The government of Zimbabwe plans to establish 32 gold processing centers in small-scale mining areas around the country to increase their contribution to the national output, a senior government official has said. The centers would offer various services such as gold milling, collection points as well as assisting with Environmental Impact Assessments. Mines and Mining Development deputy Minister Fred Moyo said the centers would be equipped with machinery acquired from China under a Chinese Export and Import Bank credit facility. “But, freight is on our account, so we are deliberating with the Reserve Bank to see whether they and the Banks Association can come together to raise an amount of $1.5 million which we will use to move the equipment worth $5 million from China to Zimbabwe.”Deputy Minister Fred Moyo said. He also said Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Midlands and Matabelel South provinces would get the bulk of the gold centers and equipment.
Minister of Mines, Christopher Yaluma, says Zambia is politically stable and has assured investors that their investments are safe even when the country goes to elections in August this year. And the Minister held a meeting with the Oil and Gas Council in the United Kingdom to discuss on how the entity could collaborate with Zambia to explore and extract the vast potential petroleum resources in the country. During which Mr. Yaluma said Zambia has maintained a reputable record of peaceful and democratic elections which makes the country a conducive place for doing business. He said the London meeting was a success, and expressed optimism that it would attract more investment into Zambia for the benefit of the people.
GOVERNMENT has urged suppliers of alternative sources of energy to reduce their prices for the commodities to reduce the demand for hydropower supply and ultimately mitigate load shedding. Livingstone District Commissioner Omar Munsanje said there was need for suppliers of alternative sources of energy to reduce their prices for the commodities so that more people could access the tools. Livingstone based environmentalist Benjamin Mibenje said there was need to discourage the use of charcoal as an alternative source of energy because the practice was contributing to climate change.
Zimbabwe’s cash crisis is so severe that some banks are no longer supplying US dollars and are only dispensing South African rand, the main Movement for Democratic Change opposition party has said. Cash shortages, a feature of Zimbabwe’s 2008 economic and political crisis, resurfaced at the beginning of March. Calling the crisis “debilitating”, the MDC said on Saturday that some banks had restricted cash withdrawals from ATMS and tellers.“Clients attempting to secure cash for day to day needs are now confronted with reduced daily limits at ATM’s and tellers in Banks,” party spokesman Obert Gutu said in a statement. “Some Banks are unable to supply US dollars in cash and instead offer cash Rand. When they do so clients must pay for the cost of exchanging Rand for USD balances and then when they attempt to use the Rand in local markets, they find that they are offered goods at a significant premium to the USD prices.“ Significant job losses in 2015 and a slowdown in industrial activity has meant fewer people are using banks in the southern African country. The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC said illegal money changers had resurfaced on the streets, charging stiff premiums for anyone wanting to buy US dollars, the party charged. “All of these developments point to an emerging cash crisis which is likely to become much worse in the next few weeks,” said Gutu.
AGRICULTURE Minister Given Lubinda accused opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema of issuing false statements to the international media that Zambia was going to run into an acute food deficit. “Zambia currently has 594,000 metric tonnes of maize in the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) reserves and that is more than enough food for the next six months or more.” Mr Lubinda said. He said President Lungu was misquoted by Mr Hichilema on the possible importation of maize as one of the alternatives and explained that at no time did President Lungu say importing maize was a must but that it was just one of the three alternatives if things went to the worst situation that is most unlikely to happen. The minister said the Government was working round the clock to ensure that whoever was involved in such activities was exposed.
Zimbabwe expects a loan from the International Monetary Fund(IMF) in the third quarter of this year, the first since 1999, after paying off foreign lenders by the end of June, the central bank governor said on Wednesday. Zimbabwe would also receive an $896 million loan from an unnamed country to pay off arrears to the World Bank. In addition, the African Export-Import Bank would provide $601 million for Harare to clear arrears to the African Development Bank (AfDB). Zimbabwe would then receive the same amount as a grant from the AfDB, Mangudya said. The worst drought since 1992 has left 4 million Zimbabweans facing hunger and had forced the government to lower its growth target for 2016. Once Zimbabwe clears its arrears, it would be ready for rating by international ratings agencies, with a view to issue international bonds in future, said Mangudya. The government had issued $250 million in treasury bills to raise money for its operations in 2015, Mangudya said, adding that the bank would soon start holding public auctions of treasury bills to enhance transparency in state borrowing.
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) said 16 March it had reduced Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) fees from 1,5 percent of project cost in an effort to improve the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe. In a statement, EMA said charges would now be based on a “sliding scale” with small impact projects paying a fee of $210, moderate impact projects paying 0,8 percent of project cost while high impact projects would pay one percent. Extremely high impact projects would pay 1,2 percent of the total project cost. EMA said：“The new fee structure is aimed at boosting sustainable investment in the country as we endeavour to balance environmental, economic and social components in a growing green economy.”
The Mongu-Kalabo Road Project total work progress has reached 80% and is scheduled to complete in April 2016. MINISTER of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba says the construction of the 87km Mongu-Kalabo road will enhance plans for the establishment of an oil pipeline between Zambia and Angola and promote trade between the two countries. “This road is going all the way up to Sikongo border, meaning that we are opening up Angola and Zambia and we will have a lot of traffic. The market in Zambia is yawning, the market in Angola is yawning, and so this road interlinking the two countries is significant,” Mr Kalaba said. The minister, who was in Mongu to officiate at the Youth Day commemoration, said the Patriotic Front (PF) administration is determined to improve infrastructure such as roads to enable youths participate in trade and economic development.
In its latest update, consumer watchdog, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) said notable decrease was recorded in fuel which has been going down over the past few months following international oil prices which have also been on the downward trend. This has led to the price decrease of some commodities like sugar, fresh milk, laundry bar and cabbage. “We assume that the above price decreases are necessitated by the reduction of fuel costs as more commodities are imported from outside the country. However, the increase in mealie-meal prices is due to importation costs and shortage of maize in the country,” said the consumer watchdog. CCZ Matabeleland regional manager Mr Comfort Muchekeza said there was an urgent need for the Government to engage maize producing countries and purchase more to alleviate shortage of mealie-meal. He also said that prices of commodities have been gradually dropping since last year, one of the reasons being attributed to the fall of the South African rand in recent months. ”As a result of South Africa being our number one trading partner, the fall of that country’s currency made it cheaper for local wholesalers and retailers to an extent that the price drop was felt by consumers,” said Mr Muchekeza.
VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina told Parliament on 12th March that it may take some time for Zambia’s economy to benefit from the recovery of the price of copper on the international market. Mrs Wina said the rising copper price does not automatically guarantee benefits to the Zambian economy. “It may take time to benefit Zambia’s economy. It is a long process and not a one-day thing,” she said, “Our economic future is very bright. The indicators are there.” The Vice-President explained that Government is diversifying the economy to trigger growth. “Inflation is triggered by many factors and our export earnings were under pressure but we are on a path to recovery with the measures we have put in place,” Mrs Wina said.