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Harambe: The Zimbabwean: For Once, Things are Looking Positive in Zimbabwe

(3/6/21)

Has Zimbabwe turned a corner? Businessmen think so. That’s after the political instability, economic stagnation and two bouts of spiraling prices over the past two decades. Now inflation is slowing rapidly — albeit it’s still 322% — and the government expects the economy to expand 7.4% this year, rebounding from a 4.1% contraction. The country also got a step up on its African peers.

Now inflation is slowing rapidly  albeit it’s still 322%  and the government expects the economy to expand 7.4% this year, rebounding from a 4.1% contraction. The country also got a step up on its African peers by starting a Covid-19 vaccination program in mid-February.

Heavy rains are expected to result in the biggest corn crop since 1984 and have filled the world’s largest man-made reservoir, allowing more electricity to be generated from the Kariba South hydropower plant. Gold and platinum prices have risen over the past year, boosting mining income.

Still, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube took the tough steps of devaluing the local currency and enforcing discipline in government spending. There’s been some investment in energy projects and in reviving horticulture, once one of the country’s export mainstays, while Afreximbank offered respite on debt by agreeing to reorganize its $1.4 billion the nation owes it.

The “green shoots” that business leaders are speaking of are hard to discern on the streets of Harare, however.

With a weakened currency and most goods imported, the few Zimbabweans lucky enough to have jobs have seen their spending power slashed. The government, which still owes almost $7 billion in other external debt, has to repair its relations with international lenders and sanctions imposed on its leaders by western nations because of political repression remain in place.

But for the first time in a long time, there’s hope.

https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2021/03/for-once-things-are-looking-positive-in-zimbabwe/

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Tishwash:  Finance issues new directives to all its departments

The Ministry of Finance directed the adoption of controls and instructions for technology contracts concluded by banks, agencies, departments and companies affiliated with this ministry.

“Its minister, Ali Abdul Amir Allawi, has instructed all units of the ministry to submit all their main information technology contracts for final review and approval by the Information Technology Department of the Ministry of Finance,” the ministry said in a statement received by “Tigris”.

The Minister of Finance stressed that “restricting electronic project contracts to the information technology department in the ministry does not increase bureaucracy. Rather, these procedures and instructions come for the purpose of ensuring the quality of services and preserving the value standards provided by the ministry’s departments to maintain the integrity of complex technical contracts.”

He added, “The Ministry of Finance is continuing to provide the appropriate environment for technology localization and application in its departments, while investing local resources and capabilities to achieve this,” stressing that “these measures were among the directions that it started implementing and went with it upon receiving the ministry’s file.”  link

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Cutebwoy:  Al-Halbousi: Present the budget to a vote soon, and we will proceed with the legislation of the oil and gas law

(Baghdad: Al Furat News) The Speaker of Parliament, Muhammad Al-Halbousi, confirmed, on Thursday, the parliament’s keenness to proceed with the laws that were suspended in previous sessions, most notably the Federal Supreme Court Law, which was suspended throughout previous sessions.

In a statement, Al-Furat News Agency received a copy of it today, Al-Halbousi said, “There is insistence from members of the House of Representatives to proceed with legislative measures, to complete the Federal Supreme Court Law.” Being sensitive and related to the composition of the court and the decision-making mechanism.

He indicated that “successive meetings will be held with the heads of the political forces and the legal committee, and these meetings will be chaired by the presidency of the Council, in order to reach common points.”

He pointed out that “next Monday has been set as the date for voting on the rest of the articles of this law,” stressing that “the draft budget law will be in the coming days within the council’s agenda to vote on it.”

He stressed that “there are a number of stalled laws that the council will proceed to legislate, such as the oil and gas law, which is one of the laws stipulated in the constitution, which will deal with the mechanism of dealing between Baghdad and Erbil and between Baghdad and the rest of the oil-producing provinces, and the law will be one of the council’s next priorities.”

Al-Halbousi: Present the budget to a vote soon, and we will proceed with the legislation of the oil and gas law

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Tishwash:   Life in Iraq is “divided” into two prices, one of which is the current one, to exchange dollars against the dinar: “new solutions” to lift the poor classes

The economic expert, Rasim Al-Akidi, proposed a financial mechanism that adopts two prices to exchange the US dollar against the Iraqi dinar, while confirming that adopting two rates to exchange the dollar in the import file will protect millions of poor people in the country.

