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Zimbabwe gov’t offers employees 10
percent cost of living adjustment

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwean government on Monday offered its restive civil servants a 10 percent salary increase with effect from July 1 and rescinded its decision to bar teachers from going on vacation leave, state media reported Tuesday.

The teachers who had been barred from going on vacation leave since 2016 will be paid cash in lieu of the accrued days effective from July, but in a staggered manner.

The Herald reported that the government had also revived manpower development benefits to allow civil servants to go on study leave using their accrued vacation leave days.

Teachers had planned to go on strike starting Tuesday to press the government to review their salaries and other benefits, including the restoration of vacation leave, but chairperson of the Apex Council Cecelia Alexander said this had been put on hold.

The Apex Council is an umbrella body of civil service unions and associations.

The government had also agreed to reduce rentals on its houses to figures which are not more than the housing allowances workers get.

Nine unions - five from the education sector and four representing the rest of the civil service - on Monday met government negotiators under the National Joint Negotiating Council and resolved to first consult their membership on the offer tabled by the employer.

Alexander confirmed that the government had tabled a 10 percent increment and the unions would present the offer to their constituents for guidance.

“The employer offered this as a cost of living adjustment across the board meaning it covers allowances,” said Alexander. “As civil servant leaders, while we see this as a positive move, we have a constituency that we lead and it means we have to go back and consult our membership on the way forward. While we consult we have also requested government to go and increase on that.”

The workers want the lowest-paid government employee to get 720 U.S. dollars, up from 253 dollars.



Zimbabwe and Qatar to pursue investment protection and taxation agreements

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe and Qatar on Monday agreed to expeditiously negotiate and conclude agreements that protect future investments and avoid double taxation, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.

Addressing journalists in Doha, Qatar, after the first meeting between Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chinamasa said the two countries agreed to pursue the agreements immediately, Zimbabwe’s state news agency, New Ziana, reported.

“We have agreed that we negotiate and conclude a bilateral investment protection agreement. We have also agreed to negotiate and conclude an avoidance of double taxation agreement,” he said. “These are matters we are going to pursue more immediately.”

Chinamasa said Zimbabwe and Qatar are still trying to identify areas of possible cooperation.

“At the moment, we are trying to identify areas of cooperation and we are looking at power generation which could include gas or coal or hydro, infrastructure and tourism,” he said.

“Those are the areas which we will focus on as we develop the relationship, as this is our first contact with Qatar. Business is about relationships. We have to develop relationships before we can realize the outcomes that we so desire.

“These are first contacts and I am hopeful and quite optimistic that this first contact will develop into full blown economic relationship,” he said.

Mnangagwa is in Qatar on an official visit at the invitation of the Qatari leader.

“This is an invitation we were ready to accept in order to promote the economic recovery of our country,” Chinamasa said.


Zimbabwe First Lady givess up regional parliamentary post

HARARE  Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has relinquished her post as the chairperson of the Southern African Regional Caucus of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) to concentrate on her role as the wife of the President.

She had been chairperson of the organization since 2015.

The First Lady bade farewell to her counterparts during the Sixth Ordinary Session of the Fourth Parliament of the Pan African Parliament in South Africa on Monday and said she was going to concentrate on improving livelihoods of Zimbabweans, the Herald newspaper reported Tuesday.

“Dear colleagues I stand before you with a heavy heart to pronounce my imminent departure from this esteemed legislative body of our motherland, Africa, the PAP,” she said.

The First Lady also gave up her parliamentary seat in February to concentrate on her new role.

Since becoming the First Lady, Mnangagwa has been spearheading various initiatives to help the disadvantaged and has since set up a charity organization to fight cervical cancer.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over from former President Robert Mugabe in November last year following a military intervention.


Zimbabwe elections body sets fees for voters’ roll inspection  

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The media and observers wishing to inspect the provisional voters’ roll ahead of Zimbabwe’s elections will have to pay accreditation fees, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has said.

In a notice published Wednesday, ZEC said local observers will pay 10 U.S. dollars while those from the continent will pay 20 dollars.

Observers from foreign embassies in Zimbabwe will pay 50 dollars, while those from any country outside Africa will part with 100 dollars.

Zimbabwean journalists accredited with the Zimbabwe Media Commission and working in the country for foreign media houses will pay 50 dollars while those working for local organizations will pay 10 dollars.

Journalists from Africa will pay 20 dollars, ZEC said.

The provisional voters’ roll will be open for inspection from May 19-29.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has not yet proclaimed election dates, but the constitution stipulates that polls should be held between July 21 and August 21 taking into account the last election date of July 31, 2013.

Zimbabwe holds harmonized presidential, legislative and local government elections every five years.



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