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Zimbabwe 2019 tobacco marketing season will open next week

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s 2019 tobacco marketing season will open on March 20 with growers retaining 50 percent of their net export proceeds, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangudya said Monday.

He said the central bank and farmers will hold further discussions on the period that farmers should keep their retained forex earnings after the central bank last month gave the exporters only 30 days after which the unutilized money will be put on the market.

The governor said this after being quizzed by the parliamentary committee on public accounts on why the central bank had given farmers such as short time, considering that some may want to keep proceeds to prepare for the next season.

The governor said the central bank had put this requirement so that it can have resources to import essential commodities such as fuel and drugs considering the ongoing shortage of foreign currency in the country.

He said the tobacco farmers had asked for the retention period to be extended to between 90 and 180 days.

Chair of the parliamentary committee Tendai Biti also urged the central bank to have a re-look at the exchange rate it will use to exchange the retained forex, saying the prevailing 2.50 against the U.S. dollar will be "unjustified" when black market rates are hovering around 3.60.

Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s second biggest export earning commodity after gold, and the opening of the marketing season is expected to improve the country’s foreign currency inflows.


Zimbabwe annual inflation continues on upward trend

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s annual rate of inflation for February climbed further to 59.39 percent from 56.90 percent in the previous month amid high cost of basic goods and fuel.

However, monthly inflation fell sharply to 1.67 percent from the January rate of 10.75 percent, according to statistics released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency on Friday.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last month introduced a foreign currency inter-bank market in an effort to tame the parallel market which the government blames for fuelling price increases as most businesses source the scarce foreign currency from that market.

The local currency, which debuted at 2.5 against the U.S. dollar on Feb. 22, slightly weakened to 2.7 against the green back on Thursday this week.

Zimbabwean mine workers get wage increase

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean mine employees have been awarded an 80 percent wage increase this year, a senior mining official said Thursday.

Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (AMWUZ) president Tinago Ruzive said in a statement that all employees will get the wage increases, even if their employers had been paying above the current minimum wages.

"We managed to cobble out an agreement of 80 percent wage and salary increase for the mining industry covering the period from January to December 2019.

This raised the minimum wage for the industry from 262.32 to 468.58.

"This increase is based on the dollar value increase for those mines which may be paying above the minimum due to various reasons or merit, therefore no employee shall fail to get an increase," he said.

AMWUZ represents about 20,000 employees.


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