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Zimbabwe government to improve movement of goods
and services through Walvis Bay port of Namibia

WALVIS BAY Namibia (Xinhua) -- Namibian President Hage Geingob together with his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa have inaugurated Zimbabwe’s dry port facility located in Namibia.

The dry port facility located in Namibia’s coastal port town of Walvis Bay is set to ease movement of goods and services for landlocked Zimbabwe through the port, a strategically located logistics hub in the Southern African region.

Speaking at the inauguration Friday, Zimbabwe’s president said the facility will act as a transit and storage facility for goods destined for the landlocked country, and will also drastically improve shipment of goods back and forth.

"We will forever be grateful to Namibia for this gesture which has given us a one-stop-shop for quick logistical processing of our goods," he added.

Furthermore, Mnangagwa said the dry port holds great potential not only in the facilitation of imports and exports via Walvis Bay Port to and from landlocked Zimbabwe but also augments efforts towards closer regional and continental economic integration.

The Namibian government in 2009 granted Zimbabwe 19,000 square meters of land to construct a dry port, seen as critical to boosting the landlocked southern African country’s trade.

Before Zimbabwe was given access to the port of Walvis Bay, the country used to rely heavily on the Beira port in Mozambique as well as the Durban port in South Africa.


Zimbabwe secures
additional 300 MW

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwean government said Tuesday the country has started getting an additional 300 megawatts of electricity from the Southern African Power Pool, resulting in easing of load shedding in most areas of the country.

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a post-cabinet press briefing that the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company had mobilized a 2 million U.S. dollars facility to pay for the additional power, which is received mainly during off-peak hours.

"This additional power has reduced the duration of load shedding in most areas," the minister said.


Namibian President Hage Geingob [right] and his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa  | Coastweek

WALVIS BAY Namibia (Xinhua) -- Namibian President Hage Geingob [right] and his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa applaud after officially inaugurating the Zimbabwe Dry Port facilities at Walvis Bay, Namibia. The dry port facility located in Namibia’s coastal port town of Walvis Bay is set to ease movement of goods and services for landlocked Zimbabwe through the port, a strategically located logistics hub in the Southern African region. XINHUA PHOTO - NAMPA
Zimbabwe is facing acute power shortages that have resulted in power cuts of up to 18 hours a day.

The country owes regional power utilities, Eskom of South Africa and HCB of Mozambique a combined 60 million U.S. dollars in power imports, which has curtailed further imports from the regional firms.

Zimbabwe is currently negotiating for more power imports from Eskom, after recently paying the regional power utility 10 million dollars as partial payment for its debt to the firm which has now reduced to 23 million dollars.

Zimbabwe is currently generating around 900 MW of electricity against a demand of around 1,600 MW.

Power generation has particularly been affected this year due to reduced dam water levels in Kariba, which supplies water to the Kariba South Hydro Power Station, currently the country’s biggest power plant with an installed capacity of 1050 MW.


Expansion of Zimbabwe thermal power station going on schedule

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe State-owned electricity power generator the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) on Monday said that work on the 1.5-billion-U.S.-dollar Hwange expansion project was progressing steadily and on schedule.

Chinese company Sinohydro is carrying out the expansion project on Units 7 and 8 and the work is now at 18 percent completion.

"Come January 2022 Hwange Expansion will deliver 600 MW to the national electricity grid," the company said on Twitter.

ZPC is a subsidiary of power utility ZESA Holdings.

The company said site leveling works for the power plant, excavations for the Unit 8 boiler house section, concrete construction of Unit 8 main power building foundation, rerouting of ash pipes and the cooling water fore-bay foundation were in progress.

"Meanwhile, concrete construction of foundation for main power building, Unit 8 section, batching plant and the construction of the chimney foundation are now complete," the company added.

Zimbabwe is currently enduring a crippling power shortage which has left households and some sections of industry going for up to 18 hours without electricity.

Zimbabwe revenue collector continues to exceed performance targets

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority announced Sunday that it has exceeded its set target on both gross and net positions during the first half of 2019.

Board chairperson Callisto Jokonya said in a report published Sunday that gross collections were 5.27 billion Zimbabwe dollars, against a targeted 4.3 billion dollars, surpassing the target by 22.75 percent.

