THE Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency (ERTA) requested an additional budget of 280 million Br from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) for ongoing projects including the digitisation of television broadcasts, writes Wudineh Zenebe in Addis Fortune.

The budget directorate of the ministry was evaluating the request and approved 200 million Br late last week.

ERTA's budget request for 2009/10 was 525.7 million Br. However, the ministry had approved only 187 million Br. Now the agency has wiped out that money in ongoing radio and television projects, which prompted its request for the additional funds.

ERTA plans to increase the coverage of its television and radio broadcasts nationwide from 42.7pc and 67pc to 87pc and 96pc of the country, respectively. It intends to achieve this by constructing an additional 53 relay stations for television and three for radio at a cost of 211.4 million Br and 40.2 million Br, respectively. So far, work is underway on 28 television stations.

"The construction of 20 [relay stations] will be completed over the next two months," said Haileab Abreha, deputy manager for media technology at the agency.

The agency is also awaiting delivery of equipment for the digitisation of its television broadcasts at a cost of 272.4 million Br. The order was given to Polytechnology, a Chinese company in November 2009. Some of the equipment has already reached port, Haileab told Fortune.

Radio equipment, worth 16.9 million Br, has also been ordered from Germany, and will be shipped in two weeks.

Click here to read the full report, posted on Addis Fortune's website.