The Federal Government has asked Nigerians not to rule out the possibility of achieving the digital broadcast switchover deadline of June 2017 set by the International Telecommunications Union.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, made the call on Thursday at a public hearing of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee set up to investigate the process of the planned digital switchover in Nigeria.
He stressed the need to review the business model inherited from the previous administration before the set deadline.
“We know it’s very ambitious but if you aim for the sky, you might at least get the ceiling.
“We don’t want to say June 2017 is unachievable, we’ll relax. But if we are able to roll out another six by May, then we know where we are,” the minister said.
The Chairman of the House Ad-hoc Committee, Representative Sunday Katung, also emphasised the importance of the digital switchover.
However, the Chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) and CEO, Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh, stressed the need to place the interest of stakeholders and that of the country first.
Mr Momoh advised that Nigeria should work towards ensuring that a good switchover transition was achieved rather than emphasising deadlines.
“Again, I say that we shouldn’t be looking at deadlines. I think we should just work towards making sure that we have a very good switchover.
“When we set a deadline, we put ourselves under pressure.
“The ministry is working very well with the border states to make sure that there is no confusion in terms of interference.
“We should just be focused and see how can we transit to digital, rather than emphasise deadlines.
“Deadlines will put us in trouble,” the BON Chairman warned.
Other issues discussed at the gathering include funding and the need to have a better business model backed by a good legal framework to accommodate the transition process.