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Leading Zimbabwe gold producer suspends
operations again due to lack of foreign currency

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s leading gold producer RioZim has once again suspended operations at its three mines following failure by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to allow producers to maintain 55 percent of their foreign currency earnings in their nostro accounts as per promise.

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed miner had initially stopped operations at the mines last October but resumed them a month later after getting a commitment from the central bank that it would get enough foreign currency to meet its operational requirements.

Gold producers in Zimbabwe sell their gold only to Fidelity Printers and Refiners, a subsidiary of the RBZ.

In a statement to shareholders on Friday, RioZim said it had withdrawn an earlier cautionary statement issued in October 2018 because RBZ had committed to provide it with adequate foreign currency to meet its operational requirements following its involuntary suspension of operations.

As part of the commitments made to gold producers in November 2018 to support their operations, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe undertook to allow all gold producers to maintain 55 percent of their export earnings in their foreign currency nostro accounts and to increase export incentives on all minerals, the company said.

However, notwithstanding these commitments, the central bank had been failing to meet them, resulting in the company experiencing significant and persistent delays in payment of its foreign currency allocation for deliveries made to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (Pvt) Ltd since December 2018.

The three affected mines are Cam & Motor, Renco and Dalny.

The company said gold business contributed around 90 percent of its total revenue and the latest stoppage would therefore have a material impact on its performance.

It said it was in the interim engaging the RBZ, the Chamber of Mines and other authorities on how to expediently resolve the matter.

Zimbabwe is reeling from foreign currency shortages and the central bank is trying to spread the available funds across various sectors of the economy, disadvantaging most of the foreign currency earners in the process.

Zimbabwe teachers continue strike despite warning of salary cut

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The strike by some Zimbabwean public school teachers which started Tuesday continued to Friday despite a warning from the government to cut their salaries for time away from work.

A school headmaster in Glen View told Xinhua that teachers had stayed away from work Thursday and Friday in his area.

The government on Thursday warned the striking teachers that it would not pay them for hours spent away from work.

This follows threats by two teacher organizations that their members would intensify the strike starting Friday, citing government’s failure to address their grievances over low salaries and other conditions of service.

Secretary for the Public Service Commission Vincent Hungwe said in a statement that the government would apply the "no work, no pay" rule.

The strike started at a low key Tuesday with a higher number of teachers reporting for duty.

However, it has since escalated with another school head in Macheke, Masholand East Province, saying that at his school about 40 percent of teachers had not reported for duty.

The two largest teachers’ unions in the country, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association and the Progressive Teachers Union said in a joint statement Thursday that about 80 percent of their members had heeded the call to strike.

The two teacher unions have gone ahead with the strike while smaller teacher unions and the rest of the civil service have decided to seek further negotiations with the government.

A deputy school head in Highfield, also south-western Harare, said all teachers at the school had turned up for work, revealing the division among the teachers on the course of action to take.

Zimbabwe government warns parents against sending
children to study abroad without adequate financing

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwe government on Wednesday warned parents and guardians against sending their children to study abroad if they do not have sufficient financial resources to cater for their studies and upkeep.

The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education said some Zimbabweans were getting arrested, imprisoned and detained in foreign countries for various crimes and among these were students who would have failed to pay their tuition on time.

"We wish to warn parents and guardians intending to send their children to study abroad that they should do so only if they have adequate foreign currency to sustain their children for the entire study period," the ministry said in a statement.

It acknowledged that Zimbabwean students studying abroad were facing serious challenges such as payment of tuition and accommodation due to ongoing foreign currency shortages in the country.

Some students also sought enrollment abroad ignorant of the costs involved and often assumed that life in those countries is cheap and that they could easily find well-paid part-time jobs.

"When they find that not to be the case, they often undertake illegal activities to supplement their income and often end up being detained and deported," the ministry said.

The ministry therefore warned parents on the proliferation of bogus education and scholarship agents who are fleecing prospective students of their money.

Zimbabwe President’s main rival Chamisa
says to boycott national dialogue meeting

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s main political rival and MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has said he will not attend the meeting with the President and other candidates of the 2018 presidential election to discuss a framework for post-election dialogue.

Mnangagwa, through the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda, had on Tuesday invited all presidential candidates to the meeting scheduled for late Wednesday afternoon at State House.

However, Chamisa, who refuses to accept Mnangagwa as the duly elected President, posted on Twitter Wednesday morning that there was need for a credible convener to resolve the economic and political crisis bedeviling the country.

Fellow former candidate Noah Manyika of Build Zimbabwe Alliance said on Twitter Tuesday night that MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume had told him that Chamisa would not attend the meeting until certain conditions had been met.

The party also wants an international mediator to convene such a meeting, Manyika said, adding that he did not believe that Mnangagwa had created the right conditions for dialogue.

"He (Mafume) said that the MDCA considers any talks meaningless when people are in jail.

"The MDCA is also demanding that soldiers must go back into the barracks before any meaningful discussions can start," he said.

Mafume had also said that political dialogue should be held by presidential candidates that got votes and not just a huge group of meeting with no constituents to speak on behalf of.

Many candidates failed to win meaningful votes during the election and are deemed to have little relevance in the proposed dialogue.

Political commentator Pedzisai Ruhanya also questioned the need to invite all presidential candidates to the meeting.

More than 700 people were arrested following violent demonstrations that rocked several parts of the country after Mnangagwa announced fuel price increases of more than 150 percent.

Official figures put the number of dead people during skirmishes with the police and military at eight, although independent sources say at least 12 people died, one of them a policeman.


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