- ZIMBABWE’S RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND REPORT ON THE PROCUREMENT AND ROLLOUT OF VACCINES
Cabinet received an update on the Country‘s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and a Report on the Procurement and Roll-Out of Vaccines, as presented by the Chairman of the Ministers’ COVID-19 National Committee, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable Dr. C.G.D.N. Chiwenga.
The nation is advised that, as at 29 November 2021, the country’s cumulative COVID-19 cases stood at 134 226 with 128 703 recoveries and 4 706 deaths. The recovery rate was 96%, with 600 active cases having been recorded. The number of people in need of hospitalization for COVID-19 continues to decrease, with the country’s bed occupancy rate declining to 0.7% during the week under review from 0.9% the previous week.
🔴Address by @edmnangagwa on measures to contain and prevent the new strain of #Covid19 virus #OmicronVarient
▶️All returning residents and visitors have to undergo #PCR testing, and will be quarantined, at own cost, for days recommended by @WHO_Zimbabwe pic.twitter.com/4YHknmTNKy
— NewsDay Zimbabwe (@NewsDayZimbabwe) November 30, 2021
This indicates that the national response measures being instituted by Government continue to pay off. Government, nonetheless, continues to call upon citizens to strictly observe the national and World Health Organisation (WHO) COVID-19 protocols as well as to get vaccinated to prevent a 4th wave of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Regarding the national vaccination programme, Cabinet wishes to inform the public that as at 29 November 2021, a total of 3 781 186 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered, while 2 804 465 people had received their second dose. Focus remains on achieving the end of year national and global target of total population coverage of 60% and 40%, respectively.
On the procurement of vaccines, it is advised that a donation of 60 000 doses were received from Mauritius on Friday 26 November 2021. Government takes this opportunity to assure the nation that the country has enough vaccines to meet the expected increased demand of accelerated roll-out of the vaccination programme.
Meanwhile, Cabinet would also like to advise that the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a statement on Friday 26 November, 2021, indicating that a new variant of concern, SARS-CoV-2 variant: B.1.1.529, named Omicron, had been reported by South Africa.
The COVID-19 National Committee has since designated Omicron a variant of concern in line with the WHO declaration. The country will therefore, henceforth, increase surveillance and enforcement of COVID-19 protocols, especially at Ports of Entry. Cabinet also resolved as follows to contain the variant:
- That Zimbabwe immediately adopts and implements the recently announced WHO guidance and advice on responding to the new Variant of Concern, Omicron, namely:
- Enhancing surveillance and genomic sequencing efforts to better understand SARS-CoV-2 variants that might be circulating in the country;
- Reminding communities and individuals to take measures to reduce their risk to COVID-19 infection through the tried and tested protocols, such as wearing well-fitting masks, physical distancing, improving indoor ventilation, frequent washing and sanitizing of hands and getting vaccinated;
- As the country goes into the festive season, and in order to reduce the risk of importing the new variant, in addition to strengthening COVID-19 surveillance and enforcement of protocols, vigilance of returning residents will be enhanced as well as at illegal or undesignated entry points;
- Continued strengthening of the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the provinces will also be undertaken; and
- Cabinet also resolved to put on hold requests from the tourism industry to further open up travel in order to allow for the monitoring of the situation of the new variant and its impact during the next two weeks.
His Excellency the President Cde Dr E.D. Mnangagwa, will issue more comprehensive directives on this matter.
- UPDATE ON THE GRAIN MARKETING AND SUMMER CROPS PRODUCTION SEASON
The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Honourable Dr Anxious Masuka, presented the Update on the Grain Marketing and Summer Production Season, which was adopted by Cabinet.
Regarding the ongoing marketing of grain, a total of 1, 293 million metric tonnes of grain comprising maize, soya beans, wheat and traditional grains have so far been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), which is a phenomenal increase from last year’s comparative deliveries of 327 446 metric tonnes. Cumulatively, 227 000 metric tonnes of wheat have been delivered to date.
