Gvt allocates State media N$26m

Windhoek – The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) has allocated a total amount of N$26 million to state-funded print media to execute their operational activities for the 2015/2016 financial year.

The amount will be shared N$13 million each for NAMZIM, which publishes The Southern Times and New Era Publication Corporation (NEPC) which publishes New Era.

According to the Minister of MICT, Tjekero Tweya, New Era’s funding will boost their chances of acquiring a printing press as they currently incur high printing costs while NAMZIM’s efforts would be enhanced “to provide news, feature articles, analysis and opinion pieces from an African perspective as well as market the tourism and investment opportunities in the SADC region.”

Tweya said that NAMZIm was also in discussions with other SADC Member States to come on board as partners to open NAMZIM branches in each SADC country. The Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA) will receive N$20 million to gather and provide credible local news contents to international, regional and local networks and vice-versa with an expected output to increase news features, news sourcing of stories, compilation of news bulletins and the production of news audio clips.

As is expected national public broadcaster, the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) will receive the biggest chunk of N$341 million in this financial year to fulfil its mandate of informing, educating and entertaining the Namibian nation via diverse platforms.

NBC has already met the target set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to migrate from analogue broadcasting equipment to digital by 17 June 2015 and is busy setting up more digital transmissions which will push the country way beyond the required deadline and together with Mauritius and Tanzania in SADC, Namibia remains a DTT migration forerunner. 

The national broadcaster now offers viewers seven television channels, NBC 1 (generic family entertainment), NBC 2 (Parliament and Current Affairs), NBC 3 (Sport and movies), One Africa TV, TBN, EDuTV, THIS TV – a Namibian music channel and nine radio stations running on 17 digital transmitters.

The MICT allocated an amount of N$8.3 million for Institutional Policy and Information Technology Infrastructure development, which would include hosting the annual National ICT Summit scheduled for August 2015 to create a platform for the youth to showcase their innovative and creativity in the field of ICT.

The Information Ministry also drafted a legal framework for Electronic Transactions and Cybercrime Bill which is now with legal drafters for finalization, which would include developing policy and legal frameworks relating to broadband connectivity, electronic waste, protection of data and the Namibian internet domain name system.

The MICT’s Print Media Affairs Directorate will get N$16.9 million for the 2015/16 financial year, which would be equally split between the Production Division and Media Liaison Services Division, with each receiving an amount of N$8.4 million.

The money would be used to facilitate consultations, draft and table the Access to Information Bill; review the Government Information Policy and Communication Strategy; develop government’s Social Media Policy; develop a strategy for the marketing and distribution of government materials and production and dissemination of publications, among others.

Audio-Visual Media and Copyright Services will receive an amount of N$ 42.3 million to cover for the ICT roll-out implementation, production, sound management and dissemination of audiovisual information to the public.

“The expected output would be the production and dissemination of multi-media content and dissemination thereof, on diverse platforms. This will enable citizens to make informed decisions and participate in national development,” said the Minister of ICT.

He further disclosed that the money would also be used to procure Toyota Land cruisers, multi-media equipment and accessories and the construction of regional office buildings to decentralise 14 MICT regional offices.

Furthermore, N$9.2 million will be allocated to the Namibia Film and Video Development Fund to market Namibia as a desired film and investment destination in the SADC region, develop the local film industry in order to contribute a greater percentage margin to the country’s GDP. 

“Here we expect to uplift the local screen culture, consolidate the Namibian identity in our people and increase investment prospects for the country, as well as, the increment of foreign film productions in Namibia,” he added.

The biggest slice of the pie will go to the MICT Head Quarters and Regional Offices, where an amount of N$141 million has been earmarked for infrastructural construction and policy supervision.

Of the funds N$40 million will be used towards the construction of the Ministry of ICT’s Headquarters in Windhoek, while regional offices in Ohangwena, Omusati, Omaheke, Erongo and Kavango East Regions would be constructed to the tune of N$45 million.

Tweya said that as per mandate, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology pledges to make sure that no Namibian feels left out by improving the dissemination and coordination of government information to its citizens. 

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has been allocated a total amount of N$ 603 million in the national budget for the 2015/2016 financial year.

April 2015
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