GOVERNMENT has assured that plans are underway to ensure that the financial base of the Times Printpak Zambia Limited, publisher of the Times of Zambia and Sunday Times of Zambia, is improved.
Meanwhile, Times Managing Director Godfrey Malama has said the firm has the potential to grow if the choking debt is dismantled and the capital base is improved.
Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Joseph Katema said the Times had potential to increase its financial base due to its reputation which had been built over the years.
Dr Katema, who was speaking during the tour of the institution in Lusaka
yesterday, has since advised management and the Board to continue with innovative business ventures that would sustain operations and ultimately pay employees on time.
The minister was accompanied by his Permanent secretary Bert Mushala and director of Press and media development Isaac Chipampe.
“That is the reason why the Government has put Boards in place to help resolve such things. So let the Times Board and management come up with viable opportunities and ensure that the financial base is broadened. This company is still viable, there is light at the end of the day,” he said.
The minister has also advised the Zambia Union of Journalist (ZUJ) to ensure that it exhausted all the channels of communication before seeking intervention from Government.
He said ZUJ should be abreast with the procedure, especially that there was a Board in place and should only go to Government after exhausting all the channels.
Mr Mushala said management should be more proactive and brief the ministry on all the pressing issues at the company.
Mr Malama on the other hand said the company could only be revamped once the capital base is enhanced. He said the company was spending more resources on dismantling accumulated statutory obligations, benefits to retired employees and salary arrears.
“There is a big gap between the generated income and what is being paid out,” he said.
Earlier, when he toured ZNBC, Mr Katema said Government would resolve problems faced by public media institutions through the Board of Directors that have been constituted.
He said Government had given the Board of Directors in public media institutions the mandate to manage and find ways of generating sufficient income.
The minister also visited Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS), Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), and the Zambia Daily Mail.