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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Zimbabwe annual inflation soared to 175.66 per cent in June

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s annual inflation soared to 175.66 percent in June amid a continuous increase in the price of basic commodities and fuel, statistics released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency on Monday showed.

The inflation rate was 97.85 percent in May.

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation has maintained an upward trajectory since October 2018 when it stood at 20.85 percent, reaching new-highs since 2009 when the country tamed hyperinflation through adoption of multiple currencies.

The continuous rise in inflation comes at a time when government recently reintroduced the Zimbabwe dollar and banned use of the U.S. dollar for domestic transactions in a move aimed at containing price increases since most goods and services were now being charged in the U.S. dollar.
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UPDATES:

Zimbabwe fuel prices rise yet again as local currency falters against U.S. dollar

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Fuel prices have risen again in Zimbabwe, exactly a month after the last increases, as the local currency falters against U.S. dollar.

Diesel now costs 5.84 Zimbabwe dollars per liter, up from 5.07 dollars per liter, while petrol now sells for 6.10 dollars from the previous 5.26.

Energy regulator the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) announced the new prices on Twitter overnight on Friday, prompting some queries from some consumers who were unhappy with the move.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube had said earlier during the week that fuel and electricity tariffs would be reviewed because the current pricing model was no longer sustainable.

Apparently, fuel prices continue to rise in tandem with the foreign currency exchange rate where the Zimbabwe dollar was on Friday trading at 10: 1 U.S. dollar.

ZERA in June increased the price of diesel to 5.07 dollars a liter from 4.88 dollars, while the price of petrol rose to 5.26 dollars a liter from 4.96 dollars.

Fuel prices have gone up several times in 2019, starting with a 150 percent increase in January which saw the price of petrol go up from 1.64 dollars per liter to 3.39 dollars when the local currency was still pegged at par with the U.S. dollar.
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Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa
swears in eight anti-corruption commissioners

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday swore in eight new commissioners of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) that is constitutionally tasked to fight corruption.

This follows the appointment and swearing in of ZACC chair Loice Matanda-Moyo at the end of May.

The new ZACC was constituted after Mnangagwa dissolved the old ZACC in February this year due to alleged incompetence.

Among the eight commissioners sworn in are two former opposition MDC party members, Jessie Majome and Gabriel Chaibva.

The ZACC chair has pledged a serious fight against corruption after Mnangagwa’s government has declared a zero tolerance to the vice.
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Zimbabwe, Zambia to start negotiations
on construction of new power plant

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- A Chinese and U.S. consortium is expected to soon enter negotiations with the governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia over the construction of a 2,400MW power station on the Zambezi River, local media reported.

The Zambezi River marks the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and also has the world’s largest man-made freshwater lake Kariba, whose dam wall also hosts anchor power stations for the two countries.

The two countries are battling a crippling power shortage which, in the case of Zimbabwe, has seen households and industry going for up to 18 hours without electricity and have decided that negotiations with the consortium start immediately.

The State-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper reported that the consortium had been awarded the tender to build the multi-billion U.S. dollars Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme (BGHES) under a Build, Operate and Transfer funding model.

A special Zambezi River Authority Council of Ministers meeting held in Lusaka, Zambia, on Friday resolved to bring forward the selection of the contractors given the power shortages afflicting the two countries, it reported.

More details concerning the project, such as the source of financing, are not yet available.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

Zimbabwe introduced local currency earlier than
planned due to market pressure: finance minister

by Gretinah Machingura HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe re-introduced its local currency earlier than scheduled because the market was rapidly re-dollarizing, putting more pressure on the government, finance minister Mthuli Ncube said Monday.

He told a business meeting that the government had to move fast to correct the situation that was becoming untenable.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa had previously said Zimbabwe would re-introduce its currency by year end, after having dumped it in 2009 after it was rendered worthless by a decade of hyperinflation.

"Re-dollarization required conversion of salaries to U.S. dollars. Given the tight fiscal space and that we do not print U.S. dollars, we would not be able to do that," Mthuli said.

"That is one of the reasons why we thought we should move faster on the introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar, not that it was not on the cards but we had to move faster." He said.

In an abrupt move, the finance minister last month banned use of the U.S. dollar and other foreign currencies for domestic transactions, and re-introduced the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole legal tender, effectively ending the multi currency regime that had been in existence since 2009.

The Zimbabwe dollar is currently made up of the electronic RTGS dollars, bond notes and bond coins.

The return of the local currency follows the introduction in February of the foreign currency inter-bank market where the Zimbabwe dollar is expected to trade at market rates.

After debuting at 2.50 to 1 U.S. dollar in February, the local unit is now trading at about 8.5 to the greenback, compared to a black market rate of 9.

Monetary authorities believe the competitive rates on the official market will help to tame the black market whose rates had risen to as high as 16 to 1 U.S. dollar before re-introduction of the local currency on June 24.

The runaway black market rates were fuelling price increases and inflation, leaving most basic commodities beyond the reach of the majority.

But since the ban on use of the green back and introduction of the local currency, prices of most basic commodities have started to go down, bringing some relief to consumers.

However, the nation continues to grapple with severe shortages of fuel, power and medical drugs amid a serious shortage of foreign currency.
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Zimbabwe tobacco earnings decline to U.S. $432 million
dollars - down from U.S. $677 million dollars in 2018

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean farmers have sold 222.6 million kilograms of tobacco worth 432.9 million U.S. dollars since auction floors opened in March this year, according to figures from the industry regulator.

Statistics released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) on Friday showed that the crop sold as at July 10 this year, is down from 231.8 million kg worth 676.9 million dollars that was sold during the same period last year.

The selling season usually ends in September.

The golden leaf is being sold at an average price of 1.94 cents per kilogram, a 33 percent decline from last year’s average price of 2.92 cents per kg.

Last year, the country produced an all-time high of 252 million kilograms of tobacco.

This year’s crop was grown under difficult weather conditions characterized by late rains and prolonged dry spells.

During the 2019 tobacco selling season, the number of registered growers increased by 40 percent to 171,743, with more than 40, 000 growers registering for the first time.

Tobacco is the country’s largest foreign currency earner.

             

 

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