Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Average Consumer Prices were fractionally lower

Average Consumer Prices were fractionally lower in November than in October, according to the latest update of the Consumer Price Index. Increases in meat and fresh fruit prices were countered by falls in vegetables, medicines and vehicle prices, and these plus other minor adjustments carried the index down from 91,96 to 91,89 against the base of December 2008=100. - John

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Nestlé Zimbabwe has been asked to reopen its factory

Harare — Nestlé Zimbabwe has been asked to reopen its factory after assurances were given by the Government over the safety of staff and agreement was reached over how milk from Gushungo Dairies will be processed.

In a statement yesterday, Industry and Commerce Minister Professor Welshman Ncube said he had held consultations with Nestlé Zimbabwe, Gushungo Dairies and other "key stakeholders in the dairy sector".

"As a result of those consultations, the parties have collectively reached an understanding to work together in ensuring that milk produced at Gushungo Dairies is absorbed by the local dairy processors.

"For its part, Government has given its assurance on the safety of staff and management at both Nestlé Zimbabwe and Gushungo Dairies," said the statement.

While no details of the "understanding" were made public, it appears that milk from Gushungo, which is owned by the First Family, will go into the general pool of milk processed by Dairibord and others and that Nestlé will buy its requirements from that pool.

Minister Ncube said he had been asked to intervene in the dispute by both President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai after Nestlé's Zurich head office said it was temporarily closing its Zimbabwe factory after two managers were questioned by police and the factory was forced to buy a tanker of milk from a "non-contracted" source.

On Wednesday during a Press conference by the three principals to the Global Political Agreement to review the operations of the inclusive Government since its formation early this year, PM Tsvangirai said: "Shutting down the plant is an overreaction that is totally unnecessary," he said.

Nestlé head office in Zurich had issued a statement saying that it was temporarily closing its Zimbabwe factory "since . . . normal operations and the safety of employees are no longer guaranteed".

The company said, in its statement through AFP, that on Saturday the factory was visited by Zimbabwean "officials" and police, and forced to accept a tanker of non-contracted milk. Two managers were questioned by police but were released without charge after questioning the same day.

The company said its Zimbabwe subsidiary stopped buying milk from non-contracted farmers in October when normal supplies resumed from Daribord.

It had started buying direct in February this year as a temporary measure to ensure food supplies when Dairibord could no longer pay farmers but had then returned to its normal system.

However, Nestlé had been under pressure from Western activists to stop buying milk from Gushungo Dairy Estates, a business owned by the First Family and which was supplying up to 15 percent of the factory's milk, and from at least seven other new farmers.

The reason of switching back to Dairibord was not accepted by Zimbabwean pressure groups, who saw the move as an imposition of sanctions on the eight new farmers.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Will post again shortly - in the mean time have a great festive season

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Zimbabwe's Attorney General Threatens Foreign Owned Companies

Harare, December 21, 2009 -Zimbabwe's Attorney General Johannes Tomana has threatened to prosecute any foreign owned company that tries to resist the government's indigenisation law that requires them to give 51 percent shareholding to locals.

This comes at a time when there are reports that six workers belonging to First Lady, Grace Mugabe's Farm recently stormed Nestle Zimbabwe and demanded it to buy milk from the farm. The company stopped buying milk from the controversial farm after an international outrage, following reports that the company was buying milk from the First Family's farm, which was acquired through force.
The ZANU-PF sponsored black business lobby group Affirmative Group has since demanded the indigenisation of Nestle Private company after it terminated its milk buying tender with Gushungo Holdings farm.
Tomana, who is one of the outstanding issues threatening the country's nine month old coalition government, told delegates attending a Christmas donation at the weekend, organised by Nigerians living in Zimbabwe, that any foreign owned company which attempted to resist the indigenisation act would be prosecuted.
"We are a sovereign country that has laws which need to be respected. At the moment we have an Indigenisation Act that aims to empower our citizens economically and foreign nationals who fail to honour and respect it will be liable to prosecution. We are ready to do business with foreigners on condition they abide to the country's laws like this one which is a reality and we urge foreigners to take cognisant of this otherwise they are vulnerable,” said Tomana.

Political analysts say the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act is a political gimmick meant to gunner support for the liberation ZANU-PF party. The objective of the Act is to achieve at least 51% indigenous shareholding in all strategic businesses of the economy.

