Minister speaks on TV licences

Minister speaks on TV licences

The selection of six free-to-air national commercial television licences will be transparent and aboveboard, as the best applicant will carry the day, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, has said.

She said the awarding of television licences to successful companies would ensure diversity.

The minister said this yesterday in the National Assembly during the question and answer session.

Mabvuku-Tafara MP, James Chidhakwa (MDC-Alliance), had asked why Government wanted to issue television licenses without amending the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA).

Kambuzuma MP, Willias Madzimure, asked if the adjudication process would be fair given that some Government entities such as Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited, which publishes a number of newspaper titles including The Herald, The Chronicle and The Sunday Mail, had expressed interest.

Minister Mutsvangwa said the selection of holders of commercial television licences would be done simultaneously with the amendment of the BSA.

She said the selection of additional television stations was consistent with the aspirations of the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa of ensuring media reforms.

When she assumed duty, Minister Mutsvangwa constituted the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe board that had not been there for a long time, in a demonstration of Government’s commitment to ensuring a free press.

“The Broadcasting Services Amendments are before the Attorney General’s Office and the process is moving simultaneously with the issuance of television licences, which should be completed before year end,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

“The selection will be done above board. We will make sure that the best gets the licence because the process will be fair.”

BAZ has short-listed 14 companies that have applied to be considered to be among the six free-to-air national commercial television.

Meanwhile, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, said Government was set to revoke an agreement between Cold Storage Company with its partner, Boustead Beef, after it failed to perform as agreed within given time frames.

He said there was no assurance that the partner would perform given that it had not fulfilled the agreement.

“Government should actually be applauded for intervening to say if you failed to do this within this period, what assurance is there that you will do it and other things in the remaining period,” said Dr Masuka.

He said by next year, they would have identified partners of repute to turnaround the meat processing firm.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira, said Government will increase fuel allocations to Zupco from 500 000 litres to 750 000 litres to enable it to ferry pupils and teachers as part of preparations for their return to school.

He dismissed claims that Zupco was enjoying a monopoly to ferry people, saying private players were allowed to come on board as the public utility was merely a coordinating entity given the deadly nature of Covid-19.

Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister, Edgar Moyo, said learners will not be asked to pay fees for the second term given that they did not get any services.