Gift Joseph Okpakorese
Minister of Information of the federation, Lai Mohammed, has revealed that out of thirty (30) licensed Nigerian pay television companies, only one is currently striving to break through and this situation according to him, is unacceptable.
The Minister made these comments and revealed his displeasure on the current situation while speaking on Monday 12th of April 2021 at the ministerial taskforce briefing on Digital Switch Over (DSO) in Lagos. The information spokesman remarked that the never-ending reforms in the entertainment and media industry through the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) will break the syndicate established by foreign pay-TV platforms.
Lai Mohammed has lamented that despite the niggling disagreements constantly challenging the reforms in the broadcast industry, the Federal Government is undaunted in implementing the DSO project which has the capability of producing an estimated one million employees within the duration of three years.
Furthermore, he revealed that he has ordered GoTV and StarTimes — both pay-TV platforms — to stop self-carriage by June.
“The federal ministry of information and culture considers the DSO as one of its priority projects, because of its potential to create jobs, bring governance closer to the people through better access to
information, thus deepening democracy, bring internet to millions of homes and also provide quality programming, especially those produced locally, to Nigeria’s estimated 24 million television households, with high fidelity pictures and sound,” the minister said.
“To date, we have rolled out the DSO in five states and Abuja. The program was launched in Jos, Plateau State, on April 30th, 2016. Since then, we have gone live in the federal capital territory, Kwara state, Kaduna state, Enugu state, and Osun state.
“With the recent approval by the federal executive council of outstanding payments to key stakeholders in the DSO project, we are moving rapidly to cover
the remaining 31 states. We are kick-starting the new rollout herein
Lagos state on April 29th, 2021; Kano state on June 3rd, 2021, and Rivers
state on July 8th, 2021. We will then follow up with Yobe state on July
15th, 2021, and Gombe state on August 12th, 2021.
“The manufacturing of set-top boxes or decoders alone is capable of creating between 40,000 and 50,000 jobs. TV production can create 200,000 jobs. Film production can generate 350,000 to 400,000 jobs. Distribution, which entails supplying the market with set-top boxes,
TVs and dongles for the internet will require at least 100,000 wholesalers, retailers, electricians, installers, marketers, and payment solution providers to cover the entire country, while TV and online advertising can create a further 50,000 jobs.
“It will interest you to know that to date, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has licensed over 30 Nigerian pay-tv companies, but only one is currently struggling to breakthrough.
“We have amended the code to curb monopoly and exclusivity of
program content to create room for the local industry to grow. Also, as part of efforts to make the DSO proposition viable, I have directed GoTV and StarTimes to stop self-carriage by the end of June 2021.”
Nigerians are, however, still having mixed feelings about this recent development not knowing what to expect if this broadcasting project would eventually turn out to be a huge success as pitched by the minister, meanwhile, some well-meaning citizens are seriously hoping that the proposal would be a realizable achievement.