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TransMedia cancels US$289K budget request

By Daniel Chigundu

TransMedia will no longer be requesting for budgetary support from the 2019 national budget but will instead implement measures to collect what is owed by various broadcasters including ZBC.

The broadcasting transmission company which had initially asked for a $289 000 budgetary support has the potential to raise enough resources from its services but has been weighed down by such companies as ZBC which has not been paying since 2009.

Speaking during a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee meeting, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Nick Mangwana said they have in place measures to ensure TransMedia is given revenue due to them.

“Honourable chair thank you very much for your guidance as we said we will for-go the US$289 000 we have put measures in place to ensure that revenue streams that are supposed to be flowing to TransMedia will flow to TransMedia from their operations,” he said.

Speaking at the same occasion, TransMedia chief executive officer Florence Sigudu-Matambo said their major clients are broadcasters but they have no teeth to force them to pay if they default.

“Our major clients are the broadcasters ZBC, ZiFM, StarFM and all the other new ones that have come on board, if you look at our highlights and transmission income and everything those are our major clients

“And if they pay as they should and if we are allowed to sue them if they don’t pay we don’t have a problem but we have no teeth to make them pay as they should be like any other company should pay for services rendered.

“When we render our services and we get our payment we would not need any budgetary support because what we make out of the operation that we do makes money for us, but we have not been receiving most of that income from those company who are major clients,” she said.

The TransMedia boss added that since they have been able to survive without being paid for their services by most clients then they are able to stand on their own with support from treasury if they find means of collecting what they are owed for services rendered.

Sigudu-Matambo said what they are able to collect from their services is more than what they have been getting from budget

“If you look at the income levels that we are bringing from our own resources which have nothing to do with budgetary support is a lot.

“At the moment like I said the last time we are maintaining the whole network with that money and the little that is coming from the government which is not even enough but we are still managing to survive,” she said.

The TransMedia boss told Parliament that she longs for a time when her company can switch ZBC off just like what Zesa does to local authorities for non-payment and vice versa.

ZBC currently operates the only television station in Zimbabwe and Sigudu-Matambo said she is afraid that if they switch it off there might be an outcry from MPs and members of society who depend on the broadcaster for information and news.

It remains to be seen how ZBC will be able to settle its debts with TransMedia as it has been making losses for some time is currently saddles by a US$65 million debt.

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to be the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network as news editor for their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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