Govt needs $29m for digitisation Mr George Charamba
Mr George Charamba

Mr George Charamba

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Government requires $29 million to complete the digitisation project that will see 80 percent of the country receiving television and radio signal upon completion. Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Obert Muganyura, who was accompanying Information, Media and Broadcasting Services secretary Mr George Charamba during his tour of digital transmitter base stations under construction in Siyakobvu and Kariba this week, said the project was being hampered by lack of funding.

“We have come to a position where our project was about to stop due to funding issues,” he said. “As we speak, we have exhausted all the equipment that has been delivered to the sites.

“We have no more equipment to install. We are talking about $20 million owed to the contractor. We also have other requirements for local work so in total we need about $29 million and that will see us continuing with the project.”

They also await payment for equipment being held at a warehouse. “There is also equipment ready to be shipped to Zimbabwe, but that cannot be released or deployed to sites until we pay all the outstanding money we owe them,” he said.

On funding Mr Charamba said: “I am happy that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development (Patrick Chinamasa) is exhibiting an amazing level of appreciation of where we are going and what value attains to the project we are embarking on.

“I am so hopeful we should be able to get some kind of relief from the Ministry of Finance. “This has been a difficult year and if you look at the expenditure of the country it is all meant to save Zimbabweans from the ravages of El Nino.

“So I can quite understand the delay in the disbursement of resources. It is precisely because much of the savings of the country are going towards procuring grain. But the predictions from our climatologists are very optimistic.

“We are likely going to have a good rainy season which means we see things starting to look up and as things improve naturally, projects such as the digitisation one will stand to benefit.”

Mr Charamba said the digitisation project had advanced to a stage where they could switch on several areas that were already digitally compliant if they secured money to purchase set top boxes.

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