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  • Updated: March 14, 2021

We Didn't Get Enough Money On Digital Switch Over project – Digiteam

The Presidential Implementation Committee on Digital Switch Over (Digiteam) has said that it was starved of funds by the government after it was established in 2012.

Mr Edward Amana, the Chairman of Digiteam, a critical stakeholder in the process of the nation’s transition from analogue to digital broadcasting stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday.

He said the committee was not funded to carry out its assigned roles in the Digital Switch Over (DSO) White Paper and that accounted for the delay in the roll out process.

READ ALSO: Nigeria To Begin Digital Broadcasting In May – FG

“By the specification of the white paper, the Digiteam is supposed to have an oversight over the whole specification for transition from analogue to digital broadcasting in Nigeria.

“Digiteam also has the mandate to coordinate with all the other bodies involved in the process, including our immediate constituency, the ECOWAS community, the African Telecom Union as well as ITU where the whole thing originated.

“Unfortunately, the committee that was set up in 2012 was not given any take-off grant and there was no budgetary allocation in 2013 and 2014.

“All the pre-actualisation meetings we had, for instance anytime the Digiteam had to go out to represent the country either at the ECOWAS, ITU and at the African Telecom Union meetings, I have to go to NBC to solicit for funds,’’ he said.

Amana said it was when the present government came into office in 2015 that any meaningful progress was achieved in the entire DSO process.

“It is the current Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed that actually spearheaded the take-off of the pilot project in Jos, Plateau state and the subsequent rollout in Abuja, Kaduna, Enugu, Kwara and Osun.

“The minister has been the driving force in the actualisation of the roll out that we are witnessing,’’he said.

Amana recalled that the fund that was meant to kick-start the project was raised during the tenure of the former Director-General, of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Emeka Mbah.

He said Mbah got authorisation from the then President, Goodluck Jonathan to lease out a small portion of the digital dividend which was given to MTN.

He said from the money MTN paid to the federal government, some seed money was made available to the NBC.

Amana debunked the claim in certain quarters that the Ministerial Task Force on DSO implementation recently set up by the Minister had usurped the mandate and of Digiteam.

He said the task force, comprising all relevant stakeholders in the DSO project including members of Digiteam and chaired by the minister, is working as a team.

The Digiteam chairman said it was with the help of the task force that they were able to galvanise the needed political will, funding and confidence of the stakeholders for the successful delivery of DSO. 

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