Top stories for November 16-20

Inflation drops-Zimbabwe’s inflation was today reported to have declined to 0.59 percent in October, despite the liquidity crisis in the country, largely because of the weakening South African rand. South Africa is Zimbabwe’s main trading partner accounting for 40 percent of total exports and 60 percent of total imports. The Zimbabwe National Statistics Office says that because of the tight liquidity situation, there is an across-the-board weakness in consumer spending or low aggregate demand.

Aiming for the top
Zimbabwe is planning to decriminalise gold-panning to boost gold production and get into the top five producers of the golden metal in three years. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa today said there are over 20 000 gold panners whose output could significantly increase gold production if it is properly accounted for. Zimbabwe produced 14 tonnes of gold last year and could reach 17 tonnes this year. Top producers at the moment are South Africa, Ghana, Mali, Tanzania and Guinea.


Moyo scoffs at negative politics
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has called for zero tolerance to negative politics describing the current squabbles in the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front provincial elections as “side shows”. He said people should focus on implementing the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) and not on internal or succession politics because this was disruptive. “This new policy is a results-oriented one. The policy is not about story telling narratives which show off the good English our bureaucrats have. It is more a specific implementation matrix where each cluster outlined is defined by key results which are time framed, based on quick wins where people have to see results now.”


Lift sanctions
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme today called on the United States to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe’s diamonds. South Africa’s Welile Nhlapo, who currently chairs the diamond watchdog, said: “We hope that those who continue to maintain such sanctions will also be able to lift them because the lifting of these sanctions would assist Zimbabwe to bring stability and prosperity once again.” Zimbabwe’s Mines Minister Walter Chidakwa said: “Since the EU has removed sanctions on our diamonds, we are calling on the United States to remove sanctions so that we can be able to do as much business as possible.”


ZBC broke
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation is broke. It is realising only US$275 000 per month but needs US$2.3 million of which US$1.6 million is for workers’ salaries. Deputy Information Minister Supa Mandiwanzira was told today that the corporation owes workers US$8.3 million. The workers have not been paid over the past six months. Information Minister Jonathan Moyo dissolved the ZBC board last week and sent the chief executive Happison Muchechetere and finance manager Elliot Kasu on leave.



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