Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has welcomed China’s decision to support Nigeria in its quest to actualize the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.
The Minister was responding to comments by the Vice President of the StarTimes Group of China, Ms. Zhao Yueqin, who led a delegation of the company on a courtesy visit to the Minister in his office in Abuja on Monday, July 4. StarTimes Group is a media group specializing in system integration.
He said Nigeria is irrevocably committed to meeting the June 2017 Digital Switch Over deadline in order to protect broadcast signal from interference and also to unlock the creative potential of Nigerians in technology and content development.
Senior Assistant to the Minister; Segun Adeyemi quoted the minister as saying, the process of digitalization is unstoppable and irreversible.
“It’s not a matter of choice. If we do not follow the world to digitalize and meet the June 2017 target, it means that our telephones, televisions and radios will not be free from interference. As a matter of fact, planet earth today does not know the extent of the dividends of digitalization and how far it will go,” said Adeyemi on behalf of the minister.
“Digitalization is going to affect the way we perceive and understand broadcasting. It will act as a catalyst to unleash the creative potentials of our youths. It will also provide the panacea to piracy. It will create so much possibility that will enable Africa to leapfrog and join the next generation of technology,” he continued.
The minister also said that his ministry will borrow a leaf from China, particularly in the area of national re-orientation, having realized that the Chinese economic boom and development were underpinned by the discipline of its citizens, their patriotism and dedication.
“This ministry is going to start a campaign very soon to promote national rebirth and value re-orientation, because unless we change our ways and we are able to bring back discipline, integrity and values, the change we are talking about will not take place,” he said.
Lai Mohammed, who expressed delight that the strategic partnership between Nigeria and China is waxing stronger in various sectors, said the trade volume between the two countries had jumped from $6.9 billion in 2009 to over $14 billion in 2015. However, the Minister stressed the need to correct the trade imbalance between the two countries by encouraging Chinese investors to set up factories in labor-intensive sectors in Nigeria and also canvassed for the abolition of the 5% tax levied on agricultural products entering China from Nigeria.
In her remarks, the Vice President of the StarTimes Group, Ms.Zhao, expressed China’s willingness to assist Nigeria to realize the digital switch over. She stated the commitment of China to ensuring that every household in Nigeria has access to digital television signals.