Zimbabwean publisher Trevor Ncube has announced that he is launching a new daily paper in Zimbabwe, writes our correspondent.

The paper, NewsDay, will be launched soon in a project which Ncube said will cost R40 million.

Ncube already owns the Zimbabwe Independent and the Standard, published on Friday and Sunday respectively. He also owns South Africa’s Mail and Guardian newspaper through his M&G Media Ltd.

“While there have been teething problems, we believe that the new inclusive Zimbabwean government realises the importance of creating an economic environment that encourages local and international investors,” Ncube said in a statement.

“We have briefed both the inclusive government and the regulatory authorities and we are confident that we will be licensed as soon as possible. We don't foresee any obstacles at all,” Ncube said.

Ncube said the "herculean task" facing the new inclusive government will be made easy by a vibrant and independent media that empowers both the people and those in authority.

 “We all need accurate information to make vital decisions and right now both the people and those in authority are poorly served. NewsDay, as an independent and fresh daily, will play a vital role in rebuilding our nation.

“We will leverage off the political agreement to be the voice of a new Zimbabwe. We will be a forum for the ideas we need to create a fresh economy and to provide a platform for debate as we grapple with the needs of our education, health and social systems.

“Non-partisan and independent, we hope to draw on our internal talents while providing a voice for the diaspora too. Strong and competitive nations are those that create a market place for ideas where ultimately the best ideas win. Right now such a market place does not exist and Zimbabwe is poorer for it.”

NewsDay, said Ncube, will create 300 jobs for the starved Zimbabwean media industry.

The paper, if it is launched, will become the country's first independent daily in six years following the ban of The Daily News.

That paper was banned by government in 2003 after it was refused an operating licence by the Media and Information Commission (MIC).

Its sister paper, The Daily News On Sunday, and two other weeklies, The Weekly Times and The Tribune were also closed down by the MIC.

The new power-sharing government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has promised a free press as part of its commitment to democratic reforms.

Both Tsvangirai and deputy Information Minister, Jameson Timba,have promised to licence all banned newspapers and allow foreign news organisations such as the BBC and CNN back into the country.

Click here to read another report, posted on SW Radio's website.