Mangwana appeals for more budget funding for Info Ministry

Harare(New Ziana) – The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services was grossly under-funded in the 2022 National Budget such that it would be unable to carryout part of its mandate, the permanent secretary, Nick Magwana told legislators on Wednesday.
The Ministry bid for $8.3 billion, but was only allocated $2.7 billion, inclusive of budgetary support for several parastatals under its wings such as the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and Transmedia.
Mangwana told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services that the huge funding gap unfulfilled will cripple critical services it, and the parastaals, offered.
He singled out the country’s national, regional and international image building, after years of Western media battering, and the engagement and re-engagement foreign policy thrust of the government, as some of the key mandates of the Ministry.
He implored legislators to help lobby Treasury to up its budget allocation to the Ministry by an additional $825 million, which could help close some of the critical project and service funding gaps.
“We are unhappy with what we got. We believe we are at the centre of government and state activities, but we are not allocated resources that speak to that,” Mangwana said.
“With your help and support, we hope to push for more so we are enabled to work and carry out the various mandates assigned to us,” he added.
Of the total funding allocated to the Ministry, over $1 billion is earmarked for BAZ for its broadcasting digitalisation projgramme, but Mangwana said this was still a far cry of what the parastatal needed to make meaningful headway in the project which is several years behind schedule.
The main implication of this, he said, was that BAZ would no longer be able to issue more radio and television broadcasting licences, stunting a key policy thrust of the government of opening up the airwaves, and ensuring easy access to information for the citizenry.
“We implore you, honourable members, to help us secure an additional $825 million so that we can, at the very least, execute the barest minimum of our mandate,” he said.
Mangwana said other programmes likely to suffer due to under-funding were recruitment at the Ministry and also at various agencies under its wings to beef up operations.
New Ziana, the country’s official news agency, and publisher of several community newspapers around the country, for instance, had wanted to recruit staff in the key editorial and marketing departments after it depleted massively over the years due to lack of competitive remuneration.
It had also sought Treasury funding for motor vehicles to replenish a fleet acquired in 2007.
Mangwana said lack of transport cut across all parastatals, and the Ministry itself, and was a major drag on operations and effectiveness in mandate delivery.
“Right now, we are going to operate at 30 percent of the optimal,” he said.
New Ziana

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