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Nigeria loses as ICPC, NBC bicker over N2.5b DSO project

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Nigeria is about to miss another chance to cheetah-pole-vault into the Age of Information; a new era where knowledge drives the economy.

This new era is hinged on digital dividends through shift towards digital broadcast, which allows consumers enjoy a wider variety of shows on multiple channels with a better quality of broadcast.

In simple terms, it is the Digital Switch Over, otherwise DSO, a name given to the process of changing from analogue to digital TV broadcasting.

It also facilitates reduced power and energy consumption, and spectrum efficiency which brings a host of associated benefits for consumers and broadcasters.

Importantly, Nigeria’s television industry is expected to generate $1billion annually after the completion of the digital switch over.

The spill over is also humongous as industries like the Nigerian film industry, Nollywood, would rake in additional $250m to the economy yearly.

In fact, DSO, sets a new dawn for government, television channels, producers, advertisers and most importantly, the Nigerian TV customer.

But, high wire politics combined with government sore-footedness and refractory approach have all conspired to hobble Nigeria’s march to DSO.

From June 17, 2012 to June 17, 2017, Nigeria missed five concurrent years of meeting its set target and the opportunities of wealth creation that comes with it.

Recall that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) had set 2015 as the deadline for full transition to digital broadcast in ultra high frequency (UHF) and 2020 for very high frequency (VHF) all over the world.

Since ITU set the target, a self-motivated Nigeria had set three targets in 2012, 2015 and 2017, but failed to meet any of the targets.

The current determined effort is also being politicised as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and three others are locked in legal battle over alleged N2.5b billion fraud in the DSO project.

And as they bicker, Nigeria is sitting idly as endless opportunities in the entertainment and economic sectors fly past her.

The local companies to engaged to produce setup boxes for receiving digital signals and numerous job opportunities are also on hold.


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