8 June 2016
Inhabitants of Plateau State may not have to worry excessively about the global Digital Switch Over in broadcasting as the state government is prepared to subsidise the acquisition of Set-Top Boxes for them.
The pilot phase of the Digital Switch Over (DSO) was launched in Jos, the state capital, on April 30 and is expected to spread to other parts of the state soon.
As part of the pilot phase, the Federal Government provided 200,000 Set-Top Boxes free of charge for residents of Jos.
Governor Simon Lalong announced the subsidy plan in Jos, however, while responding to a request to that effect by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who paid him a courtesy visit.
The governor said the state was prepared to take full advantage of the DSO for the benefit of the citizenry.
“On our part, we are taking this seriously and we have advised the Commissioner for Information to also start processing for the advantage of the citizenry here on the Plateau because even if they cannot afford them (the boxes), we are preparing to subsidise for them,’’ the governor said.
Governor Lalong described the pilot launch of the DSO in Jos as a welcome development, coming at a time when peace had been restored in the state.
The minister went on the visit to the governor alongside members of the inter-ministerial task force on DSO.
Mohammed had earlier thanked the state government for its support for the DSO programme and expressed satisfaction with the progress so far recorded.
“After one month, we have decided to come back and see how far and how well and I am happy to report that we are very satisfied with the progress that has been made so far,” the minister said.
He said stakeholders would continue to improve on the distribution and activation of the Set-Top Boxes, while also correcting any lapses that might be noticed.
He urged the state government to take full advantage of the DSO by assisting the citizens to acquire the boxes, without which they would not enjoy the benefits of the DSO.
“Given also the net benefit that the state will derive from this process, because part of the advantages of the Digital Switch Over is interaction; and the government can put on the platforms, information and enlightenment programmes on its policies and programmes, we think it will also be in the interest of government to assist citizens to acquire these Set-Top Boxes.
“This will further help in deepening democracy and help in bringing governance nearer to the people,” he said.