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Non-compliant tourism players put on notice – The Herald

Leonard Ncube

Victoria Falls Reporter

TOURISM industry players have up to October 31 to regularise their operations in terms of foreign agreements and offshore foreign accounts or face penalties by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), as nearly half of the operators are said to be flouting the law.

The deadline is an extension from the initial August 31, which was issued through the Monetary Policy Statement where the RBZ directed that tourism operators regularise their foreign agreements and offshore accounts.

Many players in the sector operate offshore accounts in different countries and are legally expected to declare those funds within 90 days of business after which the funds are classified as externalised funds.

The players also enter into tourism agreements with international partners such as travel agents and these agreements should be lodged with the RBZ for monitoring of business and flow of funds.

It has, however, emerged that most tourism players are not doing that hence the RBZ has made the directive, which has been extended to October 31, after it emerged through engagements with the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ) that many of the tourism players were not aware of the requirements.

Tourism is one of the major foreign currency earners in the country contributing immensely to the national Gross Domestic Product but there are fears that the sector could be under remitting because of lack of updated statistics on the Central Bank end as a result of lack of compliance.

RBZ and TBCZ are conducting workshops to train tourism operators on exchange control policies and administration of offshore accounts and tourism agreements.

The sessions have been held in Harare and Bulawayo and yesterday it was Victoria Falls’ turn. There are about 1 726 registered tourism facilities in the country and that includes restaurants, guest houses, travel agents, hotels, tour operators and hunting operations.

Of these, those registered for TRAS1, a form used by RBZ to monitor operations and for

submission in the non-consumptive sector are only 828, making 52 percent of the total.

This means that 48 percent of tourism operators are not registered with the RBZ and, therefore, not compliant. The reason for non-compliance, according to RBZ principal analyst Mr Godfrey Chokwa, is that some are not aware, some are new and others do not want to comply.

Hence the RBZ has set up a tourism desk to monitor compliance and gather statistics, which is crucial in policy formulation and calculation of Gross Domestic Product.

“As the RBZ our role is to fully account for the revenue that is generated from the tourism sector. So, in this regard, as a bank we have come up with instruments that we use to collect statistics and we have what we call a Form TRAS1 introduced to account for earnings in the tourism sector but as a bank we are really worried in terms of the statistics that we are getting from the tourism sector, which currently stands below 50 percent,” said Mr Chokwa.

“This results in underreporting of figures that we have as a country in terms of contribution to the tourism sector. So, this engagement is to ensure

that we bring everyone on board in terms of the requirements and expectations of the bank in terms of submitting statistics. Without statistics we will not be able to come up with effective policy formulation.”

Mr Chokwa said their thrust was to bring on board all players to register for submission of reports and compliance with set requirements.

He said it is a requirement in terms of regulations that all designated tourism facilities submit information regarding their earnings from both foreign and domestic tourism as well as employment statistics.

They are supposed to do that on a monthly basis before the 15th.

“They submit to the Reserve Bank their domestic and foreign earnings for statistical purposes, compilation of GDP, balance of payments and also for effective policy formulation,” said Mr Chokwa.

“We have been engaging tourism operators and we started in Harare, Bulawayo and now Victoria Falls as the Exchange Control is calling upon operators to self-regulate, do the needful and submit returns.

“This is not a witch-hunt and we are saying those that have been operating should come and regularise and going forward we would have to register as and when we consummate them.”

He said tourism operators, because of the nature of their business, have offshore foreign currency accounts that they open outside the country.

“They also have tourism agreements. So, the issue is that they are supposed to register all their agreements and offshore accounts so that we are aware of the business that they are doing,” said Mr Chokwa.

“The Monetary Policy Statement had given them up to August 31 to regularise their operations, which has been extended to October 31. After October 31 the bank will sit down with all tourism stakeholders and for those not fully compliant the bank will take measures.”

Meanwhile, the operators have pledged to regularise as they also raised concerns about some policy gaps. TBCZ president Mr Wengayi Nhau said between now and October 31, consultations will continue while operators regularise for the industry to be fully compliant.

