Business

Tourism sector set to lose US$1 billion

ZIMBABWE’S tourism sector is expected to lose between US$500 million to US$1,1 billion in potential revenue this year due to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Nqobizitha Ndlovu has said. BY MTHANDAZO NYONI In his speech at a meeting with industry players on the tourism stimulus package, Ndlovu said the pandemic had hit the country at a time it was already experiencing a dip in tourism arrivals. For instance, the year 2019 saw the country experiencing a 11% decline in tourist arrivals from 2,6 million received in 2018 to 2,3 million largely due to destination image issues. “While for Zimbabwe an upturn in arrivals was expected in 2020, anchored on aggressive destination image promotion and marketing, the COVID-19 pandemic...

Zera finally grants fuel, gas licences

THE ZIMBABWE Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has finally granted 2020 procurement fuel and gas licences after four months due to contentions with indigenous players over new regulations. BY FIDELITY MHLANGA The energy sector watchdog in March announced a new regime to acquire 2020 fuel import licences that included $2 million per annum from $23 000 last year, a $30 million performance bond as well the need for a company to have 25 sites with proof of ownership. This did not go down well with a grouping of local fuel companies known as Indigenous Petroleum Association of Zimbabwe (Ipaz) which filed an urgent chamber application challenging Zera’s licensing regime. A provisional order was granted by consent with both parties undertaking to further engage with a view to settling the disput...

Delta FY revenues fall

BY TAFADZWA MHLANGADELTA Beverages experienced a series of volume declines owing to the prevailing economic crisis despite recording a 14% increase in revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019. In a trading update, the company’s secretary Alex Makamure said hyperinflation, an unstable exchange rate, limited availability of foreign currency in the formal banking channels, the drought-induced shortages of cereals used in the brewing processes and shortages of fuel and power disrupted operations and distribution last year. “The trading environment has remained turbulent due to hyperinflation, an unstable exchange rate, limited availability of foreign currency in the formal banking channels and the drought-induced shortages of cereals used in the brewing processes. The supply of fuel and ke...

DIDG vows to pursue NRZ deal

THE Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG) has vowed to pursue the US$400 million National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) recapitalisation deal to the end following its termination by government last year. BY MTHANDAZO NYONI Government last year, under the instigation of Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Joel Biggie Matiza (pictured), cancelled the US$400 million deal signed two years ago with the DIDG, claiming the group had failed to comply with contractual timelines. This was despite the fact that the South African consortium had furnished Matiza with indicative funding term sheets with a cumulative value of over US$1 billion. Following the cancellation of the deal, the group refused to budge, threatening to slap the moribund local rail operator with a US$215 mill...

Vaya Express Shopper launches free home deliveries of groceries

Vaya Logistics On Thursday launched Vaya Express Shopper, a free personal shopping service that allows customers to simply identify and pay for the groceries they want in a shop, and a dedicated “express shopper” does the shopping for them, and delivers it right to their doorstep. According to Vaya Logistics, the free service will be available to customers in Harare and Bulawayo between now and May 17, 2020, when the current lockdown is scheduled to end. Speaking on the offer, Vaya Logistics and CleanCity CEO, Lovemore Nyatsine said: “We have a part to play in ensuring that the COVID-19 pandemic is curbed in these early stages. “So we are introducing Vaya Express Shopper as your own “personal shopper”, who will go out and buy your groceries for you, and you simply pay for the groceries fro...

IH Securities raises red flag over stimulus package

LOCAL financial services firm, IH Securities has raised concern over how the $18 billion stimulus package will be funded considering that government has not been able to secure external funding. BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA Last month, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube wrote to international financial institutions (IFIs) asking for a bailout or debt relief package but got no positive response owing to the country’s low credit worthiness and failure to implement substantive political as well as economic reforms. “The government has set aside $18 billion (US$720 million), circa 29% of this year’s national budget, as a stimulus package to support the economy,” said IH Securities, in its April 2020 monthly snapshot. “We are yet to ascertain how the government intends to fund this package as it has been unab...

