‘Access to information key to country’s transformation’

17 Nov, 2018 - 00:11 0 Views
‘Access to information key to country’s transformation’ Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa (third from left) accompanied by her Deputy Cde Energy Mutodi (next to her), Permanent Secretary Mr Nick Mangwana (2nd right), BAZ and Transmedia engineers during a tour of transmitter sites in Hwange yesterday

The Chronicle

Leonard Ncube in Hwange
INFORMATION, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said access to information is key to the country’s transformation agenda and the attainment of the vision to have an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

Minister Mutsvangwa said this yesterday during a tour of Kamativi transmission station.

The Minister who was accompanied by her deputy, Energy Mutodi and the permanent Secretary Nick Mangwana, said she was happy about progress made so far in the digitilisation programme. She said access to information is key to the country’s transformation agenda.

The Minister said they will work to ensure restoration of power in the area as the station is being powered by a generator, which is costly. “For us to transform we have to make sure information reaches people and the permanent Secretary will be engaging his counterpart in the Ministry of Energy to make sure Zesa works on the issue of electricity because it’s not sustainable to use 2 000 litres a day to run the site with a generator yet we are serving the people of Zimbabwe,” she said.

She implored treasury to quickly disburse the remaining $104 million needed to complete outstanding work at the station. “We are very excited. This is our first familiarisation tour and we made sure we start in Matabeleland North because the second republic stance is that nobody should be left behind and we want everyone to receive information and watch national TV and listen to national radio.

“A lot of work has been done and we have pleaded with Government for allocation of the last amount of money because it’s our mandate as Ministry of Information. The project started in 2016 and we are saying to Government it’s critical that it’s completed,” she said.

Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) engineers told the Minister that about 60 000 litres of diesel worth $18 000 is required per month to power a generator at the station following theft of copper cables.

The engineers said they have been battling to operate the transmitter for the past five months following the theft of about 5km of copper cables between Kamativi and Cross Dete which left the whole Kamativi area without power.

Minister Mutsvangwa who earlier had toured another site in Hwange, said there is a need to expedite restoration of electricity in the area as the situation is not sustainable.

She said her Ministry will also engage the Transport and Infrastructural Development Ministry to rehabilitate roads in the area before the rains start.

BAZ chief executive Engineer Obert Muganyura said they were battling to service the site.

He said 18 out of 48 transmitter sites were complete.

“In terms of migration we are on 18 sites out of 48 and five of these have been renewed including Kamativi. In short we are on 35 percent completion and our biggest challenge has been disbursement of funds and access to foreign currency. The challenge we are facing now is that a week after we installed new radio transmitters, thieves stole five kilometres of copper cables and for the past five months we have been battling to have power restored. We are running on a backup generator and using about $3 000 every five days and around $18 000 per month which is not sustainable because this generator was just for backup when there is load shedding,” he said.

Most parts of Hwange district can now receive radio and TV signals via satellite.

Six radio stations namely Star FM, ZiFM, Classic FM, Radio Zimbabwe, Power FM and National FM are already accessible via the Kamativi transmitter.

Engineers said radio transmission in Kamativi is better than in Harare because Government has prioritised digitilisation in the area to bridge the information gap.

Today, Minister Mutsvangwa and her delegation will visit Binga transmitter where the community will be given radio devices. The delegation will also visit Kenmaur in Lupane. — @ncubeleon

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