The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has declared that Nigeria’s broadcast industry with digitisation will have the capacity to raise over $1 billion dollars per annum.

The minister stated this in Abuja while declaring open the 11th Biennial Conference of Africa Broadcasters (Africast) 2016, with the theme: “Digital Terrestial Broadcasting: Financing Quality Content.’’

Africast is a platform for stakeholders in Africa’s broadcasting scene to converge and exchange ideas on content creation and explore the possibilities offered by the new and emerging technology.

Africast 2016 is being attended by stakeholders from Africa, America and Europe.

According to Mohammed, in addition to increased revenue, digital broadcasting would also raise the number of the current 450 TV stations in the country and generate millions of jobs.

“The digitisation of broadcasting offers Nigeria a lot of opportunities. The benefits are multifaceted and very far-reaching – in the areas of economics, politics, education, entertainment, science and technology and several other ways.

“Many have said that the impact of digitisation on television will be revolutionary and I cannot agree less,’’ the minister said.

He reiterated that there was massive growth in the industry since the 1992 deregulation of broadcasting in the country which allowed private initiative.

The minister reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to meeting the new deadline of June 2017 for the country to transit from analogue to digital broadcasting.

The transition will open the window for free TV service, according to Mohammed, with up to 30 channels laden with sports, news, documentaries and other programme.

He asserted that the transition would help to curb piracy and encourage a free press and open democracy underpinned by local content channels, among other advantages.

The minister implored the regulators of broadcasting in Africa to embrace digital technology and platforms for diverse content.

He also charged them to use the media to serve the people in terms of security, economic well-being and technological advancement.

Suleiman Adokwe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation, lauded the National Broadcasting Commission for hosting the conference and pledged the support of the National Assembly towards achieving the June 2017 deadline for transition to digital broadcasting in Nigeria.

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