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Econet Zimbabwe addresses network challenges

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Econet Wireless Zimbabwe

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has attributed the challenges experienced across its network on Monday to serious network fault in Masvingo.

In a statement released last night, the mobile giant said the fault initially resulted in call failures in the Masvingo region only, but later escalated to a nation-wide problem following an abnormal surge in traffic, which led to instability on its key network systems.

“The instability on our key network systems resulted in intermittent failure by customers to make calls, send SMSes (messages), browse mobile data or to use USSD for services such as EcoCash and to purchase product bundles across the network,” the company said.

Econet controls 65 percent of the country’s data traffic market share and a further 97 percent market share in the mobile money market share. “Mobile financial services transactional activities went up by 145 percent to US$44 billion from US$18 billion, while volumes increased by 121 percent to 1,7 billion from 755 million in 2017,” the firm said.

The company said while its network systems and infrastructure included redundancy (or back-up systems) the current foreign currency shortages in Zimbabwe made it difficult for the network to support its systems “to levels which cater for unusual challenges”.

“We are confident of our back-up systems, but access to foreign currency would certainly enhance the robustness of these systems,” the company said. The company regretted the inconvenience the network challenges caused its customers.
The Herald

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BUSINESS

Zimbabwe set to rebase economy after adopting a new currency

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Zimbabwe Economy

Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister announced the rebasing of the economy on Wednesday, following the adoption of a new currency earlier this year, and said growth would be slowed this year by a drought and a cyclone that hit eastern regions.

The Zimbabwe economy grew higher than expected in 2018, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube told parliament.

The central bank scrapped the peg between its quasi-currency bond note and electronic dollars against the U.S dollar in February and merged them into a single transitional currency called the RTGS dollar.

Rebasing the Zimbabwe economy broadly means changing the reference points used to calculate the country’s gross domestic product.

The southern African nation rebased its economy last October boosting it by 40% to $25.8 billion and Ncube said the adoption of the RTGS$ required another rebasing exercise, which put the economy at RTGS$70.1 billion or $21 billion at the official exchange rate.

Ncube said the Zimbabwe economy had grown by 6.2 per cent in 2018 compared to an initial forecast of 3.1 per cent but he saw growth being throttled this year by “severe economic shocks”, including a drought that has wilted crops and a cyclone that hit western parts of Zimbabwe in March.

He said Zimbabwe had 876 000 tonnes of maize in strategic grain reserves, enough to feed the country for seven months.

Ncube said the national treasury’s austerity measures had meant a budget surplus of RTGS$443 million was recorded in the first quarter and added that the target of a budget deficit of 5% of GDP would be achieved this year. Reuters

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BUSINESS

Mnangagwa extends John Mangudya’s term by another five years

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John Mangudya

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday appointed John Mangudya for a second and final five-year term as central bank governor, a government official said.

John Mangudya was first appointed to the post in 2014 but his term was marred by the bank’s decision to introduce the surrogate bond note currency two years later in a bid to end a severe shortage of U.S. dollars and cash.

“The extension takes effect from 1 May 2019 for another five years,” Misheck Sibanda, chief secretary to the president and cabinet said in a statement.

Mangudya’s appointment had been largely expected after Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba said the governor would get a second term.

Zimbabwe is gripped by a severe shortage of dollars that has seen the country struggle to import food and medicines for hospitals. Reuters

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BUSINESS

No change in passport fees: RG

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Zimbabwe passport fees

Registrar-General Mr Clement Masango yesterday dismissed social media reports alleging that Zimbabwe passport fees are set to be increased soon, saying Government had a well-structured method of conveying such messages.

In an interview, Mr Clement Masango said production of passports resumed last Friday afternoon after a system malfunction owing to a technical fault.

“There have been reports on social media alleging that passport fees will be hiked,” he said. “That is not true. I am concerned as the Registrar- General that some people seem to thrive on creating controversy meant to instil alarm and despondency in society.

“This kind of behaviour must be condemned in the strongest terms. To members of the public, I would want to say it is not Government practice to communicate official matters through social media. There are no plans to revise passport fees upwards as alleged by the social media.”

According to the online reports, fees for a normal passport were set to rise from $53 to $253. It had also been reported that fees for an urgent passport would go up from $253 to $800.

The reports of a Zimbabwe passport fees review coincided with a temporary halt in the issuance of passports due to the technical fault.

“The stoppage was as a result of a system malfunction,” said Mr Masango. “It was rectified and by Friday afternoon production had resumed. There is, therefore, no need for members of the public to panic.

“The situation is under control and production of passports has since resumed after that temporary setback. As a department, we want to apologise to our stakeholders for the inconvenience that they went through as a result of that stoppage.”

The RG’s Office is working round the clock to clear a passport backlog which has also been spawned by escalating for the prized document.

The Passport Office has also had to contend with limited financial resources to procure consumables, thereby taking longer to clear the backlog.

The office is on record as expressing its commitment to clear the backlog, which has been characterised by long and winding queues at the Central Registry in Harare.

The long queues have also created a fertile ground for rent-seeking behaviour, with some unscrupulous people cashing in on desperate passport applicants. The Herald

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