Business

Econet buys lithium-ion batteries from Tesla

By Farai Matiashe Zimbabwe’s biggest telecommunications company, Econet Wireless, has turned to lithium-ion batteries to power its base stations in the wake of incessant power shortages currently rocking the country. The power utility company, Zesa Holdings, early this year, introduced 18-hour-long loadshedding schedules to contain the situation, as its electricity generation plummeted due to low water levels in Lake Kariba, the country’s largest source of power, whose water levels have been depleted by an El Nino-induced drought. Zesa Holdings, which relies on power imports from neighbouring countries, as of July this year owed South Africa’s Eskom $23 million in unpaid bills and at the moment Eskom is providing 400 megawatts to Zimbabwe, which is not enough to restore the situation to no...

High excise duty threatens Afdis

BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA WINES and spirits maker African Distillers Limited (Afdis) expects product affordability challenges going forward owing to an upsurge in excise duty charged on its goods. Excise duty is a tax designed to discourage the purchase of particular goods. If you import goods from abroad, you might need to pay a few different types of taxes or duties. In 2010, government introduced specific excise duty rates based on the level of absolute alcohol content in order to equal the playing field between imported and locally-produced products. “Post year-end, the government changed duty structures, effectively doubling excise duty on company products. Affordability is likely to be a challenge going forward,” company chairman Pearson Gowero said in a statement accompanying Afdis’ fina...

Falcon Gold records $27m loss

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI MINING giant Falcon Gold’s woes continue to mount after its total comprehensive loss for the six months to March 31, 2019 skyrocketed by 1 519% to $27 million. According to its unaudited interim consolidated results of operations for the six months ended March 31, 2019, Falgold’s losses amounted to $27 million against $1,7 million reported in the same period last year. It recorded a net working capital deficit of $11 million, up 68% in the comparable period and negative equity of $44 million. “The group continues to incur losses. The increase in total comprehensive loss is mainly due to foreign exchange losses amounting to $23 917 228,” the group’s chairperson, Ian Saunders said. The group produced 1 849 ounces of gold in the period under review, with an average sale pri...

Experts, govt deliberate on smart cities

BY Thomas Mupfuka THE Zimbabwe Institute of Geometrics (ZIG) will next week hold a conference expected to bring together experts to deliberate on Sustainable Development Goal 11, which seeks to promote smart cities. Delegates will be drawn from financial houses, research houses, tertiary institutions, government departments and private sector players. ZIG president Wilson Mhuri said the indaba was expected to come up with solutions that will help deal with waste management issues, corruption, and provision of services by the country’s local authorities. “We intend to bring together various professionals from all over the world, especially those working around the built environment in cities to discuss and/or share solutions on various challenges in our cities. This will be a chance to put ...

Sanganai/Hlanganani Expo opens on high note

BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA / WINSTONE ANTONIO THE 2019 edition of the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism expo kicked off in Bulawayo yesterday with players in the sector describing it as much better than previous editions. Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ) president Paul Matamisa told journalists that this year’s event was an improved affair, commending the organisers, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) for putting together a successful exhibition. “We are happy that the expo has started and we are very much gratified that we are finally here for this year’s fair,” Matamisa said. “We are here to witness a much improved fair than all those that have been held in the past. We are particularly happy because we appreciate that a lot of energy has been put towards what we are going to be w...

Power cuts choke Cafca cables demand

BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange-listed cable manufacturer, Cafca Limited says future cable demand is unpredictable owing to the impact of prolonged power cuts in the country. Zimbabwe has been facing acute power shortages lasting 18 hours a day as the power utility company, Zesa Holdings, cited several challenges, which include foreign currency shortages, breakdown of equipment, unpaid debt and severe reduction of water levels at Lake Kariba. Last month, Zesa increased electricity charges from 9,86 cents (US1 cent) per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 27 cents/kWh (3 US cents), in a bid to cover the power shortage gap. “The impact of the chronic power shortage in the country makes it difficult to predict future demand for cable,” Cafca secretary Caroline Kangara said in the group’s trad...

