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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Zimbabwe government reassures public over cash withdrawals

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwe government on Wednesday reassured individual holders of foreign currency accounts (FCAs) that they are still able to withdraw their money in foreign currency despite the ban on use of foreign currencies for transaction purposes.

This follows widespread speculation on social media that such withdrawals are no longer possible.

Addressing a post-cabinet media briefing on Wednesday, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa dismissed the reports as false, and insisted that government will not forcibly take away individuals’ money in FCAs.

"We have to assure that not much has changed because those who hold Nostro accounts can continue to maintain their accounts. No one is taking away people’s money in FCAs," Mutsvangwa said.

Announcing the new the new regulations banning the use of U.S. dollars on Monday, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube pointed out that the regulations do not affect the opening or operation of foreign currency designated accounts, otherwise known as "Nostro FCA accounts", which shall continue to be designated in the foreign currencies with which they are opened and in which they are operated, or the making of foreign payments from such accounts.

Nevertheless, speculation continued to mount on the withdrawal of hard currencies, causing further panic among members of the public.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe also weighed in, and insisted that there had been no policy change on foreign currency withdrawals from individual FCAs.

"Further to our directive, the Reserve Bank wishes to advise that contrary to certain information being circulated on social media, cash withdrawals by individuals are still permissible and the policy position hasn’t changed.

"The current withdrawal limit for individuals remains 1,000 U.S. dollars per day.

Individuals are still able to withdraw their cash from their individual accounts and banks are, in line with international best practice, expected to apply the AML/ CFT principles," the RBZ said on Twitter.

The Zimbabwe government on Monday announced regulations outlawing the use of foreign currencies for domestic transactions and re-introduced the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole legal tender in a bid to stabilize prices and contain inflation.
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UPDATE:

Zimbabwe ruling party urges win-win resolution of China-U.S. trade impasse

by Gretinah Machingura, Zhang Yuliang HARARE (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party on Thursday condemned the ongoing U.S.-initiated trade war against China as unjustified and unnecessary, urging the two sides to quickly find an amicable and win-win solution to the trade impasse.

ZANU-PF party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo told Chinese media in an interview that Zimbabwe was confident that the two countries would soon resolve the impasse.

"We are quite confident that China with its resilience and focus, will definitely succeed because this trade war is totally unjustified and we feel as ZANU-PF that it is also unnecessary," Khaya Moyo said.

He accused the United States of backtracking on its trade consultations commitments with China.

The U.S. allegations against China on theft of intellectual property and forced technology transfer were false, while the exorbitant and prohibitive trade measures were meant to derail China’s economic progress, he said.

"The United States has so far been using the advancement of China to initiate a trade war ... and therefore we are very cognizant of the fact that because of this technological breakthrough by China, the United States is not very comfortable with this advancement," Khaya Moyo said.

"We are aware that the United States has unfairly accused China of backtracking on its position, attempting to shift the blame and taking the excuse to impose more tariffs on China and we think this is unfair," he said.

Khaya Moyo said the two countries should remain committed to dialogue to end the trade impasse, which he said has negative impact on the world, particularly developing countries.

"When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers," said the spokesperson, adding that the trade war would also worsen Zimbabwe’s situation, as it is currently suffering from economic sanctions imposed by Western countries.

Zimbabwe was therefore hoping that trade consultations between China and the United States would continue based on the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, Khaya Moyo said.

"So my message as a (political) party is that the United States and China should continue to negotiate on a win-win basis. No threats should ever be used as a yardstick because once you do that, you must anticipate some response which may not be in your interest," he said.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

Zimbabwe pays U.S. $10 million dollars towards its Eskom debt

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe has paid 10 million U.S. dollars out of the 33 million dollars that it owes South Africa’s power utility Eskom and is hopeful that the payment will help to unlock more power imports from Eskom, senior government officials said Wednesday.

In addition, the government has cleared its 20 million RTGS dollars debt to power utility ZESA, and would soon advance another 20 million RTGS dollars which was expected to boost the firm’s power generation capacity at a time when the country is experiencing crippling power cuts due to surging demand.

Addressing a post-cabinet briefing, both Energy Minister Fortune Chasi and Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa confirmed the payments.

"Cabinet was advised by the Minister of Energy and Power Development that Treasury has now fully paid off government’s debt obligation to ZESA, which was around RTGS 20 million.

A further RTGS 20 million is due to be advanced to ZESA by Treasury, in order to boost power generation by the utility.

