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Nigeria ready for 2017 deadline on digital switchover, says Buhari

Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire (left), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole and others while launching Abuja digital switchover (DSO) in Abuja…yesterday

President Muhammadu Buhari has said his government is irreversibly committed to meeting the June 2017 deadline for digital switchover (DSO) from analogue.

He therefore appealed to states and local governments to be actively involved in the project because of the obvious advantage to Nigerians. Buhari, who said this while commissioning the Abuja digital switch over from analogue to digital television broadcasting yesterday, stated that the DSO would liberalise access and increase the versatility of media information. He added that interactive programming, two-way data exchanges, mobile reception of video, Internet and multimedia data will open up.

The president maintained that the local industry was already experiencing a boost from the new vista in digital economy, with several indigenous companies now manufacturing set-top-boxes. He disclosed that many of the set-top-boxes for the Abuja switchover were produced in Nigeria.

The president explained that digitisation would create jobs in the area of content and software development, provide the platform for film producers and musicians to release their productions directly to households and substantially cut off piracy.

According to him, Nigerian artistes and entrepreneurs in music, entertainment and filmmaking would become important pillars in the nation’s diversification plans.

Buhari said, “The significance of this event cannot be lost on the world as the digital switchover becomes a reality in the capital city of Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation. The opportunities that this will provide are only limited by the imagination. Advertising, formal education, sales and marketing are obvious low hanging fruits. We are right to say that we stand at the threshold of exciting times for job creation, entertainment and in general, local and international commerce.”

Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the president said that the successful launch of the pilot scheme in Jos in April had clearly demonstrated the gains of DSO, as viewers in the pilot were able to enjoy 15 free channels covering news, sports, music and business.

Explaining that strong partnership with the private sector was a defining strategy of Nigeria’s economic plan, Buhari said, “I am also pleased to state that the signal distributor for the Abuja switchover, Pinnacle Communications is a wholly-owned Nigerian firm.”

Chairman of DigiTeam Nigeria, Edward Amana said Nigeria requires over 30 million set top boxes for the digital transition.He stated that Nigeria’s failure to meet the previous International Telecommunication Union (ITU) deadlines for the DSO was due to lack of commitment from past governments.

Source: Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja - Guardian NG