With the analogue to digital switchover (DSO) migration target of 2017, 13 manufactucturers licensed by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) may create over 13,000 employment in the country.
This was disclosed on Tuesday in Lagos by one of the manufacturers during signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Media Concepts International (MCI) and South Korean firm, KAON, for the establishment of N197 billion ($1billion) Set Top Box (STB) manufacturing plant in Lagos.
MCI is one of the 13 indigenous companies licenced by National Broadcasting Commission (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. The construction of the manufacturing plant will begin next December and will be completed by the end of 2016, after which manufacturing activities will kick off.
It is envisaged that the STB plant will employ over 1000 technical staff, while the remaining 12 companies would each establish its own manufacturing outfit and train other 12,000 on local assembly and full manufacturing of set top boxes locally.
While lamenting one of the major challenges,NBC’s Director General, Mr. Emeka Mba disclosed that Nigeria is the biggest market with 31 million TV households.
“We have to manage the digital migration process carefully to carry all stakeholders along. MCI was the first STB manufacturer licencee that paid its N50 million authorisation fee over a year ago and has now commenced the process of local manufacturing of set top boxes.” As you know, we missed the June 17, 2015 deadline, but we have made decided to ensure that we meet the 2017 target.
“We see a digital future driven by set top boxes that can give digital channels, internet access and enhance digital lifestyle and shorten the digital divide in Nigeria. We believe this is the future which requires bold steps. Local investors like MCI are making investments that will create technology transfer that will permeate beyond television to bring job creation and economic growth.
“The efforts of NBC former director generals on DSO are bearing fruit. DSO is monumental. It is a national project of how people receive digital channels.
He also revealed that the Federal Government plans to subsidize first set of top boxes.
Also speaking, chairman of Media Concepts International (MCI), Mr. Babatope Agbeyo, said their technical partner, KAON of South Korea will not just bring its expertise but will ensure technology transfer.
In the manufacturing and maintenance of STBs as well as invest as an equity holder in the Nigerian plant.
He said it is a massive project that will redefine digital media broadcasting and fast track the digital migration process with the conversion of analogue television sets digital broadcasting. “We chose KOAN as our technical partner because it is among the top three STB manufacturers in trrhe world with footprints in Asia, Europe, Latin America and now Africa.”
Agbeyo said KOAN recently established set top box manufacturing plant in South Africa and will be helping the digital migration processes in South Africa, Kenya, and Senegal and in addition to Nigeria. “In the less than one year, we will come back and show the STBs manufactured locally” he said.
Mr. Young Kang, sales director, Europe, Middle East and Africa region for KAON said on the long term, the manufacturing which will be located in Abule Egba, Lagos will be expanded to manufacture mobile phones, tablets, routers and television sets in the country to encourage technology transfer. “It is a really big step for Nigeria to build its STB factory.
“We are here to invest and ensure technology transfer. We are here for the long term as an investor in the plant and the Nigerian broadcasting industry. We will not limit ourselves to technology transfer but encourage local production of STBs, phones, tablets, TV sets, routers, etc. We have just opened a factory in South Africa and we will team up with MIC to open another here that will produce STBs that are full high definition (HD)” he said.