By Latifat Opoola
The Federal Government has said that in order for the Digital Switch Over (DSO) in broadcasting to be sustainable with the planned settlement of outstanding debts, the DSO will transit to a private-sector-driven enterprise.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this in Abuja on Tuesday, at a meeting with stakeholders in the DSO Project, a statement by his ministry said.
Alhaji Mohammed said, 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 was working with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning as well as the Federal Executive Council.
“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.
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
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.