Information minister Dr Joseph Katema
Information minister Dr Joseph Katema

INFORMATION Minister Joseph Katema has reiterated the Government’s directive to all ministries, State institutions and spending agencies to urgently pay what they owe State-owned media organisations without fail.

The minister said State media were in dire need of funds to improve their workers’ welfare, as well as for investment in other ventures to improve their operations. The minister was speaking when he officiated at the launch of the K2.2 million commercial printing press at the Zambia Daily Mail (ZDM) offices in Lusaka yesterday. Dr Katema said he was aware of the State-owned media’s efforts to seek financing from the Government for recapitalisation.

“The matter is actively being addressed as it is the Government’s desire to help all the State-owned media enterprises to be financially viable so that they are able to stand on their own and begin to pay dividends to the State Treasury, thereby contributing to national development,” he said. The minister also said the Government had put in place a conducive environment for both the private and public media in the country to flourish. Dr Katema said time had come for the media to flourish.

He said the Government would like to see private and the State media to be innovative, creative and determined in their management as the ZDM had demonstrated through the acquisition of a commercial printing press. “I, therefore, urge Zambia Daily Mail and indeed other State-owned media houses to intensify their aggression in revenue generation even as we endeavour, as Government, to support your efforts,” he said. Dr Katema implored the Government ministries, institutions and spending agencies to fully utilise the ZDM commercial printing press to help the company generate more funds and service the loan it acquired to buy the machine. Dr Katema warned media institutions that compromised on truthfulness, ethics and professionalism that they risked going into the ‘archives’.

The minister congratulated ZDM for the landmark development, which he said was testimony that the Government’s policy to de-control, de-regulate and professionalise the State media was bearing fruit. He was confident that the investment would contribute to a well-informed populace, national development as well as job and wealth creation. ZDM deputy board chairperson Tamara Kambikambi said the company had embarked on diversification drive and that the acquisition of the commercial printing press was the actualisation of that drive. The commercial printing press is able to print 14,000 copies per hour, has A2 maximum capacity paper size and is able to print on paper weight of 50GSM to 300GSM. “It is estimated that this industry churns out in excess of K300 million per annum and as Zambia Daily Mail, we want to partake a big chunk of this cake,” she said.

Times of Zambia