Local News

Draft Zim Constitution ready for public scrutiny

DRAFT CONSTITUTION FINALLY READY

Harare July 18, 2012 (New Ziana)-Drafting of a new Zimbabwean Constitution has finally been completed and the document is ready for public scrutiny at the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference, Finance Minister Tendai Biti announced on Wednesday.

The process of drafting a new Constitution, which started over two years ago, was delayed due to disagreements among the parties leading to shifting of timelines when it should have been finished.

Once adopted, the new supreme law will guide the country to the next general elections, terminating the life of the inclusive government which has been in place since 2009 following a disputed poll in 2008.

Biti made the announcement while presenting the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement in the House of Assembly.

“I am pleased to advise that at long last the Constitutional draft is now available after years of intense processes,” he said.

“I have no doubt in my mind that it is a critical document that is founded on solid, modern jurisprudential principles.”

Biti, who is also the secretary general of the MDC-T, said the government and development partners should now mobilize resources to fund the remaining processes, which include the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference and the Referendum.

“I hope this nation will find it within its conscience the obligation to express gratitude to COPAC, this Parliament, ordinary Zimbabweans, the COPAC co-chairs and the parties’ negotiators constituted as the management committee.

“History has been written in the last few weeks.”

The Global Political Agreement which the three major parties in the country signed to end a political crisis which the disputed 2008 election caused provides for crafting a new Constitution to create an environment suitable for holding fresh polls through strengthening democratic institutions.

New Ziana

Zim revises economic growth figures

ZIM REVISES ECONOMIC GROWTH FIGURES
Harare, July 18, 2012 (New Ziana) – Finance Minister Tendai Biti on Wednesday announced a downward revision of the country's economic growth projections for 2012 from 9.4 percent to 5.6 percent, warning that the economy was in crisis.
Presenting the mid-term fiscal policy in Parliament, Biti said the economy was stagnant due to a variety of inside and outside factors impacting negatively on its performance.
Zimbabwe's economy has been on a growth trajectory in the last three years as the economy recovered from a decade of meltdown, registering positive growth for the first time in 2009.
“Contrary to our 2012 Gross Domestic Product growth projections of 9.4percent, indications are that the economy will shed almost 4 percentage points to grow by only 5.6 percent, which also falls short of the Medium Term Plan annual average target of 7.1 percent,” he said.
“The slowdown in GDP growth is a reflection of the under-performance of some key sectors such as agriculture and tourism.”
Biti said the growth had been affected by a poor rain season which impacted on yields, policy inconsistencies which affected investor confidence and revenue under performance against a high government wage bill.
Slow pace of reforms in the economy, corruption, a volatile and fragile global financial environment were also to blame for the slowdown in performance.
A huge wage bill, constituting 74 percent of government's revenue also impacted on performance and funding of capital projects, Biti said.
The diamond sector had also not performed as envisaged with earnings currently around $40 million against the projected $600 million.
Growth figures for different sectors of the economy were as a result revised downwards with agriculture sliding to -5.8 percent from 11.4 percent, electricity and water from 4.5 to 4.9 percent.
Mining is the only sector whose projection was revised upwards from 15.9 to 16.7 percent while the rest remain unchanged.
“In simple terms, the thrust of this Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review is anchored on turning the long winter of despair into the summer of growth,” he said announcing a cocktail of measures, expected to stimulate growth.
Biti, who said Government revenue earnings continued to slide against projections, announced a number of measures aimed at enhancing revenue flows to treasury while the economy benefits with improved productivity.
Revenue is expected to close the year at $3.6 billion against earlier projections of $4 billion.
Tax measures hoped to improve government coffers include improving the efficiency of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority collection mechanisms, an upward revision of excise duty on diesel and petrol and increased customs duty on wheat flour from five to 20 percent with effect from 1 August 2012.
He said government would also dispose some of its shareholding in major companies.
With industry capacity utilization projected at over 60 percent by year, Biti reduced tax on some imports with a view to encouraging increased productivity in industry.
The Finance Minister said five major issues that needed urgent addressing to aid economic recovery were the country's politics, attracting foreign direct investment, leases and restoration of markets as well as the perennial power shortages.
“If we do not address these issues in a decisive manner, we can speak until the chickens come home, this economy will continue to grow at rates around five percent,” he said.
New Ziana

