PS Mwamba cancels Digital migration tender, outlines activities at the Ministry

New Information Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Mwamba on Sunday, September 22, 2013 held a press brief where he announced the Digital Migration tender and spelt out activities embarked at the Ministry to enhance operations.

Below is Mwamba’s statement in full:

Through you, Ladies and Gentlemen, from the media, I wish to update the nation on the activities being implemented in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services in Government’s ongoing efforts to enhance the free flow and public access to information – key ingredient in deepening the country’s democracy and development.

Cancellation on the Tender on Digital Migration and Way Forward

I wish to announce the cancellation of the Tender which was floated on 7th September, 2012 for the Supply, Delivery and Commissioning of the National Digital Terresterial Television Broadcasting System in Zambia.

The cancellation is in line with the advice from the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) after it reviewed the procurement process for the tender to supply, deliver and commission the National Digital Terresterial Television Broadcasting System in Zambia in accordance with Regulation 176 of the Public Procurement Regulations (PPR) of 2011 following appeals by two of the unsuccessful bidders.

In moving forward, Government, as guided by ZPPA, will now consider splitting the tender into lots as follows:

1. Civil works (construction of provincial television studios)
2. Studio equipment and cameras
3. Network equipment (transmitters, set-top boxes, etc)
4. Consultant or project manager to supervise the digital migration process.

The unbundling of the tender into lots as stated above, will enable the country meet the June 2015 deadline set by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for countries world-over to migrate from analogue to digital television broadcasting despite the delays incurred so far in the implementation process.

It will also make it easier to manage the tender process more efficiently and effectively in terms of technical capabilities of bidders rather than merging it as one as was done in the previous tender.

I wish to assure the nation that the new tender procurement proceedings must, and will be expedited by using the most efficient procurement method in line with the Public Procurement Act given the tight deadline to migrate from analogue to digital television broadcasting prescribed by the ITU.

Policy on Digital Migration

The Ministry will ensure that the Policy on Digital Migration is quickly approved by Cabinet to guide in the implementation of the digital migration process.

Staff movement

Following the creation of the Department of Press and Media Development in the Ministry, Mr. Isaac Chipampe, hitherto Managing Director at the Zambia Daily Mail, moves to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Headquarters as Director for this Department.

With the movement of Mr Chipampe to the Ministry, Mr Anthony Mukwita – Deputy Managing Director, will act as Managing Director at the Zambia Daily Mail with immediate effect.

Under the guidance of the Permanent Secretary, Mr Chipampe’s responsibilities in his new portfolio at the Ministry will include the following, among others:

1. Help the Permanent Secretary facilitate the growth and development of a vibrant and professional public and private media in the country for a well informed populace

2. Help the Permanent supervise and coordinate the activities of the public media and ensure they operate in a professional manner in accordance with the national goals and aspirations

3. Help the Permanent Secretary facilitate the dismantling of the debt stock the public media namely ZNBC, Times Printpak and Zambia Daily Mail, including Zambia Printing Company, owe statutory bodies such as NAPSA and ZRA.

4. Help the Permanent Secretary facilitate the recapitalization of the public media so that they operate viably and profitably

5. Help the Permanent Secretary provide support to the Office of the Chief Government Spokesperson in its role to enlighten the public on various Government policies and programmes

6. Draft press releases and speeches for the Ministry

7. Help the Permanent Secretary facilitate dissemination of relevant information on Government policies and programmes

8. Help Permanent Secretary facilitate capacity building for Public Relations Officers serving in various Government Ministries and institutions; and

9. Help Permanent Secretary develop and disseminate standards for the management of the Public and Media Relations function in Government.

10. Serve as contact person for media associations

This is a huge task, admittedly, but with Mr Chipampe’s professional stature, quality and calibre, success is assured as he is a joining a vibrant and winning team at the Ministry.

Modernisation of the Public Media

We have embarked on the modernization of the Public Media institutions namely ZNBC, Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail in line with current media trends at global level. This includes, among other interventions, establishing the public media’s presence on the social media platforms such as the internet and facebook for enhanced and widened public access to information.

Depoliticising the Newsrooms in the Public Media institutions

Heads of the Public Media institutions are hereby directed to immediately depoliticize the Newsrooms in the Public Media institutions in order to make the reportorial and editorial staff work as professionals.

The Media Heads in the Public Media Institutions are further directed to ensure that there are no personal-to-holder Reporters attached to certain Government Ministers in terms of news coverage. This should come to an end with immediate effect.

IBA and ZNBC Boards

The process to appoint the Boards of Directors for the newly established Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), and the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), has reached an advanced stage. The Boards will be in place sooner than later.

ZANIS

Government attaches great importance to the local language newspapers as a vital tool of information dissemination to the public. In this regard, I urge the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS), to ensure that production of the local language newspapers namely Imbila, Tsopano, Intanda, Lukanga, Liseli and Ngoma, are printed regularly and distributed countrywide through the offices of the Provincial Permanent Secretaries, District Commissioners and other Government structures.

To this effect, I am happy to inform you that Honourable Mwansa Kapeya, MP, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services and Chief Government Spokesperson, is tomorrow scheduled to launch the local language newspapers in Choma following Government’s revitalization of this very important channel of information dissemination especially among the rural communities.

Furthermore, we have decided that as a matter of urgency, ZANIS starts broadcasting news and other developmental programmes on ZNBC radio and television. As a pilot project, we have allocated Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays for ZANIS to broadcast its programmes on ZNBC radio and television.

Provincial television project

The Ministry is working hard to ensure the Provincial Television project is implemented as directed by His Excellency the President Mr Michael Chilufya Sata.

In this regard, the Ministry is with immediate effect, embarking on the tendering process in order to pick a suitable contractor to undertake this project. The first phase of the project is earmarked for Choma, Southern Province and Solwezi, North-Western Province.

The implementation of the provincial television project will also be harmonized with the digital migration process as both projects are meant to serve one purpose – a well informed populace.

Access to Information (ATI) Bill
Government is finalizing the Draft Access To Information (ATI) Bill with the intention of presenting the Bill during the Third Session of the Eleventh National Assembly.

The process will also involve the review and harmonization of the laws that impact on freedom of information such as the following, among others:

Ø National Archives Act
Ø The Copyright and Performances Rights Act
Ø Protected Places and Areas Act
Ø Electronic Communications and Transactions Act

Government Forum
This is being reactivated and rebranded to provide an effective platform for Government leaders to explain various policies and programmes Government is implementing to improve
people’s living standards.

Zambia Institute of Mass Communication (ZAMCOM)

Government recognizes the important role Zamcom has to play in sharpening and deepening the professional and ethical capacities of the media fraternity through various training programmes.

In this regard, Government calls upon Zamcom management to evolve with time and introduce, among other innovations, online media training as a fully fledged training programme at the institution to equip journalists with skills in online media publishing and information dissemination.

The Ministry is keen to collaborate with Zamcom in bringing such a training programme to fruition.

Recapitalisation of the Public Media

Public media institutions are experiencing serious financial challenges arising from non payment of bills by various Government institutions for advertising space. In close collaboration with the Secretary to the Cabinet and Secretary to the Treasury, the Ministry is actively following up this matter to compel concerned public institutions to settle the outstanding Bills.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you.

 

EMMANUEL MWAMBA – PERMANENT SECRETARY – MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES