Zimbabwe has earned $470 million from the sale of 161 million kilogrammes of tobacco since the 2017 selling season opened on March 15 this year, statistics that the industry regulator released show.
According to the figures that the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board released on day 63 of sales, the golden leaf is being sold at an average price of $2,92 per kg. During the comparable period last year, about 157 million kg of tobacco worth $461 million had been sold at an average price of $2,94 per kg.
TIMB public relations and communications manager Isheunesu Moyo said a consultative meeting of stakeholders would be held this week to come up with the date when sales could close this year. “Deliveries have gone down because we have passed the peak of the season. The consultative process for closing date and mop up sales will determine the close of the season,” he said.
Card based transactions increased by $55 million to $506,14 million in April 2017 from $451 million recorded in March 2017.
The increase comes at a time when monetary authorities are increasingly pushing for the promotion of cashless payment systems and the general scarcity of cash in the economy. Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president, Mr Denford Mutashu believes that over 80 percent of the retailers have adopted to use plastic money.
“Indeed almost all registered retailers around towns and cities are using POS machines except for those in the rural areas where there are network and power supply issues. “Instead those have embraced mobile money we have seen a tremendous rise in transactions attributed to plastic and mobile money.
“The increase in the usage of plastic money is testimony of the efforts by banks to promote electronic payments to make it easier and cheaper for the banking public to use cards.” During the month under review, the total value of transactions processed through the National Payment System (NPS) stood at $6 954,94 million in April 2017, down from $7 011,38 million in March 2017.
CLOTHING retail chain Edgars Stores says the rapid increase in unregulated commerce in the country is hurting its operations as it is made to compete with businesses that do not pay tax.
Edgars — a local unit of South Africa’s Edcon — is caught up in a vicious price war with the informal sector, which sources most of its used apparel from China, South Africa, Botswana and Tanzania.
The group’s managing director, Linda Masterson, said there was a need for Government to control importation of cheap used clothing into the country.
“It [importation of second-hand clothing] is really a very big problem. Obviously, that comes back to corruption in our country that we have got these second-hand clothes that are on our streets,” Masterson said.
“It means businesses like ourselves that pay tax are being marginalised and pushed aside by the businesses that do not pay tax.
Zimbabwe banned the importation of used clothes from September 1, 2015 but Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Mike Bimha, said in January this year that the ban was unenforceable because the local industry had no capacity to meet demand.
ZIMBABWE recorded a 30 percent jump in gold deliveries in May to about two tonnes compared to 1.5 tonnes in April, data from Fidelity Printers and Refiners show.
Latest statistics from Fidelity Printers, the sole gold buyer since 2015, show that in May primary producers and small-scale miners had a combined delivery of 1 920.3 kilogrammes, the highest monthly output so far this year.
Of that figure, deliveries by primary producers were at 1 045.3 kg while small-scale miners delivered 875.9 kg.
In January, primary producers and small-scale miners had a combined total of 1 636.5 kg, while in February deliveries declined to 1 454.9 kg.
In March gold deliveries to Fidelity rose to 1 545.4 kg before receding to 1 489.3 kg in April.
The miners, in the first quarter of the year produced a combined total of 4 636.8 kg while statistics from the country’s sole gold buyer show that 3 409.7 kg have so far been delivered in the second quarter.
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has shut down a Chinese blanket manufacturing firm, Veleez, for circumventing their duty and tax obligations.
Chinese firms are reportedly dodging Zimra in paying duty by putting the wrong tariff codes, undervaluing goods, and understating the quantity of goods. Other tactics include not applying for import licences to bring in goods through the country’s borders.
Zimra officials visited Veleez which operates in the Southerton industrial area where they engaged a Mr Wang whom the workers from other businesses operating on the premises said was in charge of the company.
Wang then pretended not to speak English, although employees from other businesses operating at the premises had earlier told NewsDay he spoke and understood the language.
However, Wang’s actions baffled Zimra officials as he seemed to be busy on his phone the entire time before briefly talking to the tax collectors.
NewsDay witnessed the Zimra officials showing Wang a document believed to be the letter embargoing the blankets and closing Veleez operations before they left.
After the Zimra officials left, NewsDay approached Wang who then retreated into the factory, shutting the doors behind which he remained on his phone.
THE World Bank amended its forecast for Zimbabwe’s economic growth prospects for 2017 by 1,5 percentage points to 2,3 percent in its June Global Economic Prospects report released yesterday.
The latest World Bank (WB) projection is still higher than the 1,7 percent projected by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa in the 2017 National Budget, on the back of expected positive performances in the mining and agricultural sectors.
