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FG targets one million jobs with digital switch over

…rolls out in Lagos …project to deliver 60 digital TV stations free

The Federal Government has said the ongoing digital switchover project will create at least one million jobs in the next three years. This came as it kicked off the second phase of the project with the rollout of digital broadcasting in Lagos State. With the Lagos launch, analogue broadcasting has now been switched off in six states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The project, which started in 2016 with the pilot launch in Jos, Plateau State, had been delivered in Kwara, Kaduna, Enugu, and Osun states. Speaking at the switchon ceremony in Lagos yesterday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the DSO was not just about high fidelity sound and picture, it was about creating jobs, especially for the teeming youth, stimulating local content, and empowering channel owners. According to him, most of the one million jobs to be created under the project would come from Lagos as it is the creative hub of Nigeria.

“The switch-on of Lagos is unique and epochal because it marks the first time that the DSO project would be beaming 60 choice channels to television households. “This is not by accident. Lagos is Nigeria’s creative hub; hence it is important to harness the creative talents that abound in the state through this project. “Also, the DSO provides us with a great platform to key into the Lagos Smart City Project, which seeks to use technology to enhance service delivery in all spheres of life,” he said.

The minister added that “the project would, therefore, enhance the Lagos Smart City Project while revolutionising television viewing for the more than five million TV households in the state. “In addition, he said a large number of the one million jobs to be created by the DSO project in the next three years would come from Lagos, as it is the creative hub of Nigeria.”

He noted that since freeTV helped to provide value added services, the 20 local government areas and 37 LCDAs in Lagos State would be supported in the collection of television and radio licences from residents. While declaring that the digital train, after a three-year stoppage, was now on full throttle, he said from Lagos, the DSO train would be moving to Kano State on June 3; Rivers on July 8; Yobe on July 15; Gombe on August 12; Imo on August 24; Akwa Ibom on August 31; Oyo on September 9; Jigawa on September 23; Ebonyi on October 17; Katsina on October 21; Anambra on November 4 and Delta on November 18. Also highlighting the benefits of the project, the Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, said the digitisation of broadcasting was bringing a whole gamut of opportunities for Nigerians.

“It is, perhaps, without doubt, the fastest and safest way to leapfrog those at the lower rung up of the digital divide. With this rollout in Lagos, a projected five million Lagosians are instantly going to access digital television services not only for broadcasting, but with converged opportunities to telecom and other ancillary services, “he said.

Idachaba noted that jobs would also be created for creatives, engineers, and technicians. He added that smallscale business activities were going to be stimulated around propositions, sale of boxes, installations and content production. Speaking at the ceremony, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo- Olu, described the launch in the state as a critical milestone for the DSO, the creative industry and the entire country.

The governor, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr. Olusina Thorpe, reiterated the support of the state to the full realisation of the DSO project, noting that aside from enhancing job creation and content development, it would be of immense benefits to the residents.

“Let me, however, urge the Ministerial Taskforce on the DSO to make the FreeTV box and after-sale support easily accessible. “I am convinced that making the FreeTV Set Top Box a one-off payment with an annual renewal will provide an opportunity for millions of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay the subscription fees being charged by the PayTV platforms to enjoy the benefit of digital television. This is the real definition of bridging the digital divide,” the governor said.

 

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