Senior MDC-T MPs opt out of urban seats

JANUARY has shown that it is hard to predict anything in Zimbabwe, although short-term planning is now possible.

The economy however has shown signs of improving. Businessdigest this week looks at the good, bad, the ugly and, business quotes of the month and wishful thinking during the period under review.


The Good

 

*The Medium-Term Plan, the overall national economic development policy between 2010 and 2015, has targeted to achieve US$9 billion gross domestic product within the next five years.

*TN Holdings Limited shares started trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange with an opening listing price of US5,5c.

The listing of TN Holdings was completed through a reverse takeover of Tedco Ltd by TN Financial Holdings Ltd resulting in the change of name to TN Holdings Ltd. The company’s share closed the month trading at US$2,2.

*The 2009/10 tobacco output is projected to surpass 80 million kg, compared to the 56 million kg of the crop that went through the auction floors last season, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Wilson Nyabonda, said.

*Finance minister Tendai Biti  lobbied the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington to restore the country’s voting rights and offer lines of credit.

*The stock market responded to events that are happening locally and abroad and offering relatively attractive returns.

The Bad

 

*Zimbabwe is battling a skills crisis, with several companies struggling to recruit from the domestic market.

 

*The rate of growth in capacity utilisation is expected to slow this year with the overall recovery in the economy turning out to be lower than officially predicted, president of the Business Council of Zimbabwe, Kumbirai Katsande said.

 

*Abortion of a planned auction of 300 000 carats of diamonds from the Chiadzwa field by Mbada Diamond after it emerged that KPCS procedures had not been observed.

 

*Most employers are failing to pay workers’ salaries on time while others have approached the courts for exemption from implementing industry minimum wages, setting the stage for protracted labour disputes

The ugly

 

*Zimbabwe will continue to experience power shortages. A Zimbabwe Power Company generation report dated January 24 2010 shows that only one unit is operating at Hwange.

 

*The other five are tripped due to system failure with only Unit 6 expected “to return to service soon”.

*Continued disruptions on farms have resulted in more than 1 500 farm workers losing their jobs, the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Gapwuz) said.

 

*The Reserve Bank is broke to the extent of having some of its property being attached by the messengers of court.

Wishful thinking

*Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Thankful Musukutwa said the 30% growth which government projected for the mining sector in 2010 was attainable as most mines that had closed due to viability challenges are reopening.

 

*Zimbabwe should be self-sufficient in electricity generation by 2015, with the country exporting surplus power to its neighbours, according to the Mid-Term Plan.

 

*Zimbabwe is projected to host a third of the tourists (about 130 000) expected to visit South Africa for the World Cup soccer showcase in June, Tourism and Hospitality permanent secretary Sylvester Maunganidze.

Quote of the month

 

“Employees must be allowed to decide how they want to space their children and how many children they want to have regardless of whether they changed the employer or not.
“ZCTU also wants the breastfeeding period to be increased from one hour per day to two and this should be over 18 months and not the current six.
“Other proposed changes include a 48-hour notice to go on strike instead of the current 14-day written notice,” –– ZCTU legal advisor Zakeyo Mutimutema on the trade union’s proposed paternity leave for men.

 

*Negotiations between Israel and Palestine have been going on for several years now if not decades, yet you expect us to conclude the talks here faster and at the behest of the media,” –– Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, one of the chief negotiators in the current stalled dialogue to save Zimbabwe’s coalition government, speaking to a journalist.

 

*“The (Indigenisation) Act is good, we want indigenisation to be in full throttle, but the policies should encourage the flow of investors into the country,” –– Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president, Obert Sibanda,

 

*“All we are saying is that while we appreciate that these companies played a bigger role in sustaining Mugabe’s government, there is need now to review the situation and see what can be done to help save these companies from imminent collapse.” –– Gorden Moyo, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office advocating the European Union to remove sanctions on 40 Zimbabwean companies.

 

*“The past 10 years can be described as an unnecessary decade. Before abandoning the credit facility scheme, we had 180 000 accounts countrywide. However, because of some notable achievements in the economy we decided to re-introduce credit facilities and now our account holding base stands at 38 000,”. –– Edgars managing director, Raymond Mlotshwa talking about his retirement in March after serving the company for 29 years.

 

Ideas that might never materialise

 

*Government intends to set up economic crimes courts in Harare, including four provincial towns to curb fraud, graft and other forms of corruption.

 

According to the latest three-year macro-economic policy released by the Ministry of Finance, these crimes courts would work closely with the Anti-Corruption Commission. These decentralised anti-corruption offices are envisioned in Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo.

 

*Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries is urging the government to consider the adoption of the South African rand as a single currency to eliminate the negative effects of cross-rate, its president Kumbirai Katsande said.

 

*Players in the poultry industry are calling government to impose a ban on the importation of genetically modified chickens, a development they said would promote the local industry.

Paul Nyakazeya