Zim not recognised among emerging economies

ZIMBABWE has failed to make it to the list of the world’s top 66 emerging economies — a list topped by neighbouring Botswana — due to high public and foreign debts and insufficient foreign reserves, among others. BY MTHANDAZO NYONI According to The Economist report on the financial strength of the 66 emerging economies in the wake of the COVID-19 fallout, Botswana tops the list of countries with the strength of its indicators. The ranking examines the vulnerability of selected economies across four potential sources of peril, public debt as percentage of gross domestic product, foreign debt (both public and private), cost of borrowing and foreign reserve cover. In Africa, the countries which made it to the list include Botswana, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Namibia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, So...

Listed firms seek reporting deadline extension

A NUMBER of listed companies failed to beat the extended deadline of up to end of April to release their 2019 financial statements due to the prolonged lockdown stemming from COVID-19. BY FIDELITY MHLANGA The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange last month issued a blanket extension for all companies whose half-year and full-year financial statements were due for publication by March 31, 2020 to or before April 30, 2020. This came as companies were struggling to finalise their half-year or full-year financial statements because of the impact of COVID-19. Entities that have failed to beat the April 30 deadline are seeking another extension. “Further to our previous communication that the audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2019 were to be published by the 30th of April 2020, the...

Online Learning: How Zim parents can buy airtime online and WhatsApp

With Zimbabwe’s second term starting and Online Learning becoming the new norm, the need to have a good connection to the internet is a must. Internet connectivity will be required to connect to platforms such as Zoom for Education, Google Classroom and even WhatsApp – a platform accessible to almost all Zimbabweans. Mobile data is the way that most Zimbabweans will connect, given that fixed internet from providers such as ZOL and TelOne can be expensive to set up. There will be a need therefore for parents to keep their mobile data topped up for their school going children. There are now a number of ways enabling parents to buy their airtime online during this lockdown. They can also buy airtime on WhatsApp. The main advantage of these methods is that they allow the use of Ecocash to buy ...

PPC Zim April sales volumes down 20%

REGIONAL cement maker, Pretoria Portland Cement says it expects to record a 20% decline in sales volumes on its Zimbabwe subsidiary for the month of April due to the impact of the COVID-19-imposed lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. BY FIDELITY MHLANGA Zimbabwe has been under lockdown since March 30, 2020 initially for 21 days before being extended twice by 14 day periods. Essential services have been allowed to operate. Government eased restrictions when it announced the extension of the lockdown on Friday last week allowing industry and commerce to resume operations on Monday this week albeit under strict conditions. South Africa’s lockdown started on March 27, 2020. “CIMERWA and PPC Zimbabwe have partially resumed operations in Rwanda and Zimbabwe in the second half of April. C...

Ncube explains stimulus package

THE foreign currency earning sectors of manufacturing, tourism and mining will receive just $4,52 billion – the shorter end of the $18 billion stimulus package despite the impact of COVID-19 being more pronounced in those sectors. BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA Meanwhile, Treasury has allocated $6,08 billion to agriculture, while current drought-like weather conditions have already written off the larger part of the 2019/20 season and threaten a repeat for the 2020/21 period. In a statement released on Monday by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, from the $18 billion stimulus, $3,02 billion (US$120,8 million) was set aside for industry, $1 billion (US$40 million) mining and $500 million (US$20 million) tourism. “On 1 May 2020, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency, ED Mnangagwa, unveil...

Fidelity Life back in the black

ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange listed-Fidelity Life Assurance realised profit after tax of $74 million during the period ended December 2019 from a loss position of $3,8 million prior year due to a major growth in revenue. BY FIDELITY MHLANGA Total revenue grew by 52% to $503,6 million from $331,9 million during the period buoyed by fair value gains on investment properties. The gains on investment properties grew significantly to $ 371,8 million from $3,1 million prior year. “The group’s strategic choice to focus on inflation protection assets and core business resulted in positive results with the group recording a profit after tax of $74,1 million on an inflation adjusted basis during the year ended 31 December 2019,” said company chairman Fungai Ruwende in a statement accompanying the results...