Addressing international investors in Harare recently the minister of Youth Development Indigenisation and Empowerment Saviour Kasukuwere said his ministry was identifying foreign owned companies that needed to be indigenised.

Kasukuwere also warned foreign owned companies to desist from resisting indigenisation.

ZIMBABWE: Expats oppose tax in exchange for voting

Zimbabweans abroad might have to pay voting and citizenship rightsWASHINGTON, 21 December 2009 (IRIN) - Zimbabweans living abroad may have to pay tax in exchange for voting rights and retaining their citizenship rights if the government embraces a proposal made by finance minister Tendai Biti in London on 13 December 2009. Some émigrés fiercely oppose the idea. "It's completely barmy. You cannot put a price on citizenship and voting rights - normal countries have these guaranteed by their constitutions," protested Mduduzi Mathuthu, editor of the London-based NewZimbabwe.com website. The 156-page economic blueprint, Moving Forward in Zimbabwe - Reducing Poverty and Promoting Growth, recommended various strategies to hasten social and economic recovery in the troubled southern African nation, including taxing its far-flung citizens. The report was produced by 13 distinguished Zimbabwean academics and published by the Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester, and launched by Biti at the invitation of its authors. He also urged expatriates to support the economic recovery process by investing in the economy. Biti promised that their investments would be safe under the unity government, formed in February 2009 by President Robert Mugabe, leader of the long-ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main wing of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and Arthur Mutambara, head of a breakaway faction of the MDC. It has been an uneasy marriage. Biti agreed that tapping into the savings of expatriates through taxation, in exchange of voting and citizenship rights, was one way government could source much-needed funds for economic recovery. But the idea has not gone down well with all migrants. "Politicians must first focus on fixing the politics, which is broken, and investment will come in response to that ... This is a sure way to lose an election - whoever takes this up and makes it their political manifesto," Mathuthu told IRIN. Remittances Remittances from expatriate Zimbabweans is credited with softening the impact of the country's economic collapse, which caused widespread food shortages. According to estimates by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, a UN agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty, US$361 million was remitted in 2008 - excluding hand-to-hand transfers - a number that was expected to double in 2009. Other estimates have put all remittances from expatriates in Britain to Zimbabwe at about US$1 billion annually. The report, which has not yet been officially discussed, urged government to accord dual citizenship and voting rights to the estimated three million Zimbabweans scattered across the world - at a price. "Confidence-boosting measures would include allowing dual nationality, restoring voting rights for migrants who hold Zimbabwean citizenship, and creating mechanisms for them to be heard. In exchange, migrants should be prepared to pay an annual tax for retaining Zimbabwean nationality," the report recommended. Zimbabwe's stringent immigration laws proscribe dual citizenship, and those living outside the country are not allowed to cast absentee ballots unless they are civil servants on government business, but activists have been pressing for reforms since the establishment of the unity government - a fight that has support in both MDC formations. No price on voting rights "Voting rights are inalienable - we don't have to pay government to be allowed to vote. It's just outrageous ... It will certainly be a big mistake if government buys into this idea," Dumaphi Mema, president of the US-based Association of Zimbabweans based Abroad (AZBA), told IRIN. Mema said many Zimbabweans in the US were willing to invest in the economic rebuilding of their once-prosperous country, but worried about the fragility of the unity government. They also wanted postal votes to be allowed in elections, and to maintain Zimbabwean citizenships even after acquiring permanent residence in their host countries, with no strings attached. "Many people don't have faith in this unity government; recent statements by President Mugabe have not been encouraging. People need to see palpable political and economic reforms before they can commit their resources," Mema commented. Brilliant Mhlanga, a political analyst, said it was important that Zimbabweans living in the diaspora played a major role in national rebuilding, despite the current political uncertainty. "We have a responsibility to play in Zimbabwe. If we are really worried about creating a good future for our posterity, it is imperative that we support government's revival efforts, despite the politics of the day," Mhlanga told IRIN from London. "If it means paying tax, so be it." nn/tdm/he/go

