BAZ, Potraz to merge
Thandeka Moyo Bulawayo Bureau
Cabinet has approved the merger of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) in a development meant to foster technological convergence. Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba said the two would now have a single regulatory authority.
Speaking after touring the proposed Maphisa digital broadcasting transmission yesterday, Mr Charamba said running the two entities separately was contrary to what technology dictates.
“The rationale behind merging BAZ and Potraz is simple; we are dealing with an industry that has been reconfirmed by technology and we talking of technological convergence in an area that historically has been distinct,” said Mr Charamba.
“With merging we will not have any wall between the two entities. It means as you regulate the telecoms you must be mindful of what is happening in the broadcasting so the best way would be to have one regulatory authority so that decisions are done in a way that encompasses the whole sector.”
He said Government was also working on completing the digitisation project.
A total of $6 million was released to the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to complete the digitisation project amid reports that most transmission sites countrywide are ready for migration from analogue to digital.
This follows the disbursement of another $6 million at the beginning of this year as part of the $22 million allocated to the project in the 2018 National Budget.
“Due to shortages of foreign currency we cannot paste a date to when we will be able to complete the whole digitisation project. The tobacco season is now at its peak, we should be able to get some favours from the Reserve Bank so that we can bring in some equipment,” said Mr Charamba.
He said Government had identified seven new sites in Buhera, Chikombedzi, Gutu, Kwekwe, Maphisa, Murehwa and Nembudziya that it will prioritise.
Government targets to build 48 transmitters, 24 new and an equal number being upgrades of existing infrastructure countrywide.