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Zimbabwe: Radio Listeners', Television Licence Fees Go Up

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings has increased radio listeners' and television licence fees in a move which now requires rural listeners to pay Z$50,000 while their urban counterparts pay Z$200,000 a year.

Previously, radio and television licences cost Z$20 and Z$650 respectively. Early this year, ZBH suspended fee increases of Z$50,000 and Z$150,000 for radio and television respectively following a public outcry.

Then, the Ministry of Information and Publicity said the increases had been done without following procedures. According to Statutory Instrument 169 of 2007, Broadcasting (Listeners' Licences) (Fees) Notice 2007 published in yesterday's Government Gazette, those with both radio and television sets at home should now pay a combined Z$600,000.

Licences for company televisions is now Z$10 million per annum. The new approved licence fee for a car radio is now Z$1 million, up from Z$550. Companies are now required to pay Z$3 million per year for office radios while they are required to fork out $5 million for their car radios.

The new fees, it is hoped, will help the public broadcaster to improve the quality of its programmes, especially on television. Uneconomic licence fees which the national broadcaster has been charging had largely been blamed for the poor quality of programmes aired. In some countries, licence fees fund the operations of national broadcasters.

(The Herald (Harare), 8 September 2007)

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