KPMG South Africa is playing the leading role in crafting a Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) turnaround strategy that will see the retrenchment, retraining and hiring of personnel with digital compliant skills, according to Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU/VENERANDA LANGA
Moyo commenced the ZBC restructuring exercise last November when he fired the Cuthbert Dube-led board and suspended chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere.
The minister immediately announced that there would be a forensic audit at the state broadcaster.
Moyo told Parliament on Thursday that KPMG Zimbabwe in conjunction with KPMG South Africa was in the process of finalising a turnaround strategy for the corporation in anticipation of the digitalisation programme.
“The turnaround will entail retrenchments, retraining and hiring of new, digitally compliant skills,” he said.
The ministry is currently looking at ways to fund the US$173 million digitalisation project that should be completed before June 15 2015 if the country has to meet the International Telecommunication Union set deadline.
“The turnaround strategy above all, will entail new structures integral to administering the new digital broadcast proposition,” Moyo said.
ZBC so far has only digitalised 14 of its 24 transmission sites and needs to add another 24 sites to cover 100% of the country’s territory.
The corporation was still transmitting on analogue equipment which is expensive and does not accommodate many players on the broadcasting spectrum.
“When we complete the digitalisation project, we will be able to double our frequencies from two to four with each frequency being able to accommodate up to 20 channels,” said Moyo.
Moyo revealed that KPMG Zimbabwe had completed its forensic audit at the public broadcaster and the report would be made public soon.
“KPMG Zimbabwe has completed a comprehensive forensic audit at ZBC and we are expecting their final report very shortly which will be made public,” he said.
KPMG was one of the nine local companies that tendered to conduct the forensic audit at the state broadcaster which is US$51 million in the red and requires US$10 million for the restructuring exercise.
Meanwhile, a Zanu PF senator on Thursday accused ZBC of making endless mistakes with wrong clips of news items often played during news bulletins.
Speaking during a question and answer session in Senate on Thursday, Mashonaland Central senator Alice Chimbudzi (Zanu PF) demanded to know how the Information ministry was going to rectify the recurring problems.
Deputy Media minister, Supa Mandiwanzira said the problem was due to archaic equipment at ZBC. He said US$120 million was needed to equip the national broadcaster to enable it to migrate from analogue to digital transmission.
“It is actually true that ZBC/ZTV has a problem of its equipment which is now archaic or old and is out of date,” said Mandiwanzira.
“The current trend is that we should have digital equipment which is supposed to be used, but ZBC is not yet in a position to install or transfer to digital equipment.”
He said they were currently working with Transmedia to see how migration from analogue to digital would be achieved by June 2015.
“The International Communications Union has said all broadcasters should migrate from analogue to digital and we hope as a country we will be able to source US$120 million dollars which is going to be used for equipping ZTV to be able to migrate from analogue to digital.
“We have had discussions with ZBC who have complained about these problems but they told us that they had some equipment which had been imported from Iran, but they could not ship that equipment because of a debt regarding it.”
He said the Iranian Embassy had since intervened and some spares were brought into the county to repair the equipment.