“We are following up on the latest monetary policy review where tourism operators were called upon by RBA to regularise their contractual agreements with different suppliers outside Zimbabwe, as well as issue of operation of offshore accounts that may exist in some of the operations,” he said.

“RBZ expected us to regularise by August 31 and then as a big industry spread across the country we reached out and agreed that maybe before we expect everyone to comply, we first interrogate why operators are not compliant and found that some are not aware of the requirements hence this exercise where the RBZ is going around the country to the major tourism destinations by province.

“The major issue is to do with statistics, we want tourism to claim its rightful position in terms of contribution to the national economy.”

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Bulawayo colleges open companies as Education 5.0 bears fruit – The Herald

Bulawayo Bureau

BULAWAYO’S Hillside Teachers’ College and the United College of Education have ventured into full-time industrialisation through establishing and registering new companies in line with the Heritage-Based Education 5.0 model.

The development adds impetus to the on-going efforts by the Government to re-industrialise Bulawayo and anchor the country’s economy on increased high-value production with a focus on substituting imports and stimulating export earnings.

UCE, which specialises in primary school teacher training has set up a company called Collinvest (Pvt) Ltd and registered it with the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ). 

The new company deals with musical instruments and production of protective clothing as well as uniforms.

UCE principal, Dr Adam Luthuli, has said the college, in line with Education 5.0 philosophy on innovation and industrialisation, is now producing goods and services.

“The college’s company, Collinvest (Pvt) Ltd, which is registered with the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ), is overwhelmed with requests for musical instruments, protective clothing and uniforms. Our company has received orders from Gwanda State University, Manicaland State University. Kusile Rural District Council, Hwange Rural District Council, United Bulawayo Hospitals and Harare Central Hospital,” he said on Friday during the institution’s graduation ceremony. 

Dr Luthuli said the company is into production and repair of marimba, mbira and was also running chicken and piggery projects.

He said the company intends to produce assistive devices such as hearing aids, wheelchairs and prostheses or artificial body parts.

Hillside Teachers’ College, which was established in 1956 to train secondary school teachers, has already set up a secondary school as part of efforts to bridge the shortage of schools in the country while pursuing other commercial ventures.

A total of 56 Form One learners are now attending classes from the main campus awaiting the construction of new school premises in Matobo District after the local authority gave the institution a 24-hectare piece of land.

The college is also producing nutritious ‘Madhumbe Crisps’, a product that has been approved by the Government analyst laboratory and is expected to hit the market soon.

One of the female students at the college has also come up with a unique garment design concept to assist breastfeeding mothers and T-shirt, which allows a mother to breastfeed in public without exposing any part of her body.

Hillside Teachers’ College acting principal, Dr Sifelani Jabangwe, said the national agenda of attaining an upper middle-income economy by 2030 was premised on innovation and industrialisation, which puts colleges and universities in the spotlight to lead from the front.

“As we celebrate our ceremony under the theme: ‘Transformative Teacher Education for Accelerated Innovation and Industrialisation’, I would like to underscore the fact that it is imperative for us as a college to have our teacher education bringing innovation and industrialisation into the foreground,” he said. 

“Against this backdrop, we have embraced these two concepts as part of our core mandate in line with  Education 5.0 and have since embarked on a number of projects, which are reflective of this stance.”

Following the Government’s call for colleges to assist former students to form consortiums and establish schools, Dr Jabangwe said 10 former students approached the college expressing an interest in establishing a high school. 

“We were offered 24ha of land in Matobo district about 30 km from Bulawayo. We are ready to start phase one of the construction of the school.”

“I am pleased to inform you that January 2023 saw the college’s commencement of two form-one classes with an enrolment of 56 learners at our newly established practicing school,” he said. 

“We have had to create space for those classes within the infrastructure that we have for now. However, as we look to enrol classes in future, our plan is to build the school at our Hillside Teachers’ College 4ha extension stand. 

“The college is working closely with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to regularise operations of the school.”

