South Africa has disclosed that it turned down a request from Zimbabwe for an emergency loan of $1.2bn (£932m) in December.
 
Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane said South Africa did not have "that kind of money".
 
Zimbabwe's government had hoped to use the cash injection to stabilise the ailing economy and resolve fuel shortages in the country.
 
Soon after the request was rejected, Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa was forced to announce a steep increase in the price of fuel - a move which has caused angry protests.
 
Police have violently repressed the protests that broke out mainly in the capital, Harare, and the southwestern city of Bulawayo, with some reports that they were conducting door-to-door searches and using of live ammunition.
 
Human rights groups say at least a dozen people have been killed, but there has been no official confirmation.
 
The UN called on the government to halt the "excessive use of force" by security forces.
 
President Mnangagwa tweeted that he was abandoning plans to attend the Davos economic summit and return home to deal with the crisis.
 
 
Source: BBC
 
Zimbabwe will introduce a new currency in the next 12 months, the country’s Finance Minister said, as a shortage of United States dollars plunges the financial system into disarray, forcing businesses to close and threatening unrest.
 
The southern African nation abandoned its own hyperinflation-wrecked currency in 2009 at the height of an economic recession, adopting the greenback and other currencies including sterling and the South African rand.
 
But without enough hard currency to back up the $10 billion of electronic funds trapped in local bank accounts, businesses and civil servants are demanding payment in cash which can be deposited and used to make payments both inside and outside the country.
 
Mthuli Ncube told a town hall meeting late on Friday that a new local currency would be introduced in less than twelve months.
 
“On the issue of raising enough foreign currency to introduce the new currency, we are on our way already, give us months, not years,” he said.
 
Zimbabwe currently has less than two weeks import cover, according to central bank data, and the government has previously said it would only consider launching a new currency if it had at least six months of reserves.
 
Locals are haunted by memories of the Zimbabwean dollar, which became worthless as hyperinflation spiralled to reach 500 billion% in 2008, the highest rate in the world for a country not at war, wiping out pensions and savings.
 
A surrogate bond note currency introduced in 2016 to stem dollar shortages has also collapsed in value.
 
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is under pressure to revive the economy but, in something of a vicious circle, the dollar shortages are undermining efforts to win back foreign investors sidelined under his predecessor Robert Mugabe.
 
With less than $400 million in actual cash in Zimbabwe according to central bank figures, there are fuel shortages and companies are struggling to import raw materials and equipment, forcing them to buy greenback notes on the black market at a premium of up to 370%.
 
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries has warned some of its members could stop operating at the end of the month due to the dollar crunch.
 
Zimbabwe’s iconic manufacturer of cooking oil and soap, Olivine Industries said on Saturday it had suspended production and put workers on indefinite leave because it owed foreign suppliers $11 million.
 
A local associate of global brewing giant Anheuser-Busch Inbev said this week it would invest more than $120 million of dividends and fees trapped in Zimbabwe into the central bank’s savings bonds
 
 
Source: Global Market
 
Zimbabwe has appointed an independent administrator to run its loss-making national airline to try and revive its fortunes, according to an official notice.
 
Air Zimbabwe has been struggling with a $300 million debt, including to foreign creditors. Only three of its planes are operational, with another three grounded, which has forced it to abandon international routes.
 
Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi appointed Harare-based chartered accountant Reggie Saruchera as administrator with powers to “raise money in any way without the authority of shareholders for the purposes of the reconstruction,” according to a government gazette published late on Friday.
 
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said on Friday the government was hoping to sell stakes in Air Zimbabwe and other state-owned companies under a package of reforms - though the airline has failed to attract private investors in the past.
 
The government said in April it had bought two Boeing 777 aircraft and an Embraer plane from Malaysia but added that the planes would be leased to a new local airline until Air Zimbabwe returned to profitability.
 
 
Source: News24

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate rose 1.38 percent to 4.29 percent in July 2018, latest figures from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZImStats) show.

This was a significant upturn from the June 2018 figure of 2.91 percent.

On a monthly basis, the inflation rose 1.03 percentage points to 0.98 percent.

“The month-on-month inflation rate in July 2018 was 0,98 percent gaining 1,03 percentage points on the June 2018 rate of -0,05 percent,” said ZimStats in its monthly update.

Some observers have attributed the quickening inflation to the continuance of the parallel currency market.

