Engr Yomi Bolarinwa director general, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the agency that is responsible for the regulation of broadcast services in the country is one of Nigeria’s finest engineers. Bolarinwa has been in the industry for quite long time and he exudes passion for it development He spoke to ken nwogbo on a wide range of issues.
June 17, 2012 Deadline For Digital Broadcasting
The transition programme is actually from now till 2012. On June 17th 2012, broadcasting in Nigeria becomes digitalized. From now till June, 2012 there will be simultaneous transition from analogue signals and televisions to digital ones. This means that on the 17th of that month, analogue transmission will cease and we will all cross over to mainly digital transmission.
The major difference is the way signals are sent from stations to homes. Rather than send them in analogue format, they are sent in digital format; that implies that at home, people will get more content, high picture quality just like that produced by DVD, have interactivity with their broadcasters (they can answer questions while viewing programmes, with the help of their remote control rather than calling into the programme); people can get more information about programmes on air, more language channels – a broadcast that is usually a mono channel has the capability to have multiple channels. Take your handset for example, the language can be in Arabic but it gives you room to click on English and it will change every instruction to English. So the implication for digital broadcasting is that people can afford to view the same programmes at the same time but in different languages.
Essentially, what we have at the moment is analogue TV receive access. When you transmit digitally-digital is not compatible with analogue.
The set-up box which is like a converter will convert the digital signal to analogue signal so that a television set that is basically analogue can interface with the digital signal. The set-up box is a digital to analogue signal converter. But the name everyone in the industry calls it is the set-up box.
Nigerians and Digitisation
Part of the preparation is what you and I am doing now. We must inform the public; we must tell them what is required of them with this development. First, what are viewers supposed to do to continue to watch their favourite programmes.
They need a set-up box. If they have the financial wherewithal they can buy a new digital TV. They must also have an antenna that is good because in the digital era, it is either the signal is their or not. Unlike in analogue that you can watch pictures that are not very clear, in digital if the signal is poor, you won’t get anything. Having said that, we are all stakeholders; government is involved-the executive, the legislature, the broadcasters and then the viewers. Everybody has a role to play. Government must put in place policies and policy statements that will drive this transition. Legislators must work with the executive to pass regulation or bills that will ensure that this transition takes place orderly and smoothly. The regulators must enforce the policy; they must interpret the policy for broadcasters and viewers and drive it. The viewers must then take a look at what they have and what they need to have to enable them keep pace with current trends.
NBC and Local content
Well, clearly we are not happy. For example, look at the family belt between 7pm and 10pm; it cuts across. You find soap opera which pre-dominates except for the brief in-between news. We are not happy about that. Nigerians have the capability to produce even the soaps that we watch; that have local background. But what we have today are Mexican soap operas that everybody is always eager to watch and for us as regulators, it is not okay at all. On Sundays, Fridays, it is religious progammes back to back and we are not happy about that. There are contents even in religion; you can preach in several categories of programmes. Then you need to look at most of our stations, over 60 per cent of their broadcasts are produced by independent producers and so, it is like they just come, buy airtime and this we have been discussing and telling them that this is an area we need more content otherwise, viewers would be made to spend extra money without getting value back.
Broadcast Stations Dominance in Lagos, Abuja
It is not wise, of course. We as the regulators are doing the much we can. For example, you discover that it is almost impossible to buy an application form for those locations. Also, there should be an incentive for people to move into those areas since the broadcast industry is driven by advertisement and the advertisers have areas where they put their money; they have markets they want to reach and if their market is not at a particular place, they do not want to put their money there. So, all levels of government should encourage business people and entrepreneurs to establish stations in their domains.
Regulation of Internet Radio
What makes broadcasting unique is the content. You must have the ability, whatever technology you adopt to deliver. The regulator is always on top of you; the regulator must be capable and ensure that every signal within the Nigerian airwaves is being monitored and so, we are able to apply the rules and regulations of the National broadcasting Commission. Some people will tell you it is difficult to regulate on the internet-Google and Yahoo cannot disseminate particular information because the governments of their mother countries take note and do not approve of that and there is no computer you use on the internet that cannot be traced. It has an IP address and is traceable. So, there is nothing within the airspace of Nigeria that we do not monitor.
I think the first kudos should go to government itself, the second should go to the Honourable Minister for Information and Communication, Mr. John Odey for giving us the latitude, the freedom to be ourselves. If you complain about all these broadcasts or write any letter against any of these stations today, to the minister, he will send it to the NBC and he will listen to the NBC’s professional advice and treat that letter based on the advice given to him and he wouldn’t mount any form of pressure on the NBC. So given that freedom, we are able to operate professionally, according to rules and regulations and that particularly, is responsible for the present status of the NBC.