"After deducting refunds of 211.52 million dollars for the first half, net collections of 5.06 billion dollars surpassed target of 4.3 billion dollars by 17.83 percent," he said.

Compared to the same period in 2018, gross collections grew by 118.71 percent from 2.31 billion dollars, Jokonya said.

"Positive performance is attributed to the significant contributions from excise duty, Intermediated Money Transfer Tax, individual tax, value added tax and company tax," he said.

"This has been bolstered by the Authority’s revenue enhancement initiatives and strategies at promoting compliance."

Gross revenue collections for the second quarter of 2019, amounting to 3.23 billion dollars, surpassed the set target of 2.33 billion dollars by 38.66 percent; net collections of 3.13 billion dollars exceeded target by 34.51 percent after deducting refunds of 96.55 million dollars.

The recent monetary transition from multiple currencies to the use of the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole legal tender gave hope for more revenue mobilization, Jokonya said.

"Such a move will remove distortions associated with multi-tier pricing system, thereby enhancing formal transactions that boost revenue flows. The move will also enable simple tax calculations and reporting which can enhance compliance," he said.

However, he was wary of spiraling inflation from 56.990 percent at the beginning of the year to 175.66 percent as at the end of June, which he said remained a major threat to economic growth.

Zimbabwe parliamentary panel issues adverse report on peace and order bill

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwe Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) has issued an adverse report on the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill after establishing that some of the Bill’s provisions were unconstitutional.

The government has been steering the Bill to replace the draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA) following an outcry from citizens and the international community that the current law stifles democratic space.

The Bill had provoked a public outcry with commentators saying that it was no different from the law it sought to replace.

Legal mind and Parliamentary watchdog Veritas Zimbabwe said Monday that Parliament was told last Wednesday that the PLC had issued an adverse report on the bill.

"On the 24th July the Deputy Speaker of Parliament announced that the Parliamentary Legal Committee had issued an adverse report on the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill, meaning that the committee had found some provisions of the Bill to be unconstitutional," Veritas said.

It said that the committee had found that no fewer than 11 clauses of the Bill which were unconstitutional.

The first clause that was found to be unconstitutional is the provision that declares that the senior police officer of every police district is the regulating authority for that district and should fix conditions under which public gatherings such as meetings, demonstrations and processions can be held within the district.

"The committee considered the clause "gives regulating authorities the power to limit the freedom of assembly and association" in violation of Section 58 of the Constitution," Veritas said.

The committee also ruled that appealing to the Minister of Home Affairs pertaining to the ban of weapons in public went against the tenets of justice and violated the constitution which guarantees right of access to the courts for the resolution of disputes.

Clauses 5 to 8, which require organizers of public gatherings to notify regulating authorities before the gatherings are held were also deemed unconstitutional.

According to the clauses, organizers will also be obliged to negotiate with regulating authorities about arrangements for the gatherings and to comply with directives the regulating authorities may give them.

"In the committee’s view these clauses will unduly limit freedom of assembly and association guaranteed by Section 58 of the Constitution and will debar citizens from holding spontaneous gatherings," Veritas said.

"The committee also objected to Clause 7 which makes it a crime, punishable by imprisonment, not to give notice of a gathering," Veritas said.

The PLC also said that Clause 10, which will prohibits public gatherings in the vicinity of Parliament, courts or places declared to be protected places under the Protected Places and Areas Act, will unreasonably limit the people’s right to petition Parliament as guaranteed in the Constitution.

It also found a requirement for every adult to carry an identity document whenever he or she is in a public place repulsive.

"The committee considered the clause was ‘a remnant from the oppressive colonial laws’ and should not be in the Bill since it contravened section 66(2)(a) of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of movement."

Veritas said the PLC was to be commended for a report which pointed out the main respects in which the Bill was in conflict with the Constitution.

"It is to be hoped that the government will pay proper attention to the report and revise the Bill to take account of the Committee’s valid objections.

"If the Bill is not revised extensively it will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and the right to demonstrate, all vital to a democratic society and all guaranteed by the Constitution," it concluded.

Zimbabwe cabinet ministers remove controversial
clause from proposed marriage bill

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwe Cabinet on Tuesday directed that a controversial clause in the proposed Marriages Amendment Bill be removed following a public outcry that it sought to legitimize extramarital relationships by recognizing civil partnerships between men and women.