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Zimbabwe Budget

Although the Minister of Finance has presented a cautiously optimistic Budget, the level of dependence on the Vote of Credit, or donor funding, places some of the intended expenditures in doubt, specially if the donors show the same level of reluctance that they have sown in 2009. The degree to which Zimbabwe is deserving of help appears to be the deciding question. If Zimbabwe’s political developments remain as slow and cumbersome as they have been in 2009, the Budget is unlikely to achieve any of its already limited targets.I hope the attached paper on the subject will be helpful
Zimbabwe’s 2010 Budget
Assumptions that significant improvements will be achieved in the rates of economic growth in Zimbabwe’s principal productive sectors in 2010 underpin the Budget figures. While some of these might be readily achieved, given the low base from which the growth will be measured, they appear to be out of line with the projected Budget revenue and expenditure figures.
Other figures suggest that exaggerated claims have been accepted and that the authorities have been persuaded that the levels of investment funding needed to support this growth will be found.
In the adjacent table, the projected increase in revenue, at 38,5%, is very high compared to the 10% increases expected from agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. Hopes that tax revenues from mining will close the gap do not allow for the very long lead times between starting a mining project and receiving a taxable income flow from the new mining operations.
More seriously, higher royalties and proposed taxation increases are likely to considerably dampen the enthusiasm of those who might have brought investment funds to support new ventures, while expansion plans at the existing mines can expect to remain affected by the limited supply and high cost of local bank finance as well as the higher taxes.
The 38,5% tax revenue increase is also out of line with the projected increase in export revenues of 11,3%, but the tables in the Estimates of Expenditure show that the projected revenue increases are expected to arise almost entirely from P.A.Y.E., Value Added Tax and Excise Duties.
The P.A.Y.E. projected increase of 80,75% appears to be based on hopes that more employees, including those working for the Public Sector, will be paid amounts above the tax-free threshold of US$160 per month, but claims that increased manufacturing capacity utilisation will be achieved also imply increased numbers of employees.
Excise tax payments are expected to rise by a significant 264%, mainly because of an increase in the rate on spirits from 20% to 40%. However, customs duties are expected to fall by 4,4% and the Minister of Finance confirmed his earlier decision to suspend the collection of duties on basic consumer goods. He argued that benefits enjoyed because of the availability of goods at competitive prices far outweighed the facts that cheap imports have flooded the market and that we are now effectively exporting labour.
Company tax revenue is expected to decline as many companies will be carrying forward tax losses and those incurring capital costs to restore production volumes will take advantage of capital allowances. Company tax payments are expected to fall almost 33% to US$78,6 million.
The table shows evidence of a significant recalculation of Zimbabwe’s nominal Gross Domestic Product, the original estimate of US$3 462 million, dated March 2009, having been increased to US$5 179 million by October 2009. This is an increase of almost 50%, but undisclosed adjustments appear to have permitted the annual change to the October 2009 figure to be recorded as a 4,7% increase.
Measurements of GDP are difficult at the best of times, but when official production records are not maintained, when about half the economy goes “underground” and when the officials themselves authorise the use of multiple exchange rates, the effective confiscation of foreign currency balances as well as savings, GDP figures become the result of much more guesswork than calculation.
The reason why our Ministry of Finance is guessing at a bigger GDP number would appear to be an effort to get the Budget expenditure as a percentage of GDP down to around 40%. On the basis of the earlier GDP estimate, expenditure would have come close to 65%, at which level any argument that the country had reasonable recovery and growth prospects would have been easily dismissed.
However, the more hopeful GDP estimate does not amount to a firm enough basis from which to claim that growth will be forthcoming. Neither the working capital, nor the investment funding needed to restore competitive efficiency to most of Zimbabwe’s manufacturing, mining and agricultural capacity is available. This is because the banking sector remains one of the more severe casualties of a process that destroyed the collateral value of vitally important fixed assets, a process that was brought to a head by hyperinflation and the destruction of the country’s currency.
Bank deposits in Botswana today total more than five times the amount in all of Zimbabwe’s banks, even though Zimbabwe has more than five times Botswana’s population.
At this level, business activity in Zimbabwe is severely constrained and unless bank liquidity can be dramatically improved, many of the projected improvements will not take place.
Some businesses that were hoping for capital injections from abroad have been dismayed by repeated affirmations that indigenisation plans are to go ahead, despite all advice to the contrary. Those investors who are eager to make investment capital available have held back on finalising arrangements unless the opportunity offers prospects of very quick returns, but in such cases the activities are mostly commercial, rather than industrial, and mostly involve the importation and distribution of imported goods.
Most of these businesses employ very few Zimbabweans and most are likely to externalise their profits. This they will continue to do until genuine respect is shown towards the investors whose confidence is essential to each and every facet of the hoped-for recovery outlined in the Minister’s speech. He bases this recovery on the following assumptions:
· GDP growth rate will be 7%, supported by –
· Higher investment inflows
· Access to grant finance
· Growth in tax revenue as a percentage of GDP
· Capital inflows that will compensate for the loss of savings
· A fast recovery in export earnings
· A rapid recovery of local capacity to reduce need for imports
· Improving political stability, and
· The measures agreed by the Government of National Unity will be achieved.
Unless Government actions and policy choices are seen to be demonstrating its determination to improve the prospects of medium to long-term investors, none of these assumptions will come within reach quickly enough to make a useful difference in 2010.
However, the Minister does recognise that many hazards lie in the path to success. He identifies the following:
Zimbabwe’s failure to meet repayment obligations has lowered the country’s credit worthiness
Corruption, arbitrage, rent-seeking activities have taken Zimbabwe down to number 122 of 128 countries measured on the corruption index
Four million Zimbabweans are now earning a living in the Diaspora
Regional economies have failed to integrate their markets
Too small a percentage of women have acquired influence in economic and political affairs
At less than 10%, Zimbabwe’s Savings Ratio is far too low to sustain economic growth. A ratio of at least 25% is needed
Zimbabwe has become unable to compete for direct foreign investment

