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Zimbabwean central bank issues savings bond to boost savings       

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on Friday announced the issuance of a 7 percent per annum savings bond to provide investors with a platform to save and invest in high yielding instruments.

A notice from the central bank said the savings bond would be open to individuals, companies, pension and provident funds, life mutuals, financial institutions and other interested institutions in the country.

Applications must be for a minimum 100 U.S. dollars payable through transfers or cash.

Foreigners with funds awaiting remittance could also subscribe for the savings bond, the central bank said.

Special features of the bond include rolling maturities of one year, two years, three years and five years, simple interest rate of 7 percent per annum calculated on a 365 day basis, tax free interest, acceptable as collateral and liquid asset status.

Zimbabweans are slowly rebuilding a savings culture following the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar whose use was stopped in April 2009, resulting in many bank clients losing out on their deposits and savings.



Zimbabwe government extends amnesty on externalized funds

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday extended by two weeks an amnesty for people and companies that externalized foreign currency and assets during former president Robert Mugabe’s era.

He said out of a possible 1,166 cases of externalization known by government worth 1.3 billion U.S. dollars, a total of 105 cases valued at 250 million dollars had been recovered in respect of externalized foreign currency.

Thirty cases valued at 50 million dollars of immovable properties in various countries had been reported to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe while 210 cases valued at 287 million dollars pertained to externalized funds that were used to procure imports, the president said.

“The cases processed give a success rate of 45 percent by value,” Mnangagwa said in a statement.

He further revealed that the bulk of the 771 cases or 55 percent by value that did not take heed of the amnesty pertain to non-remittance of export proceeds (328 cases valued at 215.8 million dollars), externalization by foreigners (213 cases valued at 375 million dollars), non-acquittal of imports (153 cases valued at 75.1 million dollars and Panama Papers and others valued at 150 million dollars).

The new administration led by Mnangagwa in December last year issued a three-month amnesty to people and firms who illegally stashed cash and assets abroad to repatriate them.

The amnesty expired Feb. 28.

Mnangagwa said the two-week period will stretch to March 16, 2018 after which government would on March 19 name and shame those who would have failed to take heed of the amnesty.

The president said the extension follows a request by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for additional time to validate and finalize the amnesty process before government proceeds to name, shame and prosecute the culprits.


Zimbabwe to start 2018 tobacco marketing season soon

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s 2018 tobacco marketing season will open on March 21, with about 200 million kg of the golden leaf expected to go under the hammer, the industry regulator said on Monday.

While auction floors will start selling the golden leaf on the same day, contract sales will begin the following day, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said in a statement.

Sales bookings will open on Wednesday and deliveries accepted as from March 12, the TIMB said.

The country’s tobacco selling season usually starts in February but was delayed this year due to late planting as a result of late onset of rains.

Zimbabwe sold 186.3 million kg of tobacco leaf in 2017 for 552.8 million U.S. dollars.

Tobacco leaf contributes 10 percent to Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product, and is one of the country’s largest foreign currency earners.


Zimbabwean President Mnangagwa congratulates
new opposition leader, appeals for peace

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has congratulated the new leader of the country’s largest opposition party, Nelson Chamisa, on attaining the new position and appealed for peace during the run-up to forthcoming national elections.

“I would like to congratulate Nelson Chamisa as he takes over the leadership of the MDC. We look forward to a competitive, peaceful and positive election campaign, providing the people of Zimbabwe with a clear and democratic choice,” Mnangagwa posted on his Facebook page Sunday.

He said he hoped all his opponents would keep the campaign calm and clean and allow the people of Zimbabwe to decide which direction Zimbabwe should take over the next five years.

Chamisa was elected the party’s new president last week following the death of founding president Morgan Tsvangirai on Feb. 14.

He immediately became the presidential candidate for the MDC Alliance, a grouping of parties.

His election is being contested, however, by Thokozani Khupe who alleges that his election was unconstitutional and that by virtue of her being the only elected party vice president, she should lead the party until its next congress in 2019.

Tsvangirai in 2016 appointed Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri as co-vice presidents in addition to the elected Khupe, in a move which generated fissures in a party which has been trying to take power from Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu-PF since 2000.

Mnangagwa took over from former President Robert Mugabe in November 2017.


Zimbabwe: Legislator resigns in protest over Mugabe’s ouster

HARARE Zimbabwe(Xinhua) -- Former minister in the old government led by Robert Mugabe, Ambrose Mutinhiri, has become the first ruling Zanu-PF party member to voluntarily resign as a legislator in protest over Mugabe’s ouster following a military intervention last November.

