PS SUFFERS STROKE AFTER BEING QUIZED ON SCANDALOUS DIGITAL MIGRATION
We wish you to watch the attached video (on Zambia Watchdog Facebook page) of the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services when he was quizzed by the Parliamentary Committee on Broadcasting over the infamous digital Migration. On behalf of the Southern Africa Network (SANAC), I wish him a quick recovery because after this session, he suffered a stroke.
The video is long, but for the purpose of not boring you with too much detail, for today, we have just cut this part. There is confusion in the digital Migration. The Ministry must do well to normalize things.
As the case maybe, at the moment, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) has started servicing $86 million of the $273 million loan that the Joint Venture between ZNBC and Startimes of China called Topstar got from Exim Bank of China. Whereas in the so called agreement that was done by the Attorney General, it is surprising that the other party in the Joint venture (Startimes) is not supposed to pay anything. The Payment of the loan has been
187 million. This means that ZNBC is servicing the loan alone and then through the joint venture, whereas Startimes is only servicing through the Joint venture. As a result of the serving of this loan, ZNBC has been unable to meet its operational costs. From the TV subscriptions, Topstar makes K24 million which it uses for its operations costs and payment of the Loan (ZNBC is not getting a dime) and also collects all of ZNBC’s advertising income and tower rentals and shall do so for the duration of the loan, which is 25 years. The implication of this is that Government shall continue to bankroll ZNBC for as long as is possible. ZNBC workers shall continue to be subjected to hash conditions of service for as long as is practically possible.
In the Original agreement, Startimes was to meet all the costs for the digital migration, albeit, exaggerated costs, till completion of the project. Surprisingly, Startimes never came with a single thing, all the equipment for the project was bought by GRZ.
So far, Government has bought 16 Land cruiser vehicles, each was put at $100,000.00 (compare with Toyota Zambia, which is between $47,000 for a standard and $48,000 for a dilux). Of these vehicles, 3 have been given to Topstar, the rest are a subject of rumors. ZNBC has gotten none, unless they will be given after reading this post. We are sure Former Minister of Information, Kampamba Mulenga, the PS Dr Malama (now on sick leave) Mr. Biton Kaluba- Director, Planning (now acting PS), one Dr. Ruth, principle planner are in good position to tell the general public where the rest of the motor vehicles are. These are some of the people in the forefornt of this project. They know every detail of this deal.
At the car par of ZNBC, there is a structure being erected. It is called National Digital Migration Resource Centre. The cost for Putting up the building alone is, we mean, just the structure, is $12 million. Surely, are we building a complex?
This digital Migration is littered with a lot of theft and corruption to such an extent that some of the people spearheading this have had their Children’s school fees paid at some Universities in China, some have been bought manufacturing equipment, while us as Zambians are grappling with the payment of $273 million stuck on our heads for the next 25 years.
Watch out for more on this. We shall not rest until culprits are brought to book. #Topstarmustfall