He might also have mentioned many more, a few examples of which are:
Zimbabwe has insufficient money to fund normal economic activity
Zimbabwe hopes things will come right even if it does not attend to the mistakes that made things go wrong
Zimbabwe’s growth forecasts are based on figures that mostly illustrate increasing usage of decreased capacity
Zimbabwe’s economic problems will not be overcome before the country has adopted much more suitable political policies, backed by a sound Constitution that reinstates and guarantees property rights.

While reading through the Budget speech and studying the Estimates of Expenditure, it is difficult to find evidence that Government is taking fully into account the extent of the damage suffered by the economy in the past decade, or the degree to which this has undermined the capacities of its productive sectors and population.
For all but a few people, promises of economic empowerment have led to deeper levels of poverty and increased dependency on patronage, a package that might be described as the very antithesis of empowerment.
The Minister’s cautious attempts to apportion extremely limited revenue resources clearly had no chance of satisfying the levels of demand, but as a indicator of the depth of dishonesty that has been virtually institutionalised by those still wielding authority, the Minister’s efforts were the subject of viciously disparaging attacks during the just completed Zanu PF party congress.
Unfortunately, this carefully orchestrated conflict between members of the Government of National Unity will impact severely on the Budget’s prospects of realising even its limited objectives. The so-called Vote of Credit, which is the sum needed to close the gap between revenue and expenditure, has to be obtained from external donors because Zimbabwe’s capital market has yet to be revived. However, the donors will show themselves – again – to be extremely unwilling to release funding to a Government that consistently fails to deliver on its most basic promises.
For 2010, the Vote of Credit amounts to US$810 million, which is 36% of proposed expenditure. It has yet to be secured. For 2009, the Vote of Credit was US$391 million, or 27,3% of expenditure. In his Budget speech, the Minister admits that only US$35 million of this had been made available to Government by the end of October, and says that the balance was disbursed “directly to programmes and projects outside of Government budget expenditure frameworks”. This suggests that the donors felt they would be unwise to put their trust in a conflict-riven administration.
If, for the same reason, Government again receives less than a tenth of the Vote of Credit funding being sought in 2010, its prospects of satisfying the needs of Zimbabwe’s deeply stressed population will miss their targets by an even wider margin.
When assistance is needed because of the effects of self-inflicted problems, donors have every reason to demand that beneficiaries first become deserving of their support by abandoning the policies that caused the difficulties. Zanu PF’s passionate defence of these very policies at its party congress a few days ago would appear most likely to cause every donor to again avoid contact with the authorities, if it continues trying to assist. Some might even be persuaded to simply remove Zimbabwe from their list.
The graphs below illustrate some of the Budget’s main features.
John Robertson
December 16 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Budget Shows Functional Govt