In a televised interview, Rasim Al-Aqidi said, “The import operations in Iraq during the past years were mostly conducted with unnecessary materials and others produced inside, which led to severe damage to large industrial sectors, and pushed thousands to the category of unemployment.”

Al-Aqidi added, “The import process mainly depends on old mechanisms in the presence of influential parties and forces and armed wings. All this made it difficult to follow up and monitor, especially in ports and outlets,” noting that “the dollar used to go out for import, but in fact it was the largest part.” He runs away from him. ”

Al-Aqidi added, “The state, after its decision to adopt the new exchange rate for the dollar at 1450, can adopt two exchange rates, the first for luxury items and is according to the new price, while the other price for food and medicine can be done through a clear and uncomplicated mechanism, where the dollar is sold. For merchants and companies that intend to import food and medicine at the current exchange rate.

The economist added, “After the arrival of the materials and the completion of all procedures, including examination and payment of customs, the difference between the old and new dollar prices will be returned, which remains as trusts with the state until the import of the imported materials is verified and the rest of the other obligations are completed.”

He continued, “The adoption of a mechanism for dealing with food or drug dealers through what we call the food or medicinal dollar, will ensure the arrival of materials at very reasonable prices, because they will focus on basic materials, and thus we protect millions of poor people in Iraq from high prices, and we ensure that the state continues within the framework of Withdrawing the dinar and increasing its dollar balance.

Al-Akidi emphasized that this process refers to a matter of “great importance, which is to create competition in the import of foodstuffs and medicines, to prevent their monopoly and raise their prices.”

The Iraqi local markets in Baghdad and other provinces were troubled, after the decision to reduce the Iraqi currency, which included a new exchange rate for the dinar against the dollar.

Since the collapse of oil prices earlier this year, Iraq is facing an unprecedented liquidity crisis, the government of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi has been forced to borrow from the bank’s reserves in dollars to pay nearly $ 5 billion per month, representing public sector salaries and pensions.

The decision of the Finance Committee, Ahmed Al-Saffar, resolved during the past few days the controversy over the possibility of changing the value of the dollar’s exchange and returning it to the previous price after announcing representative moves to amend it and return it to the price of 1300 or 1200 as it was the previous price.

Al-Saffar said, “The Central Bank is the only authority that has the absolute authority to change the exchange rate of the dollar and supervise the monetary system and determine the monetary mass and monetary policy, and from this standpoint it is not permissible to interfere with the policy of the Central Bank at all as it is an independent party.”

He added that “what is rumored here and there regarding the presence of a representative movement, does not fall within the professional policy of the work of the central bank, it is not the right of the House of Representatives to change the exchange rate.”

Al-Saffar said Sunday (February 28, 2021) that the desired goal of changing the exchange rate of the dollar against the Iraqi dinar has not been achieved, indicating that what is being said about the interference of political forces to restore the exchange rate to what it was before changing an issue outside the powers of the blocs and parliament .

Al-Saffar said, in a televised interview, followed by (Baghdad Today), that “determining the exchange rate is the exclusive jurisdiction of the Central Bank of Iraq and it is not permissible to interfere in the bank’s work.” He went on to say, “We in Parliament do not have the authority to change the exchange rate because it is an executive authority, any government. “.

He stressed that “setting the new exchange rate was based on a government decision and negotiations with the World Bank.”

On the results of the devaluation of the currency, Al-Saffar commented by saying that “the direct effects of changing the exchange rate caused inflation in the market and raised prices by 20-25%, because it was assumed that citizens would turn to local goods after the imported goods rose, and this means that the desired goal has not been achieved.” .

And he added, “But the problem is that there is no competition that favors local goods until the change in the exchange rate achieves significant local results.”

Regarding the existence of a political move to restore the exchange rate of the dollar to before a change decision, the parliamentary finance rapporteur affirmed, “What is said about the intention of political forces to intervene to determine the exchange rate is a conversation outside their powers, because it is exclusively within the government’s authority and will not be permitted.”

And on the latest developments in the 2021 budget bill, Al-Saffar said, “The Finance Committee has completed its work in amending the budget and has delivered the draft to the Presidency of Parliament, but the committee has no authority to amend the exchange rate within the budget clauses and paragraphs.  link

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