UPDATE BY THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE AD-HOC INTER-MINISTERIAL TASK FORCE ON THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Cabinet received an update on the country’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, which was presented by the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs as Chairperson of the Ad-hoc Inter-Ministerial Task Force on COVID-19.
Cabinet is informing the nation that as of 10th August 2021, there were one hundred and seventeen thousand, two hundred and fifty eight (117 258) cumulative positive cases, compared to the one hundred and nine thousand, five hundred and forty six (109 546) reported last week. The cumulative number of deaths reached 3 950, compared to the three thousand and five hundred and eighty three (3 583) reported last week.
Cabinet noted that the number of infections decreased slightly during the week under review, with 6 781 cases recorded, compared to the 11 652 reported the previous week. This reflected a 42% decrease, and indicated that the infection prevention and control measures are yielding results. However, more efforts are required to contain the third wave of the pandemic.
The only exception is Midlands Province which is experiencing another surge. Concerted efforts will be made to address the situation in that province as well as in other known COVID-19 hotspots.
Cabinet further wishes to inform the nation that work to increase bed capacity at several COVID-19 treatment centres throughout the country is continuing. The country’s companies and universities have enough raw materials to increase the production of Personal Protective Equipment as well as medicines for managing COVID-19.
In order to ensure provision of water, 12 new boreholes were drilled and 126 others were rehabilitated.
Seven handwashing facilities were established at public places, while 95 hygiene promotion sessions were conducted.
Assessments on the state of preparedness for the safe re-opening of schools is ongoing across all provinces. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has redoubled efforts towards the targeted provision of tents, additional furniture, reliable water sources, ablution facilities, and the decongestion of teacher accommodation. Testing for COVID-19 is also being escalated in communities.
2.0 PROGRESS REPORT ON THE PROCUREMENT AND ROLL-OUT OF COVID-19 VACCINES
Cabinet received an update on the procurement and roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, which was presented by the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable C.G.D.N. Chiwenga.
Cabinet is informing the nation that as of 10th August 2021, a total of one million nine hundred and twelve thousand five hundred and ninety two (1 912 592) persons had received the first dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine, while one million and sixty-one thousand two hundred and thirty eight (1 061 238) had received the second dose. This translates to a national coverage of 22.3% and 12.3% for the first and second doses, respectively.
Vaccination in border towns, other hotspots and peoples’ markets is progressing as scheduled. Two million syringes were procured from Sinopharm of China and received on 7 August, 2021.
The vaccination programme will be ramped up in provinces with low uptake such as Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West provinces, and Chitungwiza where progress has been slow.
Cabinet wishes to inform the public that churches can now allow sit-in congregants under the following conditions:
Only congregants who have received two doses of the vaccine are allowed to attend;
All Ministry of Health and Child Care and WHO protocols are adhered to, and
All those found in breach will be arrested, including the leaders of the churches.
Cabinet further wishes to inform the nation that private companies, hotels and other institutions can access vaccines upon payment of the requisite fees to the Ministry of Health and Child Care. This is on the proviso that they seek authority from the Ministry for qualified persons to conduct the vaccination of their staff and or patrons. Special care should also be taken to ensure that standard equipment is used for vaccination.
- PRINCIPLES FOR THE AMENDMENT OF THE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AND DISPOSAL OF PUBLIC ASSETS ACT [CHAPTER 22:23]
Cabinet considered and approved the principles for the Amendment of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act, Chapter 22:23 which were presented by Honourable Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care.
Cabinet noted that among other objectives, the Act provides for the control and regulation of public procurement and disposal of public assets to ensure that it is transparent, fair, honest, cost-effective and competitive. However, the Act in its current form does not sufficiently provide for capacity building of staff employed in public procurement roles, hence the often unsatisfactory compliance which undermines the integrity of public procurement processes. State enterprises and parastatals operating in competitive sectors and markets have also been placed at a disadvantage when compared to their private sector competitors because of inherent inefficiencies.
Accordingly, Cabinet agreed that the Auditor General be excluded from the membership of the Special Procurement Oversight Committee. This is because one of the Auditor General’s functions in terms of section 309 of the Constitution is to audit the accounts, financial systems and financial management of all departments, institutions and agencies of Government as well as provincial and metropolitan councils and all local authorities.
It was also agreed that the Chief Executive Officer should not serve as secretary to the Board of the State Procurement Oversight Committee. The Board should instead appoint a suitably qualified, competent and experienced Company Secretary capable of maintaining a professional relationship with members of the Board. The amended Act will also provide for innovation and technological advancements in pursuit of international best practice.
Furthermore, the wording of the original Act makes it optional rather than mandatory for procuring entities to accord preferential treatment to domestic service providers by all procuring entities. With respect to the procurement of construction works, the Act will now make it mandatory for foreign suppliers to engage local contractors and to also promote technology and skills transfer.
