Treasury has released $16,2 million to the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to fund the ongoing digitisation of broadcasting services that is set to provide high quality services and improved reception. In an interview with The Herald in Honde Valley yesterday, BAZ chief executive officer Mr Obert Muganyura said $8 million was released yesterday, while another $8,2 million would be availed next week.
Muganyura said the money would be used to pay arrears amounting to more than $20 million owed to a Chinese company that was contracted to roll out the digitisation programme, while some would be used to buy set-top-boxes to be used by households in receiving digital transmission. He said,
We have just received $8 million and we are expecting another $8,2 million sometime next week. This is good for the project; it’s good for us because with those funds we expect to see some progress on the ground. We had come to a point where we had exhausted all the equipment and resources but with these funds we are going to be receiving more resources. We have some sites like Kamativi, Mutare, Nyanga, Bulawayo and Harare that have been completed and, so, in order to generate some revenue we are going to purchase some set-top-boxes and provide services to the people. However, we still need more funds because in order to complete the whole project, we need about $142 million. If the funds are made available as and when they are required, we will be able to complete the project by the end of 2017.
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Transmedia chief executive officer Ms Florence Sigudu Matambo, said she was delighted with the disbursement of the funds as progress had slowed down. A total of 51 sites will be erected across the country and gap fillers installed where necessary to ensure optimal distribution of digital transmission across the country.