 Dr Jabangwe said three college students and a lecturer have initiated a project to produce Madhumbe crisps.

“The project uses the local resource, madhumbe tuber. The product has been tried and tested and has also undergone assessment by Government analyst laboratory,” he said. 

“I am actually happy to say that the same product is actually available and is on sale right here on our campus and has been packaged as Hill Madhumbe Crisps advertised as ‘Traditional crispy taste just for you!”.

Dr Jabangwe said the college had also established a recording studio that is set to benefit the institution through recording fees to be paid by local artists although lecturers and students are the immediate beneficiaries.

He said the college was hoping to step up production of breastfeeding dress which was designed by one of the students which allows the mother to breastfeed in public without exposing any part of her body. 

The Education 5.0 blue-print prioritises the development of five-main faculties in learners, which include teaching, research, community service, innovation and industrialisation as key pillars driving an innovation-led and knowledge-driven economy.

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Lithium firms form association – The Herald

Michael Tome Business Reporter

LOCAL lithium companies have officially launched an association aimed at promoting the development of the industry.

The Association of Chinese New Energy Miners (ACNEM) is critical to enhance communication between the lithium miners and local stakeholders including the Government while safeguarding the rights and interests of its members.

Entities involved in the initiative include Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe, Sabi Star Mine, Gwanda Lithium, Sinomine Bikita Minerals Spodumene Project, Kamativi Lithium Project, and Global Platinum Resources.

Addressing delegates at the official launch ceremony, Mines and Mining Development Minister Zhemu Soda said: “It is pleasing to note that as Zimbabwe we host various battery minerals that include lithium, graphite, nickel, and cobalt. The development of these resources will contribute significantly to the country’s vision of becoming a prosperous Upper Middle-Income Economy by 2030.

“Chinese companies are at the forefront of new energy technology, and they have a wealth of experience in developing and operating new energy projects. This Association will bring together Chinese and Zimbabwean companies to work together to develop Zimbabwe’s new energy sector. The Association of Chinese New Energy Miners in Zimbabwe is a welcome addition to the Zimbabwean business community,” said Minister Soda.

Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Zhou Ding said the establishment of the association would boost Zimbabwe’s new energy sector.

“I believe that the association will also serve as a bridge to facilitate China-Zimbabwe cooperation in the new energy mining sector, encourage its members to better practice corporate social responsibility, protect their legitimate rights and interests, and push for the healthy, sustainable and high-quality development of Chinese mining companies in Zimbabwe,” Ambassador Ding said.

Ambassador Ding said the mining industry output has increased to US$9,8 billion in 2022 from US$2, 9 billion in 2017. ACNEM president Mr Wang Zhenhua said Zimbabwe was poised to become an important player in the global new energy industry supply chain.

“Currently, Chinese-funded lithium mining companies are the main ones. In the following stage, we will do our best to recruit various types of lithium mining companies in Zimbabwe, such as locally-owned lithium mines, other capital-funded lithium mining companies, and upstream and downstream companies. We will work together to seek common development.

“Encourage member companies to expand and strengthen business and dig into the downstream chain, support value addition, and extend industrial chain when and where conditions allow. Create more jobs and social wealth for Zimbabwe and promote greater development of the mining industry,” said Mr Zhenhua.

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Zambian President fires Information Minister amid rising tensions … – The Zimbabwe Mail

Chushi Kasanda

THE embattled Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema has terminated Chushi Kasanda’s appointment as Information and Media Minister, replacing her with UPND spokesperson and Southern Province Minister Cornelius Mweetwa.

The President has also removed Dr Anna Songolo from the office of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and has further appointed Thabo Kawana as Ministry of Information and Media Permanent Secretary.

Meanwhile, President Hichilema has appointed Dr Ron Mwambwa as Auditor General, subject to ratification by the National Assembly.

According to a statement issued by State House Chief Communications Specialist Clayson Hamasaka, Monday, the President has appointed Princess Kasune as Central Province Minister after transferring Credo Nanjuwa to be Minister for Southern Province

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