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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Zimbabwe Central Bank scraps subsidized exchange
rates for fuel importation to help curb illegal arbitrage

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) announced on Monday it had scrapped the 1:1 exchange rate that was being used by oil companies to import fuel in order to curb arbitrage in the industry.

The oil companies had continued to use the subsidized exchange rate after the RBZ introduced the interbank foreign exchange market in February when it discarded the 1:1 exchange rate.
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Zimbabwe Central Bank scrap subsidized exchange rates | Coastweek

  In a statement on Monday, RBZ Governor John Mangudya said all oil companies will from Tuesday, May 21, start to use the interbank exchange rate, currently at around 3.3 bond note to the U.S. dollar, when importing the commodity.

The move comes at a time when the country is facing acute fuel and power shortages due to ongoing foreign currency shortages.

"There shall be only one foreign exchange rate to be used in the market for the importation of all goods and services. This means that the 1:1 exchange rate that was being used by oil marketing companies for the procurement of fuel will be discontinued with immediate effect," the statement read.

He said the new position was necessary to promote the efficient use of foreign exchange and minimize and guard against incidences of arbitrage within the economy. He said as previously announced, the RBZ was proceeding to make a drawdown of 500 million U.S. dollars from an offshore line of credit to supplement the country’s foreign exchange receipts and support the interbank foreign exchange market.

SHURUGWI Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa [front left] dances with young children after officially opened a smelter at Anglo American’s Unki Platinum Mine in Shurugwi, Midlands Province. XINHUA PHOTO - SHAUN JUSA
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"The facility will be disbursed into the economy through the interbank foreign exchange framework at the prevailing interbank foreign exchange rate on a willing-seller willing-buyer basis," said the statement.

While the interbank exchange rate is at around 3.3 local currency to the U.S. dollar, it is trading at around 5 to the green back on the parallel foreign currency market.

The government also increased fuel prices by more than 100 percent in January, triggering protests that resulted in the death of 12 people and destruction of property.
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UPDATE:

Confusion as Zimbabwe energy regulator disowns
earlier statement, announces new fuel prices

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) on Tuesday disowned an earlier statement which said fuel prices had not increased following the removal of a fuel import subsidy.

ZERA communications officer Gladman Njanji said people should ignore the earlier statement which said the prices had not been increased, adding that the statement was the work of social media.

In the second notice addressed to fuel service stations, ZERA confirmed fuel price increases with effect from Tuesday.

The maximum pump price for diesel is now 4.89 RTGS per liter, up from 3.22 RTGS dollars per liter, while that of petrol is now 4.97 RTGS dollars, up from 3.36 RTGS dollars per liter.

However, an earlier statement purported to have been issued by Mazambani and which had been quoted by a cross section of the local media warned fuel dealers to stick to the old prices.

With the subsidy, the 1:1 exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the RTGS dollar was being used to import fuel into the country.

Oil companies had remained using the subsidized exchange rate after the RBZ introduced the interbank foreign exchange market in February as it discarded the 1:1 exchange rate which was no longer sustainable as parallel market rates peaked.

In a statement on Monday, RBZ governor John Mangudya said all oil companies would from Tuesday start to use the interbank exchange rate to import fuel.

"There shall be only one foreign exchange rate to be used in the market for the importation of all goods and services.

"This means that the 1:1 exchange rate that was being used by oil marketing companies for the procurement of fuel will be discontinued with immediate effect," RBZ governor John Mangudya said.

He said the new position was necessary to promote the efficient use of foreign exchange and minimize and guard against incidences of arbitrage within the economy.

Mangudya said as previously announced, the RBZ was proceeding to make a drawdown of 500 million U.S. dollars from an offshore line of credit to supplement the country’s foreign exchange receipts and support the interbank foreign exchange market.

"The facility will be disbursed into the economy through the interbank foreign exchange framework at the prevailing interbank foreign exchange rate on a willing-seller willing-buyer basis," Mangudya said.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

Zimbabwe US dollars Black Market rate tumbles as
central bank announce facility to stabilize economy

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The black market foreign exchange rates of the U.S. dollar tumbled Sunday and Monday on the back of an announcement by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Saturday that the Zimbabwean government would on Monday start drawing down a new 500 million U.S. dollar facility to supply the inter-bank foreign currency market.

RBZ said on Twitter that the funds would meet foreign currency requirements for business and individuals and they would "go a long way to stabilize the exchange rates and prices of goods and services in the economy".

Parallel market rates for the U.S. dollar, which had gone up to as high as 1 U.S. dollar to 6.50 RTGS (local) dollars for electronic transfers and 1 U.S. dollar to 5 RTGS dollars in cash, tumbled to as low as 1 U.S. dollar to 5 RTGS dollars for electronic transfers and 1 U.S. dollar to 4 RTGS dollars in bond notes.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said the 500 million U.S. dollar facility had been raised from international banks and would increase the supply of foreign currency for imports.
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Zimbabwe platinum mine commissions U.S. 62 million dollars smelter

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- South Africa-based Anglo American Platinum on Thursday commissioned a 62-million-U.S. dollar smelter at its Unki Platinum Mine in Zimbabwe.

