By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Even with the unprecedented hunger hitting Nigerians below the belt, the federal government has insisted that the country must keep up with the rest of the world in digital broadcasting.
To this end, it has directed all its relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs to key into the process to enable Nigeria beat the deadline given by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that all countries should migrate on or before June 2017.
The development was the singular item of the discussed and approved by the Meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC on Wednesday presided by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja.
Recall that over N34billion has been earmarked for programme to procure digital spectrum necessary for the migration policy.
Already, some set-up boxes had been under experiment in Jos, Plateau State since April, 2016 as part of its pilot scheme towards the digitalisation process.
Briefing State House correspondents after the FEC meeting, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohmmed said that outside the swearing in of four special advisers one of whom would man the economy and a permanent secretary, the digital broadcasting dominated the meeting.
He said: “The main highlights of today’s council meeting are the swearing in of the four special advisers and permanent secretary for foreign affairs after which only one single council memo was considered and that council memo was a note in respect of an update from my ministry in the process of migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting. As you are aware the ITU gave a deadline to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting June 2017.
“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.
Digitalization in the face of hunger
“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.
“20 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 subsidize in getting the boxes but look at the job creation that digital migration is going to bring to Nigerians. 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 digitalization, 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 13 manufacturers of set up box who have been licensed, two of them already producing are 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.”