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Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa attends the Independence Day Ceremony | Coastweek

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Soldiers stand in formation at the Independence Day Ceremony at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe, on April 18, 2019. Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa attends the Independence Day Ceremony at the National Sports Stadium in Harare. XINHUA PHOTOS - SHAUN JUSA

Cash strapped Zimbabwe millers and bakers
increase maize meal and bread prices

by Tichaona Chifamba HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean millers and bakers on Tuesday increased maize meal and bread prices citing the high input costs.

Zimbabweans have maize meal and bread as their staple food.

The price of a basic loaf of bread went up 84 percent from 1.90 RTGS dollars to 3.50 dollars while in-house bakeries in major retail shops such as Pick n Pay increased theirs by 50 percent from 1 dollar to 1.50.

The price of straight run maize meal went up by nearly 40 percent while refined maize meal also suffered a hefty price increase of about 65 percent after going up from about 9 dollars to nearly 15 dollars.

Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe chairman, Tafadzwa Musarara said recently that the cost of maize meal would go up after the government announced a new and higher maize producer price of close to 70 percent of the previous price.

"There is going to be an increase, we can’t stomach the 70 percent," he said.

A manager with one of the major retail shops said more rounds of price increases were imminent with consumers coughing up more for confectionaries, cordials and other soft drinks as the prices rose.

Prices of various food items went up during the week as producers deal with high input costs amid a shortage of foreign currency.
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UPDATE:

Zimbabwean president slams businesses wantonly hiking prices

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday slammed businesses that are wantonly hiking prices of basic commodities and described such conduct as "inhumane, unethical and unpatriotic."

In an address to mark the nation’s 39th independence anniversary, the president said the government was implementing measures to stabilize the economy, including the recent introduction of the market-based exchange rate system.

"However, the government is alarmed by the recent wanton and indiscriminate increase in prices which has brought about untold suffering to the people.

"This conduct by stakeholders in business, industry and commerce is inhumane, unethical, unpatriotic and goes against the grain of economic dialogue that we have initiated in this country," the president said.

Zimbabwe has witnessed a fresh wave of price increases of most basic commodities in recent days as the nation battles foreign currency shortages that have affected importation of essential commodities such as fuel, drugs and wheat.

On Tuesday this week, millers and bakers increased maize meal and bread prices citing high input costs.

Bread price nearly doubled to 3.50 RTGS dollars (a new transitional currency) from 2 dollars, further making it unaffordable to many people.

Mnangagwa said the country was this year celebrating its independence anniversary under a heavy cloud of grief and sorrow due to Cyclone Idai disaster which left a trail of destruction and killed over 300 people while hundreds are still missing.

He said Zimbabwe was grateful to countries that donated towards Cyclone Idai relief efforts, including China, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and several countries in southern Africa.

"I particularly thank our brothers and sisters (in Mozambique) for according dignity to the remains of our people who were swept into their territory," he said.

"The cyclone has indeed left a deep scar which will be with us for a long time to come. We mourn with the governments and people of sister republics of Mozambique and Malawi who also lost precious lives due to Cyclone Idai."

The independence celebrations ran under the theme: "Zimbabwe @39 - Embracing Devolution for Vision 2030".
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EARLIER REPORTS:

Zimbabwe government declares 'state of disaster'
following road accident which killed 13 worshipers

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday declared a freak accident that killed 13 members of an apostolic faith sect on Monday in Hwedza, Mashonaland East Province, as a 'state of disaster'.

This means that the State will meet some of the burial costs.

The government will also foot the medical bills for the other seven who were injured when a lorry carrying maize left the road and ploughed into a group of worshipers at their shrine as they awaited transport to their homes after a Passover pilgrimage.

In a statement, Mnangagwa consoled the bereaved families, saying that the accident had cast a dark shadow over the Easter period.

"The death yesterday of worshipers at the Mugodhi Shrine in Hwedza has cast a dark cloud on both the Easter Holiday and our Independence celebrations.

