(Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s inflation
surged towards the 100 percent mark in May as prices of basic
commodities and other goods continued to rise, the national
statistics agency Zimstats said on Monday.
year-on-year inflation rose to 97.85 percent from 75.86 percent
in April driven by rising prices of food and nonalcoholic
beverages, clothing and footwear, among others.
Meanwhile, month-on-month inflation gained 7.02 percentage
points to close the month at 12.54 percent, the fourth
consecutive rise in month-on-month inflation.
Many companies are sourcing foreign currency on the black
market as official coffers fail to meet demand, according to
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said recently that prices would
soon start to fall, but people have doubts about his remarks,
given prices of some goods are rising robustly, said the
Zimbabwe government bans
use of foreign currency as legal tender
HARARE (Xinhua) --
The Zimbabwe government has banned the use of
foreign currency as legal tender alongside the local RTGS
dollar, in an apparent bid to arrest galloping increases of
prices of basic commodities and other goods and services.
However, payment for international airline services in
foreign currency will still be allowed.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube
announced the ban on Monday.
"With effect from the 24th of June, 2019, the use of the
British pound, United States dollar, South African rand,
Botswana pula and any other foreign currency whatsoever shall no
longer be legal tender alongside the Zimbabwe dollar in any
transactions in Zimbabwe," the minister said in a Statutory
Ncube said this means that the Zimbabwe dollar, which is at
par with the RTGS dollar and the bond notes and coins, would be
the sole legal tender with immediate effect.
Zimbabwe, which abandoned its local currency, the Zimbabwe
dollar, in 2009 following years of hyperinflation, has been
using a basket of nine multi-currencies dominated by the U.S.
The others are the British pound, the euro, the Chinese yuan,
the Australian dollar, the Indian rupee, the South African rand,
the Botswana pula and the Japanese yen.
The SI said the new regulations do not affect the opening or
operation of foreign currency-designated 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.
Also not affected is the requirement to pay customs duties
and value-added tax in any of the foreign currencies for goods
specified under the law to be luxury goods.
A serious shortage of foreign currency has spurred a black
market where the U.S. dollar was on Monday trading at 1:11 RTGS
dollars at the minimum, while the official interbank rate was at
President Emmerson Mnangagwa said last week that Zimbabweans
should expect to start using a new local currency by the end of
2019 or the first quarter of 2020, as the government has made
strides putting in place macroeconomic fundamentals needed
before its re-introduction.
He said the current scenario where Zimbabwe has no control
over the supply and availability of the currencies in use is
Zimbabwe allays fears of
anti-retroviral drugs drug shortages
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwe has adequate stocks of anti-retroviral
drugs (ARVs) that will last until the first quarter of next
year, Health and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo said on
Wednesday, allaying fears of a possible shortage.
Zimbabwe has an estimated one million people who are on the
life-prolonging drugs with an estimated 65 percent of the one
million people on first line of treatment while the remainder is
on the second line.
The state news agency New Ziana reported that Moyo told
Parliament during the question and answer session that the
country was in a "safe zone" when it comes to the availability
"I do not want people to panic unnecessarily," Moyo said.
"For the first line, we have adequate supplies up to the end
of the first quarter in 2020 and the second line drugs will last
up to the end of the year."
Zimbabwe is facing foreign currency shortages that have
impacted on among others, procurement of medical drugs.
Moyo told Parliament that there were various avenues that the
government was exploring including partnerships with Indian
firms to ensure that supplies are kept at required levels.
Zimbabwe eyes strong trade
and economic ties with China: official
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwe is looking at forging strong economic
and trade ties with China particularly anchored on its vast
potential in agriculture, the mainstay of the country’s economy,
a senior government official said Wednesday.
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade, James Manzou, told Xinhua in an interview
that Zimbabwe will utilize the forthcoming China-Africa Economic
and Trade Expo to explore ways of boosting the country’s exports
"The focus has been on identifying what China needs and one
of the areas we are working on is the area of citrus exports
from here to China.
"That’s an area where the market is but there are also other
commodities like tobacco which is a major export that can be
further developed," Manzou said.
The inaugural expo is scheduled for June 27-29 in central
China’s Hunan Province.
The bi-annual expo has been established under the framework
of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation as a new mechanism for
economic and trade cooperation between China and African
China has been the biggest buyer of Zimbabwe’s tobacco for
several years, and has also been a major funder of the
production of the crop through contract farming.
The Chinese funding in tobacco production has largely helped
to lift the country’s production, which plummeted to an all-time
low of 48 million kg in 2008, to a record high of 252 million kg
Manzou said there are opportunities for the Chinese to grow
some of the crops in the country for export.