On preparations for the summer grains production season, work is on-going to attain the following targets for the season:
- 2 million hectares of maize;
- 70 000 hectares of soyabean; and
- 655 000 hectares of traditional grains.
Cabinet is pleased to advise that subscription for the Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Pfumvudza/Intwasa Suppy Scheme has been overwhelming, with 2.484 million households already rolling out the programme, compared to the 1.5 million which were rolled out at the same time last year.
Following submissions from the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Cabinet took the strategic decision to include sunflower and cotton as part of the country’s oil seeds basket, in order to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change. Resultantly, the targeted hectarage for sunflower and cotton has been reviewed upwards.
Inputs distribution for the Climate-Proofed Presidential Pfumvudza/Intwasa inputs Suppy Scheme is in full swing across the country. The inputs distribution under the National Enhanced Agriculture Productivity Scheme is being accelerated.
Meanwhile, a total of 114 721 tobacco growers have registered for the 2021/2022 season, compared to 124 943 growers who had registered during the same period last season. To date, the total area planted is 31% above that planted last season. There are 345 new growers.
- UPDATE ON THE EASE OF DOING BUSINESS PROGRAMME
Before considering the update on the ease of doing business, His Excellency the President, Cde Dr E.D Mnangagwa led Cabinet, in observing a moment of silence in honour of the late Mr Douglas Munatsi, the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA), who sadly passed on in an inferno yesterday morning.
Cabinet takes this opportunity to express its condolences to the Munatsi family on this national loss of a man who was at the helm of the operations of transforming Zimbabwe’s Ease of Doing Business environment under the Zimbabwe is Open for Business mantra. May his dear soul rest in eternal peace!
Cabinet noted the progress made in the implementation of the Ease of Doing Business Reform Programme, as presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, as Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Ease of Doing Business Programme, Honourable Professor Mthuli Ncube.
The proposals pertain to re-invigorating the Programme, including through resuscitation of the Thematic or Technical Working Groups to interface with the private sector, with ZIDA spearheading the processes. Further details on the pertinent reforms will be announced as they unfold.
- PRINCIPLES OF THE PIPELINES (AMENDMENT) BILL
Cabinet received and approved the Principles for the Proposed Amendment to the Pipelines Act (Chapter 13:08), as presented by the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Honourable Zhemu Soda.
Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that the proposed amendments seek to provide for the protection of the fuel pipeline and the environment thereby guaranteeing consistent fuel supplies.
In more detail the proposed amendments are as follows:
- Section 6(1) will be amended to include any excavation works, any form of digging, ploughing or cultivation, alterations, improvements, blasting or any other activities which are not related to maintenance of the pipeline in the land around the pipeline reserve within a distance of 105 metres on either side of the centre of the pipeline reserve;
- Section 6(3) be amended to increase the penalty: from level four to level ten; and from three months to six years imprisonment. Mandatory removal of buildings, structures or such other related activities will be provided for; and
iii Section6(4) will be amended to increase the penalty to level fourteen or ten years imprisonment from level nine or four years imprisonment.
5.0 UPDATE ON THE OUTCOME OF THE TWENTY-SIXTH CONFERENCE OF PARTIES( COP 26) HELD IN GLASGOW, SCOTLAND: 31 OCTOBER TO 12 NOVEMBER, 2021
The nation is informed that during the World Leaders’ Summit, at least 110 countries , Zimbabwe included, representing 85% of the planet’s forests had signed the pivotal COP 26 Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forests and Land Use, committing to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. In the pledge, countries committed to combating climate change, curbing biodiversity destruction and hunger, and to protecting and promoting indigenous peoples’ rights and access to forests and forest products.
Cabinet noted that developing countries led by China and India achieved the watering down of the text of the Declaration from “phasing out to phasing down”. Cabinet also resolved to scale up the country’s National Tree Planting and reporting efforts as pledged by His Excellency the President.
