Being the text of the press conference addressed by the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Abuja on Thursday, March 11th 2021
Gentlemen of the press, good afternoon.
2. You will recall that we inaugurated the 14-member Ministerial Task Force on the Digital Switch Over (DSO) at a press conference here in Abuja on Feb. 23rd 2021. I am happy to inform you that the Task Force has held its inaugural meeting, during which it took far-reaching decisions to fast-track the DSO rollout and also begin the analogue switch off process.
3. We now have a time-table for the first phase of the rollout as well as the analogue switch off. Before I ask the Acting Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission to announce the time table, let me clarify some issues on the rollout/switch off process. Before we embark on the analogue switch off in any state, we will ensure that the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) signal has covered at least 70% of the population in that state, while the remaining 30% will be covered by Direct-To-Home (DTH) satellite signal. Please note that once the analogue signal is switched off, no one on the system will receive television signals anymore.
4. Also, because of the topography of some areas like the Federal Capital Territory, the DTT signal could not effectively cover such areas. In such cases, we will deploy DTH satellite signals to areas that are not covered by DTT signals. By complementing out DTT deployment with DTH satellite signals, we are ensuring that no one will be left out of the DSO.
5. Another issue that I will like to comment on, and which is of great interest to the public, is the price of the Set Top Boxes, or decoders if you like, without which no one can access the DTT and DTH signals. To ensure the affordability of the boxes, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will reach out to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to ensure reduction in the tariff on the raw materials for the manufacture of the Set Top Boxes in Nigeria. We will aim at zero % tariff for the Completely Knocked Down components and not more than 5% tariff for the Semi-Knocked Down component, against the current tariff of 5% for the Completely Knocked Down components and 10% for the Semi-Knocked Down components. By doing so, we will ensure that the Set Top boxes are within the reach of average Nigerians.
6. The Federal Government will also support the Channel Owners and Content Providers through the implementation of the Audience Measurement system to guarantee a sustained stream of revenue from advertising for them to invest in the development of compelling content. In this regard, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has been directed to implement key policies to guarantee the advertising income of media houses by creating a healthy environment for the media outfits to operate. Very soon, APCON and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) will sign an MoU on zero advertising debts to ensure that revenue from advertisers goes to the media owners.
7. Back to the rollout timetable, as you will soon hear, within a period of four months starting from April 29th, we intend to rollout the DSO in four states, three of them heavily-populated states. This is to accentuate our eagerness to take the DSO to as many Nigerians as possible, as well as to ensure its viability as we have now decided that the process will be commercially-driven. Our decision to also kick-start the analogue switch off is a clear testimony to our commitment to complete the DSO process as soon as possible.
8. Finally, gentlemen, the Set Top Box manufacturers have also assured us of their readiness to make enough boxes available for the planned massive rollout.
9. Please permit me to now call on the Acting DG of NBC to announce the time-table for the first phase of the DSO rollout as well as Analogue Switch Off. After the announcement, we will take your questions.
10. I thank you for your kind attention