The Federal Government
says it has generated N34 billion from sale of one-third of the spectrum for the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.
The Vice Chairman of Cable Channel Nig. Ltd (CCNL), Mohammed Bawa, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at a workshop organised for stakeholders on Digital Switch Over (DSO)
The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture to educate stakeholders on the UK experience on DSO.
Bawa, who is also a DSO content aggregator and owner of Free TV, said the funds realised and that being expected would be ploughed back to finance the switch over project.
He said the situation was different from the UK experience where broadcasters financed their DSO.
He said, in the UK, the broadcasters financed the project, but in Nigeria, we are trying to use the digital dividends to finance the project.
“At the moment, the one-third of the spectrum that had been sold, generated N34 billion and I believed that when the remaining two-third are sold, we will be able to generate more funds’.
He commended the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed for inviting the former Director of DSO in the UK, Alex Pumfrey to the workshop to share her experience with participants,“the workshop enlightened stakeholders in the digital process in Nigeria and gave us the background on how the UK transformed from analogue to digital.
“We are using the workshop to take stock and see how we are doing at the moment.
“We have noticed some difference from their platforms and the one we have in Nigeria.
“We were also briefed on the challenges they had which we will use as guide to forestall such challenges,’’ he said.
Bawa also observed that there was the need for stakeholders to engage in vigorous enlightenment campaign on DSO taking cue from the UK experience, “from what we were told, the UK placed about 200 advertisements weekly to create awareness.
“At the moment, we are a far cry from that and we need to let people know about the project. We must intensify advertisement for people to know what we are doing,’’ he said.
The Chairman of the Set-Top Box Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Godfrey Ohuabunwa said that the workshop was to show stakeholders the pitfalls and gains in the process so far.
Ohuabunwa suggested that in addressimg the challenge of funding, Nigeria could take cue from UK where the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) funded the project through TV licence fee.
According to him, the local government areas can come together to fund the DSO, because at the end of the day, they will be the ones to collect TV licence fee through the set-top boxes.
“The BBC spent less than one billion Pound for the DSO and they got back about 10 billion pounds at the end of the day”, he added.
Ohuabunwa said that four of the licensed firms for local production of set-top boxes would soon take off after clearing their equipment from the port.
Nigeria’s Revenue-To-GDP Ratio Lowest, Private Sector Choking – World Bank
Nigeria’s revenue-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio, which fell to between five and six per cent last year, is the lowest in the world, the World Bank said on Monday.
The Country Director for Nigeria, World Bank, Dr Shubham Chaudhuri, said this during a panel session at a virtual public sector seminar with the theme ‘Nigeria in challenging times: imperatives for a cohesive national development agenda’ organised by the Lagos Business School.
Chaudhuri, who stressed the need for private investment for the country to realise its potential, said the private sector in the country ‘is struggling to breathe’.
“In Nigeria, I think the basic economic agenda is about diversification away from oil because oil has really been like resource curse for Nigeria on multiple dimensions,” he said.
He noted the aspiration of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by the end of the decade.
He said, “Nigeria is a country with tremendous potential. If you look at the synopsis for this panel, it suggests that Nigeria is at a critical juncture – almost at the moment of crisis.
“Despite all of that, Nigeria is still the largest economy in Africa. So, just think about the potential that Nigeria has because of its natural resources, but more than that, because of its dynamism and all of its population. Nigerians are more entrepreneurial by nature.
“No country has become prosperous and realised its potential, eliminated poverty without doing two simple things: investing in its people, and unleashing the power of the private sector in creating jobs by investing and growing business. And then, of course, the basic function of the state is to provide security and law and order.”
According to Chaudhuri, to invest in people entails basic services, basic education, primary healthcare and nutrition, among others.
He said, “On this, Nigeria at the moment ranks sixth from the bottom in terms of the human capital index that we produce every year.
“So, obviously, there is a huge agenda in terms of investing in human capital. Nigeria spends more on PMS (premium motor spirit) subsidy than it does on primary healthcare in a year, and we know who the PMS subsidy is benefitting.”
He indicated that despite the country’s huge potential to attract private capital, the non-oil part of the economy ‘is not growing that robustly and certainly not generating revenues that the government needs’.
Chaudhuri said, “So, we see as priorities investments in human capital. But for that, one needs revenues. And there again, Nigeria unfortunately has the distinction of having about the lowest revenue-to-GDP ratio in the world.
”The standard rule of thumb is that for government to provide the basic services and law and order, it needs between 15 to 20 per cent of GDP as being revenue, and this will be both at the federal and state levels combined.
“In Nigeria, it was eight per cent in 2019. In 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis and with the fall in oil prices, that went down to about between five and six per cent.
“So, domestic revenue mobilisation is huge. And then the third is enabling the space for private investment. You have to fix the power problem. Power is like the oxygen of an economy. In Nigeria, the private sector is struggling to breathe.”
CBN Stops Sale Of Forex To BDCs
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as announced immediate discontinuation of sale of Foreign Exchange (forex) to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor , made this announcement yesterday, while presenting a communique from the apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.
Emefiele said that the decision was informed by the unwholesome business practices of the BDCs, which he said had continued to put enormous pressure on the Naira.
He said , henceforth, the apex bank would sell forex to deserving Nigerians through the commercial banks.
“ The BDCs were regulated to sell a maximum of 5000 dollars per day, but CBN observed that they have since been flouting that regulation and selling millions of dollars per day.
“The CBN also observed that the BDCs aid illicit financial flows and other financial crimes. The bank has thus, decided to discontinue the sale of forex to the BDCs with immediate effect.
“We shall, henceforth, channel all forex allocation through the commercial banks,” he said.
He urged the commercial banks to ensure that every deserving customer got their forex demand, adding that any bank found circumventing the new system would be sanctioned.
“Once a customer presents all required documentation to purchase forex, the commercial banks should ensure they get the forex.
“Any customer that is denied should contact the CBN on 0700385526 or through the email- email@example.com “ he said.
The Tide source reports that stakeholders have been calling on the CBN and its MPC to take urgent steps to halt unending depreciation of the Naira.
Recently, a past President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, urged the MPC to focus on policy decisions that would curb rising inflation and stabilise the Naira.
RSG To Privatise Songhai, Fish Farms
There are strong indications that the Rivers State Government has concluded plans to privatise the moribund Songhai Farm in Tai and Fish Farm in Buguma.
The State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Amb. Desmond Akawor, gave this indication while appearing in a phone-in radio programme organised by Silverbird Communications in Port Harcourt at the weekend.
He explained that the previous administration in the state failed to put in place a sustainability programme for these farms, hence they went moribund.
In order to reverse the situation, he said that the present administration was now contemplating a rehabilitation scheme to be driven by a privatisation policy to enable those investments come on stream.
He said the scheme had reached an advanced stage and is to executed by the State Ministry of Agriculture.
On the issue of job creation, Akawor said the administration of Chief Nyesom Wike was using the various construction projects around the state to empower the youths.
He explained that the government had floated a special scholarship scheme in Law and Medical Sciences to create opportunities for young people in various professions.
He called on the opposition to desist from de-marketing the state through propaganda as it’s capable of scaring investors away from the state.
Akawor insisted that the Wike led administration has provided an enabling environment for businesses to thrive through infrastructure and improved security.
By: Kevin Nengia
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