Digital System Operators Frown Over Delay By NBC To Release Funds/ Timetable For Exercise

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Mallan Is'haq Modibbo Kawu, DG, NBC

By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar 


Operators of the Digital System Switch Over of Nigeria from analogue to digital  have expressed concerns over the delay by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in releasing its timetable as well as funds approved for the execution of the exercise nationwide.
The delay is giving the stakeholders a lot of concern given the fact that they have done so much both in production of set top boxes as well as provision of satellite services in the country. 
These worries and concerns were raised by the Group Managing Director of Gospel Digital Technology, operating within the Calabar Free Export Zone (FEZ) Sir Godfrey Ohuabunwa, while conducting members of the team from the National Broadcasting Commission around the factory. 
He said the project for Nigeria to migrate from analogue to digital will cost N45 billion, out of which N15 billion has been approved but yet to be released. 
Uhuabunwa stated that any attempt by the federal government and the NBC not to heed the call, the company will risk the chance of losing a total amount of $50m given the amount of efforts invested in the project.

He further stated that management of Digital technology has so far sank a total of $22 for production of mother boards for android phones, television sets and others.

“If this digital switch over fails to take place, more than fifty thousand dollars will be lost on our  own side, not to talk of other people, he warned”.
He appealed to the Federal government to release the approved funds to enable them offset some of their indebtedness.
Ohuabunwa said that his factory currently has engaged over 500 persons working under shift basis,  adding that “over 5000 will also be engaged when in full scale operation. 
He said the company had  ordered one million worth of raw materials, out of which 200,000 are ready for the market. 
The set boxes are locally produced by Nigerian engineers for our TV sets,  Radio, cell-phones and other electrical appliances. 
Already,  there are lots  of finished products ready for the Nigerian markets as soon as the NBC timetable is out. We produces 100,000 set boxes every month. 
He called on the Federal government to assist NBC to commence total migration to avoid making the already produced set boxes from becoming useless.
He however called for the review of the existing  NBC Act so as to give it a legal backing. These set boxes are being requested by the NBC. All the set boxes  manufacturers in Nigeria have gone ahead to invest money in the banks and had collected loans to acquire these equipment. 
“Today,  he said,  we have the factory rolling out the set boxes here at the Free Zone Report (FZE)”.
Earlier,  the leader of the team,  Barrister  Salihu Bamidele who represented the Chairman of the Commission,  Alhaji Ikea Aliyu  Bilbis, said the visit was for fact finding aimed at seeing  themselves what is happening in the set box factory, whether we are ready from this area of the deal. 
The visit also provides an opportunity to find out if it has the capacity to produce the needed set boxes for the digital system switch over in the country.
He appealed to the Federal government to release funds so that NBC can commence the digital system switch over throughout the  country. 
Bilbis expressed satisfaction over what they witnessed at the factory  from storage of raw materials, production and to the finished products.
He sued for cooperation among the stakeholders to be able to drive the vision to its logical conclusion. 
The Chairman said that as soon as the Commission is done with the paper work and necessary recommendations,  it shall release the timetable for the digital system switch over in the entire country. 

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