In this audio, Minister of Information Kampamba Mulenga says the K2 increment in TV levy will go into content improvement and promoting local artists.

But Mulenga dodges a question about why the national broadcaster does not cover opposition leaders.

Mulenga, who is also Chief Government Spokesperson, told journalists after the budget was presented on Friday that the extra income would help maintain digital equipment.

“Government has actually lost colossal sums of money to bring in digital equipment, to build state of the art equipment and obviously this equipment has not come in cheap. There must be a maintenance cost, we don’t want to go digital for just one month, obviously if you pay it will show and obviously to everything there is a cost attached and obviously we are moving from analogue to digital and you know the kind of infrastructure that comes with a digital and the price has to go up,” Mulenga said.

But when asked to react to opposition leaders who felt it was unfair to pay TV levy when they were not covered by the national broadcaster, Mulenga dodged the question.

“First and foremost the up of the K3 to K5 will also, this is a component and I think when this money is paid, we will obviously look at, that is why it is uh uh, well now you are making me spill the beans, but anyway, I will say it as it is. The K5 once it is gotten, obviously now ZNBC has to account, we have to account for the money and obviously part of it will go into content production. Obviously we know we have got this digital migration and most of our local artists do not have the kind of money. So we are putting up this infrastructure and now the onus lies definitely on ZNBC as they collect these monies, they must begin to promote the local artists in line with promoting local content,” she said.

“Yes we have not in the past the national broadcaster promoted local content because of constrained funds. The K3 was not adequate and of course it is an open secret that one of the avenue is that the TV levy is to service the wage bill. So now the upping of this the K3 to K5 will look also at other avenues. The troubles that ZNBC has had for a long time. Obviously we want the national broadcaster to improve. Also to help our local artists to produce as much of the local content. Actually for us right now, you head honorable [Felix] Mutati saying ‘the only foreign content that will land without that tax is education’ because you cant take education away from the people. So we as government are trying as much as possible to ensure, look we have bought this state of the art equipment, how do we obviously help our local artists? Some of them do not have the capacity but the talent is there and we don’t want to start borrowing money to start feeding into our local artists. And this is the only way possible, the maintenance, the content fund and it is all in K5 and the increment is only K2.”

Take a listen: