Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The federal government has said migration from analogue to digital broadcasting will create more jobs for the unemployed youths in the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said this wednesday while briefing yesterday after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.
When asked why the council was preoccupied with discussion on migration from analogue to digital at a time when Nigerians are reeling under hard economic condition, Mohammed said that the hardship was temporary and that government would not be shut down.
Apart from creating jobs, he said that migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting would address the problem of piracy.
According to him, the council considered a memo on the migration in the face of the International Communication Union (ITU)’s June 2017 deadline mandating all countries in the world to digitalise.
Mohammed said digitalisation would also help in dealing with the menace of piracy and encourage the creative industry to prosper.
He said: “Already the pilot scheme in jos which was successfully deployed at the end of April is working very well and today those who are in possession of our set up boxes can view 15 channels with clarity in Jos and the highlights of today’s council meeting is that council reaffirmed its support for us to meet the deadline of 2017 June and directed that the relevant ministries work together to achieve these deadline.”
Asked why the council chose to focus on digitalization at the face of hunger and deprivations in the land, the minister said “Yes, Nigeria might be going through a very difficult times, it doesn’t mean that we are going to be cut off from the rest of the world.
“Twenty years ago Ethiopia had a famine that ravaged the whole country they have risen from the ashes of that famine to become one of the strongest economies of the world. The fact that we are facing temporary problems does not mean that we are not going to be at pace with technology development all over the world. This is a global issue. It simply means that if we do not move from analogue to digital broadcasting, we may not be able to even receive signals on your television.
“Again the government would assist to subsidise in getting the boxes but look at the job creation that digital migration is going to bring to Nigerians.”
On the advantages accruable from digitalisation, Mohammed said: “Look at the opportunities it offers our young men who are very talented to provide content to television stations. So, it’s going to impact very largely on the broadcast industry.
“Even piracy which has been a menace to us today, with digitalisation it means that musicians and film makers can release their films or records direct on digital broadcast such as video on demand and we are now going to cut off the entire pirate network which has been a bane to our creative industry.
“If we look at the advantages of digitalisation in terms of changing the entire economy of providing more jobs for the people, even the thirteen manufacturers of set up boxes who have been licensed, two of them already are producing and also going to employ. But I think that the fact that we have a temporary setback does not mean we are going to be cut off from the entire world.”