Nigeria Signs N197 billion Digital Migration Deal
THE march towards the 2017 date for Nigeria’s migration from analogue to digital switchover (DSO) got a boost yesterday, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Media Concepts International (MCI) and a South Korean firm, KAON, for establishment of a plant in the country.
The development came as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said about 278 bids have been submitted by indigenous and foreign firms seeking to secure contract for sale and purchase of the 26 Nigerian crude oil grades on offer.
Construction of the plant, which is to be sited in Lagos, will take off by December and run till next year, after which manufacturing activities will start.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in an earlier press conference in September had fixed April 2016 for the take off of the plant estimated to worth about N197 billion ($1 billion) and will focus on the production of Set Top Box (STB).
MCI is one of the 13 indigenous companies licensed by NBC for the manufacturing of STBs in the country. The STBs will be used to convert analogue television sets to show digital channels at the homes of millions of Nigerians.
From indications, the STB plant is expected to employ over 1,000 technical staff that will be trained on local assembly in the first instance and full manufacturing of set top boxes locally.
Nigeria’s digital switchover (DSO) driven by the private sector will lead to production of set top boxes and viewing of digital channels in line with the directive of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Speaking at the MoU signing agreement in the presence of the Director-General of NBC, Emeka Mba, MCI’s Babatope Agbeyo said their technical partner, KAON, which is among the top three STB manufacturers in the world, will not just bring its expertise but will ensure technology transfer in the manufacturing and maintenance of STBs. It will invest as an equity holder in the Nigerian plant.
He said it is a massive project that will redefine digital media broadcasting and speed up the digital migration process with the conversion of analogue television sets to digital broadcasting.
“We chose KAON as our technical partner because it is among the top three STB manufacturers in the world with footprints in Asia, Europe, Latin America and now Africa.”
Agbeyo said KAON recently established set top box manufacturing plant in South Africa and will be helping the digital migration processes in South Africa, Kenya, and Senegal in addition to Nigeria.
Recently, the NNPC had placed the offer on a live broadcast on national television networks, with attendance of representatives of the bidding companies and officials of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NDCMB) as well as members of the civil society as independent assessors.
The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, stated that the essence of the public opening of bid is to consolidate on the new promise of setting a new agenda for the corporation anchored on the tenets of transparency and efficiency in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda for the oil and gas industry.
“The essence is to ensure that nobody needs to call me personally as Ibe Kachikwu for him to get crude allocation. So, you can imagine the burden it takes off my shoulders. It means a good amount of my time will now go into other relevant areas of operation where the country needs me most, ’’ Kachikwu said.
Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, informed that with the new measure put in place, the incidence of brief case companies and hawking of Nigerian crude would become a thing of the past.