Cabinet received the weekly report by the Minister of Energy and Power Development on the country’s fuel supply situation. The Minister indicated that the country’s fuel supply situation is beginning to stabilise. He also stated that it had come to his notice that some fuel stations were now selling fuel in US dollars at prices as high as US$7 per litre. He met them soon after Cabinet and warned them to desist forthwith from this illegal and unacceptable practice. Going forward, ZERA personnel shall be out in full force, carrying out spot checks at all service stations. Those found on the wrong side of the law will bear the consequences.
Presidential Policy Guidelines on the Zimbabwe Devolution Programme
Cabinet received from the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs an abridged version of the Presidential Policy Guidelines on the Zimbabwe Devolution and Decentralisation Programme as provided for in the country’s Constitution. The Policy Guidelines are premised on the overriding objective to promote sustainable, representative, accountable, participatory and inclusive governance as well as balanced economic development of the country. The Zimbabwe Devolution and Decentralisation Programme seeks to achieve the following, among other things;
to cede some of the powers of central Government to provincial councils, metropolitan councils and local authorities, thereby bringing Government closer to the people;
to empower communities to manage their own affairs and to further their own development;
to encourage the equitable sharing of local and national resources; and,
to preserve and to foster national unity and the indivisibility of Zimbabwe as a sovereign state.
Under this programme, provincial and metropolitan councils as well as local authorities shall:
plan and implement social, economic and developmental activities in their areas of jurisdiction;
plan and implement measures for the conservation, improvement and management of natural resources;
promote tourism and develop facilities for that purpose;
monitor and evaluate the use of resources;
formulate Regional Investment and Development Plans derived from the National Investment and Development Master Plan, following wide stakeholder consultations;
coordinate and implement Governmental programmes; and
stimulate economic growth and employment creation through investment promotion, establishment of value-adding industries, SME businesses, public private business partnerships and special economic zones as guided by their factor endowments.
ZIMSTAT will, on annual basis, publish data on contributions to the national GDP by Metropolitan Councils and Provincial Councils. Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs, working closely with the Ministers of Finance and Economic Development; Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, among others, Provincial and Metropolitan Councils shall superintend the Devolution and Decentralisation Programme in the provinces.
The aim is to merge with a devolution framework that positions the State as a whole, to respond better and faster to the demands of efficient service delivery, inclusive and balanced development, democracy, national integration and peace.
Review of Procurement Requirements for Restructured Public Enterprises
Cabinet considered and approved interim arrangements to streamline and improve procurement procedures for partially privatised companies as presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. The proposed measures arose from the challenges currently being experienced by State Enterprises and Parastatals as well as Government. Departments and agencies, in instances where the need to urgently procure goods and services is of essence.
In order to facilitate the timely execution of national projects by such entities, Cabinet therefore, approved the interim exemption arrangements, which will enable commercialised Government companies to effectively compete on the same footing as private industry players in terms of their procurement activities.
Highlights of the measure include the following:
the requirement that Expressions of Interest be advertised only for sums above US$50 000 in respect of engagement of individual consultants, and US$200 000 for consulting firms;
the exemption of the public enterprises from certain laid-down procurement procedures;
that the prevailing interbank exchange rates should apply on contracts consummated and denominated in US dollars prior to the recent Monetary Policy Statement and promulgation of Statutory Instrument 33 of 2019; and
that the interim exemption arrangements be with immediate effect and that then they remain in place for a period of 12 months.
Concern over the Prevailing Price Hikes
Cabinet expressed great concern over the prevailing wanton and unjustified price increases which are inflicting severe hardships on consumers across the board. Of great concern to Cabinet is the fact that the price increases are apparently being fuelled by the parallel market rate which, in turn, is driven by the Old Mutual implied rate.
This is obviously a defective premise on which to predicate prices since the implied rate is driven by factors exclusively applicable to shares which do not, therefore, apply to the pricing of ordinary goods and services. Government is, nonetheless, working round the clock to address the issue of price hikes in order to alleviate the suffering of the citizens. Efforts in this direction include:
the on-going fine turning of the inter-bank market operations;
mobilising and injecting of foreign currency to stabilise the interbank market rate;
addressing the issue of the fungibility of Old Mutual Share;
capacitating Silo Foods (Pvt) Ltd strategy to help stabilise prices of basic commodities and;
expediting the finalisation of work on the Social Contract which would enable Government, business and labour to adopt a common position on the issue of incomes and prices, now that the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill has been passed in Parliament.
Cabinet remains seized with the challenge and calls on all business players to adhere to prudent and ethical business practices that help to create a competitive economic environment which is mutually beneficial to both consumers and businesses alike.