ZIMBABWE will only spend US$40 per capita (per person) towards health in 2023, much lower than the global average of US$1 080 per capita. In the 2022 national budget, per capita health spending was US$74, but it later dropped to US$20 during the year. The 2023 national budget shows that the per capita health spending will be US$40. Presenting a post-budget report by the Health and Child Care Parliamentary Portfolio Committee in the last week, acting chairperson of the committee, Nicola Watson said the US$40 per capita was ‘way below the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation of at least US$84 per person, per year on health.’
Government has availed US$34 million to the power utility towards the importation of electricity from regional producers. The country is in the throes of a biting power crisis that has seen some areas go for days without electricity. Speaking in the national assembly last week, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said the government had availed resources to assist the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) and Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC).
The last time we visited Zimbabwe was in 2019 and the local Zimbabwe dollar had just been introduced (or reintroduced) following the dollarisation period. The official rate was Z$2 to the US dollar and the parallel rate was around Z$4. The official exchange rate has since moved to above Z$600 and the parallel rate is at Z$820, after recently touching Z$1000 to the US dollar.
To put that in perspective, if, when I last visited in 2019, I had exchanged a $100 note at the parallel rate I would have received 400 “Zim Dollars” in cash. Assuming I had held that in cash at home and then exchanged it on arriving at the airport, I would have been given 20 US cents today – a loss of more than 99% in three years. While activity levels in Zimbabwe appear to be the highest I have seen in the last 20 years, with no expectation of the currency repatriation situation changing, we will not be considering investing fresh money into the country.
FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube has revealed that government has no means to fund demands by ministries in 2023 national budget after complaints by legislators in the National Assembly that government departments were severely underfunded. “Clearly, we cannot support that kind of expenditure request. We just do not have the resources. The resources that we can reliably generate are just over $4 trillion. We have always said, in terms of the Public Debt Management Act, debt should not go above 70% of gross domestic product (GDP) and we are straining ourselves not to breach that because the higher expenditure means that we have to borrow more, and we end up breaching the hurdle and that is not good for us.
As one of the signs of poor management and inefficiency by the government, a total of 100 motorbikes which were donated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2018 to health workers have been left to rot. This is after the government failed to fund health workers to acquire licenses to operate the bikes. This was revealed by Kambuzuma legislator Willias Madzimure in Parliament during a debate on the state health facilities in the country.
WOMEN in Zanu PF party have said if President Emmerson Mnangagwa had been in charge of Zimbabwe since 1980, the country would have made a huge socio-economic leap. Addressing the women’s league in Kwekwe recently, Zanu PF women’s league Midlands Provincial chairperson, Tsitsi Zhou said women feel Mnangagwa is development-oriented and must have an uninterrupted rule. In line with these sentiments, Zanu PF women’s league has called for a constitutional amendment which will see Mnangagwa extend his rule beyond the period of two terms as provided for by the law.
INTERNATIONAL creditors and banks have hit Zimbabwe with penalties totalling US$2,1 billion for unsettled debts, official data has shown. According to a report titled “Statement of Zimbabwe’s Public Debt Position as at end September 2022,” prepared by the Zimbabwe Public Debt Management Office, the country’s total public and publicly guaranteed (PPG) external debt was estimated to be US$14,04 billion during the period. The country’s domestic and external debt is estimated at about US$17 billion.
Zimbabwe has proposed incentives to accelerate 1,000 megawatts of privately owned solar energy projects worth about $1 billion, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube announced on Monday, as the country scrambles to plug an electricity deficit that threatens to compound its economic woes. The southern African country is currently generating about a third of its 2,000MW peak power demand and experiencing up to 18 hours of power outages daily after its main Kariba hydropower plant cut electricity generation due to low water levels.
The country’s ageing coal plants are prone to frequent breakdowns, impacting mines, industry and households. Zimbabwe’s drive towards generating 1,100MW from renewable energy sources by 2025 has been slowed by lack of investment by independent power producers (IPPs) spooked by the country’s currency volatility and uneconomic tariffs. The Zimbabwe dollar has rapidly lost value, plunging from around 2.5 to the United States dollar when it was reintroduced in February 2019 after a decade of dollarisation, to 673.42 against the greenback currently. The country’s power tariffs have also failed to keep track of inflation, which was 255% in November.
ZIMBABWE’S struggling economy stands to lose about US$1 billion annually after the National Assembly passed the controversial Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Bill last week, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has said. The controversial Bill will likely see some civil society organisations (CSOs) stopping their operations in Zimbabwe, while others may be forced to close shop, critics say. When the Bill was introduced in November last year, it sparked fury from the public, civic society and the opposition who said it would shrink democratic space by giving broad powers to government to control operations of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
There are about 300,000 stateless people living in Zimbabwe. They do not have identity documents (IDs). Most of them are migrants and have lost their papers or never had any. They are excluded from digital services and the economy because to get a bank account or a job, you need to have IDs.