The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that the Digital Switch Over (DSO) in broadcasting will need to transition to a private-sector-driven enterprise.
According to him, this is the only way to ensure that the planned settlement of outstanding debts from the project is sustainable.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by Segun Adeyemi, a Special Assistant to the President on Media, and released to the public on Tuesday after the Minister held a meeting with stakeholders of the DSO project.
Note that Digital Switch Over is a process which converts analogue television broadcasting to digital television.
Lai Mohammed said that the FG wants to ensure a self-sustaining model for the project, even as it continues to seek funds to pay outstanding debts to restart the process.
“I want to put it on record here that we will be pursuing a full private-sector-driven DSO and there will be no more subsidies, either of Set Top Boxes or of Signal carriage,” he said.
The Minister added that he is working with the Finance Ministry, Budget and National Planning and Federal Executive Council to secure funds to restart Nigeria’s Digital Switch Over, a process that has been paused since the 2018 rollout in Osogbo, Osun State.
The project commenced in Jos, Plateau State in April 2016, and has been rolled out in Abuja, Kaduna, Ilorin, Enugu, and Osogbo.
The Minister said lack of funds to continue the process has hindered progress in the project, the project is critical to the rebound of the Nigerian creative industry. The DSO is expected to deliver the benefits of Digital Television and stimulate Nigeria’s digital economy.
“Ladies and gentlemen, going forward, the bottom line is that we need to think out of the box if we are to complete this process. Nigerians have waited far too long to enjoy the benefits of Digital Television. The Analogue to Digital Switch Over must not be delayed any longer than absolutely necessary,” Alhaji Mohammed said.