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President John Magufuli Calls for End to Zimbabwe Sanctions



President John Magufuli

Tanzanian President John Magufuli called for an end to sanctions on Zimbabwe, saying they hindered development and progress.

“This embargo should be reconsidered and removed, so the people of Zimbabwe can enjoy their life and develop their country,” Magufuli said Tuesday.

The Tanzanian leader is on a two-day visit to the southern African nation where U.S. sanctions against some members of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party remain.

Magufuli spoke after Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa told reporters that the two countries would place “emphasis on economic and trade cooperation” in future.

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President Mnangagwa promises new currency



New Zimbabwe Dollars

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday promised to introduce a new national currency, 10 years after hyperinflation rendered the Zimbabwean dollar worthless.

The country has since used US dollars, the South African rand and, in recent years, two local quasi-currencies that have fallen sharply in value.

“A country cannot develop using other countries’ currencies, without its own currency,” Mr Mnangagwa said.

“As a country, we should have our own currency. We have already started that journey.”

The President acknowledged that the two local quasi-currencies, called bond notes and RTGS, were weakening rapidly.

“You sleep today with the rate at one US dollars to five and the next morning it’s a one to six, one to seven, one to eight and so forth.
“And when they do that, the price of bread increases according to the exchange rate.”

Zimbabwe’s economy has been in ruins since hyperinflation peaked at 500 billion per cent and wiped out savings under President Robert Mugabe.

It is undergoing another bout of price rises and shortages of fuel and daily essentials, with inflation currently more than 75 per cent, putting basic goods beyond the reach of many Zimbabweans.

Mr Mnangagwa’s efforts to attract investment and create jobs have floundered since he came to power in 2017.

He gave no timetable for the introduction of the new currency, saying simply, “you will be informed about it”.AFP

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Fortune Chasi fires entire Zesa board



Fortune Chasi

Fortune Chasi, yesterday fired the entire ZESA board for failing to “appreciate the urgency of the situation we are in”.

The country is battling acute electricity shortages, and Minister Chasi said the board was not doing much to address the power challenges.

In an interview with The Herald Zimbabwe last night, Minister Fortune Chasi said he would replace the board with people who do not wait for monthly or quarterly meetings to address the power challenges confronting the nation.

“I have fired the Zesa board,” said Minister Fortune Chasi.

Asked why he had sacked the board which was only appointed on March 19 this year, Minister Fortune Chasi said: “I want people who appreciate the urgency of the situation we are in. I did not see that in them.

“The challenges at Zesa are deep-seated and they need people who are hands-on, who will not wait for a quarterly meeting or monthly meeting or things like that. So I will be looking around for men and women of integrity who have the experience, who are proven, not academic persons.”

Minister Chasi said he would not rush to appoint a new board, as long as he will get the right people for the task.

“(It will take) as long as it is necessary. We will get the right people; people who will give the nation and the market the right signals that we are serious about turning around Zesa. So those are the women and men that I will be looking for,” he said.

The fired seven-member Zesa board was appointed on March 19 and will probably go down as the shortest serving board.

Upon appointment by former Energy Minister, Dr Joram Gumbo, the board was immediately directed to superintend over the rebundling of the power utility, fighting corruption and ensuring steady power supply for the nation.

However, the power supply situation has deteriorated largely due to water shortages in the Kariba dam, resulting in load-shedding across the country for up to 12 hours in some areas.

Former Cottco managing director, Mr Collins Chihuri, was the board chairman.

Other members included; deputy chairman Engineer Benson Munyaradzi, a Ministry of Energy official who represented the ministry’s interests on the board.

Ms Jacqueline Sande, Trust Chifamba, Mr Hussein Omar, Mrs Cathrine Befura and Mr Thomas Timire were the other board members.
Last night, Mr Chihuri was not reachable for comment.

But in his acceptance remarks on the day of his appointment, Mr Chihuri said; “It is with great humility that I accept the appointment as chairman of the Zesa board. As the minister has just said, there are several challenges but with good effort, I am sure the challenges are not insurmountable. I look forward to the support of my colleagues and management.”The Chronicle

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Zimbabwe set to rebase economy after adopting a new currency



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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