HomeOpinion & AnalysisIn Full: 29th Post-cabinet press briefing 31st August 2021

In Full: 29th Post-cabinet press briefing 31st August 2021

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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, Hon. O.C.Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, as Chairperson of the Ad-hoc Inter-Ministerial Task Force on COVID-19.

The nation is being informed that as at 30 August, 2021, Zimbabwe’s cumulative COVID-19 cases stood at 124 581, with 112 399 recoveries and 4 416 deaths. The recovery rate stood at 90%. There are 7766 active cases.

Cabinet noted a 30% decrease in the number of infections, with 1 785 cases having been recorded during the week under review, compared to the 2 564 reported the previous week. This reflects that the infection control measures being implemented by Government are yielding results.

There has also been a corresponding decrease in the number of people in need of hospitalization for COVID-19. The bed occupancy rate was 14.5% during the review week, compared to the 17.8% reported previously.

The Ministries of Health and Child Care; Primary and Secondary Education; and Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development are collaborating to ensure the safe and smooth re-opening of learning institutions. Standard Operating Procedures are being distributed to all schools in time for the reopening.

Furthermore, the nation is being informed that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is holding Integrated Service Fairs in all of the country’s 72 districts. The campaign is a Whole-of-Government initiative on mobilising communities to send learners back to school on the opening day.

The fairs also intend to mobilise educational goods and services, thereby ensuring that the learners have adequate resources to make up for time or  lost due to COVID-19 outbreak.

Following representations from the various sectors of the economy, Cabinet resolved and wishes to inform the nation as follows:

  1. considering that 98% of COVID-19 cases in Zimbabwe are of the Delta variant, there is no longer need to quarantine travellers from countries afflicted with the variant, such as India;

  1. that cinemas and theatres can now allow 50% sitting capacity of vaccinated clients, and that all workers should be vaccinated;
  2. that national arts galleries across the country be opened to vaccinated clients only, and that all workers should be vaccinated;
  3. to allow the resumption of sporting activities subject to strict observance of COVID-19 prevention measures and protocols. Attendant staff should also be vaccinated;
  4. that, for all local activities in which the participants are below the age of 14, they shall, in all cases be checked for COVID-19 symptoms, have regular temperature checks and follow social distancing protocols;
  5. athletes/children aged 14 to 18 years aare highly recommended to get vaccinated, and the National Sports Associations can work with Sport and Recreation Commission to get this done;
  6. that gymnasia, health spas and fitness centres be allowed to open only to vaccinated clientele; and
  7. that all Sports Clubs must ensure that their coaches, managers and any support staff are vaccinated.

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 29 August, 2021, a total of two million five hundred and fifty two thousand five hundred and seventy-three (2 552 573) persons had received the first dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine, while one million six hundred and nineteen thousand four hundred and sixty-three (1 619 463) had received the second dose. This translates to a national coverage of 29.7% and 18.9% for the first and second doses, respectively.

Vaccination in border towns, other hotspots and people’s markets is progressing as scheduled. The initial 15 000 doses of the 30 000 Sputnik V vaccine donated by the Serbian Government are expected on 1 September, 2021.

Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that owing to the tremendous support and acceptance of the vaccination programme by the churches, Government has launched Operation Marah.

The churches can now call on Government vaccination teams to vaccinate members against COVID-19. The launch of Operation Marah will drive and accelerate the vaccination programme towards attainment of herd immunity.

Government wishes to categorically state that the vaccination programme is a free service to the nation, and as such, all private health institutions should not charge those wishing to access the services.

Government also donated an assortment of locally manufactured Personal Protective Equipment and medicines, in addition to the donation of 20 000 doses of Sinopharm to the Government of the Republic of Namibia.

  • REPORT ON THE VISITS TO SELECTED 7th 100-DAY CYCLE AND PROVINCIAL FLAGSHIP PROJECTS

Cabinet received and noted the monitoring visit report on selected 7th 100-Day Cycle and Provincial Flagship Projects in Masvingo, Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Midlands provinces which was presented by the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes, Hon. Joram Gumbo. The purpose of the visit was to appreciate progress as well as the challenges that affect project implementation.

Construction of a Female Hostel at Roger Howman Training Centre: Masvingo Urban

  •  the Centre has trained a total of 1 795 trainees, with 119 having been trained in 2021;
  • the modern, spacious female hostel will have a capacity to accommodate 38 trainees; and
  • materials are on site for the completion of the hostel. 

Amarula Processing Plant: Mwenezi, Masvingo Province 

  • the project is meant to value-add and commercialise the indigenous African Mapfura fruit through the production of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, edible fruits and oil for cosmetics;
  • it will create employment for 150 locals.

Construction of Tuli-Manyange Dam: Galanyemba Communal Area, Gwanda, Matabeleland South Province 

  • the ZW$2.2 billion project will see over 15 000 hectares of land being put under irrigation;
  • it has created jobs for 140 locals; and
  • communities will benefit through irrigation for nutritional gardens, fisheries and livestock watering.

