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Digital switch over: Funding, infrastructure, key to target —Expert

Managing Director of Integrated Television Services (ITS), one of the signal distributors licensed for the digital switch over (DSO) in Nigeria, Mr Rotimi Salami, has highlighted funding and adequate infrastructure as very crucial to achieving the DSO deadline, adding that these and other necessary logistics would go a long way in ensuring a smoother process of the switch-over process.

The ITS boss, who made these remarks  during the visit of the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values led by its chairman, Olusegun Odebunmi, to ITS office in Jos, Plateau State, added that though the company inherited some infrastructure from the NTA, it still needed to replace the analogue equipment it inherited with the digital ones.

“Generally, the challenge we are having is funding and government money is not just spent anyhow you want, there is a process and this process is guided by principles. For example, we inherited infrastructure from the NTA but we need to replace analogue equipment.

“We have to install infrastructure and we need N45 billion to put effective infrastructure that will cover Nigeria; we need support to realize our goal,” he stated.

He commended the House Committee for the visit, stating that visit of the committee would go a long way in making the migration process smoother.

The committee members, however, expressed concerns about how the new deadline would be met, with almost all relevant parties to the project having one complaint or the other. They also declared the whole process illegal as it lacks legislation and National Assembly approvals for funds already spent.

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The Odebunmi-led committee which visited the zonal offices of the NTA, NBC and ITS in Jos, said that it also discovered among other challenges that  no law had been put in place,  backing the DSO, since the International Telecoms Union (ITU) treaty signed by Nigeria as a member country had not been domesticated in the National Assembly.

The committee also identified lack of funds as an impediment, considering the fact that there had been no appropriation for  DSO since the inception of the process; with  the 2017 budget making  no provision for such activity.

In his remarks, the Director General, NBC, Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawuassured that the country had made a commitment to the transition process, while describing it as a huge logistic process that would change the face of television broadcasting in the country.

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