Parliamentarians yesterday rapped Multichoice Zimbabwe for demanding payment of DStv subscriptions in foreign currency.
It also emerged that Multichoice was obliged to carry Zimbabwe television network free of charge.
This came out when Transmedia appeared before Parliament’s portfolio committee on Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services chaired by Binga North MP Mr Prince Sibanda (MDC-Alliance).
Legislators queried the rational for charging foreign currency when Government promulgated a legal instrument that outlawed local transactions in hard currency.
They were also of the view that an agreement between, Transmedia getting an average of US$30 000 per month for its 20 percent equity in Multichoice Zimbabwe was bad and heavily skewed against the signal carrying firm considering the huge number of Zimbabwean subscribers.
“I find this agreement bad. Is there no way Transmedia can find how much Multichoice is getting from Zimbabwean subscribers” said Chiredzi East MP Cde Denford Masiya (Zanu-PF).
Mberengwa South MP Cde Alum Mpofu (Zanu-PF) asked why Multichoice continued to levy local subscribers in foreign currency.
Makonde MP Cde Kindness Paradza (Zanu-PF) asked why Multichoice would demand foreign currency when in other countries like Zambia and South Africa, subscribers were paying using the local unit.
Transmedia chief executive, Mrs Florence Sigudu said Multichoice Zimbabwe was holding a franchise for Multichoice Africa, an international company that would ordinarily require hard currency.
“It is not a local requirement, but an international requirement because the company that offers DStv in Southern Africa is an external company. If they are being paid in foreign currency by our residents in Zimbabwe why then should we be paid in Zimbabwean dollars.
“If viewers are paying in United States it follows that whatever we must be paid as dividend must be in US dollars, because that is the currency that subscribers are paying. But we are not the one to determine the currency in which the subscriptions must be paid, it is for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Ministry of Finance to decide,” said Mrs Sigudu.
She said payment in foreign currency was helping them in covering maintenance costs.–herald.co.zw