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RATTAWU calls for shift in digital switch target to 2020

Stories by UFOMBA UZUEGBU, Asst News Editor

Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers’ Union (RATTAWU) has called on the Federal Government, to shift the date set for the digital switch to 2020.
The union noted that the 2015 date was unrealistic, alleging that government seemed unprepared to address the challenges of funding and legislative backing including unresolved labour issues.
The union warned that it would mobilize its members to a nationwide mass action should government go ahead with the planned digitalization process when it Is obvious that there is no structure in place for the scheme
RATTAWU’s President, comrade Yemisi Gbamboshe who stated these while fielding questions from newsmen in Lagos maintained that the proposed digital switch over in 2015 was not feasible.
He said “We  are not in support of the Federal Government’s  digitization process because of the  challenges of funding, legislative backing, sensitization of the public,  signal distribution  and plans  for workers. Besides, there are  no proper structures on ground to suggest that the country was ready for digital switch over in 2015”.
“As a critical stakeholders  in the broadcast sector, we have made our position known that  based on the available overwhelming information , that there are no proper structures on ground to suggest that the country was ready for digital switch over in 2015”, he added.
According to Bamgboshe, no African Country that has Switched Over except Tanzania.” The situation in that country also suggests that the whole process has hit the rock and May likely return to analogue. Many European Countries have not switched over despite the fact that they have started long ago”, he said.
He noted that all over the world, most especially in those countries where the switch over had been successfully carried out,  it was the government that bankrolled the project including subsidizing the procurement of set top box.
“Although the National Broadcasting Commission that is saddled with the responsibility of supervising the Switch over kept assuring other stakeholders of its readiness to switch over as scheduled, but the current situation on ground has clearly shown that, the country is far from ready “, he however said.
Also, RATTAWU’S General Secretary, Comrade Henry Odugala, who argued that it took developed countries several years of concrete and well-funded process to achieve enduring switch over, wondered how Nigeria would be able to achieve same feat with fire brigade approach in  less than one year, coupled with inadequate funding.
“Although Government set up a Digiteam that was to midwife the process in conjunction with the National Broadcasting Commission, but it is a known fact that the team was never funded. However, due to political consideration s, nobody was ready to bell the cat”, he said.

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