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Zimbabwe set to announce fate of local currency after 73% plunge

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Zimbabwe’s currency plunged to yet another record low as citizens rushed to the safety of the US dollar amid speculation an announcement from the central bank on the fate of the local unit is imminent.

The Zimbabwe dollar traded at 22 476 against the greenback, taking its losses this year to 73%, the world’s second-worst performance only after the Lebanese pound. A sense of urgency has gripped the nation after authorities brought forward the start date of the new governor, John Mushayavanhu, by a month. The local media reported the move was made to announce a new currency plan that may include embracing the gold standard.

Read: Zimbabwe eases forex tax rules to shore up local currency

The southern African nation’s unstable currency risks sending the nation back into hyperinflation 15 years after its old local dollar had to be abandoned. The latest two Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governors, John Mangudya and Gideon Gono, failed to bring order to the exchange rate despite multiple efforts. These included the launch of gold coins and gold-backed digital tokens under Mangudya’s watch, while Gono repeatedly slashed zeros off banknotes as hyper-inflation spiraled and topped 231 million percent in 2008.

“What we are seeing is anxiety and people preferring to hold US dollars,” said Lloyd Mlotshwa, head of research at IH Securities, a Harare based brokerage. “This signals reverting to a place of safety ahead of the currency announcement.”

Local media reports at the weekend said Mushayavanhu, who assumed office on March 28 instead of May 1 as planned, may announce at the end of this week the new currency policy in a monetary policy statement, which has been delayed for almost two months.

The central bank has not given a date on the release of the monetary-policy statement that was originally scheduled for February but had been deferred to give policymakers time to fine tune the currency plan.

David Mnangagwa, the country’s deputy finance minister, said last week the statement’s release was imminent, attributing volatility in the exchange rate to “anxiety and anticipation” over the policy’s delay.

Meanwhile, the premium for dollars in the parallel market over official rates has widened 60% to as much Z$36 000, according to which monitors the exchange rates.

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Mnangagwa commissions Kamativi Spodumene Mine

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Below are some images from Hwange, Kamativi Spodumene mine where President Emmerson Mnangagwa Friday commissioned the company’s 2.3 MT spodumene mining and processing project phase one.

Pictures by the Presidential Communications

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Mozambican national jailed 16 years for rape

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By Tinei Tuhwe

A 23-year old Mozambican will spend the next 16 years in a Zimbabwean prison following his conviction and sentencing for raping a minor.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the convict, whose name was not given, was convicted by a Chipinge magistrate after a full trial.

Prosecutors proved that the rape took place on March 12 this year.

The complainant, aged 13, was on her way from their homestead to a nearby business center in Chipinge.

“He grabbed her by the shoulders and dragged her to a nearby bush where he threatened her with a knife before raping her,” said the NPA in a statement.

The court heard the victim screamed for help and was heard by a passerby who rushed to the scene and rescued her while the suspect grabbed his clothes and took to his heels.

The matter was reported to the police leading to the arrest of the perpetrator.

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Nigeria recalls ‘toxic’ children’s cough syrup

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NIGERIA’S drug regulator has recalled a batch of Johnson & Johnson children’s cough syrup after tests showed it contained “an unacceptable high level” of a toxic and potentially fatal substance.

The substance, Diethylene glycol, “was found to cause acute oral toxicity in laboratory animals”, Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said on Wednesday

It added that human consumption of the Diethylene glycol results in toxic effects, including abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state, and acute kidney injury which may lead to death.

The substance has been linked to the recent deaths of dozens of children in Cameroon and The Gambia.

Laboratory tests on the recalled Benylin Paediatric syrup also showed that it caused “acute oral toxicity in laboratory animals”, the regulator added.

Neither Johnson & Johnson nor Kenvue – which owns the Benylin brand after becoming independent from Johnson & Johnson last year- have commented on the NAFDAC’s statement.

The syrup was manufactured in South Africa in May 2021 and had an expiry date of April 2024.

The syrup’s packaging says it can be used for relieving cough and congestive symptoms and for treating fever and other allergic conditions among children aged between two and 12 years.

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