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COMMENT: Ruthlessly punish errant bus crews operating in Bulawayo – Chronicle

The Chronicle

THE recent decision by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to suspend the operating licences of two bus companies in Harare after their drivers committed reckless driving and speeding offences, was music in the ears of progressive residents who want to see order restored in Bulawayo.

As we reported yesterday, there are now growing calls for the Government to suspend the operating licences of errant public transport operators who flout traffic rules and regulations by picking and dropping off passengers at undesignated places in Bulawayo’s city centre.

If the operating licences of Rimbi Tours and Zebra Kiss buses were suspended from operating on all routes across the country in a bid to protect passengers, the same must be done in Bulawayo where lives are put at risk and the city is defaced daily.

We have argued before in this space that bus operators picking and dropping passengers outside Bulawayo Theatre and the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe are defacing a national tourist attraction which would be respected and protected in other countries.

The Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe, which was officially opened in 1964 and is one of the best in southern Africa, is famous for displaying the second-largest mounted elephant in the world.

If a bus company’s operating licence cannot be suspended for committing such an offence against a place of national heritage, an offence which sets back the national economy, then what other crime should they commit against the people of Zimbabwe?

Long-distance buses are lined up daily along Leopold Takawira, outside Eveline High School and Centenary Park and corner Fort Street and 8th Avenue, which is now a de facto bus rank for those travelling to Harare and other areas along the Bulawayo-Harare Highway.

These errant bus operators, who are paying council officials to destroy their own city, do so because they know that no one will suspend their operating licences.

Buses in the city centre (Picture by Panashe Zingoni)

Bulawayo Bus Operators Association chairperson Mr Patrick Dube told our reporter that buses operating from illegal bus ranks are “known by all and sundry” and called for the immediate suspension of their operating licences.

“The suspension of the operators’ licences was a decisive move which sent a clear message to operators flouting traffic rules and regulations and the same should happen here,” said Mr Dube.

He said members of his association operate from Renkini, Entumbane Bus Terminus, Nkulumane Complex and Hamara.

Said Bulawayo United Residents’ Association chairperson Mr Winos Dube: “The buses that are parking and picking up people at undesignated places such as at Centenary Park, must have their licences withdrawn like what happened to the two bus companies in Harare.”

We pray that Government will answer our prayers and cancel the operating licences for all errant bus companies that are bent on flouting council by-laws, destroying the city’s image, and defacing tourist attractions.

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economy

Zimbabwean Central Bank admits collapse of local currency – The Zimbabwe Mail




The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has said about 70% of domestic expenditure is in US dollars.

This was announced by RBZ Governor John Mangudya in the 2023 Monetary Policy Statement seen by Pindula News.

Mangudya also said as of December 31, 2022, the Foreign Currency Accounts (FCA) deposits in the banking system accounted for 64.2% of total deposits, with the remainder being ZW$ deposits. Said Mangudya:

Transactional activities in the retail and wholesale sectors also points to the same structure of currency composition as shown by recent Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry (CZI) surveys, which reported that on average USD sales contribute 66% to foreign currency generation for the businesses. The dual currency structure of the economy is corroborated by estimates by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) at Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP) division level.


Mangudya also noted that domestic inflation reflects the significant foreign currency inflows in the economy by adopting blended inflation as the country’s reference inflation and reflects the dual currency structure for the following reasons:

1). Total forex receipts at US$11.6 billion in 2022 were the highest FX inflows ever received in the country.

2). About 70% of domestic expenditure is in US dollars; and

3). Foreign currency deposits and loans constitute about 65% of total banking sector deposits.

The central bank also said the inflation developments largely reflect movements in the exchange rate as prices in USD have been relatively stable and, in some instances, declining.

RBZ Forex Auction 31/01/2023: Zimbabwe Dollar Continues To Lose Value Against USD
Mangudya said this points to the need to sustain exchange rate stability to anchor inflation expectations and stabilize prices under the dual currency environment.

The Zimbabwean economy has been informally re-dollarising in recent years as the local currency has continued to shed value against other currencies, mainly the USD.

More Pindula News


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economy

Zimbabwe: Inflation continues to fall, responds to prudent policies – african markets

The country’s month–on–month and annual inflation cooled down in the month of January with food inflation accounting for the biggest drop, according to the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT). 

Month-on-month inflation rate in January 2023 was 1,1 percent shedding 1,3 percentage points on the December 2022 rate of 2,4 percent. This means that prices as measured by the all items Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by an average rate of 1,1 percent from December 2022 to January 2023. 

According to ZIMSTAT on a year to year basis, inflation slowed to 229,8 percent in January 2023 from 243,8 percent in December 2022 and 255 percent in November 2022. 

This is the sixth consecutive month that the monthly inflation rate has been on a downward trend and Treasury projects it to continue being below the 3 percent mark for the rest of the year as it responds to Government policy interventions. 