Old Bulawayo Monument (Ko Bulawayo), Matabeleland South Province 

  • Ko Bulawayo is being re-developed to preserve heritage and indigenous cultural systems, having been gutted by fire in 2010.

Gariya Dam, Matabeleland North Province 

  • the dam was constructed in 1953 mainly for water conservation purposes, to supply water for human use as well as to domestic and wild animals;
  • the dam wall breached in 2017, and is being re-constructed

Anju Prison Farm, Matabeleland North Province 

  • the prison farm produces a variety of crops as well as livestock for inmates’ consumption and for sale; 

Gwayi-Shangani Dam, Matabeleland North Province 

  • when completed, it will be the 3rd largest inland dam in the country;
  • will supply potable water to Bulawayo Metropolitan Province as well as to Hwange and Binga communities;
  • the project is about 40% completion. 

Unki Mine Debottlenecking, Midlands Province 

  • the project benefits are as follows:

increased employment opportunities and enhanced foreign currency generation. 

Budiriro Primary Satellite School Upgrading, Midlands Province 

  • Budiriro Primary School has been transformed into a modern school from pole and dagga structures; and
  • the construction of the school has considerably reduced distances being travelled by school children.

Gunguhwe Bridge Construction, Midlands Province 

  • the Corrugated Steel Plate bridge links Gokwe North and Gokwe South districts;
  • the completion of the bridge will provide a useful link that will be used by farmers, students and other travellers. 

4.0   UPDATE ON PREPARATIONS FOR ZIMBABWE’S PARTICIPATION AT EXPO 2020 DUBAI

Cabinet considered an update on Zimbabwe’s participation at EXPO 2020 DUBAI: 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 which was presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Hon. Dr F.M.M. Shava.

PROGRESS ON PREPARATIONS

The nation is advised that mobilisation of the private sector is continuing, with business entities being encouraged to propose events that can be included in the thematic calendar of events. Participants are expected to come up with events that explore solutions to fundamental global issues, guided by the ten (10) Theme Weeks and 18 International Days.

Tourism
The Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry has mobilized twenty-one (21) tourism operators to participate at the EXPO 2020 DUBAI. A number of tourism videos from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, and Ngamo Safaris, among other tourism operators, will be shown during the Expo.

Industry , Trade and Investment
Mobilisation and engagement of the private sector continues, with a number of companies having already contributed towards the Zimbabwe Pavilion Retail Store namely Tanganda Tea Company, Patrick Mavros, Adam Bede, Cairns Food, Mr Sauce and Copper Ware, while Schweppes and National Foods pledged to contribute perishable products.

ZimTrade is working with ZIDA (Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency), ZNCC (Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and CZI (Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries) in coming up with information on trade and investment opportunities in Zimbabwe, project proposals from companies as well a prospectus which will be displayed in the Zimbabwe Pavilion.

MINING
The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is mobilizing the private sector in the mining industry to participate at Expo 2020 Dubai.

CONTENT PRODUCTION 

Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services has mobilized media houses to help with the Communication Strategy.

Thirteen (13) out of 30 Media Houses including ZBC, ZTN, and Zimpapers have been engaged through a competitive tender process. The communication products to be produced by the companies include: Information and Communication material; audio videos; jingles for pre, during and post duration of the expo in order to profile the opportunities found in the country.

PAVILION CONSTRUCTION

The Zimbabwe Pavilion construction is 100% complete. The remaining scope of work currently underway includes finalisation of the digital equipment, zone labelling, installation of the Zimbabwe theme and country name, installation of the Zimbabwe Model Map, and virtual reality sets.

5.0   DEVELOPMENT OF MELFORT SMART CITY

Cabinet considered and approved proposals for the development of Melfort Smart City, which were presented by Hon. Prof. Mavima, as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Social Services and Poverty Eradication.

Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities, and  a consortium of pension and provident funds, banking institutions and other developers fronted by the Zimbabwe Electricity Industry Pension Fund and the ZESA Pension Fund, is collaborating  the development of Melfort Smart City.

Melfort is strategically located midway between Harare and Marondera, and has potential to become a major economic hub. It is endowed with excellent weather conditions, abundant water sources, thriving agricultural activities, a railway line and an elaborate road network.

Melfort has a direct link with the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and the link road will reduce the distances to the airport for the exporters and other vehicular traffic from the East.

There are substantial down-stream spin-off benefits accruing from the envisaged development. Going forward, the Smart City also aims at decongesting Harare, and the Concept will be replicated throughout the country. The development can be replicated to other areas such as Figtree ,and Chirundu Border Post.

Given that Melfort Smart City is a private sector-driven development project, the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities will engage potential investors on the funding models to ensure that the Concept quickly materialises. The engagement with potential investors will pave way for the spatial planning of the Smart City.

There will be an industrial Park and office park to support spatial efficiency in  development, promote import substitution, and develop sustainability and value addition on agricultural produce.