"We have other agricultural products that China can grow here
because we have a beautiful climate which is very good for
He said there are also other potential areas of trade and
economic cooperation between the two countries, including mining
"There are a number of Chinese companies already operating in
our mining sector but tourism is also a low hanging fruit,"
Zimbabwe businesses adjust
working hours as power shortage persists
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Some Zimbabwean businesses have been forced to
adjust working hours due to sustained power outages lasting
hours a day.
With a rationing from the Power utility Zimbabwe Electricity
Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), others in the
chicken business are also running losses as eggs fail to hatch
because of erratic power supplies.
Eddie Matemayi, a printer in the Tynwald industrial area,
said power outages had affected business very much and it had
become unsustainable to run the business on back-up generators.
"It is very costly.
"We can’t run a generator everyday because electricity is
cheaper than generators which should only come in as backup.
"We have tried to stagger the working times so that we
operate at night when power is supposed to be available, but
then there is no guarantee that you will get it," he said.
Butcher Mike Nyakarenga from northwest Harare said he had
begun staggering opening hours depending on when electricity was
"There’s no point in opening when there is no electricity.
"The meat will only go bad because the fridges will not be
"So it’s better I keep the meat in the cold room until power
is restored," he said.
A leading fast food company with many outlets throughout the
country has also announced that it will stagger operating hours
at some of them because of the current power situation.
In a notice to customers, the company said it had introduced
"power cut" trading hours during which it would be powered by
However, to many businesses, the power shortage problem is
Apart from failing to get electricity from the national grid,
the shortage of diesel is also stopping them from operating
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), which had
ventured into a chicken breeding business, is now ruing the
decision because of power shortages.
"Because of load shedding by ZESA and non availability of
diesel our PTUZ Chicken egg incubation project has suffered.
"I believe many running such ventures have suffered the same
"So far we have had to throw away more than 3,000 eggs," said
secretary-general Raymond Majongwe on Twitter.
Zimbabwe had enjoyed four years without load shedding, but
the drought of 2018/19 pushed the Zambezi River Authority to
reduce water allocation to the Zimbabwe Power Company from 19
billion cubic meters to 16 billion cubic meters for 2019, thus
reducing power generation.
The rationing is meant to ensure that the plant continues to
run until the next rainy season.
Power generation at Hwange Thermal Power Station and the
smaller thermal power stations of Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati
remain fragile because of old age.
ZETDC - a subsidiary of ZESA Holdings - in June announced a
biting load shedding schedule after demand continued to outstrip
supplies following the curtailment of power generation at its
Kariba South Hydro Power Station.
Generation at the country’s thermal power stations has also
been reduced because of aging equipment, while power imports
have been curtailed because the country does not have enough
foreign currency to meet the import bill.
According to the schedule, load shedding is normally
implemented during the peak periods of 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5
p.m. to 10 p.m..
Both domestic and industrial users are affected in Stage 1 of
load shedding, while Stage 2 is implemented if the power deficit
is more than earlier anticipated.
Water levels at Zimbabwe
Lake Kariba continue to decline following drought
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
The water levels at Lake Kariba, which hosts Zimbabwe’s anchor
hydro power station, continues to decline and is now at 29
percent of capacity because of the drought that hit southern
Africa during the 2018/19 season.
Figures released by the Zambezi Water Authority (ZRA) Monday
show that the lake is now 29 percent full, compared to 85
percent during the same time in 2018 and 56 percent in 2017.
Zimbabwe and Zambia, which have two power stations at Kariba
Dam, have had to curtail electricity generation and introduce
load shedding after ZRA ordered a reduction in water usage
following the El Nino-induced drought.
Zimbabwe nurses announce
to reduce working days
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Nurses at Zimbabwe’s public hospitals have
announced to further reduce their working days from three to two
days per week after government failed to improve their working
This follows the expiry of their 14-day ultimatum for
government to address their demands.
"We note that some of our stated grievances have not been
addressed to date.
"To this end, we hereby advise your office that from the 17th
of June 2019, our members will partially withdraw their services
at their different stations."
"More specifically, we will only be able to attend work for
only two days between the period 17 June up to 23 June 2019,"
the nurses said.
In a notice Tuesday, the Health Apex Council said the workers
would go on strike on June 24 if government fails to address
"Should your office fail to attend to our grievances, during
this period, we will have no option but to completely withdraw
our service effective 24th June of 2019," the Health Apex
Zimbabwe’s public health sector has been plagued by labor
disputes over the years with nurses and doctors striking over
poor working conditions.
With official inflation up markedly, Zimbabwe abandons the
use of foreign money at home