via After RBZ, Moyo urges ZBC debt on govt – NewZimbabwe 18 May 2015
EVEN as the row continues over the adoption of the controversial US$1.3 billion RBZ debt by tax-payers, information minister Jonathan Moyo has also proposed that government takes over the crippled public broadcaster’s financial obligations.
“It is very necessary for us working together, Government and Parliament, to support ZBC, including considering very seriously assuming the debt of ZBC so that they start on a clean slate in the digital era,” Moyo told legislators Monday.
He said ZBC’s debt stands at over $66 million, with $14 million of that owed to Zimra although the tax collector has not garnished the public broadcaster as it has done with private companies.
Moyo however, said the corporation was prejudiced of nearly $25 million by the previous board and management between 2009 and 2013 with five senior managers personally looting US$6 million.
Zanu PF used recently its dominance in Parliament to ensure government adopts the RBZ debt, a huge chunk of which relates to farming equipment handed to top party officials who never paid the implements.
The opposition, decimated in parliament after being routed in the 2013 elections, unsuccessfully tried to block the move with finance minister Patrick Chinamasa also refusing to reveal the names of politicians who owe the central bank.
Apart from the central bank, transport minister Obert Mpofu has urged government to take over the $300 million debt of Air Zimbabwe, another corruption-hit parastatal.
Now minister Moyo is also proposing to load ZBC obligations on the taxpayer.
Addressing Parliament Monday on an audit report into the financial mess at the public broadcaster, Moyo said the only way out for the crippled company was for government to take over its debts.
“If you look at this, you will find that obviously ZBC is technically insolvent and ZBC is a national broadcaster and it is our responsibility to help ZBC,” he said.
“ZBC will not be able to discharge its national role against the background of this audit without Government assisting it in a particular way, a focused way.”
He added: “Your support will be really useful.
“We thought it was necessary to look at ZBC and learn from ZBC and take necessary action, including allowing the course of justice (to take its course).
“We are dealing with this matter and some of the processes are sub-judice. There are legal processes underway.”
ZBC has struggled financially over the years and is blamed by viewers for poor quality programming.
Opposition parties also accuse the corporation of political bias, saying it serves President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party first and ordinary Zimbabweans last.