The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said the government remains undaunted in the implementation of the amended Nigeria Broadcasting Code despite the pushback “from some quarters.”
Mr Mohammed spoke at a “stakeholders’ meeting” on Digital Switch Over (DSO) in Lagos on Monday.
The minister said the ministry, through the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), had made the reforms to create enabling environment for the DSO to succeed.
“Some of these measures have generated a lot of controversies and triggered pushback from some quarters, but we remain undaunted in implementing them for the benefit of our people.”
Last year, the NBC released a controversial amendment to the 6th Edition of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code which, among other things, prohibited exclusivity of sporting rights. The amendment also increased the percentage of programmes aired during prime time from 60 per cent to 75 per cent.
But on Monday, Mr Mohammed insisted the amendment would curb monopoly and exclusivity of programme contents in order to create room for the local industry to grow.
“The amendments were necessitated by the need to boost the local content in Nigeria, curb anti-competitive and monopolistic tendencies, and boost advertising revenues,” he said.
“The monopolies exclude many Nigerians from enjoying or having access to premium content, especially in the area of sports and movies. With the amendment to the Code, anyone owning any sports rights must make such available to other parties in Nigeria, who may be interested in acquiring these rights. This obviously extends the opportunity for TV sports content to indigenous players,” the minister said.
The minister listed other initiatives targeted towards developing skills and expertise in the broadcasting industry.
He urged advertising brands, broadcasters, TV and radio stations to corporate with the ministry and the NBC to ensure the success of the DSO and stimulate local production of quality content.
‘One million jobs’
Mr Mohammed also said the Digital Switch Over (DSO) in the broadcasting industry will generate one million jobs for Nigerians in three years.
DSO entails the transition of the broadcasting industry from analogue to digital.
The minister said the actualisation of DSO is one of the priority projects of the Ministry of Information and Culture because of its potential to create jobs, bring governance closer to the people through better access to information, and deepening democracy.
“This project is capable of generating one million jobs in three years,” the minister said.
Giving a breakdown of the job creation through DSO, the minister said the manufacturing of Set-Top Boxes or decoders alone is capable of creating between 40,000 to 50,000 jobs.
“TV Production can create 200,000 jobs. Film Production can generate 350 to 400,000 jobs. Distribution, which entails supplying the market with Set-Top Boxes.
TVs and Dongles for the internet will require at least 100,000 wholesalers, retailers, electricians, installers, marketers and payment solution providers in order to cover the entire country, while TV and Online Advertising can create a further 50,000 jobs: These are just some of the job opportunities from a successful DSO Project,” Mr Mohammed said.
He added that the ministry has rolled out the DSO in five states and Abuja. The states are Plateau, Kwara, Kaduna, Enugu and Osun States.
“With the recent approval by the Federal Executive Council of outstanding payments to key stakeholders in the DSO Project, we are moving rapidly to cover the remaining 31 states.
“DSO is about stimulating local content and empowering platform owners. It’s about creating jobs for our teeming population, especially the very creative youth population,” the minister said.
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