The public is urged to take up the re-greening initiative and participate at all levels. Furthemore, in support of the green environment, Government is in the process of formulating the e-Mobility Framework which will incorporate electric and hybrid motor vehicles and charging infrastructure.
The policy will provide for the management of the environment through compliance to clean energy requirements, thereby curtailing the import bill on fossil fuels.
Cabinet agreed to establish an Inter-Ministerial Committee to coordinate the implementation of resolutions agreed at COP 26 and to prepare for future conferences.
- PROGRESS REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PHASE II OF THE ENHANCED EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME
The Honourable Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable Dr C.G.D.N. Chiwenga, as Chairman of the Enhanced Cabinet Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management (ECEPDM), presented the Committee’s Progress Report in the Implementation of Phase II of the Programme.
Cabinet advises that some milestones have been attained in the implementation of the Programme. Highlights include the following:
- On addressing the accommodation needs of families or households on flood prone settlements, construction of the funded four blocks of flats at Dzivarasekwa, which will yield 48 units, is underway. Site clearance at Senga Former Messengers’ Camp for 4 blocks of flats, that will realise 80 units, has been completed. Contractors have been engaged for the 8 blocks of flats to be constructed by the private sector at Dzivarasekwa and a similar number at Senga Former Messengers’ Camp.
- Regarding the issue of addressing non-adherence to approved layout plans noted in some urban settlements, Cabinet is pleased to announce that the Zimbabwe National Geospatial Space Agency (ZINGSA) has completed the aerial mapping of Hopley in Harare South. The team is now finalizing the mapping of Ushewokunze/Saturday Retreat.
- Once the physical verification of the conflicted settlements has been completed, the process of putting up the missing services and amenities, such as power lines, roads, water and sewer reticulation, schools, clinics and shopping centres will commence. Just like in the case of Caledonia, properly settled households will be granted their due title deeds, while the improperly settled ones will only be relocated when the relocation sites have been completed.
- Pertaining to the regularisation and rebuilding of decent work and market spaces for micro, small and medium enterprises, Treasury has provided ZW$150 million for workspace construction. The Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development has entered into agreements with three Local Authorities, namely: Gweru City Council; Chikomba Rural District Council; and Gwanda Municipality.
In Gweru, the Ministry is working with the City Council to construct four micro, small and medium enterprise (MSMEs) factory shells, which will house a total of 54 businesses. In Gwanda, two vendor marts which will accommodate 56 enterprises in various trades, are being constructed in the Central Business District. In Chivhu, a factory shell with 60 bays is being constructed in Chikomba. The facility will house at least 200 SMEs undertaking manufacturing, processing, retailing and repairs.
- The Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP 2) continues to register tangible milestones, as evidenced by the observable road rehabilitation activity on the ground. Highlights of the remarkable progress made to date include several major projects which have been completed and opened to traffic. These include the following, among others;
- Rehabilitation and resealing of Masiyephambili Drive in Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, which projects are both ready for commissioning;
- Rehabilitation and resurfacing of the Seke Road dual carriageway in Harare Metropolitan Province;
- Construction of Nyamataka Bridge and a high level dual carriageway structure in Burma Valley, Manicaland Province;
- Resealing of the Glendale-Chiweshe Road in Mashonaland Central Province;
- Re-gravelling and Culvert Construction on 54 km of the Battlefields-Turf Road in Mashonaland West Province;
- Commissioning of the Kopa-Jopa Road in Chimanimani, Manicaland Province, by His Excellency, the President Cde E.D. Mnangagwa on 10th November, 2021; and
- A number of other major projects which are nearing completion across the length and breadth of the country.
It has also come to the attention of Cabinet that some criminal elements are clandestinely damaging road works carried out under the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme 2, apparently to discredit Government efforts. Law enforcement agents have therefore intensified efforts to arrest the culprits and bring them to book.
I THANK YOU!