Government announces additional Covid-19 measures

Government announces additional Covid-19 measures

Senator Monica Mutsvangwa

Following the sharp increase in Covid-19 cases in the country, government has revealed additional measures adopted by cabinet to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Briefing the Media during a post cabinet media briefing in Harare this Tuesday, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said government will be establishing vaccination sites at the main intra and inter-city bus termini, so as to ensure that those not vaccinated but wish to do so can have doses administered before they board the public transport.

“Please note that there will be a time when people will not be allowed to board public transport without a valid vaccination card; and The Ministry of Health and Child Care will continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education on the vaccination blitz of the 16-to-17 year age group in schools.

Senator Mutsvangwa also revealed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the entire cabinet had a successful interaction with the Presidential Advisory Council.

“The nation is advised that today, His Excellency the President and his entire Cabinet had a successful interaction with the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) and Private Sector Forum Representatives. There was general consensus that the economy was not only restructuring but growing,” said Senator Mutsvangwa.

“The PAC and Private Sector representatives commended Government on the following achievements which were attained due to collaborative effort: Projected year-end GDP growth of 7.8%; Reduction in inflation from 87% to 50% as at August 2021; Increased industry capacity ultilisation from 47% to 60% on average as evidenced by demand for foreign currency on the  auction market from US$11 million in June 2020 to the current US$40 to US$50 million per week.

Export earnings have also increased to US$3.9 billion as at 13 October and are expected to rise to US$7 billion by year end, inclusive of diaspora remittances; highest-ever balance of payments surplus; Vaccination figures are among the top-seven in Africa, showing Governments commitment to social development; Successful establishment of the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange; Improved infrastructure development especially under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme; Establishment of innovation hubs as leaders of the industrialisation of the economy; and the private sector also acknowledged the Global Compensation Agreement and noted that this would go a long way in guaranteeing the real value of land.

They recommended that, going forward, land should become a balance sheet item which people can borrow against, turning farming into a business in the truest sense,” she said.

Minister Mutsvangwa added: “Much time was spent on coming up with measures to address concerns raised by the PAC and private sector forum which include the following: The need to deal with inflation caused by foreign exchange rate disparities; The need to agree on a roadmap that will ensure that the momentum gained in the de-dollarization process is not derailed but invigorated; and Facilitating tourism sector resuscitation within the COVID-19 protocol regime.

Cabinet also spent time on coming up with measures to address concerns raised by the Presidential Advisory Council and the private sector to deal with inflation caused by foreign exchange rate disparities.

The implementation of the eight major initiatives of the 2018 Forum on China – Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Beijing Summit Action Plan also came under the spotlight during the cabinet meeting.

Said Minister Mutsvangwa: “Cabinet received and noted the Report on the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), as presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Honourable Dr Fredrick Makamure Shava.

The Conference was held from 29th  to 30th  November, 2021, in Dakar Senegal, under the theme Deepening the Sino-African Partnership and Promoting Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era.

“Cabinet wishes to advise the public that the Conference reviewed progress made in the implementation of the Eight Major Initiatives of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Beijing Action Plan.

In his keynote address, President Xi Jinping of the Peoples Republic of China announced initiatives to strengthen China-Africa cooperation. The Ministerial Conference welcomed President Xis initiatives to implement nine programmes under the first three-year plan of the China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035. These programmes include the following, among others:

“Under the Medical and Health Programme  China pledged to provide one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including 600 million as direct donations and 400 million doses to be jointly produced by Chinese and identified African countries in order to help Africa achieve its goal of vaccinating 60% of its population by 2022.  Zimbabwe will make a submission to be one of those African countries.

“Regarding Poverty Reduction and Agricultural Development Programme  China will undertake 10 poverty-reduction and agricultural projects for Africa as well as send 500 agricultural experts to Africa, including setting up a number of China-Africa Joint Centres for modern agro-technology exchange, demonstration and training in China.

The Government of Zimbabwe will ensure that Chinese companies work together with local farmers in joint ventures to grow crops such as soyabeans, cotton, groundnuts and tobacco which are in demand in China. These crops will be processed before export in line with the FOCAC Vision 2035 on promoting secondary industry in Africa.

“On the Trade Promotion Programme  China will relax restrictions for African agricultural exports, through speeding  up of the inspection and quarantine procedures, as well as increasing the scope of products enjoying zero-tariff treatment in a bid to reach US$300 billion in total imports from Africa over the next three years.

China will also provide US$10 billion of trade finance  to support African exports, to build a pioneering zone for in-depth China-Africa trade and economic cooperation, and to build a China-Africa industrial park for Belt and Road cooperation.

“Under the Cultural and People-to-People Exchange Programme- China will support the making of all African countries it has diplomatic ties with, approved destinations for Chinese tourist groups.  China will hold African Film festivals in China and Chinese Film Festivals in Africa, and a China-African Womens Forum.”

The remaining programmes pertain to the following areas: Investment Promotion; Digital Innovation; Green Development; Capacity Building; and Peace and Security .

“As part of the engagement and re-engagement drive, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade also held meetings with his counterparts from China, Senegal and Ethiopia on the sidelines of China-Africa Forum.

“To benefit more from FOCAC, Zimbabwe will prepare bankable projects to take advantage of these Chinese initiatives.”