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Media Commission Open for Business - Bill Watch 18/2010
May 03, 2010

The Senate has adjourned until Tuesday 15th June, The House of Assembly has adjourned until Wednesday 30th June, Media Commission Open for Business on Tuesday 4th May

From Tuesday 4th May to 4th June the Zimbabwe Media Commission [ZMC] will receive applications under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [AIPPA] for renewal of:

  • registration of mass media services and news agencies and
  • accreditation of journalists and
  • permission for foreign media services to operate representative offices in Zimbabwe.

Late renewal applications will attract a daily penalty fee.

New applications can also be lodged from Tuesday 4th May onwards.

The ZMC offices are at the Rainbow Towers. Telephone: 04-253638.

The relevant application, registration, accreditation and penalty fees were gazetted on Friday 30th April in SI 91/2010. [Electronic version available on request.] The principal fees are as follows:

Registration of mass media service: application fee $500, registration fee $1 500, renewal fee $1000

Registration of news agency: application fee $300, registration fee $1 000, renewal fee $500

Accreditation of local journalist: application fee $10, accreditation fee $20

Accreditation of local journalist working for foreign media: application fee $20, accreditation fee $100

Temporary accreditation of foreign journalist: application fee $20, accreditation fee $80

Permission for operation of representative office of foreign mass media service or news agency: application fee $500, permission to operate fee $2 000

Penalties for late renewal: accreditation $1 per day, registration $10 per day.

Legislation Update

New Bills being printed:

Two new Bills are in the Parliamentary pipeline and are being printed by the Government Printer:

  • Criminal Law (Protection of Power, Communication and Water Infrastructure) Amendment Bill
  • Zimbabwe National Security Council Amendment Bill.

Copies are not yet available; they will only become available once the Bills have been gazetted.

Acts of 2009: All 2009 Acts have now been gazetted. [Note: the Audit Office Act, which was gazetted on 2nd April, is not yet in force; its date of commencement will be fixed by statutory instrument in due course.] [List of 2009 Acts showing dates of commencement and current status available on request.]

Land Expropriated for Urban Development: General Notice 75/2010, gazetted on 23rd April, notifies the compulsory acquisition for urban development of three pieces of land in Harare, registered in the names of Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, Jetmaster Holdings and Pinnacle Holdings respectively, the latter two companies controlled by Mr Philip Chiyangwa. [Note: This is a conventional expropriation for public purposes under the Land Acquisition Act. It is unlike an expropriation of agricultural land for resettlement under the land reform programme, in that fair compensation must be paid within a reasonable time and both the expropriation itself and the assessment of compensation may be challenged in court.]

Statutory Instruments:

SI 83/2004 fixes, with effect from 1st May 2010, the rate of contribution [3%], and a ceiling of $200 for the insurable earnings on which contributions are payable, for the purposes of the National Social Security Authority [NSSA] Pension and Other Benefits Scheme. This belatedly gives effect to an announcement by the Minister of Finance in his December Budget speech. [Available on request.]

SI 81/2010 specifies assessment rates for contributions to the NSSA accident prevention and workers’ compensation scheme, also with effect from 1st May. [Available on request.]

SI 89/2010 fixes new monthly allowances payable under the Traditional Leaders Act to headmen, village heads and chief’s and headman’s messengers; they range from US$100 for a headman down to US$20 for a headman’s messenger. [Available on request.]

SI 90/2010 fixes new court fees for the Labour Court.

Commencement of Petroleum Act:

SI 84/2010 fixed 26th April 2010 as the date of commencement of the Petroleum Act. This was Act 11 of 2006, gazetted in February 2007, but has never been brought into force. [Electronic version of Act available on request.]

Summary of Petroleum Act

The Act provides for the setting-up of a new parastatal, the Petroleum Regulatory Authority, the functions of which will include ensuring the provision of sufficient petroleum products for domestic use and the regulation of the procurement, sale and production of petroleum products. Petroleum products include petrol, diesel, illuminating and power paraffin, liquid petroleum gas, aviation fuel, and lubricants.

The Authority will be controlled by a five-person Board appointed by the Minister of Energy and Power Development after consultation with the President. Its functions will be exercised in accordance with general policy directions given to it by the Minister, but otherwise it will enjoy independence from outside control.

The Authority will administer a licensing system under which only holders of licences issued by the Authority will be allowed to procure, sell or produce petroleum products. Procurement, retailing and production licences are envisaged. Existing licences issued under the Control of Goods Act and regulations will continue in force as if issued under the new system. Appeals against the Authority's licensing decisions can be made to the Administrative Court.

The Act refers to the importance of effective competition in the petroleum industry and requires the sale of petroleum products to be conducted in an open, transparent and competitive manner.

There will be a Fuel Price Stabilisation Fund, funded in part by a fuel price stabilisation levy to be enacted by statutory instrument gazetted by the Minister with the approval of the Minister of Finance. The Act states that the levy may be applied to “any person or class of persons whose activities are affected by fluctuations in the price of fuel”. This is very unclear, and it is hoped that any statutory instrument gazetted will clarify who will be liable to pay the levy. The Fund will pay out subsidies or bounties for local production of fuel [presumably biofuel] and contribute towards fuel price stabilisation schemes.

There will be a continuing role for NOCZIM. It will be responsible for maintaining strategic reserves of petroleum products. And it will be deemed to be the holder of such licences under the Act as are appropriate to its operations.

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