This, together with the payment of 10 million U.S. dollars to Eskom, should help alleviate the current power supply situation," Mutsvangwa said.

Chasi said government will monitor the money it has paid to ZESA to ensure that it is not abused but used for power generation.

He said Zimbabwe was negotiating with HCB of Mozambique for a possible power supply deal after the presidents of the two countries met recently.

Zimbabwe owes HCB of Mozambique 37 million U.S. dollars for power imports.
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Zimbabwe says to set up commission of inquiry into corruption allegations

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Wednesday he will set up a commission of inquiry to investigate corruption allegations, the sate-controlled Herald newspaper reported Thursday.

This follows allegations of corruption raised against some government officials by the ZANU-PF Youth League this week.

The Youth League accused the officials of fueling corruption in the country, and challenged them to publicly clear their names if they were innocent.

Briefing journalists after the ruling party’s politburo meeting Wednesday, the party’s spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said the politburo had endorsed the setting up of a commission of inquiry.

"His Excellency the President and First Secretary, in view of this development, will constitute a commission of inquiry to investigate the allegations presented by the Youth League, this was unanimously endorsed by the politburo," Khaya Moyo said.

"Whilst the youth may not have followed procedure in issuing their statement on Monday, there was urgent need to pronounce, at all levels zero tolerance on corruption, this cancerous malady called corruption must be eradicated once and for all."
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Zimbabwe future at AFCON hangs in the balance as players threaten to walk

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s participation at the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt is reportedly hanging in the balance Thursday night after a stalemate between the senior men’s team - the Warriors - and national soccer governing body Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) over player dues.

State-controlled newspaper The Herald, which is accompanying the team to the African showcase, said ZIFA had advised the players they were contemplating the possibility of withdrawing the team from the tournament.

This followed a number of meetings between the two parties which had ended in stalemates.

The players had threatened not to resume training Friday night unless they were paid the remaining 12,500 U.S. dollars each by the same day.

According to ZIFA officials, 5,500 U.S. dollars would be paid into their accounts on Friday.

That amount includes the 2,500 U.S. dollars ZIFA said they had secured for each of the players, and the 3,000 U.S. dollars for each of them, which was promised by the fundraising committee.

That would have left the Warriors needing 5,000 U.S. dollars appearance fees, and 3,000 U.S. dollars bonuses for the draw against Uganda ahead of the match against the DRC.

However, things deteriorated sharply during the night and the Warriors ended demanding their entire dues by Friday or they would not train, the newspaper said.

Following the stalemate, ZIFA officials then sent spokesman Xolisani Gwesela to check with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) the cost of withdrawing from the tournament.

"Gwesela has been sent to establish how much it will cost to withdraw from the tournament because of events that happened today," sources said.

A number of players also confirmed they had told the ZIFA officials they were ready to abandon camp and fly back home.

"We were called in and told of the developments about the possible withdrawal from the tournament and we told them that we were ready to go home because we believe they haven’t fulfilled our contracts," one of the players said.

"We have an agreement with them and it has to be fulfilled."

The players said even though they played the match against Uganda, a chunk of their appearance fees, 2,500 U.S. dollars had not been paid.

It also emerged that players Tino Kadewere and Tafadzwa Kutinyu were set to be sent home as a disciplinary measure after they fought in camp. Kutinyu is currently not playing in the tournament after sustaining an injury during training.

Midfielder Kuda Mahachi was also set to be sent home for allegedly violating the team’s disciplinary code when he went on social media to question why he was being sidelined from selection.

Zimbabwe face the possibility of being banned from a number of AFCON finals, in what would be a huge blow to the next generation of its footballers, if the team pulls out of the on-going tournament, the paper warned.

The team still has a chance to progress to the knockout stage of the tournament if it wins convincingly against DRC following a 1 -1 draw with Uganda on Wednesday and a 0-1 loss to hosts Egypt in the opening game last Friday.
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At least 16 die in Zimbabwe road crash

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- At least 16 people died in a head-on collision between a commuter omnibus and a haulage truck about 100 km south of Harare on Friday, police said.

The crash occurred in Featherstone on the Harare-Masvingo highway when the truck driver swerved to the opposite lane, after another bus travelling before him abruptly stopped, and collided head-on with the commuter omnibus, police spokesman Paul Nyathi told state-run news agency New Ziana.

Sixteen people died on the spot, he said.

The number of the injured was still unknown.

The Harare-Masvingo highway is highly prone to accidents due to its poor state and heavy traffic.

             

 

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