By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Ivory Coast
Electrical appliances traders in Ivory Coast have been left with an egg in their faces after the government recently prohibited the import, sale and marketing of analogue TV sets, which do not have DTT features.
This comes after the West African country continues to flex its muscles to meet the 17 June 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to switch from analogue to digital broadcasting.
The announcement, made by minister of posts, telecoms and ICTs Bruno Kone Nabagné in terms of the government’s DTT national policy, has generated anger and discontent among the business community in this lower middle income nation of 22 million people.
“It’s an unfair decision that could severely affect our business,” businessman Malick Gaoussou Traoré said. “I recently ordered a stock which is on its way down here and what am I going to do now?” he asked.
“This unpopular decision will have a major impact on people’s business, and I just wish that the government could have consulted the business community before dropping such a huge bomb,” Anne-Marie Yao said.
But it is not only the business community that feels to have been treated unfairly by the government of Alhassane Ouattara. Ordinary people who cannot afford to buy an ultra-modern TV set are also crying foul over the decision.
“These so-called ultra-modern TV sets are too expensive for people like me,” widow Marie-Suzanne Coulibaly (60), who still owns an old model, said in the impoverished township of Kumasi.
Despite their country being the world’s largest cocoa producer, close to 50% in Ivory Coast live below the poverty line.
The decision could also threaten the livelihoods of people selling second-hand TV sets (e-waste) in the ‘open market’.