Construction work started in 2016 as the company heeded Zimbabwe government’s call to add value to the minerals before they are exported.

The setting up of the smelter by Unki will enable the company to begin partial processing of ore in the country before sending to South Africa for refining.

Two other platinum mines Zimplats and Mimosa also send platinum matte for refining to South Africa but government is pushing for the establishment of a refinery so that the matte is refined locally for greater benefits to the country.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned the smelter at the mine in Shurugwi, Midlands Province, and hailed the processing plant as a milestone for the country as it moves towards its vision of becoming a middle-class economy by 2030.

"We must put a stop to it (export of minerals in raw form)," he said, adding the country exports about 90 percent of diamonds unprocessed.

The president said the commissioning of the Unki Mine Platinum Smelter will help transform the country’s mining industry, accelerating the value addition of its minerals and bringing in foreign currency.

Mines Minister Winston Chitando commended Unki’s investment and said the move will have a positive socio-economic impact on the country.

The establishment of this smelting facility will result in the development of key infrastructure, and increase foreign currency earnings and employment for our local people, he said.

Zimbabwe has the world’s second biggest platinum reserves after South Africa.
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Zimbabwe police assure visitors of safety despite U.S. travel warning

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwe Republic Police on Thursday reassured locals and visitors to the country that despite a negative travel advisory issued by the United States government on its citizens wishing to travel to Zimbabwe.

The U.S. government on Tuesday issued "Zimbabwe Travel Advisory, Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution", warning citizens to be careful while in Zimbabwe because of "crime and civil unrest."

"Violent crime, such as assault, carjacking, and home invasion, is common.

"Smashing the windows of cars with the intent to steal, which can harm the driver or passengers, is also common.

"Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

"Read the safety and security section on the country information page," said the advisory.

It also advised those deciding to travel to Zimbabwe to stay alert and avoid openly displaying cash, stay away from political rallies, demonstrations and crowds, as well as monitor local media for any developments and adjust plans accordingly, and for citizens to carry copies of their passports and visas while keeping the originals in safe places.

However, ZRP said in a statement that the country remained safe to visit.

"Contrary to the Zimbabwe Travel Advisory Level 2 issued by the Americans recently, the Zimbabwe Republic Police wishes to assure all Zimbabweans and visitors who include tourists to all parts of the country that the country remains safe, peaceful and secure.

"The ZRP is conducting general patrols, blitz (and) stop and search patrols in all central business districts, industrial sites, residential areas and other places which are usually frequented by the public with a view of getting rid of the malady of criminality," the police said.

U.S. travel advisories have four levels, with Level 4 being the most severe as it advises citizens not to travel to certain identified countries.

The lowest advisory - Level 1 - simply says that there is some risk in any international travel as conditions in other countries may differ from those in the U.S.

Level 2 calls for increased caution, Level 3 advises citizens to avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security and Level 4 telling them not to travel to the identified countries or leave the countries as soon as it is safe to do so.
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Huawei donates US $98,000 dollars worth ICT equipment to Zimbabwe university

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Huawei on Friday donated telecommunications equipment worth 98,000 U.S. dollars to the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) to enable the institution to offer the latest training in information and communication technology.

The equipment was handed over to the university by Huawei Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited managing director Hao Wen to UZ acting vice chancellor Paul Mapfumo.

Hao said his company had become a leading ICT player in Zimbabwe since entering the local market in 1998 and was committed to enhancing technical skills training to students.

"As a result of this commitment, we will, today, hand over the ICT equipment to the University of Zimbabwe.

"This laboratory equipment will enable the University of Zimbabwe to offer the latest technical training to students and professionals in the industry.

"We hope they could help develop local ICT talent and boost ICT industry development of Zimbabwe," he said.

He added that the company was committed to building a better connected Zimbabwe, to bridge the digital divide by increasing network coverage and had so far built more than 2,500 km optical cable and serving over 4 million people.

"As part of our ongoing investment, Huawei has created over 20,000 jobs directly and indirectly.

"We would also like to continue to cooperate with Zimbabwean schools, universities and colleges to build capacity and enhance technical skills transfer to students," he said.

Hao said the company intended to continue creating continuous innovation and cooperation in the ICT industry through its Seeds for the Future corporate social responsibility program.

"We leverage our world-leading ICT technologies in the program to cultivate ICT professionals in the countries where it operates and thus drive the local ICT industry forward." Hao said.

The Seeds for the Future program was launched in Zimbabwe in 2016 and so far more than 40 outstanding students have travelled to China for training.

ICT minister Kazembe said the handover of the ICT equipment would enable Zimbabwean universities to produce world class graduates and professionals as it made learning and teaching skills more effective.

"This will enhance professional skills and competency in ICT among ICT practitioners and science and technology and engineering students and graduates for the benefit of the country as we move towards an upper middle income economy by 2030," he said.

Acting vice chancellor Mapfumo said UZ was looking forward to becoming a center of excellence following the donation of the equipment.

He added that given the increasing importance of ICTs, Zimbabwe needed to strengthen its technological base in order to meet the demands of the 21st Century.

           

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