There is no going back. The government itself has clearly told everybody in the last one year the role of the rule of law. Whatever the NBC is doing, it is not doing it for the commission but for Nigeria. The airwaves belong to Nigeria and Nigeria wants to know how many radio and television licenses are there and the criteria for licensing people (Is it free for every Nigerian to apply or for special kind of people?) Licensing is for all Nigerians; if you have the wherewithal and a good record and send in application and the frequency is available, you stand a good chance of getting the license.
With all due respect, I disagree with you that there are licenses that are lying dormant. The code states that if you are given a license, what you get initially is provisional approval. If your license is finally approved, you now have a license. If you do not operate your license which has been paid for within two years, you will lose it. If you are given three months to activate your license and at the end you do not, you will lose it. Visit our website
Analogue and Digital Broadcasting
www.nbc.gov.ng, the list of our licensees is there and it is being updated regularly. If anybody comes to you claiming to have a license, if his name is not on the list, he does not have a license. Then, if after the time given to you have elapsed and you come on air; you will pay penalty. That is, if we are going to allow you operate.
FG Mulls Renewable Energy for Improved Power Supply
Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of Science and Technology, has said that the federal government plans to diversify the country’s energy supply sources to include renewable energy towards accelerating socio-economic development.
Onu stated this when he declared open the forum on ‘Scaling-up interconnected mini-grids development in Nigeria’, organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-GEF) and the Energy Commission of Nigeria, in Abuja.
He said that renewable energy will help the nation meet its electricity needs in a functional and sustainable manner, adding that it will also improve the quality of life in the country.
“Nigeria is endowed with substantial energy resources such as coal, crude oil and natural gas; renewables such as hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, waves and tides, as well as biomass.
“The challenge before us, has always been on how to efficiently transform these resources into adequate and reliable energy for national development using our enormous capacity in science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship”, he said.
The minister explained that since the inception of the present administration in 2015, electronic power generation capacity had increased at an annual rate of about 390 megawatts per year.
He, however, said that while this is commendable, it could not adequately meet the needs of the country’s population and sustain the desired level of economic development.
Onu further observed that Nigeria’s desire to industrialise cannot be realised without adequate power supply.
He stressed that every effort must be made to ensure that homes, offices, factories, schools, hospitals and laboratories in the country have adequate, reliable and affordable electricity supply.
“Renewable energy could meet Nigeria’s energy needs in the area of job creation and improved standard of living in rural areas,” he said.
He added that the development of solar photo-voltaic (Pv) in the country triggered by increase in demand for rural water supply, lighting, health services and micro-enterprise needs to be regulated to stimulate private sector participation.
ROAM Africa Reports Over 2,400 Candidates Applying for One Role as Jobs Stiffens
ROAM Africa (Ringier One Africa Media), the leading digital classifieds group in Sub-Saharan Africa, has released figures that highlight the current state of the jobs market in Africa, with one standard role attracting 2,417 applications.
Analysing 69,511 jobs listings from January 2019 to August 2020 across 5 African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), ROAM Africa’s data sheds more light on the challenges facing both job seekers and employers in the African jobs market.
The standard job listing that attracted 2,417 applications was for a Receptionist/Admin Assistant in Kenya while another listing for call centre agents and team leaders attracted 2,283 applicants.
Similar is observed also for other markets: In Ghana, 2,299 people applied for an Administrative Assistant role and 2,265 people in Tanzania applied for a Sales Representative role.
In Nigeria, the highest number of applications for a single role was 2,095 and it was for a Sales Representative role.
According to ROAM Africa’s data, Kenya contributed the highest amount of new job listings in 2019 with 33%. Nigeria was in second place with 31% and Uganda was in third place with 17%. However, so far in 2020, Nigeria is leading the way with 40% of new job listings, with Kenya in second place with 28% and Uganda in third place with 13%.
A closer look at ROAM Africa’s data reveals that, apart from Nigeria, there was a drop in overall job listings across all job levels during the last months.
However, there was an increase in graduate trainee and ‘no experience’ roles in Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana from May to July 2020, which offers some hope for new entrants into the jobs market.
Interestingly, recruitment agencies contributed the most roles, with 16% of overall jobs, closely followed by IT and Telecoms with 15% and Advertising media and communications with 12%.
Some candidates have also reported applying for more than 20 jobs a day for multiple months and only getting to the interview stage on a handful of occasions. This is why ROAM Africa’s jobs platforms Jobberman (Ghana and Nigeria) and BrighterMonday (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) are focused on matching technology.