Although the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has maintained the US dollar-bond note official rate at 1:1, cash shortages have resulted in a thriving black market for physical currency, both bond notes and United States dollar notes.

It is largely expected that the high demand for US dollars by both companies and individuals continues to push up the exchange rate.

 

Source: Vanguard

Harare — Parliament backed down Monday from its demand for former president Robert Mugabe to answer questions related to diamond mining operations during his time in office.
 
In what would have been his first public appearance since being ousted last November, parliament had wanted to question Mugabe about his claim that the state had been deprived of at least $15 billion in revenue by mining companies operating in the eastern Marange diamond fields.
 
The legislative committee's pursuit of Mugabe had been condemned by a fledgling opposition party linked to the veteran leader.
 
Mugabe had twice failed to appear before the Temba Mliswa chaired mines committee of parliament and was given a final chance to do so on Monday.
 
However, the committee said in a statement it had now recused the 94-year-old former leader after consultations with the Speaker.
 
The committee did not give any more details.
 
"The former President, His Excellency Cde RG Mugabe, was unable to attend at the appointed hour and the committee was due to meet to consider summoning him as a measure of last resort but after consultations with the Honourable Speaker, he was recused from attending," said Mliswa in a statement.
 
He also condemned the refusal by home affairs minister Obert Mpofu to appear before the committee.
 
"In the same vein the non-appearance by the Former Head of State His Excellency Cde RG Mugabe to answer questions on the missing $15 billion diamond revenues, heightens the perception that both may have been complicit on this issue.
 
"Closure on the alleged missing $15 billion diamond revenues is possible if the former President clears the air on the context he made the assertion that the country lost such amount. The Ninth Parliament must pursue the matter to its logical conclusion."
 
A parliament official privy to the issue had told News men in May that it was unlikely Mugabe would appear before the committee because this was opposed by influential politicians in President Emmerson Mnangagwa's ruling Zanu PF party.
 
Mugabe said in March 2016 the country was robbed of wealth by diamond companies including joint ventures between Chinese companies and the army, police and intelligence services.
 
He later expelled those firms last year and replaced them with a state-owned diamond company.
 
The Mugabe-backed National People's Front (NPF) accused Mliswa's committee of abusing parliamentary procedures through what he called a "fake process aimed at obfuscating debate around the abuse of diamonds and diamond revenue through illegal mining activities by Zimbabwe's Security ministries."
 
In a statement, NPF wondered why the committee had not quizzed the military over its involvement in diamond mining at Marange.
 
"The activities of the parliamentary portfolio are meant to exonerate President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice president Constantino Chiwenga from allegations of looting diamonds by creating a sideshow involving the former president."
 
Source: New Zimbabwe

Econet Wireless says its extraordinary general meeting to consider a proposed $130 million capital raise will go ahead as planned on Friday, setting itself on a collision course with the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange which directed the company to postpone it until ‘certain technical issues’ are clarified.

The rights issue has generated some controversy largely due to its requirement that shareholders pay abroad to subscribe, a move that analysts say would disadvantage pension funds and other minorities who might not be able to follow their rights. Econet says it needs to raise the cash offshore to pay off its external debt, which it has increasingly struggled to amortise due to Zimbabwe’s foreign currency crisis. 

ZSE chair Caroline Sandura said in a statement issued late on Wednesday the bourse asked Econet to defer its vote on the transaction.
But Econet countered with its own statement in which it said it had, along with the central bank, put up a facility to allow local shareholders to participate in the rights offer.

It said a rights offer account has been opened with Econet’s wholly-owned subsidiary Steward Bank, where local shareholders would deposit the proceeds of the rights offer in accordance with the timetable published in the company’s circular dated 17 January 2017. The underwriter, Econet Global, will pay the equivalent of the amount contributed by the resident shareholder to the international receiving bank, Afreximbank.

“Those resident shareholders who follow their rights by paying into the designated local account shall be deemed as having discharged their obligations as set out in the Rights Offer Circular and shall be entitled to the issue and allotment of their Rights Offer shares,” said Econet.

“In the circumstances, members are advised that the extraordinary general meeting shall proceed as published in the circular,” it added, saying members should disregard “any notice to the contrary not coming from the company.”

ZSE’s Sandura is yet to respond to the latest move by Econet.

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