Takura Zhangazha
10 December 2009
FINANCE minister Tendai Biti's National Budget statement last week is the first since Zimbabwe's Independence in 1980 to be presented by a minister who does not owe political allegiance to Zanu PF. This Budget has been presented amidst the Sadc mediation on outstanding issues in the global political agreement (GPA). The Budget also specifies a time frame for its implementation (January-December 2010).
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This signifies both an air of permanence to the inclusive government or at least a guarantee that the government will last until 2011. The Budget's contents and intended aims are linked closely to the question of whether or not Biti's Budget is the new GPA.
The latter point is made because the Budget cuts across party lines and must have been arrived at with cabinet approval as well as competitive bids by ministries to get higher resource allocations. This would mean it, too, is a negotiated document, but one that has a direct and technical bearing on the functions of government.
The first issue to be reflected upon is that this is a Budget presented by a minister with no allegiance to Zanu PF but arrived at with Zanu PF input and approval. This means that the MDC is now an integral part of the inclusive government.
That is to say, for all the outstanding issues that Sadc is addressing, there is a functional government that has the MDC contributing as important a policy instrument as the national Budget; and this for a period of 12 months.
Therefore the MDC can no longer easily seek to wash its hands of the policies that are undertaken by the inclusive government, as long as the Budget is followed under the tutelage of Biti. As a result, the inclusive government can no longer be viewed either as "shaky" or "fragile" primarily because the Budget represents its permanence for the next 12 months.
It also indicates that because Biti's office is of such national importance, no one can honestly say that he presented the Budget with an intention to simply abandon it to another person, especially one who is not in his party if the MDC once again decides to disengage from the inclusive government.
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The second factor that adds weight to the first is that Biti indicated in his speech to parliament that the framework for the next fiscal year is derived from a three-year economic strategic plan etched out in August at Nyanga. If one were to read between the lines, one would see that it is more than likely there is continued tacit agreement that the inclusive government will last for the same period of time.
This particular Budget should therefore not be understood solely within the context of the next 12 months but by an intention, as hinted by Biti, to fit the three-year economic lifespan of the inclusive government.
The Sadc mediation therefore merely becomes an ongoing characteristic of the inclusive government because Biti, in presenting the Budget, has shown that it is possible to have the usual problems of the GPA while at the same time attending to serious government business together with Zanu PF.
It is necessary to reflect on the actual policy intentions of the Budget. In his preamble the minister mentioned that his Budget was essentially meant to be "pro-poor, broad based", and "inclusive". He then proceeded to give the health sector a large chunk of the Budget together with social protection while bemoaning the government wages bill as being unsustainable.
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The major undertone of all of this was what can be discerned as a sense of nostalgia in the allocations, a strong intention to return the economy to its pre-1996 years, where the Budget tended to be characterised by measures to ensure social welfare especially in education, but at the same time trying to rein in government expenditure. This is exemplified by the allocations given to the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) project under the social protection line items.
The discernible intention of Biti is to "normalise" the economy, and not necessarily to change its structural focus, this being a "market-driven" economy.
The latter point is strengthened by his comparative references to Sadc best practices and the prioritisation of a regionally integrated market.
These are issues that were in vogue during the late Ariston Chambati's tenure as well as that of Bernard Chidzero as the country decided, under a Zanu PF government, to embrace structural adjustment.
Where the minister tackled the land issue, while stating that it was not his intention to undermine the land reform programme, there is once again a return to the big debate of the 1990s.
The key issue being that of land tenure ostensibly in order to ensure the development of collateral for farmers but more fundamentally, to reduce the role of the state in land ownership.
The merits and demerits of such an approach may not be appropriately discussed here, suffice it to say, its emphasis is a return to normality.
The introduction of a constituency development fund for members of parliament, evidently popular in the House of Assembly more than it would be in the Senate, is interesting to say the least.
This is because politically, it is meant to protect the sitting MPs primarily due to the constituency development problems that they have been facing since election in 2008.
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Such a fund helps the current parliament meet its performance legitimacy issues with the primary aim of retaining power for MPs as well as their parties.
The constituency development fund is therefore a fund that will, politically speaking, seek to retain the balance of parliamentary presence for the three political parties and essentially complement the GPA structure.
While others may consider it progressive that there are some funds directly allocated to women and youth empowerment programmes, the difference these funds bring is that youth and women's access to resources, previously the forte of Zanu PF, is to be shared by the three parties.
Whether these funds will not be used in the manner Zanu PF has tended to use them remains to be seen, but we can only pray that they are not used to extend the patronage systems so typical of Zanu PF.
A final point to ponder about the Budget is that it perhaps is the new GPA. Even though he does not allocate particular resources to issues such as constitutional reform despite mentioning it, Biti intends to make this Budget work.
This Budget is therefore the technical template of the inclusive government and therefore of the GPA. It is the newly negotiated crosscutting document that will determine the next 12 months the country faces.
To conclude, the presentation of Zimbabwe's national Budget by the Finance minister was extremely important politically. The fact that it occurred in the midst of GPA disagreements, and yet seemed to be an agreed-to document means it is possibly the new GPA.
It has however failed to indicate a departure from the old practices around budgets and has failed to firmly put the stamp of "a new beginning" to our country's politics. Its main character is reflective of a desire to return mainly to the early 1990s' somewhat market-driven approach to economic challenges, especially where it integrates IMF Special Drawing Rights into its anticipated public service rehabilitation projects.
The inclusive government, and not just Biti, has, in presenting this Budget failed to significantly shift the state's focus from people-centred economic planning and development. It has sought the path of a return to "normalcy" which though a stabilisation factor, does not begin to challenge the problems the country encountered under structural adjustment in the 1990s.
Takura Zhangazha is the National Director of Misa Zimbabwe

