HomeNewsZBC licence boycott illegal – Charamba

ZBC licence boycott illegal – Charamba

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INFORMATION, Media and Broadcasting Services secretary George Charamba, yesterday said it is illegal to boycott the payment of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Services (ZBC) licence fees.

Report by Feluna Nleya

This follows calls by residents’ associations for people not to pay licence fees in the wake of revelations that the State broadcaster’s suspended chief executive earned a huge salary and massive perks.

Charamba said boycotting would be tantamount to punishing the institution (ZBC) which is currently saddled with a $44,5million debt to different creditors.

“There are two things that one cannot run away from; these are death and taxation,” said Charamba. “Taxation is a requirement of the law and that one has to adhere to, so people should pay their licence fees without fail.”

On Wednesday the Harare Residents’ Trust said citizens had the right to refuse to pay if they suspected that their money was being abused, but Charamba said that would worsen the dire plight of ZBC.

“If the public has latitude they will be punishing ZBC and hence will kill it worse, so the best is to continue to pay their licence fees,” said Charamba.
Radio licences range from $10 to $80 while those of televisions are between $50 and $100.

The Chitungwiza Residents’ Trust joined in the boycott campaign yesterday saying: “We call upon the residents of Chitungwiza and other areas to stop paying licensing fees as the disclosure that ZBC supremo Happison Muchechetere’s monthly salary and perks were pegged at over $45 000 is an insult to the majority that is living from hand to mouth on a daily basis.”

Charamba last week told a parliamentary portfolio committee that the most viable way to collect licence fees was for it to be done by Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara).

“The most viable scenario at ZBC is premised on licensing services to be done by Zinara, which has just been introduced. Another viable option is that of debt assumption by government, but this only assumes debt, but does not restore viability, which means you want to underpin with massive restructuring.”

“The revenue from licensing is $475 000 per month and it is predicated on a law that can be challenged. ZBC should produce a service that would make a viewer want to pay and ensure revenue inflows in a significant way.”

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