Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
After missing out on two deadlines to transit from analogue to digital broadcasting, the federal government last Saturday began a pilot scheme in Jos, Plateau State ahead of the June 2017 deadline for the Digital Switch Over (DSO).
To ensure the smooth transition of the scheme, the federal government has equally approved high subsidy for the set-top boxes
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made this known at a press conference yesterday in Abuja, where he stated that after the successful roll-out in Jos, the government is currently moving to Abuja and then Lagos.
According to him, “When we came in about six months ago, a cloud of uncertainty and
confusion hung over Nigeria’s digital transition.”
Muhammed added: “There were no Set–Top Boxes, without which the transition could not be kick-started; there was no established signal distributor on ground. There was no software and security devices for protection of the boxes,
“The banks had cancelled the Letters of Credit that were granted for the importation of Set-Top Boxes and no one could say for sure if indeed we will meet the third deadline of June 2017 to fully switch on digital broadcasting and switched off analogue broadcasting,” the minister noted.
He said investor confidence was waning, and doomsday critics who said Nigeria had no capacity to transit were about to be proven right.
Against the background, Muhammed stated that government swung into action by setting up a inter-ministerial task force to drive the process, in a show of political will, thereby meeting with all the critical stakeholders.
The minister explained that after a series of meetings and concrete actions to resolve knotty issues, investor and stakeholder confidence was restored, which he said later led to last Saturday’s roll-out.
He explained further that is order to ensure a smooth roll-out in Jos, the federal government gave out 200,000 boxes free of charge to residents; while The Plateau State Government has agreed to buy 300,000 boxes for its citizens.