By Adelola Amihere
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said with the planned settlement of outstanding debts, the Digital Switch Over (DSO) in broadcasting will transit to a private-sector-driven enterprise in order for it to be sustainable.
The Minister stated this in Abuja on Tuesday, at a meeting with stakeholders in the DSO Project.
“While looking for funds to pay outstanding debts and re-start 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. This process must be self-sustaining,” he said
Alhaji Mohammed said he is working with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning as well as the Federal Executive Council as part of efforts to secure the funds to re-start the process, which has been stalled since the last rollout in Osogbo, Osun State, in 2018.
He said lack of funds has hindered the commencement of the process of Analogue Switch Off, which will in turn free up spectrum for resale, deliver the benefits of Digital Television and stimulate Nigeria’s digital economy, adding that the Ministry is prioritizing the DSO project because it is critical to the post-Covid prosperity of the Creative Industry.
The Minister said the ministry has started the process of implementing Audience Measurement, which will go a long way in driving advertising spend to the DSO platform, thus helping the channels to fulfill their obligations to the Signal Distributors.
He charged the meeting to come up with a creative strategy of implementing the DSO with an expressed commitment to continue with the process until every state has been covered.
“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.
The DSO, which was launched in Jos, Plateau State, on April 30th 2016, has so far rolled out in Abuja, Kaduna, Ilorin, Enugu and Osogbo.