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Archive for the 'Economy' Category

Challenges and future Prospects of the mining sector in Zimbabwe – CRD

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Monday, February 3rd, 2014 by Amanda Atwood

A new report from the Centre for Research and Development, “Challenges and future prospects of the mining sector in Zimbabwe,” raises some important points on Zimbabwe’s mining sector and the challenges a lack of accountability in that sector create for Zimbabwe’s economy.

The report begins:

The later part of the year 2013 saw the government of Zimbabwe making lukewarm efforts to address challenges bedeviling the mining sector that civil society groups working in this sector have been highlighting relentlessly for years with very limited response from government. Despite the mining sector failing to achieve the projected growth of 17% in 2013 statistics from the ministry of mines indicate that mining has significantly contributed to Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from an average of 10.2 percent in the 1990s to 19.9 percent in 2009 and 2013 surpassing agriculture. Similarly, figures from the Zimbabwe Investment Authority for 2013 also reveal an upward trend of the mining sector attracting 207 million out of the 660 million worth of investment with the remainder 460.30 million falling into other 5 sectors of the economy. Between 2009 and 2013 the mining industry became the leading export sector accounting for over 60% of Zimbabwe’s total export earnings. In spite of this growth, the mining sector’s contribution to fiscus has largely remained insignificant due to lack of transparency and accountability prevalent in the governance of the sector.

Download the full report here

Show us some respect, City of Harare

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Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

This morning, I attended a seminar at which Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr Samuel Undenge, said that information in the public interest should be available to the public, across every area of government.

This statement in itself is refreshing, given Zimbabwe’s tendency to make even public information inaccessible to people (take the recent examples of polling stations and local government election results). And his comments came at a discussion on ZimAsset, which explicitly lists ICT and e-Governance (including getting the Registrar General’s office online by this month!) as one of its goals.

This afternoon, my experience showed just how far Zimbabwe has to go to honour this pledge, if indeed government is sincere in offering it.

The City of Harare 2014 Budget is currently under review, and the proposed tariffs for 2014 are available for public inspection. The idea is that, since it’s residents who will have to pay the fees, residents should be able to inspect the fees before they are finalized, and also should be able to register any complaints about them. Residents have one month to do this, and this year the complaints submission phase ends at close of business on 11 December 2013. (If you’re a super keen outraged resident type, find more details about how to do this on the tariff document.)

So this afternoon, I went to my district office and asked to see the income and expenditure budget. “You want to see it here?” The receptionist asked me. Yes, I told her, and she handed me a 37 page document. She could not photocopy it for me, and I was not allowed to take it away to make a copy of it and return it. So instead, I took a picture of each page, and pasted these into a PDF document.

This is a ridiculously inefficient way to do things. The City of Harare 2014 Budget is available on their website. Why not make the tariff schedule available there too? And, what about a completely radical suggestion – Make the documents spreadsheet friendly and easily computer readable, so that people can actually analyse the data more easily, not just consume it. The way it stands, you can’t even readily tell if the tariffs they are referring to are monthly, quarterly, annual, or what.

Even more worryingly, the tariff schedule is a tiny fraction of what someone would need to know to assess concerns with the city budget. It lists what will be charged for city services – but not how many people might consume them, or how often. And it tells you nothing about expenditure. Even the budget speech, which is publicly available, is vague on detail particularly when it comes to expenditure.

When I phoned the city council to try and get more information, it was not readily available. I was referred to the health department, if I wanted more detail on the health licensing fees, and I was told to go to Cleveland House in person to ask any questions about advertising charges (the woman at Town House told me their phones don’t work). If I wanted more detail on the actual budget estimates for income and expenditure, I could come to the Chamber Secretary’s office, again in person, in the hopes that maybe they could help me.

In Section 288, the Urban Councils Act requires a city’s Finance Committee to “draw up and present for the approval of the council estimates in such detail as the council may require of the income and expenditure on revenue and capital accounts of the council for the next succeeding financial year.”

The same section also states that “Copies of the estimates approved in terms of subsection (1) shall be available for purchase by any person at such charge as may be fixed by the council: Provided that the charge fixed by the council shall not exceed such amount, if any, as may be prescribed.”

