1: Zimbabwe Response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak: The Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Inter-Ministerial Task Force on COVID-19, Honourable Vice President KCD Mohadi presented the weekly report on the national preparedness and response to the Covid-19 outbreak, which was adopted by Cabinet. Cabinet noted with satisfaction the progress in mass testing evidenced by the increase in the number of Covid-19 tests to 31 589 as at May 17, 2020, up from the 23 096 recorded as at May 10, 2020. The country has to date registered 48 Covid-19 confirmed cases, inclusive of 18 recoveries and four deaths. The recent cases have largely been imported mainly from the United Kingdom and South Africa, through the returnees.
Government having disbanded the flexi-hours and taken cognisance of the inadequate number of nurses on the establishment of the Ministry of Health and Child Care to allow for a 14-day off period, a new arrangement was arrived at following extensive consultations with the leadership of the nursing staff and managers of hospitals and provinces. The new arrangement will minimise the period of continuous exposure to Covid-19 and at the same time ensuring continuity of service.
The arrangement will see the introduction of three (3) shifts as follows: 7am-1pm; 1pm-7pm; and 7pm-7am. Under this arrangement, all nurses will report for duty every week for three days followed by 4 days off.
The successful implementation of this new strategy will be anchored on the provision of additional and consistent transport as well as adequate PPE for all workers including nurses.
Working arrangements for all other health staff revert to normal.
Meanwhile, Cabinet has approved the amendment of sections of Statutory Instrument 110 of 2020 pertaining to low-risk sporting activities. More details on the actual sports covered will be supplied by the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation in due course. It must be stressed that the lifting of the lockdown on low-risk sporting activities will be limited to training purposes only, and as such not open to competition or spectators.
Cabinet further agreed as follows:
- a) that suitable designated facilities be identified for the purpose of quarantining ex-convicts and other persons manifesting violent behaviour;
- b) that alternative quarantine centres be identified to pave way for the opening of educational institutions;
- c) that modalities be put in place to ensure a blended e-learning system that benefits all learners in the country, including those from the rural areas; and
- d) that orders for the procurement of critical hospital equipment for the refurbished major health facilities be urgently placed with suppliers.
- Progress update on the implementation of the Fifth 100-Day Cycle Priority Projects: Cabinet received progress reports on the implementation of the Fifth 100-Day Cycle Priority Projects from three ministers, namely: the Ministers of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation; and Finance and Economic Development. It was noted that implementation of the Priority Projects was generally going on well, save for a few which had been affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development reported that the following developments had been made in her ministry’s targeted projects:
a total of 10 projects worth ZW$1 million, which are to be funded through the Women Development Fund, have been approved for funding in Matabeleland North, Mashonaland West and Midlands provinces. However, the funds are yet to be disbursed, leaving the Women Projects Funding Project at 60 percent completion.
the implementation of the findings of the Evaluation Report on the Ministry’s Empowerment Funds countrywide is 100 percent complete, with community projects groups having benefited from the training on the cited deficiencies;
disbursement of US$458 000 under the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has benefited 30 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) projects, while 19 other SME projects have been identified and funded by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation (SMEDCO) to the tune of ZW$5 280 000;
operationalisation of the Amacimbi/ Madora/Mopane Worm and Vegetable Processing Plant in Beitbridge, Matabeleland South Province is currently underway, with a test run of the factory machines having been successfully conducted and appointment of a management team completed. The company has also been capitalised in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO); and
training of 45 Fishing Cooperative Management Committees in Masvingo and Mashonaland Central Provinces has been undertaken under the establishment of the four tier system in the fishery sector programme.
The Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation informed Cabinet as follows:
that operationalisation of the Sizinda Vocational Training Centre’s new site in Bulawayo stood at 30 percent, with the construction of the ablution block underway;
that construction of the factory house for fruit and vegetables processing in Mutoko, Mashonaland East Province was completed;
that renovations to buildings, installation of computers and internet connectivity at the Beitbridge Youth Interact Centre, Matabeleland South Province was 60 percent complete;
that construction of a Creative Cultural space in Mufakose, Harare had been completed; and
that promotion of women and girls participation in sport and recreation stood at 50 percent. The sporting activities were officially launched in Harare and provincial celebrations were held in Harare.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development reported as follows:
that revenue collections for the first quarter of 2020 amounted to ZW$14,18 billion, exceeding the targeted revenue of ZW$12,81 billion by 10,67 percent;
that ZW$4,75 billion was spent on employment costs as at March 31, 2020, against the target of ZW$3,96 billion;
that social spending amounted to ZW$1.25 billion against a target of ZW$1,6 billion;
that capital expenditure reached ZW$6,78 billion, against the targeted ZW$5,4 billion;
that the development of the Policy and Procedure Manual for the Implementation of the International Public Sectors Accounting Standards stood at 60 percent complete, with Ernest and Young having been hired as the project consultant;
that the review of the Standardised Asset Register for Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies was 70 percent complete; and
that hardware and software for five of the targeted fifty Public Finance Management System Kiosks had been delivered, leaving the Project at 65 percent complete.
- Amendments to the Census and Statistics Act, Chapter [10:29]: Cabinet considered and approved the Census and Statistics Amendment Bill, 2020, which was presented by the Attorney-General on behalf of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. The Bill provides for national censuses to be conducted at ten-year intervals in a manner that will allow the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to take into account the resultant census data in the delimitation of electoral constituency boundaries, as required by the Constitution.
- Update on the 2020 Tobacco Marketing Season: The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement apprised Cabinet on developments in the marketing of tobacco since the delayed onset of the crop’s marketing season. Cabinet was advised that tobacco sales had started on a positive note, with cumulative sales for the first 16 days of the current season surpassing those of the comparative 2018 – 2019 season by 540 percent. To date, a total of 12 605 647 kilogrammes of tobacco have been sold through the auction and contract systems, compared to a total of 2 024 182 kilogrammes sold during the same period during the previous season. The value of the tobacco sold during the current 2019-2020 marketing season amounts to US$28 830 502 at an average price US$2,09, much higher than the US$3 562 220 realised during the comparative 2018-2019 season at an average price of US$1,79. The higher trade volumes and returns are attributable to the decentralisation of tobacco auction floors and the early resolution of payment modalities.