Government explains status of proposed car radio licensing bill

Staff Reporter

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Nick Mangwana, has recently clarified the Government's stance on the contentious car radio licensing bill, addressing widespread confusion and concerns about its supposed approval.

Recent discussions have swirled around allegations that a mandatory car radio license bill had been approved by the Cabinet.

In response, Mangwana took to his X page to set the record straight, emphasising the preliminary nature of the cabinet's decision.

"The correct position of this information is that when the Cabinet passes principles to a Bill, it’s not the Act nor is it the Bill. It’s just an indication of legislative intent," Mangwana explained.

He went on to outline the meticulous process that follows such a Cabinet decision.

"The Attorney General would draft the bill, which would then undergo scrutiny by the Cabinet Committee on Legislation (CCL). Following this, the draft bill would be presented to the full Cabinet for comments, after which the Attorney General would refine the draft based on Cabinet input. Subsequently, the bill would be gazetted and scrutinised by the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) for compliance with the Constitution. Public consultations would ensue before the bill is debated in Parliament and ultimately receives Presidential assent," detailed Mangwana.

Addressing the rationale behind the potential licensing requirement, Mangwana highlighted legal compliance as a key factor.

“The obligation to pay for a license arises from owning a receiving device rather than solely from listening to the national broadcasting service,” he clarified.

Research by this publication revealed that the concept of mandatory car radio licenses is not unique to Zimbabwe, noting that several other countries, including Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, and Nigeria, have similar systems in place.

This places Zimbabwe's proposed legislation within a broader international context, demonstrating its alignment with global practices.