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Monday, 14 April 2014

A waste of resources

Zambia Union of Journalists (ZUJ) has called on the Government to bail out state media workers (e.g. Daily Mail, Times of Zambia). It draws its membership from the state media. ZUK president James Muyanwa says :
Our members at Times Printpak Zambia Limited, have suffered for a long time now. The workers have been getting their salaries late for about four years now. For instance, currently they are in two-month salary arrears, and have literally been surviving by the grace of God.....Given this situation, we feel the Government should move from mere words to action on the matter to salvage the company from total collapse and also address the plight of our members. We feel that the company, as a public institution, deserves the same treatment as Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) and Zambia Railway Limited (ZRL) have received. It requires a bail-out package in line with what was given to NCZ and ZRL. We realize that even if it is a limited company Times needs subvention from the sole shareholder – the government." (Source: Mwebantu)
We should sell all state newspapers and ensure no more money is wasted on producing propaganda that no one is interested in. Muyanwa makes a very poor statement here. Unfortunately I am not very surprised. I have similarly struggled with his "economic articles" in the state media, which are always biased  - and appear to be more "employment seeking" than objective assessment. Surely even a baby knows that the state media is hardly comparable to ZRL or NCZ. The best thing GRZ can do is to auction the company and cut losses for tax payers.

Politicians always baffle me. Things they should do, that everyone wants they don't do. Things they shouldn't do that no one wants, that is what they rush into! All the money GRZ is borrowing with Eurobonds is one way or another helping fund the state media because it all comes from the same national finance pot!

Chola Mukanga | Economist
Copyright © Zambian Economist 2014


  1. am

    This comment is general touching on bloated government, its effect on development and the self-interest groups trying to eat government income at the expense of the ordinary citizen.

    It is unreasonable conduct to expect because a group is employed by government or some government related institution that they have first choice on the government money and not the other citizens of the nation.

    But they use their position to attempt to strangle government functions.

    Add to that the history of bloating government and it is seen that the country has suffered lack of development as a result. Yet these jobs, though a result of bloating government, often by patronage, are claimed to be real jobs. Much of the money they earn would be better spent on increasing fertiliser to farmers or some other meaningful development.

    They have no right to hold the country to ransom. They also use their position to increase their wealth by bribes and rent seeking to the disadvantage of the ordinary citizen.

    I would say that at least 50 per cent of government income is wasted on bloated jobs and other wastage. It is quite easy to see how quickly the country would develop if that money was spent in development areas instead.

    The Kenyans' say, it doesn't matter how thin the cow is as long as you have control of the teats.

  2. Hi Chola,

    Whilst I agree that govt would do well to shed off unnecessary money pits, I think our current political environment needs them to have a propaganda tool. Currently, there are quite a number of anti Govt propaganda media firms both online and print and until their perspective is a tad bit more balanced, it would be folly for Govt not to have a made that gives a perspective that makes them look good. If our media was more idealistic and sought to give more balanced perspective, I would support the sale of all state owned media entities including ZNBC. But not as things stand.



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