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Friday, 12 September 2014

Sell them!

“It is our hope also that the government will help companies like Times of Zambia where workers have gone for three or four months without getting paid. Workers have been patient, we have met the labour and information ministries but the request we made to the Ministry of Finance is still pending and they are the ones who hold the key...If this money is paid, then the Times of Zambia can also manage to pay the workers"

LEONARD HIKAUMBA
(Source: The Post)
We keep going in circles on this one. How long will government continue to bail out these newspapers? We should sell all state newspapers and ensure no more money is wasted on producing propaganda that no one is interested in. At the very least one of them must be sold urgently. You don't need both.

The best thing GRZ can do is to auction one of them, preferably both, and cut losses for tax payers. Some people will lose jobs but many other better jobs can be created by using the money on better poverty reducing initiatives than simply spending on wages of newspapers people don't read.

The question Hikaumba needs to ask is why these companies are in a financial mess. Presumably the reason is that there’s insufficient demand. Now why should tax payers continue footing the bill for a newspaper they hardly read? The only way to get these papers back on a healthy financial footing is to privatise them. Zambians need to wake up and stop letting their money being wasted.

Politicians are baffling. Things they should do, that everyone wants them to do, 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 is in one way or another helping fund these loss making newspapers because it all comes from the same national finance pot! The folly of our trade unions knows no boundaries.

AUTHOR
Chola Mukanga
Economist | Consultant | Researcher
Copyright © Zambian Economist 2014

1 comment:

  1. Hikaumba says the money is owed because of advertizing. That could easily be true.

    Whenever I hear about Zambian workers not being paid I think that probably someone has the money in a bank account collecting interest and will eventually pay the workers after a few months. It's really pretty common for your pay check to be delayed if you work in a government office. There is a decent amount of money to be made this way.

    I agree with you that the government should sell the Times but I think maybe they should continue supporting local language news programs on TV. Maybe. Btw, radio stations are encouraged to have local language programming and I think that's a good thing.

    - CarptonCode

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