Items filtered by date: Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has ordered platinum and chrome miners to surrender 80 percent of their export earnings to the central bank as the country struggles to contain a crippling dollar note shortage.

Previously miners in the southern African nation were required to retain 50 percent of their earnings.

Mining is the single largest earner of foreign currency in Zimbabwe, making up 62 percent of total exports in 2016.
"...with immediate effect, 80 percent of all foreign exchange receipts from Platinum Group Metals (PGM) and Chrome shall be transferred to the Reserve Bank Nostro Account on receipt," a central bank directive dated Aug. 4 said.

The bank said the measure was to ensure effective administration of foreign exchange and spread liquidity in the foreign exchange market.

In exchange for the foreign currency the central bank will pay the exporter using real time gross settlement (RTGS), crediting the exporter's account with local currency.

Reporting by Kuda Chideme, editing by David Evans (Reuters)

Published in Engineering

South Africa's competition watchdog has launched an investigation into the high cost of internet data, the regulator said on Friday, after a groundswell of complaints from consumers and civil society.

The Competition Commission said in a statement it had already published terms of reference for the inquiry and that it would complete its investigation by August 2018.

The regulator said it believed there were features in the market that "prevent, distort or restrict competition", leading to excessive prices.
A 2016 World Bank report found that South Africans paid around $14.10 for one gigabyte of data, the fourth highest out of 17 African countries, compared to lowest-rated Cameroon, where the same bundle cost around $2.10.

In September last year a local radio personality presented a case for lower data prices to a parliamentary committee after a popular online campaign dubbed #datamustfall.

"The inquiry has been initiated in response to a request by Economic Development Minister, Mr Ebrahim Patel, who also has expressed concerns over high data costs," the regulator said.

Five main firms dominate South Africa's wireless broadband market, including MTN and Vodacom , which control about 70 percent of the market, along with partially state-owned Telkom.

Analysts say the small pool of service providers, combined with slow implementation of policy by government and insufficient infrastructure have hampered competition.

Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Joe Brock (Reuters)

Published in Telecoms

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