The company’s technology helps employers to identify and score the right candidates faster. Suitable candidates are made visible to prospective employers, and helped across the finish line by providing data driven career development tools and training programmes.
Job seekers using the platforms can expect to improve their CV, gain interview tips and sign-up for online training courses designed to bridge the gap between education and employment.
Commenting on the data, Clemens Weitz, CEO of ROAM Africa said, “The high ratio of applications per job listing really highlights how challenging the jobs market is for employers and job seekers. Both employers and job seekers are struggling to connect with the right opportunities and more needs to be done to address this.
“Employers must rethink their hiring strategies and clearly define what they are looking for, based on data and insights. Job seekers must also invest in personal development that will make it easier for them to stand out in such a crowded and competitive market.”
Weitz also added that, “We believe that Africa’s greatest asset is its people and their entrepreneurial spirit. With the expected growth in the continent’s population, we must begin to put structures in place that will make it easier for African businesses to make the most of this resource.”
According to Hilda Kragha, Managing Director of ROAM Africa’s Jobs platforms, “With the current state of the jobs market, Africans cannot afford to continue with the antiquated recruitment processes that are commonplace in many organisations.
We must prioritise a digital approach to recruitment, which brings transparency to Africa’s labour market while connecting people to work opportunities that will improve their livelihood.
We must also embrace objectivity in the recruitment process by incorporating innovation that makes it easier to fairly and consistently sort for the best candidates. This will ensure that only qualified candidates are applying for roles and employers get an accurate picture of jobseekers’ capabilities. A win-win for both job seekers and employers.”
“Our data highlights both the challenge and opportunity that come with the African jobs market. We must address the challenge of rampant unemployment but also embrace the opportunity to transform how recruitment is done. By doing this, we will not only be addressing the current problems but also future-proofing our businesses and organizations for generations to come.”
FG Offers to Support TStv to Relaunch with Pay per View Model
National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has pledged to give necessary support to TStv Africa as the indigenous digital satellite TV service begins full operation with pay per view model on October 1, 2020.
Professor Armstrong Idachaba, acting director-general of NBC, made the promise on Monday in Abuja when the management team of TStv paid him an official visit.
The visit was to inform him of the company‘s readiness to commence full operation across the country on October 1.
TStv Africa is a wholly-owned Nigerian innovative multi-channel outfit which had promised to operate a pay per view model for the benefit of Nigerians.
Idachaba said: “We promise on our side that we will continue to support you.
“At this time, I think that the major issue confronting the PayTv sector is the area of giving Nigerians option of deregulating purchasing capacity in terms of pay as you go concept.
“We believe this will give you the visibility if you remain committed to the idea.
“We welcome that option and wish that it serves as a stimulant and as a progressive index for other pay-TV operators to adopt.
“Some of them have come up with a lot of excuses why pay per view is difficult and why it is not doable.
“We want you to be the galvaniser to prove the naysayers wrong that this is doable in the interest of Nigerians.
“Once you begin and you make a success of it through increased subscription base, we are sure that others will be drawn into it as it happened in the telecommunication sector.”
Idachaba said the NBC is committed to promoting local participation in the nation’s broadcasting industry, especially in the pay-TV sector, to create jobs and provide diversity for Nigerians.
He acknowledged the challenges TStv had faced over the years and encouraged the company to remain focused.
“We are aware that it has been very challenging for you.
“All over the world dominant players will always want to remain in a dominant position.
” Those who want to survive will also have to take the courage to do so,” he said.
The Acting Director-General, however, admonished the firm to refrain from any activity that would give Nigeria a bad name.
“If you are acquiring rights, you must make sure that your rights are legitimately acquired.
“You must make sure you follow the rules of engagement strictly, study the broadcasting code strictly to have a robust future ahead of you,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Echefu Bright, managing director and CEO of TStv, said they were at the NBC to seek the commission’s support to have a peaceful roll out on October 1.
He said the outfit also visited the NBC to officially present samples of its decoders to the commission and thank the management for its support.
Bright gave an assurance that the novel pay per view concept was sacrosanct.
“The model is what we have experimented and implemented and it works and we have done everything we need to do for it Nigerians to benefit.
“Beyond that, we have enough boxes on ground that will cover the entire country,” he said.
Bright also gave an assurance that with the Oct.1 roll out, every part of the country would be covered.
“We currently have a dealership in virtually every state in Nigeria and as I speak to you now our goods are already with them for October 1 rollout. The coverage from day one will be across Nigeria,”
On sports products, he said the firm has Laliga as well as the FA Cup and Euro Cup 2021 rights.
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