Tuesday, February 26, 2013

BON advocates special fund for digital migration in Nigeria by 2015

The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) has advocated for a special fund to fast track Nigeria’s digital migration by January 1, 2015, according to a report monitored on Africa Independent Television (AIT) Tuesday, in Lagos.

BON is the umbrella body of the corporate broadcasting entities in Nigeria, but unfortunately, the issue of digital migration was not key to the body as at the end of 2011, since it has to face an election year.

Sources close to BON confirmed to ITRealms that the special fund when created and made available to stakeholders, especially members of BON, it will go a long way in alleviating the challenges of funding digital migration by private sector organisations.

But following the clamour by stakeholders for Nigeria to take visible action to ensure that over 200 broadcast outlets that form its membership, and call for release of the white paper on the Presidential committee on Digital Migration in Nigeria, Nigeria last year set up what was tagged 14-man DigiTeam led by Engr. Edward Amana as the chairman.

Other members of Digiteam include Barr. Efere Ozoko, Mr. Bruce Ayanote, Capt.Talba Alkali, Engr. F.Y.N.Daudu, ACG Umar Iya Abubakar, Mr. Godwin Iheabunike, Engr. Dr. Bashir Gwandu, Mr. Guy Murray Bruce, Mr.Maxwell P.Loko, Engr.Friday Ekwela, Mrs. Veronica Adeyemo, and Dr.(Mrs) M.A. Abu.
ITRealms recalls that in order to catch-up with the deadline set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for digital migration, that is, 2015, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, on Thursday, December 20, 2012, inaugurated the Digiteam; a digital committee charged with driving the process of transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television transmission in Nigeria.

The SGF had told the committee that its task was a unique and an important national assignment upon which Government placed a very high premium.

Stressing that modernisation of infrastructure and services is an integral part of President Goodluck Jonathan administration’s priorities, hence he emphasized that the process for selecting the members of the DigiTeam took cognizance of their individual capacities and contributions to the industry.

“This is a date we cannot afford to make any adjustment towards rescheduling. It is expected that you complete your assignment much earlier than January 2015 because we must catch up with the international requirement.

In his response, the Committee chairman, Engr. Edward Amana, expressed thanks to the Federal Government for the inauguration, noting that it was an enormous responsibility that was being placed on them.

He promised that the work of the Committee on completion would change the face of broadcasting in Nigeria and usher in a new era of better quality broadcasting, nationwide.

“The resultant save in spectrum would also generate a lot of funds for government,” Amana said.

He, however, admitted that it was not an easy task as the committee was starting work two years behind schedule and has two years to deliver; Thus, requested support from all stakeholders and promised to deliver on this special national assignment on schedule.

Engr. Edward Amana commended the NBC for piloting the ship for transition from analogue to Digital broadcasting. 
While the inauguration was attended by Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson; Permanent 
Secretary in the Office of the SGF; the Director General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Engr.Yomi Bolarinwa; Members of Management of the Commission; and Senior Officers in the Office of the SGF.

The question waiting for an answer by industry watchers is that given the bureaucracy evident, it may not likely meet with the January 1, 2015, deadline.

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