“The Food Poverty Line (FPL) represents the amount of money that an individual will require to afford the required daily minimum energy intake of 2 100 calories. The Food Poverty Line for one person in January 2023 was $22 385,00,” said ZIMSTAT. 

The Total Consumption Poverty Line is derived by computing the non-food consumption expenditures of poor households whose consumption expenditures were just equal to the FPL.


According to the statistical agency, if the amount was added to the FPL, if an individual does not consume more than the TCPL, he or she is deemed poor Resultantly, the Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) for one person stood at $29 500 in January 2023.

Economist, Mr Tinevimbo Shava said; “The review and enhancement by Government of its procurement processes and practices to ensure value for money have resulted in the stability of the exchange rate and a decline in inflationary pressures, so this is not a surprise.”

According to another economist, Mr Namatai Maeresera: “The country has been on a monetary policy tightening stance and these are the benefits of such activities, the gold coins, high interest rates and Government payment stance have led us to this point and all should be commended.”

Conversations and arguments have been brought up regarding the level of lending rates currently in the market as Treasury reaffirmed that the prevailing rates will pass through into the next year. 

Bankers and industry have been calling for interest rate cuts, but economists have said, the industrialists were now used to cheap money which was also part of the problem the economy was facing. 

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe raised interest rates from 80 percent to 200 percent in June as inflation soared. Large businesses have called for a cut on rates, but Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Prof Mthuli Ncube said these will remain until annual inflation slows down to acceptable levels and when there will be durable stability. 

In support of the monetary policy stance, Minister Ncube is on record telling reporters that: “I think once we see that downtrend in month-on-month inflation being sustainable, maybe over a three-to four-month period, then we can begin to think about lowering interest rates. But for now, the tough monetary-regime stance and the tough fiscal stance also stands.

“That’s what it takes to bring stability and bring things under control.”

Economist, Dr Prosper Chitambara, said the interest rates are at the right level and Treasury is correct to say we need sustained period of stability until we think of a rate cut. He, however, acknowledges that it will come with its consequences such as failure to meet growth targets.

Dr Chitambara accepts that higher rates may push up non-performing loans (NPLs), but he insists, “it is also imperative to strike a balance and determine an optimum interest rate policy that complements the policy measures that have been put in place.”

Economist, Prof Tony Hawkins, argued that the interest rates were at optimal levels and the Treasury is holding the correct line. According to him lowering interest rates will see the parallel market running away again and more money searching value. 

“In the end, this will perpetuate financial disintermediation and probable market bubbles on the stock market, as customers will look for alterative, non-bank based, investment options,” Prof Hawkins said.

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economy

Zimbabwe approves ‘draconian’ law targeting civil society – eNCA

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s upper house of parliament has approved legislation that critics say will gag civil society groups, placing them under the threat of harsh sanctions and strict government control.

The senate voted late Wednesday in favour of the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill, which needs to be ratified by the president before passing into law.

The text sailed through the country’s other chamber of parliament, the National Assembly, late last year.

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the law was a “necessary measure to improve the administration, accountability and transparency” of charities working in the country.

He accused some of “directing money to favoured political parties.” 

“We cannot run the risk of charities of a public character being used as a cover for theft, embezzlement, tax evasion, money laundering or partisan political activities,” Ziyambi told the senate on Wednesday.

Rights groups and opposition parties complain of an increased government clampdown on dissent as the country heads towards general elections later this year. 

The bill bans civil society organisations from engaging in politics and allows the state to interfere in their governance and activities, such as making changes to their internal management and funding.

Those found in breach of its provisions risk up to a year in jail and the closure of their organisation.

 ‘Obscene’ law 

Only one senator voted against the law. The chamber is dominated by the ruling ZANU party, with the main opposition group – the Citizens Coalition for Change – holding no seats.

The lone dissenter, Senator Morgen Komichi, called the bill “obscene”, saying NGOs provide key support in areas including health, education and food security.  

“Zimbabwe is a country that does not have a strong economy which can cater for every Zimbabwean,” Komichi said.

Critics argue that the law’s broad scope risks de facto criminalising the activity of any organisation disliked by the government.

Some warned it could lead to drastic cuts in foreign aid, which comes through non-governmental organisations, and is estimated to be Zimbabwe’s third-largest revenue stream.

Prominent journalist and activist Hopewell Chin’ono, said on Twitter the “draconian” legislation was similar to an apartheid-era law in South Africa that barred certain civil organisations from receiving foreign aid or funds.

“This is the lowest any modern state can get to. Especially a state that was born through struggle for freedom, independence and democracy,” Peter Mutasa, director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a civil society umbrella group, told AFP.

“We never expected that we could sink this low”.

Up to 18,000 people working for non-governmental organisations in the country risk losing their jobs, he said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced long-time ruler Robert Mugabe in 2017, faces widespread discontent as he struggles to ease entrenched poverty, end chronic power cuts and brake inflation. 

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