6.0   PRIVATE VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS AMENDMENT BILL, 2021

Cabinet received and approved the proposed amendments to the Private Voluntary Organisations Act (Chapter 17:05) which were presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Z. Ziyambi.

The amendments seek to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism by any individual or institution in Zimbabwe operating under the Private Voluntary Organisations banner.

The amendments also seek to streamline the administrative procedures for Private Voluntary Organisations in order to ensure their efficient registration, regulation and the combating of the financing of terrorism. The Registrar of PVOs is also being accorded powers to penalize non-compliant organizations.

The PVO Amendment Bill was necessitated by growing regional and global concerns about money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities. It is now known that terrorist activities can be committed using seemingly authentic transactions, either as humanitarian aid or as development assistance.

Since the current PVO Act was silent in this regard, the Bill seeks to close the loophole and ensure that all PVO activities are transparent and are conducted in the national interest. As a member of the International Financial Action Task Force, Zimbabwe is obligated to ensure compliance by all PVOs operating in the country, without exception.

Whereas registration has all along been free, the Registrar is now empowered to collect registration fees from all PVOs. The Bill prohibits PVOs from political involvement, and requires them to discharge their mandate for the benefit of society’s most vulnerable.

PVOs are therefore prohibited from undertaking political lobbying on behalf of any individual, organisation or political party, and the Bill stipulates penalties for those PVOs that violate the Act.

The Registrar can also impose civil penalty orders on PVOs which break the law, with high risk PVOs being placed under monitoring. The Executive Committee of a PVO can be suspended for either maladministration or failure to discharge the declared mandate.

7.0   THE ZIMBABWE NATIONAL CLIMATE OUTLOOK FORUM 

Cabinet was updated on the Zimbabwe National Climate Outlook Forum by Hon. O.C.Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri as the Acting Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.

The nation is being informed that the Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe will be holding a National Climate Outlook Forum (NACOF) on 1 September, 2021. The Forum provides a platform for the sharing of information on forecast/outlook for the upcoming rainfall season to multi-stakeholders. The seasonal rainfall outlook is also a useful planning tool.

The National Outlook Forum is being convened after the Southern African Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF), which provides consensus on the seasonal rainfall outlook to the regional stakeholders.

The SARCOF statement covers large areas, hence the need for the National Climate Outlook Forum for a more detailed forecast and outlook.

The country is divided into three (3) regions, and the initial rainfall outlook for the 3 for the period October to March 2022 is normal to above normal. Detailed information will be provided by the Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe from time to time. 

8.0 DAIRY AND BEEF PRODUCTION PROJECTS BY THE PRIVATE SECTOR

Cabinet was briefed on the commissioning of the Dairy and Beef Production Project by ZIMPLATS by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, Hon. Anxious Masuka.

His Excellency the President commissioned a dairy and beef project being implemented by ZIMPLATS in Mhondoro-Ngezi on 26 August, 2021. ZIMPLATS is in the process of introducing a special breed of Japanese cattle, the Wagyo.

The initiative dovetails with Government’s ongoing efforts to increase the country’s beef and dairy output. Up to 25 million litres of milk will be produced from this private sector led initiative which is also gearing towards specialisation in the export of beef to the Asian market.

It is expected that some 650 metric tonnes of beef will be exported annually. The special beef fetches between US$300 and US$400 per kilogramme.

ZIMPLATS will engage the local communities in pasture development as well as help improve cattle breeds in the community through artificial insemination programmes.

9.0  UPDATE ON TOUR OF CANTONMENT AREAS 

Cabinet received and approved a report by the Inter-ministerial Committee which visited Zimbabwe Defence Forces Cantonment Areas which was presented by the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, Honourable Daniel Garwe.

Cabinet approved the foolowing:

  1. construction of permanent physical infrastructure at Willian Ndangana Barracks in Chipinge, given that the Battalion is responsible for the security of the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border area, and Maganyana Barracks in Plumtree;
  2. Construction of the following structures at William Ndangana, Gimboki, Manyame Airbase and other cantonment areas:
  3. Residential flats;
  4. Garrison Shops and Shopping Malls;
  • Office accommodation; and
  1. Robust Armoury.

a nationwide physical infrastructure maintainance and refurbishment system beginning with Gimboki Barracks in Mutare;

the drilling of more boreholes at Gimboki and other cantonment areas facing acute water supply challenges;

the immediate implementation of new construction technology in housing delivery at Dzivarasekwa and other cantonment areas, which delivers affordable and sustainable housing at half the cost;

the installation of medical equipment for Manyame Referral Hospital, and that the facilities is replicated throughout the country

funding for the construction of the new cantonment facilities and programmed maintainance in all cantonment areas starting with William Ndangana, Gimboki Barracks and Manyame Airbase

funding for the construction of 1500 housing units at Dzivarasekwa Barracks, and

construction of infrastructure services such as roads, aircraft parking bays, sewerage and water reticulation system in the cantonment areas.

I THANK YOU!

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