Regarding the stand-still period whereby procuring entities were not allowed to do anything for 14 days to allow for challenging of the award, Cabinet agreed that the lengthy 14-day stand-still period be reduced to 7 days. This amendment will facilitate the expeditious delivery of supplies, shorten the procurement cycle and ensure speedy project implementation.
On Disposal of Assets to Employees, Cabinet noted that there is a loophole in the current Act which leaves room for close family members to manipulate the disposal of public assets. Accordingly, persons meeting the definition of “close family members” will now be disqualified from procuring public assets being disposed of, in order to promote fairness.
Cabinet also agreed that quotas be given to women, war veterans, youths and people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups.
Cabinet directed that the actual Bill be drafted.
4.0 PROPOSED INVESTMENT PROJECTS
Cabinet considered and approved the following four (4) Investment Projects which were presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Prof. Mthuli Ncube, as Chairman of the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Committee:
Proposed Partnership between Bulawayo City Council and Tendy Three (Pvt.) Ltd. on the Bulawayo Vehicle Parking Management System Project;
Proposed Partnership between National Oil Company of Zimbabwe and COVEN Energy Ltd. to develop a Second Petroleum Products Pipeline and establish Harare as a Regional Hub for Refined Petroleum Fuel Supplies to the Land-locked SADC States;
Proposal for Investment by a Belarusian Independent Power Producer in a 100 MW Solar Energy Plant.
Proposed Partnership involving ZMDC, SIM SEA Pvt Ltd and Honghua International for the resuscitation of Angwa Shaft and the processing of the dump at Chidzikwe.
Bulawayo Vehicle Parking Management System Project
The Bulawayo Vehicle Parking Management System Project is a 30:70 Public- Private Partnership between the Bulawayo City Council and Tendy Three (Pvt.) Ltd. The two main objectives of the project are revenue generation and employment creation.
The project involves the installation and maintenance of a fully integrated parking management system which will allow users to pay parking fees using their mobile phones and other payment methods. Surveillance equipment will also be installed on all streets in order to aid traffic management in the City. The introduction of the system will increase revenue generation to the Bulawayo City Council, thereby improving service delivery.
Tendy Three (Pvt.) Ltd will invest US$2.2 million into the project, which will have a capacity of 7 200 parking bays. Some equipment worth US$700 000 has already been acquired for the project. The project will have an annual turnover of between US$1.1 million and US$1.8 million, and will create employment opportunities for 450 people. The partnership will run for a period of 6 years.
Apart from revenue generation and employment creation, the other benefits of implementing the Vehicle Parking Management System are, among others, as follows:
Real-time vehicle detection and recording;
Ability to guide motorists to available parking bays;
- Allowing effective and efficient workforce management;
Convenience to the motoring public; and
Decongestion of urban roads.
NOIC And Coven Energy Limited
The joint venture project between the National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (Pvt.) Ltd and Coven Energy Limited is for purposes of developing and operating a second pipeline from Beira to Harare. The objective is to establish Zimbabwe as the hub for the transportation of refined petroleum products to countries in the SADC region, namely: Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa.
The Project will result in the National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (Pvt.) Ltd and Coven Energy Ltd entering into a 50:50 Public-Private Partnership. The project will create employment opportunities as well as generate foreign currency for the country. It will also help reduce vehicular congestion and the smuggling of petroleum products. The pipeline will be built over 4 years, at an estimated cost of US$1.3 billion.
The partnership will be for a period of 30 years. Cabinet resolved that the parties sign a Memorandum of Understanding for purposes of conducting a bankable feasibility study which they will fund. The feasibility study would subsequently inform Government on the way forward.
Belarusian Solar Plant in Zimbabwe
On the 100 Megawatt Solar Energy Plant Investment by Belarusian Investors, the nation is informed that the project will be funded to the tune of US$125.5 million. The renewable energy project will be implemented on a 25-year Independent Power Producer basis, and will involve a Power Purchase Agreement with the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company.
The power generated by the plant will be fed onto the national grid and complement power generated by the Thermal Power Plants. Land for the project has since been identified in Norton. The implementation of the project will be subject to the signing of the Double Taxation and Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements between the Governments of Zimbabwe and Belarus. The project is part of Government’s Engagement and Re-engagement efforts.
ZMDC, SIM SEA Pvt Ltd and Honghua International
Cabinet noted the Joint Venture Partnership between ZMDC, SIM SEA Pvt Ltd, and Honghua International on the resuscitation of operations at Angwa Shaft Mine and the processing of the Dump at Chidzikwe.
SIM SEA Investments and Honghua International will inject capital amounting to US$20.25 million dollars which will cover the procurement of plant and equipment for dump re-treatment and shaft resuscitation. The project will create 500 jobs for locals, and Zimbabwe will benefit from technology transfer and US$200 million in foreign currency generation over ten years.
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