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Born-again Zimbabwe bourse hostage to politics

U.S. dollarised Zimbabwe bourse back on track

* Politics, lack of capital overshadow 2010

* Consumer stocks seen as best, but priciest, picks

By Ed Cropley, African Investment Correspondent

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's stock market rose phoenix-like from the ashes of hyperinflation in 2009, but is unlikely to ascend further next year due to a continued chronic lack of capital to rebuild the economy, fund managers say.

With the Industrial .INDZI and Mining indexes re-zeroed to a nominal value of 100 in February after the scrapping of the worthless Zimbabwe dollar, it is hard to assess their performance against other African bourses over the year.

However, the Industrial index, Harare's main benchmark, is now at 148 points, nearly three times its level in March -- testament to the revival that has taken hold since the birth the previous month of the fractious but vaguely functional unity government of Robert Mugabe and arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai.

After a 50 percent economic contraction during the previous decade, Tsvangirai's Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, was able this month to forecast growth of 4.7 percent for this year and 7 percent for next.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

UN seeks US$378m for Zimbabwe

Ralph Mutema
Mon, 07 Dec 2009 13:54:00 +0000
THE United Nations Monday launched an appeal for 378 million dollars in aid to Zimbabwe, saying the country’s humanitarian crisis has eased but needed more support to abate.“This is a critical moment for the UN and partners to support both humanitarian and recovery activities in Zimbabwe,” UN assistant secretary general for humanitarian affairs Catherine Bragg said addressing a news conference in Harare.
“Although the country’s humanitarian situation has improved, it remains fragile,” she said.
The aid request covers operations by the UN as well as aid agencies.Six million people, nearly half the population, need basic water and sanitation services, the UN humanitarian agency OCHA said.
The request amounts to almost half the 719 million dollars that the UN sought last year at the height of Zimbabwe’s crisis.About 64 percent of that request was funded, OCHA said.
Bragg said that political changes in Zimbabwe have helped ease the humanitarian crisis.
Since the formation of the inclusive Government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader, hospitals have re-opened and basic services have improved.

Monday, December 7, 2009

inflation figures

Herewith the more comprehensive inflation figures, updated to October. The additional detail shows that the largest rise during October was the 16,1% jump in owners’ rates. This carried the rates index number to 149,67, against the base of December 2008 = 100. However, the largest increase so far this year has been to 244,41 for dental services. Other large increases were to 147,44 for fuels, to 154,29 for telephone equipment and to 136,68 for large household appliances. Of the 64 sub-groups shown in the table, 22 showed price decreases in October and the average All Items Index rose 0,8% to 92. The average price level in 2009 therefore seems likely to be about six percent lower than the average in December 2008.The Budget is due to be presented on Wednesday next week, December 2. I have to advise that I will not be able to send any comments on it until the following week as I will be attending a conference in Cape Town until December 7. However, I will do my best to keep the delay as short as possible.Kindest regards,
If anyone wants these figures please mail me at olind@yoafrica.com