The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe has received $6 million from the government as part of the $22 million allocated in the 2018 National Budget for completing the digitization process. George Charamba, Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services stated that the money will be channeled to the construction of transmission sites nationwide. He said:
We have been favored with $6 million by Government so we can do seven new sites that are in Buhera, Chikombedzi, Gutu, Kwekwe, Maphisa, Murehwa and Nembudziya
The announcement comes after the George Charamba earlier this month stated that the government will soon invite applications to bid for 12 new digital TV licenses.
Despite the $22million to be disbursed this year, the project has a long way to be completed because as much as $103 million is still needed. Expenditure of this remaining amount would be directed to buy transmitters and devices for the now increased incoming 24 new stations.
But judging by the current allocation, it will take a further 5 years to realize the $103 million unless they court investors. The situation is further compounded by the shortage of foreign currency to buy the equipment from China.
After engaging Huawei in both providing the equipment and installing it, Mr. Charamba said that local engineers will take over the installation jobs whilst Huawei continues to supply the infrastructure.
This arrangement is being made to reduce labor costs that involve paying Chinese engineers at higher rates compared to local engineers and also paying them in foreign currency.