-on date for the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, stakeholders are of the belief that Nigeria may be left out in the world of digital broadcast revolution, following perceived weak preparations, especially in the area of e-Waste management and funding.

Nigeria, represented by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), had earlier signed an agreement with other nations, to transit from analogue broadcasting to digital broadcasting by June 17, 2015, but while other nations are busy making preparations for a smooth transition, the Nigerian government is yet to release the white paper on policies that will drive the implementation.

Tags: Business, Nigeria, Featured, Minister, E-waste, Digital Migration

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