Digitisation progress charms Govt

By Staff reporter | 02 Apr 2020 at 18:25hrs
MANY communities in remote areas now have access to radio services following the successful roll-out of Government's digitisation programme that has so far seen the installation of six gap filler transmitters across the country.

The number of gap filler transmitters is expected to reach 11 by the end of this year, with five more expected to be installed in selected areas to improve radio connectivity in previously marginalised areas.

Minister of Presidential Affairs in charge of Monitoring and Implementation of Government Programmes Joram Gumbo yesterday expressed satisfaction with progress in the digitisation programme.

Minister Gumbo, who was speaking during a recent tour of the Tugwi-Mukosi transmitter project that was commissioned in November last year, hailed the work done by Transmedia to improve access to information by the rural folk. He toured projects being implemented by Government under the fourth cycle of the 100-day plan.

The ongoing war against Covid-19, added Minister Gumbo, required information to be relayed to all corners of the country timeously for the benefit of communities in remote parts of the country. Government's thrust to make Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy by 2030 will attain impetus through making sure all communities had access to information.

"I am very happy with the progress that I have seen here where Government through the Ministry of Information has installed a transmitter to make sure communities have access to radio services, especially considering that information is very important when it comes to fulfilling his Excellency President Mnangagwa's vision to make Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy by 2030," said Minister Gumbo.

"The issue of access to information becomes even more handy, particularly during this time when our nation and the whole world is faced with the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected and killed many people around the country."

According to Minister Gumbo, Government will continue to prioritise the digitisation programme in the allocation of resources to expedite the transformation from analogue to digital broadcasting. Illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West about 20 years ago have remained an albatross on the neck of Government, but Minister Gumbo praised Zimbabweans for their innovation and resilience in the face of challenges.

"I am very happy with the resilience of our people as considerable progress continue to be made in the implementation of various Government projects in the face of sanctions," he said.

"We will continue to make sure resources are availed for implementation of projects such as digitisation, which will make sure that more of our people can easily access radio and television services to ensure there is development."

Speaking during the tour, Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) chief executive Mr Obert Maganyura noted that the installation of gap filler transmitters was an interim measure to circumvent prevailing hard currency shortages to import main transmitters, which enable remote communities to access radio services.

Installation of gap fillers started in 2018 and was conceived by local engineers with results having been overwhelming. Besides the Tugwi-Mukosi transmitter, which has helped communities within its 50km radius to access Radio Zimbabwe, such other transmitters were installed in Gokwe-Nembudziya, Maphisa, Zvishavane and Kanyemba.

The digitisation programme is important in that it helps rural communities to access Government programmes among other benefits and Government is happy about the installation of the six gap filler transmitters countrywide, observed Mininster Gumbo. He said the programme would improve access to television services countrywide and create scope for allocation of more radio and television frequencies.

Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Ezra Chadzamira hailed Government for rolling out the digitisation programme, saying development of any nation was predicated on access to information by communities, as it enabled them to take part in shaping the national development discourse.

The Tugwi-Mukosi transmitter is now enabling previously marginalised communities in Chasiyatende, Chisase, Gunikuni, Matandamaviri, Ngundu and Chibi Turn-Off to access radio services.

Ministers Gumbo and Chadzamira then toured the newly installed Tugwi-Mukosi transmitter atop a hill near Zimbabwe's largest inland dam in the company of senior Government, BAZ and Transmedia officials.



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