DSO: Nigeria sets aside 9.4bn, targets 1m jobs in 3 years

Solomon Chung, Abuja

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The Nigerian government has approved 9.4 billion naira to resume the roll out of the country’s Digital Switch Over program across the remaining 31 states of the country with full speed. The government is also targeting over 1 million jobs in years in the industry.

The country’s Information and Culture Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja during the inauguration of the Task Force to oversee the roll out.

The Minister said with the payment approval by the FEC, and with 31 states to cover, there are no more excuses for not rapidly rolling out the DSO across the country, hence the decision to set up a 13-member Ministerial Task Force, which will be chaired by the Minister himself.

“My decision to set up the Ministerial Task Force to drive the DSO process is hinged on the fact that a successful Digital Switch Over is a massive job creator and a huge revenue generator, this process is capable of creating over 1 million jobs over the next three years.

As part of our efforts to maximize the opportunities available in the process, we have made necessary changes in the Broadcast Code to protect local jobs and production. We have started the process of introducing world class Audience Measurement and Media Monitoring systems to deliver on our potential 1-billion-dollar TV and Online Advertising revenue market and now we will ensure that the DSO ecosystem delivers value to the economy.” 

Alhaji Mohammed further said that the DSO process is capable of delivering over 1 million jobs.

Opportunities
According to the Minister, manufacturing alone can create between 40 and 50 thousand jobs. This is because Digitisation requires all homes to have a Set-Top-Box or Smart TV. Meanwhile, connectivity to the Internet is also possible via a dongle attached to the boxes.

The calculation is for about 24 million boxes/TVs for the over 24 million households that have television sets today in Nigeria.

“Not even 20 Set-Top manufacturers can comfortably produce the initial requirements to feed the market.  Furthermore, our position in West Africa, coupled with our size, makes us the definite source of these products for the whole sub-region.

TV Production alone can create 200,000 jobs. Digitization will make it possible to have at least 180 state channels, 30 regional channels and at least 10 National channels, catering for local music, news, film, children programming and sports, among others.

This will create better competition because with the Audience Measurement and media monitoring system put in place you can now measure which programs people are watching so that value is rewarded. 

 Digitisation will also enhance the full propagation of local content being emphasized by the National Broadcasting Commission. Consequently more people will go into the TV production business.”

 Film Production was said to have the capability of generating 350 to 400,000 jobs. Just as Nollywood moved from VHS tapes to VCD and DVD, it will now happen with Digitilisation, which will be a move to Push and there will be subscription of Video-On-Demand on the Set-Top-Boxes and online, thus curbing piracy.

This system will also make distribution cheaper and easier and putting more money into the pockets of film producers, who will in turn create more films of better quality, ultimately surpassing the current 2000 movies a year.

“The number of writers, lightning/sound/camera technicians, editors, actors and actresses, costume makers, etc. will grow exponentially, and the over 24 million Digital TV Households will become Nollywood customers in a more transparent, closer and formal manner due to digital distribution.

As an extension to the booming production business, another 200,000 jobs can be created as Nigeria finally grows the capacity to meet the quality demand of fully-indigenous content creations, which will bring back the over 100 million dollars currently exported to South Africa, Europe and the United States by Nigerian producers, while seamlessly expanding the tourism potential of Nigeria as the rest of Africa come to the country for high quality production.”

In his address, the Minister said to supply the market with Set-Top-Boxes, TVs and Dongles required for internet connection, Nigeria will need at least 100,000 wholesalers, retailers, electricians, installers, marketers and payment solution providers in order to cover the entire country.

“TV and Online Advertising can create a further 50,000 jobs: The concept of
advertising will become more local than national, because you can target customers at the bottom of the income bracket with products specific to their needs and location and, of course, fast moving consumer goods will have more forensic proof of their customers and what they watch and where they are.”

Inventions
The Minister revealed further that with a successful DSO, the problem of internet connection to every home will finally be solved.

“The Set-Top-Box in every home will deliver internet and consequently access and commerce to every home. Apps will be created to offer goods and services and for interaction and entertainment at every level.”

He said most importantly, the spectrum that was freed up by digitization would become much more monetisable by the mobile/data companies and therefore, more valuable to the government. This is capable of creating 200,000 jobs by internet entrepreneurs, he posited.

Again, opportunities will come through financing various facets of the DSO via venture capital and direct infrastructural requirement as well as equipment and management and/or consulting services.

“The foreign exchange earnings from selling and distributing our Films, Music and TV shows all over the world and the foreign direct investments into the country by companies looking for a slice of the last frontier. What about the boost to the Advertising Industry that will finally bring it to the level that our

GDP dictates. I have no doubt in my mind that a successful DSO is not just a job spinner, creating over 1 million jobs in three years, but also a money spinner.”

The Federal Executive Council has recently approved the sum of 9.4 billion naira outstanding payments to key stakeholders in the DSO, thus removing what has constituted a roadblock to the entire process in the past three years.

The DSO  pilot programme was launched  in Jos, Plateau State, on April 30th 2016, followed by Abuja on Dec. 22nd 2016, then Ilorin, Kwara State, on Dec. 20th 2017; Kaduna two days later on Dec. 22nd 2017, Enugu on Feb. 12th 2018 and finally, as I said earlier, Osogbo capital of Osun state on Feb. 23rd 2018.

 

Lateefah Ibrahim

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