Mr Sola Omole, the Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), says the authority requires 15 million dollars (N2.9 billion) to complete its digitization programme and N 6 billion for total restructuring across the country.
Omole stated this in Tianjin- Beijing, China at the weekend in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Omole is in China to attend a seminar titled “The Challenges of Digitalisation Project in Africa, organised by StarTimes, a major telecommunication company in China, which has partnership with NTA in its digitization programme.
He said that Nigeria started on a bright note but soon slowed down due to funding challenges.
“We made steady process through the assistance of our partners, StarTimes but attention was shifted to politics and there was lack of funds during the period which affected the programme.
“It will be difficult to meet the June 17 switch-over deadline because the structure on ground does not support it, though, efforts have been made, there exist several gaps and challenges,” he said.
According to Omole, NTA needs some time to provide the needed infrastructure and adequate funding.
“The process is capital intensive and most African countries are at various stages of implementation, only few have advanced. It is said that the switch-over will affect countries around you that are analogue.
“But now that most African countries are not ready, nothing will change,’’ Omole said.
The Director-General said the challenges affecting African countries were the same, these include funding and provision of the structure.
“It is a capital intensive project replacing a whole package from analogue to digital and it needs training of manpower, it is a complex situation.
“Our organisation needs over N6 billion for restructuring, because what we do affects so many agencies that depend on us directly or indirectly as an institution,’’ he added.
The Chairman of StarTimes, Dr Xinxing Pang, said the digitization project started in Nigeria in 2009 and his organisation had so far provided 15 high power transmitters to Nigeria through the partnership with NTA.
“What remains is for government to support the project through funding and providing infrastructure for its completion,’’ he said.
He, however, pledged more support for NTA to complete the project. (NAN)