ZNBC Director General Richard Mwanza has told the Parliamentary Committee on Parastatal bodies that the corporation has for the past 24 years been experiencing acute cash flow challenges.
The Office of the Auditor General in its 2015 and 2016 report on accounts of parastatal bodies discovered that ZNBC in 2014 incurred K222,603,323 in administrative costs yet the institution only generated K99,603,323 revenue.
Mwanza said this when he appeared before the committee with Ministry of Information acting permanent secretary Isaac Chipampe.
“I think we need to have the Genesis of these problems at ZNBC for us to appreciate some of the measures that have been put in place. Mr Chairman, when ZNBC Act was put in place that’s way back in 1998, the government used to support ZNBC and by 1992, the government withdrew that support. So the corporation has been experiencing acute cash flow challenges for the last 24 years. And Mr Chairman during this period the cost required to run the corporation have constistently exceeded the revenue generated and that’s resulting into build-up in unpaid liabilities which as at 30th September 2016 stood at [K]1.2 billion. So causes of the cash flow problems, there are four factors which have been identified as being the main causes of cash flow problems but I will only deal with one,” said Mwanza.
“ZNBC as a public broadcaster is a common good and so the corporate currently operate a total of six channels, three radio and three television channels. Out of which, four are mandate channels. The mandate channels are radio one, radio two, TV1 and TV3. The operating cost of the four mandate channels are as follows; Radio one spends K70 million and only generates three million kwacha, and so has a deficit of K67 million; Radio two spends K16 million and generates four million kwacha with a deficit of K12 million; TV1 yes does makes some money. It generates K49.98 million and spends K45 million with a surplus of K3.9 million; and TV3 generates K4, 800 and spends one million kwacha. And so with these figures Mr Chairman, for us to run the mandate channels, we need to find money somewhere. And the money that we receive as support from government is the K3 which translates to about K2.5 million. And the airtime because of the competition, the percentages have gone down and hence it is not possible as things are at the moment to run the institution without the support of government.”