At the same time, the WB’s forecast for the country’s economic growth next year is set at 1,8 percent, a -1,6 percent difference from the 3,4 percent it had projected earlier in January.
ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe’s revenue for the year ended February 28 dipped 3 percent to $621,70 million, largely due to declining voice revenues.
The country’s largest mobile telecommunications network, however, saw the rate of revenue decline slow down from 14 percent recorded in the same period last year.
Profit after tax retreated 10 percent to $36,188 million from $70 million a year earlier, after the company’s voice revenue calls took a huge hit in that year.
Earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortization declined to $224 million, from $238,4 million, a decline of 6 percent. However, Econet said that “even under these challenging conditions, at 36 percent, the EBITDA margin remains competitive”.
Earnings Before Interest and Tax had declined from $286 million to $238 million in 2016, nearly 17 percent retreat in EBITDA on prior year.
FIRST Merchant Bank of Malawi finalised the acquisition of the majority stake in Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe from its parent company, Barclays plc amid reports the signing was pushed forward by a week to ward off several objections and interdicts.
FMB, a financial institution created in 1995, is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange, while it also has equity interests in banking operations in Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia. Barclays Bank Zimbabwe was established in 1912, and has operated continuously since.
A binding agreement was signed between Barclays Plc and FMB in London on Tuesday, while an application for regulatory approval was made to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe yesterday. The process to obtain regulatory approvals is expected to take about 90 days.
ZIMBABWE’S cotton selling season has begun and Cottco Ltd, which is the sole authorised buyer, has set aside $44 million to buy the crop.
This year, Zimbabwe is expected to produce 110 000 kg after a record low output of 30 000 kg last year.
Cottco managing director Mr Pius Manamike said the company had set aside $44 million to buy cotton during the selling season which opened on May 22.
“We are expecting more than 110 000 tonnes of cotton. We have set aside $44 million to buy the cotton,” he said.
Mr Manamike said Cottco would pay 55 cents per kilogramme for the top grade of cotton and 40 cents for the lowest Grade D crop.
Zimbabwe's mobile and Internet transactions breached the $1 billion in March, as locals migrate to cash-lite payments on the back of acute cash shortages.
Data from the central bank indicates that mobile and Internet transactions in Zimbabwe — which has been battling a cash crisis for over a year — closed the month of March 2017 at $1,1 billion up from the $796,3 million recorded in February 2017.
Since the country’s cash shortages began, cash-obsessed locals have been forced to migrate to alternative payment methods with the RBZ aggressively lobbying for a migration to cash-lite transactions.
Mobile money payments in Zimbabwe accounted for 81,2 percent of all electronic payment transactions maintaining the dominance mobile money services have had in transaction volumes, with this increase in alternative cash methods attributed to the cash shortages.
Fly Africa Zimbabwe (Fly Africa) will resume operations next month after an 18-month hiatus following its acquisition by a local company, Mugwagwa Resources, the businessdaily has learnt.
The airline’s executive chairperson Cassidy Mugwagwa said his company had so far invested $6,6 million into the carrier’s operations. Mugwagwa said Fly Africa currently has got access to seven aeroplanes and is locked in negotiations to purchase two more.
The latest development comes as Fly Africa — which was previously 49 percent owned by Mauritius-based Fly Africa Limited — was grounded in 2015 after shareholder squabbles escalated resulting in former majority shareholder, Chakanyuka Karase, voluntarily submitting the carrier’s Airline operator Certificate (AOC) to the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz).
Mugwagwa, however, said the airline had now secured all relevant documentation and regulatory approvals to commence flights. The revamped airline is set to resume its old routes starting with local then venturing into regional flights around August.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi is set to take on his Home Affairs counterpart, Ignatius Chombo, in Cabinet on the issue of police’s heavy presence on the country’s roads, which he says is deterring tourists from visiting the country.
A boisterous Mzembi yesterday promised that the issue would be dealt with. “The concern is about excessive presence of police,” he said. “I am back. The boy is back in town. The issue will be dealt with.”
A visitor exit survey (VES) done by the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (Zimstat), released in February this year, said harassment by the police constituted the highest percentage of reasons why leaving tourists would not recommend the country to potential visitors at 43,2%.
This was followed by harassment by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officers at 14,7% and harassment by Immigration was at 8,7%.
“We will mainstream it through the Cabinet. Whatever what the survey (VES) is talking about must not be seen as an affront,” Mzembi said.
VES surveyed 38 680 foreign tourists over a 12-month period between 2015 and November 2016.
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