China’s Support for Nigeria’s Digital Switch Over Project Exciting, Says Lai Mohammed

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Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has welcomed China’s decision to support Nigeria in its quest to actualise the transition from Analogue to Digital broadcasting.

He was responding to comments by the Vice-President of the StarTimes Group of China, Ms. Zhao Yueqin, who led a delegation of the company on a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja.

In a statement by his office last night, he said Nigeria was irrevocably committed to meeting the June 2017 Digital Switch Over deadline in order to protect broadcast signals from interference and also to unlock the creative potentials of Nigerians in technology and content development.

“The process of digitalization is unstoppable and irreversible; it’s
not a matter of choice. If we do not follow the world to digitalise and meet the June 2017 target, it means that our telephones, televisions and radios will not be free from interference. As a matter of fact, planet earth today does not know

the extent of the dividends of digitalisation and how far it will go.
“Digitalisation is going to affect the way we perceive and understand broadcasting. It will act as a catalyst to unleash the creative potentials of our youths. It will also provide the
panacea to piracy. It will create so much possibility that will enable Africa leapfrog and join the next generation of technology,” Mohammed said.

He said his ministry would also borrow a leaf from China, particularly in the area of national re-orientation, having realized that Chinese economic boom and development were underpinned by the discipline of its citizens, their patriotism and dedication.

“This ministry is going to start a campaign very soon to promote national rebirth and value re-orientation, because unless we change our ways and we are able to bring back discipline, integrity and values, the change we are talking about will not take place,” he said.

Mohammed, who expressed delight that the strategic partnership between Nigeria and China is waxing stronger in various sectors, said the trade volume between the two countries had jumped from $6.9

billion in 2009 to over $14 billion in 2015.
He, however, stressed the need to correct the trade imbalance between the two countries by encouraging Chinese investors to set up factories in labour-intensive sectors in Nigeria and also canvassed for the abolition of the five per cent tax levied on agricultural products entering China from Nigeria.

In her remarks earlier, Zhao, expressed China’s willingness to assist Nigeria to realise the digital switch over.
She stated the commitment of China to ensuring that every household in Nigeria has access to digital television signals.