The Federal Government has disclosed that the switch over from analogue to digital broadcasting when completed will rake in $1.1 billion in revenue and create two million jobs in the next three years.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the disclosure Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the State House, Abuja.

According to Mohammed, who gave his ministry’s scorecard at the Council, machinery is already in place to create one million jobs out of the target of two million.

He explained in the breakdown of the proposed revenues that $1 billion would be realised from the sale of the spectrum that would be vacated when the analogue to digital migration is completed, while additional $1 million would be generated from the collection of television licences and digital access fees.

According to him, with the initiative and other initiatives from the ministry, no fewer than two million jobs would be created in the next three years in accordance with President Buhari’s vision to lift 100 million from poverty.

‘But the good news, as contained in today’s presentation, is that the Ministry of Information and Culture is set to create over two million jobs within the next three years. We are doing this through the implementation of deliverable number seven, which mandates us to collaborate with the private sector to create jobs for the youth,’ the minister said.

‘Gentlemen, the number one job creator under the Ministry of Information and Culture is the Digital Switch Over (DSO) in broadcasting, which is set to create one million jobs in the next three years through the manufacturing of set-top-boxes (decoders) and TV sets, TV and Film production, as well as TV and Online advertising and Data, among others.

‘Of course, the DSO will also fetch $100 Million from the collection of TV licences and Digital Access Fess, as well as $1 billion from the sale of the spectrum that would be vacated once the Analogue to Digital migration has been completed.

‘Please note that we have so far rolled out the DSO in five states (Enugu, Osun, Kwara, Kaduna and Plateau States) as well as the Federal Capital Territory. We are now set to extend the rollout to all parts of the country.’

The minister, who said he presented the account of his stewardship from August 2019 to June 2020 to the Council, submitted that the reform in the advertising industry would also yield $200 to $400 million revenues and also create thousands of jobs.

‘Also, the ongoing reform of the broadcast and advertising Industries is aimed at strengthening the industries so they can live up to their billing and generate more job opportunities. In the broadcast industry, the reform will, among others, propel revolutionary advantages in the area of promoting entrepreneurship in the local industry.

‘As for the Advertising Sector, bringing Nigeria’s TV advertisement market to what it should be, which is three times its current size, could result in additional $200-$400 million revenue to the industry, in addition to creating thousands of jobs,’ he said.

Mohammed further stated that the cultural industries centres that are scattered across the country have the capacity to create 500,000 jobs within the next three years, adding that another 100,000 jobs would be realised from the restoration of museums, especially in Lagos, Plateau and Kwara.

The Council also approved over N6.7 billion for the construction of roads in Abaji Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory FCT, Abuja.

Minister of the FCT Mohammed Bello said: ‘During the Federal Executive Council, I presented two memos on the FCT and both were on infrastructure projects in the satellite towns. The first one is the award for the construction of a road linking Yaba to Gurdi road in Abaji Area Council and that contract was approved for N4,648,255,381.42 with a completion period of 20 months.

‘Already the company is constructing the road linking Yaba town to the main Abuja-Lokoja expressway so this road is meant to open up the rural community which is very agrarian with a lot of water resources. As a matter of fact, it is the area where we usually have the FCT fishing festival.

‘The second contract is for the third phase of the construction of roads within the city of Abaji which is in the southern tip of the FCT. This is about 8.4 kilometres and is intended to complete and complement the other roads that are already there. The contract is in the sum of N2,128,176,102.50 with a completion period of six months and this will upgrade the infrastructure in Abaji town.’

Aviation Minister Haidi Sirika, on his part, said the Council approved the revised estimated total cost for the extension on asphalt overlay of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport runway, Lagos at the cost of N2,272,838,724.84, within a 12 month completion period.

‘This central taxiway is very critical to the operations of Lagos, it improves the efficiency and safety of the airport. It’s been abandoned for the past 16 years. The project was approved and, by God’s grace, this time next year, it will be delivered,’ he said.

Water Resources Minister Sulieman Adamu, on his part, said the Council approved the rehabilitation and construction of Lankang Irrigation Project in Plateau State at the sum of N634,184,783.93, inclusive of 7.5% VAT, with the completion period of 18 months and a defect liability period of 12 months.

He said the project comprises ‘the rehabilitation of 100 hectares of an existing pilot irrigation scheme and the expansion of that irrigation scheme by an additional 500 hectares. It also includes the reconstruction of existing damage water control and conveying structure, preparation of fields and fishponds and provision of adequate water for irrigation.

‘It was approved in line with government’s policy to boost food production and security and in the coming months we’ll be seeing quite a number of projects, related to irrigation, that we’ll be presenting, in line with our irrigation and drainage project, in what we call the National Irrigation and Drainage Programme, 2016 to 2030, under which we hope to increase total acreage for irrigation in the country from the existing 130,000 hectares to 500,000 hectares. From the period that we started to date, our target was to have 100,000 hectares by 2020. As of January we had about 85,000 hectares, which is already completed. So we are still on target towards attaining the 100,000 for 2020, under the programme.’

Minister or Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, giving his remark, said the Council had approved about N10 billion in contracts for Abaji-Lokoja and Cham-Numan section of the Gombe-Yola Highway.

‘Today what we had were two memoranda for revision of project cost and all of this is in aid of completion of the projects involved,’ he said.

‘The first project is the Koton-Karfe-Lokoja section of Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja Highway. That cost was revised upwards by N3.076 billion. The reason was that about two years ago there was a very bad accident on the Gudu-Hada Bridge that damaged the bridge; a truck caught fire, so the bridge has to be reconstructed. It was initially just to be repaired in the main contract, so we have to construct it as an emergency work then. Now the contractor has filed the claims for it.

‘That’s part of it, then to provide additional into Lokoja town and also to repair some of the sections that have failed because that road was awarded since 2006 so we are just trying to complete it.

‘The second road is the Cham-Numan section of the Gombe-Yola Highway. The revision of the cost is by N7.607 billion. This is to cover the cost of replacing about 11kilometres of what we call black cotton soil. This is very bad soil on the side near the Savannah; the soil always cakes when it is dry season, and it gets mushy when it is wet season because it’s clay soil. So the contractor has to remove all of that soil over 11 kilometres and replace it with better soil and then build some drainages to deal with drainage challenges in that area.

‘Council approved these two revisions,’ the minister said.

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