"This freak accident which comes when the nation is still reeling from the effects of the devastating Cyclone Idai once again highlights the importance of absolute care and ensuring roadworthy vehicles on our roads.

"I have since instructed the relevant government departments to declare this tragedy a state of disaster in order to pave way for government intervention and assistance to the affected families," he said.

He also urged the police and related agencies to vigorously enforce the country’s traffic laws so that no more accidents would occur during the five-day holiday which starts with Independence Day on Thursday and ends with Easter Monday.
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Ten die in Zimbabwe head-on collision

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- At least 10 people died Wednesday evening when a minibus they were travelling in collided head-on with a conventional bus, state media reported Thursday.

The Herald said the collision, which occurred 25 km from Gweru, Midlands Province, killed all those aboard the minibus and some passengers from the bigger bus were injured.

Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi confirmed the accident to Xinhua, saying he was gathering more details.
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Zimbabwean president appeals for more assistance for Cyclone Idai victims

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday met the business community and other stakeholders at State House, appealing to them for assistance in the reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed by Cyclone Idai in March.
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Several companies entities said they would adopt some schools and other damaged infrastructure for reconstruction.

The meeting came a day after the government said it required about 612 million U.S. dollars for food, shelter and reconstruction of other critical infrastructure following the cyclone.

The death toll so far stands at 344, amid fears that it will still rise as more bodies may be found.

More than 10 companies and organizations such as the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe and the Premier Soccer League pledged to assist in whichever way they could.

At least 15 million dollars is required for infrastructure while about 50 million dollars will go towards water and sanitation.

There are fears of a possible cholera outbreak in the affected areas after water infrastructure broke down.

  Incoming Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun [right] presents his credentials to Zimbabwea President Emmerson Mnangagwa | Coastweek

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Incoming Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun [right] presents his credentials to Zimbabwea President Emmerson Mnangagwa [second left] at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe. China will intensify trade and economic co-operation with Zimbabwe. XINHUA PHOTO - WANDA
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Zimbabwe marks 39 years of independence with familiar government
suggestions of 'compensation' for former white commercial farmers

by Tichaona Chifamba HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe on Thursday marks 39 years of independence from Britain as the government says it will soon compensate former white farmers who lost their land to previously landless blacks during land reforms.

The Zimbabwean government said it would soon start paying interim advance payments to former white commercial farmers as compensation for improvements on their former land.

The move will most likely go a long way in thawing relations between Zimbabwe on the one hand and Britain and the European Union on the other.

The former farmers have since started registering for the compensation after the government availed 53 million RTGS dollars (a new transitional currency) in the 2019 budget for the program.

Land was at the center of the majority black Zimbabweans’ struggle for independence as a few thousand white farmers occupied the best farming land while blacks were huddled in tribal trust lands with generally poor soils.

The independence anniversary comes at a time the nation is still grappling with the effects of Cyclone Idai which ravaged some eastern, southern and central parts of the country mid-March, resulting in at least 344 deaths.

The government has since launched an international appeal for at least 612 million U.S. dollars for food, shelter and reconstruction of critical infrastructure, including water and sanitation.

The cyclone has also had a telling effect on the country’s economy which has been under-performing for years.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said last week that in view of the disaster, it intends to expedite the implementation of the forthcoming Staff Monitored Program (SMP) for Zimbabwe to boost government efforts to turn around the economy.

Zimbabwe and the IMF agreed on steps that will pave way for the SMP, which entails the monitoring of the country’s economic targets and policies by the financial institution with successful completion of the program helping in the country’s re-engagement drive.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said the institution was ready to support Zimbabwe’s economic reform program through the SMP.

"And it is particularly appropriate that we do that expeditiously, given the hardship and the loss caused by the recent cyclone," she told a press conference in Washington on the sidelines of the IMF spring meetings.

Zimbabwean citizens are currently suffering from depleted buying power as prices of basic commodities continue to rise while incomes remain stagnant.

Prices have risen by between 25 and 75 percent in recent weeks while the rate of inflation was at 59.39 percent at the end of March.

             

 

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