Zimura engages ministry over ZBC debt

HARARE - Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) and the Media, Information and Broadcasting Services ministry are locked up in talks over $600 000 that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) owes musicians.

Zimura director Polisile Ncube told the Daily News this week that talks between music rights body and Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo had begun in a bid to ensure that outstanding royalties are paid to musicians by the cash-strapped national broadcaster.

“We engaged the new minister over our issue because ZBC is failing to pay the weekly subscriptions they were supposed to pay,” Ncube said.

“So far from what we gather the ministry still has a lot of things they are sorting out but they have promised to help us. We will be grateful if they can help us because the musicians have become increasingly frustrated over this issue.”

Despite several High Court orders, the national broadcaster has failed to settle the debt owed to the music rights body. ZBC has even failed to honour an agreement it entered into with Zimura that compels the national broadcaster to pay $10 000 weekly instalments.

Media, Information and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Supa Mandiwanzira confirmed to the Daily News that his ministry was keen to see the matter resolved.

“Yes they have approached us but at the moment we have a lot of things we are dealing with. Right now we are working on the ZBC salaries and carrying out an audit to address the happenings that took place over the past few years,” said Mandiwanzira.

The deputy minister, however, believes that a realistic payment arrangement will make it possible for ZBC to settle the arrears. 

“We also want to look at the billing system so that it is reasonable and that the broadcaster will be able to pay,” said the deputy minister.

Mandiwanzira added that his ministry was also working hard to establish why the national broadcaster is currently generating just $200 000 every month instead of the possible $800 000.

“We are looking into that as well to find out where the other money is. We are following it up because the work they are doing is not balancing with the accounts.”

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