"> SPEECH BY THE HON MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, DURING THE MINISTERIAL TASK FORCE'S ENGAGEMENT WITH STAKEHOLDERS IN LAGOS ON MONDAY. 12TH APRIL 2021 - Sahel Standard
May 11, 2021
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SPEECH BY THE HON MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, DURING THE MINISTERIAL TASK FORCE’S ENGAGEMENT WITH STAKEHOLDERS IN LAGOS ON MONDAY. 12TH APRIL 2021

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I am glad to be here for this
engagement between the Ministerial Task Force on the Digital Switch
Over (DSO) and Stakeholders. As you are aware, I set up this 14-member
Task Force, which I am personally chairing, on Feb. 23rd 2021 to
quicken the pace of the DSO rollout across the country.

  1. The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture considers the DSO
    as one of its priority projects, because of its potential to create
    jobs, bring governance closer to the people through better access to
    information, thus deepening democracy, bring internet to millions of
    homes and also provide quality programming, especially those produced
    locally, to Nigeria’s estimated 24 million television households, with
    high fidelity pictures and sound.
  2. To date, we have rolled out the DSO in five states and Abuja. The
    programme was launched in Jos, Plateau State, on April 30th 2016.
    Since then, we have gone live in the Federal Capital Territory, Kwara
    State, Kaduna State, Enugu State and Osun State. 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. We are kick-starting the new rollout here in
    Lagos state on April 29th 2021, Kano state on June 3rd 2021 and Rivers
    state on July 8th 2021. We will then follow up with Yobe state on July
    15th 2021 and Gombe state on August 12th 2021.
  3. Without mincing words, let me say straightaway that for us, the
    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. As I have said at many fora, this
    project is capable of generating 1 million jobs in three years.
  4. The manufacturing of Set Top Boxes or decoders alone is capable
    of creating between 40 and 50 thousand 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.
  5. Ladies and gentlemen, ahead of the impending massive rollout, we
    have taken some steps to create the enabling environment for the DSO
    to succeed, for local content to thrive, for indigenous producers to
    be more engaged and for the local advertising market to grow. Some of
    these measures have generated a lot of controversy and triggered a
    pushback from some quarters, but we remain undaunted in implementing
    them for the benefit of our people.
  6. As many of you will recollect, we have carried out an
    unprecedented reform of the broadcasting industry, because we know
    that there is a nexus between those reforms and the success of the
    DSO. The amendments were necessitated by the need to boost the local
    content in Nigeria, curb anti-competitive and monopolistic tendencies
    and boost advertising revenues. I will just mention some of the
    amendments.
  7. We have amended the Code to curb monopoly and exclusivity of
    programme content in order to create room for the local industry to
    grow. For example, the pay tv sector of the Broadcast Industry had
    been controlled by foreign interests, while indigenous efforts to
    compete have been frustrated or weakened by the established control of
    the big monopolies. It will interest you to know that to date, the
    National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has licensed over 30 Nigerian
    pay tv companies, but only 1 is currently struggling to break through.
    This is not acceptable. 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.
  8. We have amended the Code to stimulate growth in the Advertising
    Industry, introducing regulations mandating Media Agencies and
    Advertisers to offset all outstanding invoices within 60 days related
    to advert placement and the barring of carriage of adverts of
    defaulters. This will significantly address the diversion of advert
    revenue to the wrong hands; address lack of accountability in the
    advertising industry, and ensure significant empowerment in terms of
    funding for content producers and channel owners in the Nigerian media
    industry.
  9. Also, under the new amendment, for a programme to qualify as
    local content, it must be authored, directed and produced by a
    Nigerian. In addition, at least 75 per cent of the leading actors and
    major supporting cast must be Nigerians, a minimum of 75% of its
    program expenses and 75% of post-production expenses paid for services
    provided by Nigerians or Nigerian
    companies. This initiative will considerably develop the skills,
    expertise and industry of the local content market.

This is a redefinition of the old regulation that 60 percent of all
programmed aired during prime time must be local content

  1. There is also the amendment regarding production of Advertising
    for local goods and services: In order to stimulate growth and
    investment in the advertising sector, the Code was further amended to
    the effect that all television and radio advertisements for airing on
    all broadcast platforms, pertaining to products and services
    manufactured, grown, processed, developed, created and originating
    from Nigeria, shall be wholly produced in Nigeria. This amendment has
    started yielding results. I am informed that a big multinational just
    recently cancelled a production slated for South Africa and moved it
    to Nigeria. The result? Practitioners in Nigeria made 10 million Naira
    from the production, while model fees totalled 5 million Naira. This
    is just the beginning, as we are determined to diligently implement
    the reforms.
  2. And finally, Audience Measurement: The Advertising Practitioners
    Council of Nigeria (APCON) has published a Request For Proposal (RFP)
    from audience measurement and insight providers who wish to deliver
    audience measurement services on Nigerian media platforms. The
    benefits of audience media research for the media houses are that they
    have better control of their scheduling and inventory, in order to
    increase their audience engagement and level of advertising. It
    becomes clear what programmes attract specific audiences and therefore
    they can buy content and plan their programming schedules accordingly,
    in order to attract audiences that are valuable to the
    advertisers and brands.
  3. Ladies and gentlemen, these are some of the things we have done
    to ensure the success of the DSO, stimulate local production of
    quality content, empower channel owners, further give a boost to the
    music and film industry and generate jobs. It is important for you to
    own these reforms and monitor their strict implementation, so you can
    reap the maximum benefits from them. Those who are benefitting from
    the old order that is skewed against indigenous producers and channel
    owners will do everything possible to sabotage the reforms, but they
    can only succeed if you let them.
  4. On our part, I am directing the NBC to set up the special units
    that will report to the Honourable Minister on the implementation of
    these groundbreaking reforms. Also, as part of efforts to make the DSO
    proposition viable, I have directed GoTV and StarTimes to stop self
    carriage by the end of June 2021
  5. On this note, I want to thank you most sincerely for your kind attention.
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