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President Mnangagwa commissions new Zupco fleet

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Zupco buses
Picture by Tawanda Mudimu

President Mnangagwa yesterday commissioned 39 of 300 buses which the Government has secured as part of measures to ease the plight of commuters who are being ripped off by private operators.

The 300 buses are part of overall Government policy to revamp the transport sector and introduce a mass transport system, with a further 500 buses from Belarus soon to be availed.

The commissioning of the buses yesterday coincided with the launch of a computerised system that will be installed in the buses, designed by Dr Talon Garikayi, the director of Technology Transfer at the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT).

The system can be used for issuing fuel, monitoring consumption, tracking, real-time financial reporting, among others.

The agreement for the supply of the 500 buses was reached when the President visited Belarus as part of his Eurasian tour in January.

“When I went away to visit Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in January, one of the issues I came back and stated to the nation was that we had arranged to acquire 500 buses from the Republic of Belarus,” President Mnangagwa related as he launched the buses.

“But by the time I came, there had been some incidences and there had been some violence and during that course of disturbances, fares charged by commuter omnibuses went up so rapidly that our community of commuters was affected greatly.”

The President said Government then decided to procure the 300 buses in the short term to address the plight of commuters.
“So, we decided that it was necessary to have a stable transport system

both in the urban and countryside. But because the arrangements we had made in Europe would take longer, we decided to make preliminary arrangements which would bring about 300 buses before the 500 come from Europe.

“This 300; 200 are from South Africa and 100 from China and these began coming into the country a few days ago and on a daily basis they are arriving. Some arrived yesterday (Monday), some tomorrow (today) and so on, but we believe that by month end, all the 300 buses will be in Harare. This consignment is now ready to be put into operation,” he added.

The President added that Government was committed to providing a modern and decent transport system to the commuting public.

“Government thinks it is necessary to provide a transport safety nest that will protect the public from unscrupulous public transport and combi operators by providing modern, decent and digital transport system.

“Today we are seeing the launch of that concept, the realisation and, the actualisation of that concept,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the current transport system was riddled with many challenges for commuters that include high fares and high accident rates among others.

Speaking on the digital system to be installed in the buses the President said it would eliminate the thieves and cheats that were ripping of the public.

“We are grateful that a new system has been introduced by HIT where all these malpractices will be eliminated,” the President said.

“This system is an innovation by our boys and girls. We don’t need any MoUs ort MoAs. It’s manufactured here locally by our children. This means the authorities will able to track where the bus is and the funds that have come in. This technology gives us the possibility to install it in other Government systems like at CMED we are having problems with thefts, abuse of fuel and motor vehicles. I am happy that all this will come to an end.”

He said the technology would further achieve targets set under Vision 2030.

Under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), mass transport is cited as a key enabler of the economic turnaround.

“An efficient and adequate transport system is critical for the development of the country, providing access to markets including reducing regional disparities.

“The road, rail and air sub-sectors are critical in rapid industrialisation and agricultural advancement as they facilitate trade and movement of goods and people, hence, the need to rehabilitate and upgrade the current stock of assets,” says TSP.The Herald

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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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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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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