Mutinhiri has since written a letter to the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda notifying him of his withdrawal of membership from the ruling party and resignation from Parliament.

“I have taken this decision after carefully considering the events of the past four months, starting with the unconstitutional overthrow of the elected Head of State and Government, President Robert Mugabe and his illegal replacement with Emmerson Mnangagwa, by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces through a military coup on 15 November 2017,” he said.

Mutinhiri was until the last cabinet reshuffle by new President Emmerson Mnangagwa the Minister of State for Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs.

Mnangagwa did not retain him when he named his new government leadership.

State media on Monday quoted unnamed sources alleging that Mutinhiri had become a proxy for Mugabe and his wife and had been appointed to lead a new political outfit known as the New Patriotic Front.


Zimbabwe Mugabe-backed opposition party
names leader to challenge Mnangagwa

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- A new political party believed to have the support of former President Robert Mugabe has been formed in Zimbabwe to challenge President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling ZANU-PF party in elections set for mid-2018.

In a statement issued on Monday, the New Patriotic Front (NPF) announced the appointment of Ambrose Mutinhiri as party leader and presidential candidate for the polls.

Mutinhiri, a retired brigadier general and seasoned liberation war fighter, resigned from ZANU-PF and Parliament last Friday to protest what he called the “unconstitutional removal of Mugabe” from power.

He once served as a minister in Mugabe’s government.

Mugabe resigned in November last year after a military intervention and was replaced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa who he had sacked two weeks earlier amid intense infighting in the party over his succession.

Mutinhiri’s resignation came a day after he paid a courtesy call on Mugabe at his residence in Harare to brief him about his latest initiative.

“The purpose of the courtesy call was to apprise President Mugabe of Cde. Mutinhiri’s bold and inspiring resignation as well as to thank the President for having afforded Cde. Mutinhiri a cherished opportunity to work with and under him in various national capacities,” said a statement issued by political activist and former journalist Jealousy Mawarire.

Mawarire said that during the meeting, Mutinhiri thanked Mugabe “for laying a solid and irreversible ground for generational renewal in parliament and government through progressive policies that have empowered the youth who are now poised for unstoppable leadership roles across the political divide and in business, civil society and churches.”

Mugabe congratulated Mutinhiri for taking a bold move and said that Zimbabwe needs men and women of principle who should fight to preserve the legacy of the liberation struggle legacy, Mawarire said.

Mugabe, Mawarire added, urged Mutinhiri to work closely with the full spectrum of the youth to enable them to take over the governance of the country in the interest of generational renewal.

“I hope your NPF party will empower the youths to take over,” Mugabe was quoted as telling Mutinhiri. “Don’t oppress them. Make sure they are not harassed. I know they will be harassed and some arrested but empower them mentally to fight for what is right.”

Members of the G40 faction and self-exiled former cabinet ministers Patrick Zhuwao and Jonathan Moyo have been the leading public faces of the NPF before the announcement of Mutinhiri as party leader.

The new opposition party says its ideals revolve around upholding the values and democratic ideals of the liberation struggle, preservation of the historic land reform and empowerment policies.

The NPF said it was approaching the Constitutional Court in Zimbabwe as well as appropriate regional, continental and international bodies to challenge the legality of the new government.

The government of President Mnangagwa has since its formation last December received national, regional, and global recognition.


Zimbabwean president urges churches to
spread peace message ahead of elections

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday urged churches to spread the word of peace, unity, love and forgiveness ahead of elections scheduled for mid-2018.

“There is no need for violence. This is a new era,” Mnangagwa told church leaders from various denominations attending the National Elders Forum.

“I will soon be meeting with my fellow leaders of political parties in Zimbabwe to drum up the message that all of us, as leaders, must actively shun violence, but rather exercise tolerance,” he said.

Disagreements are common in politics, but dialogue, rather than violence, is the solution to addressing any situation, state news agency New Ziana quoted Mnangagwa as saying.

In the upcoming elections, Mnangagwa will run against a host of other candidates, chief among them Nelson Chamisa, of the country’s largest opposition party, MDC-T.

“As voters, we must reward those who seek dialogue and treat opponents with respect.

“Let us bear in mind that we are a family, and that what unites us as Zimbabweans is greater than anything that can divide us,” Mnangagwa said.

The Zimbabwe Council of Churches has also been running campaigns urging Zimbabweans to vote peacefully in the elections.


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