Forex shortages stall Zimbabwe digitisation initiative

By Staff reporter | 12 Jul 2019 at 19:06hrs
Satelite
Government has blamed acute shortages of foreign currency for slowing down the digitisation initiative amid revelations that the project requires a total of $170 million.

The project entails migration from analogue to digital broadcasting and Zimbabwe had initially earmarked June 2015 for completion, but Government failed to meet the deadline. Migration from analogue to digital is in line with the dictates of the International Telecommunications Union.

Addressing a UN Media workshop here on Monday, Director, Media Services and Urban Communications in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Dr Anyway Mutambudzi said the project was progressing slowly because of foreign currency woes.

Dr Mutambudzi said the financial injection from Government for the project was coming in "dribs" and "drabs".

"Parallel to the media reforms, Government has the ongoing digitisation project which is now 37 percent complete," he said. "Although progress has been hampered by the unavailability of adequate funding, Government remains committed to the project.

"When complete, the digitisation project will revolutionarise media in Zimbabwe by improving universal access, while broadening the scope for plurality and diversity and guaranteeing growth of the industry, creating employment and providing quality media products to the nation."

Dr Mutambudzi said there will be national commissioning of the project when considerable ground has been covered.

"Slowly we are getting there (digitisation), we are making progress, we have not been getting all the required funds, because of an unstable economic environment, price instability, but Government is committed and we are slowly getting there," said Dr Mutambudzi.

Upon completion the digitisation project is expected to create scope for opening of new radio and televisions stations estimated to be around 24 in the country.

The project is also billed to improve access to radio and television signals in remote rural parts of the country particularly, border-lying areas.

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