Week 26

A weekly selection from Zimbabwean newspapers

Zimbabwe’s health insurance gap: 93% of population uncovered

About 7% of Zimbabweans have access to medical insurance, with 93% relying on cash payments to health facilities, a report by the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) showed this week.

A survey by this newspaper in other Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) economies showed Zimbabwe was trailing far behind regional peers.

In Zambia, the figure of citizens with access to medical insurance was estimated at 35%, while in Botswana, it was estimated at 42%.

The CWGH paper, which gave insights into how National Health Insurance (NHI) schemes can help countries bridge the gap, exposed complications confronting the majority in a country where 90% is jobless.

Their predicament is compounded by the fact that Zimbabwe is already rated as Africa’s most expensive country, according to the African Development Bank.

High unemployment levels make access to better quality medical care a dream in a country where an estimated 49% live in extreme poverty.


Zimbabwe ramps up nationwide power cuts as Kariba Water levels plunge – Moneyweb

Zimbabwe has ramped up power cuts across the country as water levels at the world’s largest man-made reservoir plunged due to a severe dry spell, reducing the amount available for electricity generation.  

The southern African nation, which is in winter, increased rotational blackouts from about two hours to as much as 10 hours on Monday, forcing businesses to resort to generators and solar power to run their operations.  

“The stored capacity at Kariba is 1 050 megawatts and we are only able to produce 214 megawatts on average because of the water rationing which has resulted out of low inflows in the lake,” Energy Minister Edgar Moyo told lawmakers, according to a transcript posted on parliament’s website on Monday. The artificial lake had 12.46% of usable storage on June 24 compared with 31.3% a year earlier, according to data available on the Zambezi River Authority’s website. 


PVO Bill will not affect law abiding citizens The Herald (state owned)

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said some charity organisations were acting in a politically-partisan way by channelling money to preferred political parties and candidates. 

Minister Ziyambi said this in the National Assembly last Thursday during the Second Reading stage of the PVO Amendment Bill. 

Minister Ziyambi said the Bill was a necessary measure to improve the administration, accountability and transparency of charities in our country.  

Government, said Minister Ziyambi, had noticed that some so called charities had bypassed the Private Voluntary Organisations Act by forming “trusts” sanctioned by the Registrar of Deed, Companies and Intellectual Property.  


‘Russia, Zim working on shaping a just world’

The June 6 meeting between President Mnangagwa and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Moscow puts a clear and strong impetus on Harare and Moscow’s co-ordination efforts in the international arena to produce tangible results, Russian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Nikolai Krasilnikov said yesterday.

Addressing guests in Harare to commemorate Russia’s National Day, Amb Krasilnikov said the deep-rooted and solid friendship between the two countries was the tonic for the advancement of a just and equal global order that respected the sovereignty of states.


Zimbabwe’s debt burden balloons to US$18 billion

Government’s efforts to address the crisis are being hindered by unclear fund usage, with 76 percent of external bilateral debt (approximately $6.2 billion) in arrears. 

Paris Club members, which include: the US, Germany, France, Japan, and Britain are owed US$4.1 billion, with nearly 98 percent in default due to Zimbabwe’s economic crisis. 

Government’s appeal for debt forgiveness and penalty waivers has so far been unsuccessful. 


Food relief: Cash transfers to begin soon The Herald (state owned)

Treasury is set to disburse ZiG190 million every month for the next nine months to cater for cash transfers to food insecure households across the country’s urban areas. 

The Urban Cash for Cereal programme is being rolled out as a social protection measure for vulnerable populations in urban areas, along with the Food Deficit Mitigation Strategy, which is targeting to distribute grain to food insecure families in rural areas. 

According to the 2024 Zimbabwe Livelihoods Assessment, at least 1,7 million people in urban areas are in need of food aid, while another 6 million in rural areas have been left vulnerable to hunger by the El-Nino-induced drought. 


Zimbabwe’s Currency Still ZiG Despite Code Change To ZWG

Effective June 25, 2024, Zimbabwe’s currency code has been changed from ZWL to ZWG, though the name of the currency remains Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG).

In a statement, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) explained that it initiated the process to update the currency code to align with international best practices.

The RBZ clarified that this change is not just a local adjustment, but rather a global standard that facilitates recognition of the new currency designation.


Opposition legislators warn over PVOs Bill

The Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Amendment Bill has sparked heated debate with opposition legislators arguing that it will have a negative impact on the economy. 

In a heated debate during its second reading in Parliament last week, Dzivarasekwa legislator Edwin Mushoriwa said the Bill was bad for the country. 

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year refused to accent to the Bill after it had been passed by both houses of Parliament and referred it back for further debate. 

“I rise with a deep heart and regret at the reintroduction of the Private Voluntary Organisations Bill before this august House. 

“You need to understand Madam Speaker that this is not the first time that this Bill has been brought to the august House. This Bill has got a huge negative effect on this economy,” Mushoriwa said. 


Victims of gender-based violence get reprieve

She got assistance through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) programme, which seeks to assist victims of gender-based violence.

The six-month programme was led by the Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development ministry in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Unicef and UN Women.

It is being implemented by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) through the Musasa Project.

Under the project, victims were provided with a safe space to share their challenges and in the process, find ways to overcome them.

The safe space is among four key pillars of the programme, which include a shuttle service for survivors of gender-based violence, to enhance reporting and access to services.

Since January, 5 499 survivors, of which 5 348 are female and 601 are males, have accessed the shuttle service in the eight districts supported by the programme.

Speaking during the closeout for the CERF programme, Musasa Project executive director, Vimbainashe Mutendereki, said the programme  provides GBV information for women to know where they could get services.


CCC leader: Recall legal battles far from over

The legal battles surrounding the recall of elected officials dismissed from office last year are still pending in the courts and have yet to be finalised, acting leader of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Professor Welshman Ncube, has said.

Pending the finalisation of the recall case, the acting CCC leader stated it is inappropriate for anyone to claim that the CCC accepts Sengezo Tshabangu’s authority to conduct future recalls, as the courts are yet to make a decision.

The acting CCC leader highlighted that pending the determination of that recall case, Tshabangu or any other person is interdicted from further recalling anyone by the order of High Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi.


RBZ to seek global recognition for ZiG The Herald (state owned)

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says it is committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG). 

According to the apex bank, plans are also afoot to make sure the local currency can be a stand-alone unit of account with global recognition. 

This was said by the RBZ deputy governor Dr Innocent Matshe at a Monetary Policy Symposium organised by the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) in Harare last Friday. 


Chinese-built steel plant in Zimbabwe fires up its furnace as it ‘builds the nation’ | South China Morning Post

A new US$1.5 billion Chinese-built iron and steel plant in Zimbabwe has fired up its blast furnace as it begins production of pig iron, a major raw material needed to make steel. 

There are high hopes that the Mvuma steel plant in Zimbabwe, built by Chinese steel giant Tsingshan, will turn the country’s fortunes around 

and could see Zimbabwe become one of Africa’s largest producers of iron and steel products. 


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