I find it hard to believe that the 2014 Budget Speech, which is available on the City of Harare website, represents the “council estimates in such detail as the council may require.” The document is readable, but it’s not detailed. Someone applying for a bank loan or developing a business plan would provide more detail on where their income would be coming from and how it would be spent.

So why does the City of Harare not treat its residents (read its revenue base) with the same respect?

Gaza Primary overcharging for school trips

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Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

We got this report from a subscriber about overcharging for school trips at Gaza Primary in Chipinge. Maybe some creative fundraising by the school board?

How daring this Gaza Primary School in Chipinge has become, milking us of our cash.  Students last week were told to ask parents for $20 for a trip to Mutare by plane, thus we paid happily. Two days before the trip, students were told its no longer a trip to Mutare but above Chipinge in a plane, well as such. Later, we were refunded $10 and it was now said it an educational trip to see a landed plane. It didn’t go down well with us parents so we complained, and asked for our monies back. Some were refunded but some were told to go hang. We let them be. They went on to hire an 18 seater combi to carry our kids to the aerodrome 2 and a half kilometers away to see three 2-seater gliders that had landed, and to be told lies about planes by the riders. No child ever touched the gliders let alone boarding it and this cost us $10 per child.

2013: The Defining Year for Zimbabwe Going Forward – MPOI Public Seminar

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Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) Public Seminar

Topic: 2013: The Defining Year for Zimbabwe Going Forward
Venue: New Ambassador Hotel, Harare
Date: Thursday, 28 November 2013
Time: 1730 to 2000 hours


1.    Mr Psychology Maziwisa: ZANU-PF Deputy Director for Information and Publicity
2.    Mr Douglas Mwonzora: MDC-T Spokesperson
3.    Mr Takura Zhangazha: Social Analyst

Chairperson:    Mr. Herbert Ndoma

Admission:    FREE. ALL ARE WELCOME!

For further enquiries please contact: Mass Public Opinion Institute: 771358/758700/ Cell: 0772 100 409

Police clearance has been granted

‘Could it be that public opinion is “the missing link” in the democracy debate in Zimbabwe, and indeed, in Africa today?’

IMF and Zimbabwe – SAPES Dialogue

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Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

SAPES Trust Public Dialogue Forum

Topic: The IMF and Zimbabwe
Date: Thursday 28 November
Time: 5pm – 7pm
Venue:  SAPES Seminar Room 4 Deary Avenue, Belgravia, Harare

Speakers: Dan Ndlela, Senior Economist

Discussants: Nadia Piffaretti, World Bank Senior Economist
Gibson Chigumira, Executive Director, Zimbabwe Economic Policy And Research Unit (ZEPARU)

Chair: Ibbo Mandaza, Sapes Trust


SAPES Seminar Club Membership Forms available at entrance

Feel free to visit our website at www.sapes.org.zw

Hatfield resident speaks on illegal structures

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Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

Recent talk of demolitions of “illegal structures” being planned by government prompted a subscriber in Hatfield to send us these thoughts:

Greetings. I’m am a very bitter resident of Hatfield and I stay in Harare Drive. From the onset of farm invasions there was a group of people that came and began to settle in a bush that existed surrounding Dunstan transport company. This bush is right next to the international airport. Don’t get me wrong I do think every citizen deserves a piece of land to build a house and live but it’s the location and state of these houses and how it has affected the proper houses along Harare Drive.

In 2005 if I’m not mistaken during the Operation Murambatsvina phase the houses that were destroyed then were far better than the ones they have now. I don’t know when these settlements became legal because during election campaign phase, makeshift roads were opened up and by end of polls there was no sign of even a grading machine. The roads were left unfinished till today I will send pictures later.

These are the bad effects of these settlements: property along Harare Drive has devalued. Our roads are even neglected by council, even service delivery like refuse collection and water have ceased to exist from the onset of these events. Their settlement meant cutting down of trees and because of this our area now receives little or no rain at all. Be that as it may, it just brings out a really bad picture of what Zimbabwe is really on arrival of all visitors.

I have failed to really understand the whole situation. My suggestion is if parties want their supporters to have such benefits they must also assist them in building descent houses and at least service the stands in advance because they have no power, no sanitation and no water and it’s been a decade since they settled there. Before we also heard rumors of that land being developed with a shopping mall and new runways and a new airport hotel and a school also I guess that will never happen. Someone must do something.

- Disgruntled Youth