An insider claims that the money gotten by National Broadcasting Commission from MTN during the Digital Switch Over (DSO) was not mismanaged, contrary to recent reports that the EFCC has recovered an allegedly stolen sum of N34bn paid by MTN for Spectrum.
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The inside source, who pleaded anonymity countered the publications, saying they were grossly misleading and calculated to bring disrepute to the immediate past management of NBC, led by Emeka Mba.
For years, Nigeria’s international obligation to transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, known as Digital Switch Over (DSO), was stalled due to lack of funds. Several issues, deemed more pressing, had seen successive governments fail to achieve the goal. However, due to some ingenious planning and stragetegizing by Emeka Mba and his team, the former President, Goodluck Jonathan approved not only the utilization of the proceeds realized for DSO, but also the format of the special auction to be conducted for the license, as well as provisioning of set-top-boxes (STBs), providing STB rebates, DSO publicity and other critical aspects of the DSO.
“Mba transformed the broadcast regulator NBC and opened up the industry for accelerated development. It was touted in some quarters that his innovative manner of taking up and sorting out challenges resulted in the loss of his job. He resorted to seeking for alternative means of raising funds for DSO when Government could not provide funding for DSO and Nigeria missed the deadline of June 17, 2015 set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU),” He added.
In further defense of Mba and other persons accused by implication, he said “The news making the rounds failed to mention that more than half a billion naira was paid by Technology Advisors to the Federal Inland Revenue Services(FIRS) as taxes on this transaction.”
This, according to him, showed how NBC shunned all forms of shadiness in their bid to get the requisite approvals from the then Minister of Information, former Minister of Communications Technology and President Goodluck Jonathan.
He added, In light of the above analysis, that no one at NBC stole or mismanaged funds meant for the project which was why the process of transiting Nigeria to digital broadcasting was accelerated.
“Everything must be done to achieve a successful digital switchover so that Nigeria can begin to reap the immense benefits of making this transition… completion of the DSO has the potential of generating billions of dollars revenue for Nigeria and creating as much as 60,000 skilled jobs in the industry thereby reducing our unemployment rate,” he concluded.
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