No stroll in the park for new MPC, RBZ boards

No stroll in the park for new MPC, RBZ boards BY FIDELITY MHLANGA The new Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) boards face a daunting task in dealing with the country’s monetary problems and bring the much-needed stability and confidence in the market. These problems range from the cash crisis, banks’ liquidity crunch and land bankability. On Tuesday, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube appointed RBZ and MPC boards chaired by central bank governor John Mangudya to have oversight over monetary matters. Other members of the RBZ board are Kumbirai Katsande, Zvinechimwe Churu, Busisa Moyo, Matilda Dzumbunu, Edwin Manikai, Lindiwe Sibanda, Emma Fundira, Caleb Fundanga, Belinda Musakwa and Jerry Parwada. Economist Kipson Gundani said the appointments were in line with the...

Zimdollar plunges 79%

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA ZIMBABWE’S inflation-ravaged dollar has plunged 79% against the greenback since it was declared the sole legal tender on June 24, amid an acute foreign currency shortage and diminishing market confidence. When authorities scrapped the multiple-currency regime a decade after it was promulgated, the Zimdollar was trading at US$1:$6,47. As of Tuesday, the interbank rate was now US$1: ZWL$11,6. Monetary authorities introduced the official interbank market in February this year to allow companies to trade forex, but business has been struggling to access it. On the parallel market, local currency was trading at US$1:$15,10 against the greenback, a testament of serious hard currency shortages buffeting the economy. Monetary authorities insist that the two markets will eventua...

NRZ 2019 H1 freight target off the rails

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) generated $76,5 million revenue in the first half of the year after moving about 1,3 million tonnes of freight, an official has said. NRZ spokesperson Nyasha Maravanyika told NewsDay Business that in the first half of the year, they moved 1,3 million tonnes of freight, down 8% compared to the same period last year. “So, in actual fact, we have performed below the year 2018 so far in the first six months. The reasons are basically the speculative nature of the economy, where it took time or maybe it is taking time for people to adjust to the current economic trends, where at one time we pegged our prices in US dollars and then SI 142 came in and it says that everything should be done in the Zimbabwe dollar or RTGS$ using the interba...

All set for Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo

BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA THE 12th edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo roars into life in Bulawayo tomorrow amid poor exhibitor numbers. Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo is an annual tourism trade fair organised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) which showcases the widest variety of Africa’s best tourism products and attracts international visitors and media from across the world. To date, 260 exhibitors have registered to participate, compared to 318 exhibitors recorded in 2018, while 10 countries that have registered to take part include Malawi, Botswana, Nigeria, Kenya, India, South Africa, Tanzania, United Kingdom, Angola and Ethiopia. The number of buyers for this year’s tourism expo stands at 170, including 25 international media from different source marke...

Tobacco output hits all time high, but . . .

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA ZIMBABWE’S tobacco deliveries have hit an all-time high of 258 million tonnes, but poor prices prevailing this season could hamper farmers from adequately preparing for the forthcoming season. Figures from the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (Timb) shows that as of September 9, which is day 118 of sales, deliveries of the golden leaf grew 2% this season, up from 252 million kgs delivered last year. This year, average prices for tobacco dipped to $2 per kg down from $2, 92 recorded last season. A combination of poor prices and ballooning cost of inputs has made it impossible for most farmers to recoup their investments and retool for the forthcoming season. This season’s average price is the worst in four years after reaching $2,96 in 2017, while in 2016 and 2015 it sto...

NTS records low demand

BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA ZIMBABWE’S largest distributor and retailer of new tyres and tubes, National Tyre Service Limited (NTS) says it experienced reduced demand in the first quarter of the year as businesses and consumers adjusted to the challenging economic environment. In the company’s trading update for the period ended June 30, 2019, company secretary Stewart Mandimika said the volume of tyres sold during the quarter decreased by 51% compared to the same quarter last year. “The trading environment was characterised by continued shortages of foreign currency, steep increases in year-on-year inflation and reduced aggregate demand as businesses and consumers adjusted to the challenging environment. Productivity was negatively affected by power outages,” Mandimika said. Zimbabwe’s economic ...