Zim has sufficient grain for four maonths

ZIM HAS SUFFICIENT GRAIN FOR FOUR MONTHS
Harare July 18, 2012 (New Ziana) –Zimbabwe has sufficient grain to feed its people for the next four months with stocks rising steadily as farmers have since started delivering, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) said on Wednesday.
To date 109 000 metric tonnes of grain have been moved to households facing food shortages country wide under the Grain Loan Scheme.
Zimbabwe had a series of poor seasons over the years prompting the government to launch the grain loan scheme last year to cushion families.
Under the scheme vulnerable households are allowed to borrow up to 200 kilograms of grain from the GMB up to March 2013, which will be repayable after a good harvest.
GMB general manger Albert Mandizha said grain deliveries had since started albet at a low rate.
“The good thing is that while some grain is going out some is also coming in.
“The outflow of grain is still higher than the inflow because the  selling season is still starting but in the next two months the reverse will be true, building again on the Strategic Grain Reserve closing the gap,'' he said, adding the pick of grain deliveries was in September.
Mandizha said beneficiaries should not pay anything to the GMB to get grain as they should only repay after harvesting.
Meanwhile, Mandizha said about 90 percent of grain delivered so far had been paid for.
Provinces that face perennial food shortages include parts of Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland South and North and some parts of Midlands.
New Ziana

Africa urged to develop transport infrastructure

AFRICA URGED TO IMPROVE TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE
Harare July 13, 2012 (New Ziana) -African countries should develop and maintain infrastructure used in moving minerals to export markets in order to derive maximum benefit from the resources, a leading global advisory firm has said.
In a recent report, head of KPMG mining in Africa services Ian Kramer said most African countries were not benefiting fully from their mineral resources due to limited infrastructure.
“The continent’s biggest mining downfall remains infrastructure development and the continent will not realize its full potential if avenues required to transport commodities from mine or pit to port are not developed and implemented effectively,” he said.
“Poor maintenance of existing infrastructure has resulted in cost challenges. Increases in power and labour costs are also problematic as they continue to escalate.”
KPMG international operates as a network of member firms offering audit, tax and advisory services.
Kramer said Africa was not as competitive as it could be in the global mining industry as more investment was flowing into South America and China.
He said the mining industry was a catalyst for economic development which, when exploited fully, would successfully tackle social challenges afflicting the continent such as poverty and unemployment.
Kramer said opportunities to develop infrastructure on the continent were abundant while significant investment had been made in improving the existing ones.
“A resource hungry world simply cannot ignore a commodity rich African continent.
“One simply needs to look at China to realize its strategic investments in Africa are aimed at securing its own future as well as benefiting the continent,” he said.
Zimbabwe is one of the African countries with vast mineral resources including diamonds, iron, chrome and platinum.
However, like most countries on the resource rich continent the country has failed to fully unlock its mining potential due to limited financial resources and inadequate power among other challenges.
Mining is strategic to Zimbabwe as it presently accounts for more than 50 percent of exports and is a major source of Foreign Direct Investment.
The mining sector in Zimbabwe has also been largely weighed down by skewed policies that have hindered growth of small miners and beneficiation by local communities.
New Ziana

Retrenchment looming at TelOne

RETRENCHMENT LOOMS AT TELONE
Harare July 12, 2012 (New Ziana) – The future of more than half of the 2 500 strong workforce at TelOne hangs in the balance as the telecommunications company slowly moves from analogue to digital technology, Parliament heard on Thursday.
TelOne, which is currently replacing old with new equipment, would require around 800 employees when fully digitalized.
Board chairman Amos Mushaninga told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication that as the telecommunications company went digital, the bulk of the workers would be made redundant.
“When you go high tech, it also affects the employment levels. We can say that there is no way we may have to avoid the process of going through the normal labour route of retrenching some of them,” he said.
“The figure at the moment is too high, 2 500 when we have little revenue coming in, we are going to end up with strikes and all sorts of things.”
Mushaninga said the analogue system which the company was still using in some parts, demanded that it employed more people with different skills.
He said the workforce was too bloated with the parastatal struggling to keep operations afloat.
Saddled with a $290 million debt and owed $310 million in unpaid bills, Tel One is raking in between $9 million and $12 million per month in revenue with at least 64 percent of the income funding recurrent expenditure.
Mushaninga said some of the workers would be re-trained while others would be retrenched.
He said voice services remained the cash cow for the company, although stiff competition from private players was hitting on the company's revenue.
Mushaninga said the government owed the company US$80 million dollars and discussions were underway with the Ministry of Finance to settle the arrears.
The state owned operator, which is the sole fixed line provider, is battling to keep up with competition due to funding constraints.
With around 350 000 working line, TelOne offers both voice and data services.
New Ziana

Photo Gallery 

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/536265img1.jpg

Kids talk to soldier dad in Ir

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/168258img2.jpg

U.S. lacks mechanism to accura

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/133965img3.jpg

US Tank and Cryogenics has ove

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/507035img4.jpg

The Black Hawk helicopter seri

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/371478img5.jpg

Listen to child soldiers, woun

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/774443img7.jpg

Helicopters carried US and Afg

Rioting has erupted at a march to commemorate the killing of a 15-year-old boy who was shot by Greek police in 2008. Officers fired tear gas at scores of hooded See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/571155img14.jpg

We left the observation post t

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/205742img16.jpg

Street Battles As Army Tackles

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/564842img17.jpg

Thousands of Troops Are Deploy

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

Latest comments