Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
The Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Ministry requires $691,3 million for the 2020 fiscal year to fulfil its national mandate that includes ensuring the local and international public gets information and modernising the media space among other things.
This came out yesterday when Secretary, Mr Nick Mangwana appeared before the Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Parliamentary Portfolio Committee chaired by Cde Alum Mpofu.
The secretary also expressed concern over ministries and Government institutions that were failing to pay the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Services for services rendered.
Mr Mangwana said the ministry was given a cap on expenditures of $87,2 million and said this was not enough.
“We require $691 361 338 and of this parastatals are bidding for $440 million. We were given an expenditure target of $87,2 million.
“And with this $87 million if we take away digitalisation, we pay the debts and what are we going to be left with to operate. How do we fulfil the national mandate?
“Our vision is to modernise our media space, to ensure that Zimbabweans get information, free our media space as well as give so much access to information and activate, bring to life Section 62 of our Constitution which speaks to access to information. Everything we do as a ministry is based on that whether we are talking about digitalisation, licensing newspapers, community radio stations its all about access to information to have an informed population.
“What this ministry does affects everyone of you and all others. From the $87 million we were only given 13 percent we needed in terms of capping,” he said.
He said it was important that the ministry’s district information officers are capacitated so that they can conduct their duties that included devolution.
On the issue of ZBC, the secretary urged ministries that get services from the institution to pay up.
“We have an interesting scenario where everyone wants to be on television and everybody wants to be on newspaper and everyone wants the work they are doing exposed and want it publicised, but Parliament and Government do not want to pay for it. That is the problem. We prioritise everywhere, but information.
“We are seized with that matter. I think they (ZBC) are owed $12 million with the legacy debt being about $65 million,” he said.
He said Minister Monica Mutsvangwa will soon present the issue to Cabinet to encourage ministries to pay ZBC for work done.
“We believe if a ministry pays ZESA which is under the Ministry of Energy and Power Development and pays NetOne and TelOne for services provided then ministries should be able to pay ZBC. For services provided for by the same token,” he said.
The ministry’s director, Dr Anyway Mutambudzi said the ministry provided two way communication between Government and the people.
“The main programmes is information and publicity and media regulation as a sub-programme.
“We have costs, that centre around functions; content creation which is charged, and facilitating or promoting creation of content for riding on our platforms. On digitalisation it is good to have infrastructure which can be used to convey signals to the people and we really need to invest heavily by promoting particularly those involved in content creation.”