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Lack of funds threatens DSO again

Though it is still 14 months away, Nigeria may again fail to meet the June 17, 2017 deadline for the switch from analogue to digital…

Though it is still 14 months away, Nigeria may again fail to meet the June 17, 2017 deadline for the switch from analogue to digital television broadcasting because of lack of funds to executive the project, some officials have confided in Daily Trust.
But the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said it would strive to meet the deadline next year.
The country missed the June 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) because of funds, but there are concerns now in the industry that it may still be difficult for Nigeria to switch next year unless the federal government released money for the project.
Already, officials said there was no provision anywhere in the budget for the project, which will cost the country close to N60 billion.
A Ministry of Information senior official who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter confirmed that there was no financial provision to the Nigerian DSO, but said “the minister is already doing something about that.”
A member of the Digital Monitors Forum, Engr David Foshe, said the failure of government to release funds for the DSO may spell doom for the country’s changeover from analogue to digital TV.
He said it was how to go about the problem that cost a former director general of the NBC his job because “he sold a spectrum and tried to use the money for the project.”
He said: “The current concern of the DSO is non-availability of funding for the remaining processes. As you are aware, the former NBC DG ran into problem for using the backdoor in his desperation to fund the process i.e using part of the MTN N34 billion spectrum purchase, all in the bid to ensure that the processes are concluded.
“As things are now Nigeria may find it difficult to meet the June 17, 2017 deadline if the federal government fails to do something urgent,” he said.
But the NBC Director of Public Affairs, Malam Awwalu Salihu, said the commission would make the best use of the little resource it had to meet the DSO deadline.
He told Daily Trust in a telephone interview yesterday that “the fact that we have little resource for the DSO does not mean we can meet the deadline. We would make the best use of the resource to make it happen for Nigeria.”

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