‘N45bn Required for Digital Switchover’

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Bassey Inyang in Calabar

The Chief Executive Officer/ Group Managing Director, Gospell Digital Technology, Godfrey Ohuabunwa, has estimated that about N45 billion is required for the commencement of digital broadcasting in Nigeria.

Ohuabunwa, whose company situated at the Calabar Free Trade Zone, CFTZ, manufactures Set Top Boxes, (STB), used for digital television broadcast; android phones, television sets and other components, said despite the huge resources needed, information at the disposal of operators in the broadcast industry indicates that the federal government has not released the N15 billion that was approved to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), which is midwifing the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Ohuabunwa, made the disclosure recently, while answering questions from journalists shortly after inspection of facilities at the Digital Gospel Technology factory by board members of the NBC.

Ohuabunwa, said the delay in the release of funds to the NBC to expedite the take-off of digital broadcasting was taking its toll on STB manufacturers in the country.

Citing example with his company, he said the delay in the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting could cost Gospel Digital Technology $50 million it has already invested in human and material resources.

He said currently, the management of Digital Gospel Technology has so far invested at least $22 million in the  production of mother boards for android phones, television sets, and others components.

“If this digital switch over fails to take place, more than $50million will be lost on our own side, not to talk of other people.

“On the job alone, we are going to lose about 5,000 to 6,000 direct jobs. This is why its a huge problem,” Ohuabunwa said.

He lamented that the inability of the NBC to announced its time table was beginning to negatively impact on the factory’s production activities.

“We are worried that the delay of NBC in announcing its time table is beginning to negatively impact on our production. 

“We know how much resources in terms of capital and human resources we have put for our dream to be actualised,” Ohuabunwa said.

He, therefore, appealed to the NBC, to as a matter of public interest, and urgency, release a comprehensive time table that will guide activities for digital switch over.