Hammed Shittu in Ilorrin
The Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Alhaji Modibo Kawu on Monday said that, the commission has expended $26million to procure 620,000 set-up boxes for Nigerian homes.
The procurement, according to him, is part of the digital switch-over of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital after inspecting the digital switch-over station of NTA, Kawu said that the NBC decided to embark on the switch-over in phases across the country because of its huge financial implications.
According to him, â€œWe are going to have it in phases because digital switch-over is a major challenge in terms of technology and logistics”.
He said: “The 620,000 boxes that we have procured for the first phase cost us $26million, that is huge amount of money; considering that we have about 35 million homes in Nigeria.
“Each box is about $45 multiply that by 35
million homes. We are going to have signal systems across Nigeria. It
is a very expensive process.
He added: â€œNow we are going to six states in each of the geo-political zone. They are Kwara in the North-Central, Osun (South-West), Gombe (North-East), Kaduna (North-West), Enugu (South-East) and Delta (South-South).
â€œWhen a country switches over to digital it immediately changes the architecture of television in the country. We are moving from analogue form of watching television to a digital format.
“Let me give you a small example, when we switched over last year in Jos, hitherto, the city was watching between three and four television channels immediately they started watching 15 channels. When we switched over
in Abuja we started giving them 30 channels.
â€œWe calibrated them as local, regional and national stations. That immediately gives you a lot options in terms of the number of television stations. Television is now a 24 hour affair in Nigeria and our interactive boxes that we are using can be used to post government information and they can be used to do a lot of things that will help
to deepen democratic process in the country.
â€œOn the other hand we are going to have contents. In our decision 75 percent of all the contents of television in Nigeria, is to be local contents. If you recall President Muhammadu Buhari addressed the United Nations General Assembly, one of the things he said was that he
was going to leverage on digital revolution to create jobs.
Kawu stated that what the NBC is trying to do with this platform is also to get opportunity for younger generations of Nigerian producers of local content to begin to have platforms for themselves. â€œThere are so many multi-faceted dimensions to the opportunity that digital broadcasting will bring to Nigeriaâ€, he added.
He explained that the set-up boxes have been subsidised to cost a sum of N1500 annually and they are renewable every year.
“But as we move forward these boxes will no longer be subsidised. A subsidy regime can only be used at the beginning of a pivot regime. As we move on we are going to have market-driven of the boxes. They are going to be in such a manner that Nigerians will be able to afford those boxes as they have a right to information.â€