The National Broadcasting Commission will switch over the country from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting in 2017, its Director-General, Emeka Mba, has promised.
Mba gave the assurance on Monday in Abuja at the first annual lecture organised by the commission.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the occasion was also used to celebrate the commission’s 23rd Anniversary.
The D-G said though it would not be easy to achieve the switch over, the commission was doing everything within its capability to meet the deadline.
He said: “It is not going to be like the previous time that we promised and could not meet up.
“We thought the necessary funds will be available but somehow along the line, it was a different story.”
Mba said the commission would raise funds for the digitisation by selling the commission’s spectrum.
He added that the NBC was already seeking the Federal Government’s approval for the sale.
He said: “We are hoping to brief the President very soon on the matter and I think that is the only solution to raise money for the digitisation.
“Without that, I don’t think it will be possible because I don’t know where the Federal Government will get money from.”
Mba added that the sale of spectrum was the only alternative if the country must go digital in the absence of funding.
The D-G said the economic situation of the country requires that Nigerians should be patient with the commission.
He said the spectrum is valued at about N100 billion, adding that the commission was not necessarily going to sell all of them at this point but only a portion.
He said the Federal Government could create up to 18,000 jobs from digitisation.
Mba said: “Digitisation is a credible way of dealing with the problems of employment and also ensuring that the country meets international standard.
“Broadcasting remains the only potent way of reaching out to people.
“With digitisation, broadcasting will remain more relevant.”
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, congratulated the commission on its 23rd anniversary and first annual lecture.
Yeni-Esan commended the commission for the efforts made so far in the quest to switch over the country from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting.
Yemi-Esan also lauded the commission for its efforts to regulate the broadcast industry by compelling industry practitioners to act according to the code.
She urged the commission to make sure its efforts were sustained in order to take the industry to greater height.
Shola Taylor, the Secretary-General, Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisations, was optimistic the NBC would meet the June 17, 2017 deadline for digitisation judging by the direction it was going.
Taylor said the deadline was given to ECOWAS member countries by the International Telecommunications Union, adding that digitisation would open up a lot of opportunities, especially in the area of job creation.