The federal government of Nigeria is gearing up to conclude the nationwide digital switchover (DSO) process.
A 13-member ministerial task force has been assembled to handle the conclusion of the DSO process across the country.
As well as information and culture minister Lai Mohammed, members of the task force include Armstrong Idachaba of the National Broadcasting Commission, Edward Amana and Tunde Adegbola of government DSO body Digiteam, and Hajia Sa’s Ibrahim of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria.
Mohammed said that with the release of about N9.4bn (US$24.6m) by the federal government for the conclusion of the DSO process, there should be no excuse by the ministerial committee for not swiftly rolling out DSO across the country.
“We have studied the trend and it is clear that we have to reduce government involvement in the DSO ecosystem and allow the private sector to take the lead, on purely commercial terms,” Mohammed said.
“With the devastating effects of Covid-19 and the fall in government revenues, the federal government can no longer afford to subsidise the programme, especially set-top-boxes and signal carriage, which ordinarily can and should be highly competitive commercial ventures.”
Mohammed continued: “In order to begin the commercialisation of DSO, we need to create a structure and an ecosystem that is self-sufficient, self-reliant and able to generate revenue that will drive strategic growth in key areas. The details of that structure are for the task force to explore.
“My decision to set up the ministerial task force to drive the DSO process is hinged on the fact that a successful digital switchover is a massive job creator and a huge revenue generator. This process is capable of creating over one million jobs over the next three years.”
According to Vanguard Nigeria, the minister broke down the jobs that could be created by the DSO into the manufacturing sector (between 40,000 and 50,000 jobs), television production (over 200,000 jobs), film production (between 350,000 and 400,000 jobs), distribution (over 100,000 jobs), television and online advertising (about 50,000 jobs), as well as others.