Clause 40 of the proposed Bill, which was gazetted recently, would have allowed adult men and women who are not married but have lived together domestically to be regarded as partners in what is known as a civil partnership.

Civil partnerships would have been recognized even if either or both the partners are married to someone else under customary law or in a civil marriage.

Upon dissolution of the civil partnership, the partners would have been entitled to the same remedies as legally spouses on divorce.

But after concerns were raised during public consultations on the Bill, Cabinet resolved to remove the section, State news agency New Ziana reported Tuesday.

The news agency quoted Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa telling journalists after a Cabinet meeting that members had sought clarification from the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi on the contentious section.

"Following the explanation by the minister, Cabinet observed that the concept of a civil union or partnership is foreign and not consistent with Zimbabwe’s cultural norms as well as its Christian values," she said.

"Accordingly, Cabinet has directed that Section 40 which bears reference to civil partnerships be removed forthwith from the proposed Marriages Amendment Bill," she said.

Attorney General Prince Machaya said the idea behind Section 40 in the Bill had been to protect rights of either partner in the event of a break up.

"Civil partnerships were created in that draft Bill solely for purposes of distribution of assets of the people involved in that union when they go their separate ways," he said.

"It (civil partnership) is not recognized, it is not a marriage but it was merely out of considerations of fairness that it was felt that when these people move apart the one who is more economically empowered should not use their economic empowerment to the detriment of the other partner.

"Let a court decide who should have what.

"That was the sole purpose of referring to that as a civil partnership."

Machaya added that it seemed this was being misunderstood as a form of marriage, which was an affront to cultural values.

"Cabinet has looked into all those other issues apart from the issue of fairness and decided we should remove reference to civil partnerships," he said.

He said without that provision, partners in an unrecognized union were not entitled to claim protection that people in recognized marriages were entitled to.

"When two people just move and live together they have rights they have as individuals, their living together does not confer any additional rights upon them.

"So a person who enters into such an arrangement and is thereafter left by the other party can only claim such rights as they had as an individual," he said.

Zimbabwe labour minister denies social media claims

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare Minister Sekai Nzenza on Monday refuted social media claims that she had gone into hiding and that she was being investigated by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).

There were social media reports at the weekend claiming that the minister was bribed by arrested tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira to hold on to a forensic audit report of state pension fund, the National Social Security Authority (NSA), which implicates the tourism minister.

Mupfumira is currently in police custody after being arrested by ZACC last Thursday for allegedly abusing 95 million U.S. dollars funds from NSSA.

When asked at a press conference if she had been bribed, Nzenza categorically refuted the claims.

"That did not happen.

"That is nonsense.

"I am not dwelling on nonsensical stories.

"I have a mandate to deliver to the public to ensure that money entrusted to NSSA is managed properly and within best practice.

"Those are weekend social media stories that people enjoy, share and circulate," said Nzenza.

The minister said she was not holding on to the forensic audit report but was allowing due processes to be completed before she makes the report public.

The report details gross financial irregularities at NSSA, and reportedly implicate a number of senior government and corporate officials.

Mupfumira became the first cabinet minister to be arrested by the recently constituted ZACC.

She appeared at the magistrates courts on Saturday for routine bail hearing but the magistrate ruled that she be detained for 21 days as there were high chances she could try to conceal evidence.

ZACC has vowed to aggressively fight corruption after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has declared a zero tolerance to corruption.

Zimbabwe capital Harare increases on-street parking fees over 100 percent

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean capital city Harare on Tuesday hiked on-street parking fees in the Central Business District (CBD) and peripheral areas by more than 100 percent, just five months after the last increase.

Parking in the inner CBD now costs 5 Zimbabwe dollars per hour, up from 2 dollars per hour. Parking for 30 minutes, which used to cost 1 dollar, has gone up two-fold to 3 dollars.

Motorists with offices in the inner CBD will have to fork out 40 dollars a day and at least 200 dollars per week, which is way beyond the reach of many of them.

Private Company City Parking said in a statement Tuesday that motorists will now pay 3 dollars per hour in the peripheral CBD, up from 1 dollar.

In February, City Parking increased parking fees by 100 percent from 1 dollar to 2 dollars for the inner Central Business District and from 50 cents to 1 dollar per hour in the peripheral CBD.



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