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Meat prices skyrocket in Zimbabwe as producers
attempt to keep up with prevailing 'black market'

by Tichaona Chifamba HARARE (Xinhua) -- Meat prices have skyrocketed in many butcheries in Harare and other cities in Zimbabwe with consumers now having to pay almost double after producers hiked their prices citing the depreciation of the surrogate bond notes against the U.S. dollar.

A butcher in Sunridge, a medium-density suburb in northwestern Harare, Mike Nyakarenga, said rising prices have resulted in low sales as many residents can no longer afford the meat.

Open-air barbecues, a favorite pastime for many Zimbabweans, have also gone down as more and more people prefer meat for the pot at home to having it while imbibing with friends.

While the official exchange rate of the bond notes to the U.S. dollar remains at 1:1, the situation is different in the market, where it is more than 2:1, prompting some sellers to peg the prices of their products in U.S. dollars.

Nyakarenga, who sells mainly commercial grade beef, said he used to buy it at 4.50 per kg but the price had since gone up to 7 dollars per kg. His selling price is now at least 10 dollars per kg depending on the cut.

"Chicken, which we used to buy at 3.30 per kg, now costs 5 dollars while pork is now 6.25 dollars, up from 3.90 per kg.

"The prices keep going up and people are no longer buying as much as they used to," he said.

Tendai Mapuranga said his family has cut down on meat but he would strive to ensure that they continued to have it for dinner.

"Meat, just like maize, is a staple food for most families.

"I can’t imagine my family having to go without it, but we have definitely reduced the amount we take per sitting.

"If in the past each member of the family had three pieces, now we have two or one.

"That is the reality," he said.

Some people have already started "meat clubs" through which they go to nearby farms and rural areas to buy at cheaper prices and share.

Butcheries run by meat producers have their products at slightly lower prices, attracting long queues of buyers.

The prices of basic commodities have been rising drastically in recent weeks after Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mthuli Ncube acknowledged that there was no real parity between the U.S. dollar and the bond note.

This prompted the black market to flourish with rates more than trebling within a short space of time.


Zimbabwe net revenue for third quarter of 2018 grew by 22.56 percent
- says Ministry of Finance permanent secretary George Guvamatanga

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s net revenue for the third quarter of 2018 grew by 22.56 percent to some 1.19 billion U.S. dollars from 967.76 million realized during the same period last year, Ministry of Finance permanent secretary George Guvamatanga said Thursday.

Gross collections amounted to 1.28 billion dollars against a target of 1.089 billion dollars.

Guvamatanga attributed the increase in both gross and net collections to various revenue enhancement strategies by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, increased use of plastic money and sustained efforts in fighting corruption.

"The positive revenue performance is attributed to concerted effort by the Authority through rigorous revenue enhancement measures, an unwavering stance against corruption and increased use of electronic and mobile money in transacting which resulted in improved compliance," Guvamatanga said in a statement.

The major contributors to revenue were excise duty which contributed 21 percent, net value added tax on local sales (19 percent) and individual tax which contributed 18 percent, Guvamatanga said.

The permanent secretary added that the positive revenue performance in the period under review was an indication of an improving operating environment for business.

However, Guvamatanga bemoaned high unpaid taxes, which rose from 4.54 billion dollars in the second quarter to 4.55 billion dollars in the third quarter.

The positive third quarter revenue performance came after finance minister Mthuli Ncube recently introduced a 2 cents tax on every dollar transacted electronically in a bid to boost government revenue to finance social services.

Guvamatanga said the fiscal measures announced by the finance minister would widen the tax base and bring more revenue to the fiscus.

The country is also experiencing rising inflation due to distortions in currency exchange rates on the black market.

Guvamatanga said rising inflation, which quickened to 5.39 percent in September and the highest since the country dollarized in 2009, remained a major threat to economic growth which is expected to accelerate to 6.3 percent in 2018, up from the initially projected 4.5 percent.

Botswana-based clean energy investor kicks off Zimbabwe project

GABORONE Botswana (Xinhua) -- Pan African energy producing company headquartered in Botswana - Investor Solar Africa has appointed Germany developer Soventix to build 22MW, photovoltaic project in Zimbabwe.

The company on Friday announced that Soventix’ s subsidiary Soventix South Africa will start constructing the Harava project across 40 hectares of land in the Bwoni Village, Seke Rural District, South West of Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.

Invest Solar Africa said local villagers will own 10 percent of the project through a Community Development Share Ownership Trust.

According to the company, the fixed-tilt PV project will include 66,528 solar modules and 192 string inverters, and have an approximate energy generation capacity of 40GWh per year.

Jean-Paul de Villiers, Managing Director of Soventix South Africa is optimistic about the project’s potential.

"Pioneering such projects into Africa has its challenges, however through commitment and tenacity both Soventix SA and the developer have overcome," said de Villiers.

The photovoltaic market in Zimbabwe is still in the initial stage, though the country offers great weather conditions to use the potential of solar energy.

"Solar energy in southern Africa has convincing prospects for the population, local economy and international investors."

Meanwhile energy costs in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana and Zambia are high, while businesses do not have reliable power supply, giving strong opportunities for solar deployment.


Zimbabwe energy regulator warns dealers
against creating artificial fuel shortages

Zimbabwe producers of basic commodities assure
consumers of continuing and affordable supplies

Five more dead as Zimbabwe cholera toll rises to 54



An app is helping Zimbabweans order fresh produce while also cutting traffic and food waste



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