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ZIMBABWE RAIL MISSES 2015 FREIGHT TARGETS

HARARE, The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) says it missed its target to move 5.3 million tonnes of freight this year due to a combination of internal and external challenges.

Old infrastructure and fleet topped the challenges, and these also included low commodity prices which affected its key customers in the mining sector.

Acting general manager Lewis Mukwada said the company had anticipated to maintain the growth momentum it was exepriencing since 2009.

In 2014, the NRZ moved 3. 5 million tonnes of freight.

“A combination of internal challenges and falling commodity prices on the global market affected the company’s key customers, notably those in the coal and chrome industries, resulting in sharp drop in the business

availed to the parastatal.

“Other customers were affected by power supply challenges and equipment break down. This saw volumes moved in 2015 drop to 2, 8 mln tonnes compared to 3, 5 mln moved in 2014,” he said.

During the year, NRZ had anticipated to move significant volumes of iron ore exports on behalf of a new customer, but the business did not materialise.

Mukwada said this was going to contribute significantly to the 5, 3 mln that the company was targeting to move in 2015.

“This business did not materialized due to the weakening of iron ore prices on the world markets and due to these factors the NRZ will not be able to attain its target for 2015,” he said.

Mukwada said the NRZ required about $2 billion in the long term to revitalize operations while in the medium term about $500 million is needed.

Mukwada said in 2016, NRZ would focus on recovering the momentum lost in 2015 as well as improving service delivery.

“This may entail hiring locomotives and wagons from within the region to complement NRZ’s own fleet,” he said.

On other hand, NRZ has engaged some customers to finance repair of wagons in return for a dedicated service

Source: New Ziana

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ZIMBABWE: LOW BUSINESS FOR BUS OPERATORS DURING FESTIVE HOLIDAY

HARARE, Long distance bus operators said they recorded low business this festive season as few people traveled for holiday purposes due to economic difficulties.

The operators attributed the low business to failure by some companies to pay their workers December salaries.

For the first time, government also failed to pay annual bonuses and December salaries to thousands of its workers.

Bus drivers who spoke to New Ziana at Mbare Musika, Harare’s main terminus said operators reduced fares to attract more passengers but that incentive did not pay off.

Usually, during the festive season, most bus operators double fares and sometimes fail to cope with demand as Zimbabweans travel to their rural homes to visit families.

CAJ bus driver who was picking passengers to Kariba said they did not increase the fare of $10 as there were not many travelers.

“Throughout the holiday we returned to Harare from Kariba with an almost empty bus because there were no passengers,” he said.

Aaron Mutema, a rank marshal operating from the Harare to Bulawayo bus terminal said business was low compared to past festive seasons.

“It’s a reflective of the economy as a whole, had civil servants and all other workers been paid; you would have seen travelers stampeding to get into buses,” he said.

Mfazi bus driver going to Bulawayo said they recorded normal business as if it was not a festive season.

Besides government failing to pay its workers’ salaries, massive job cuts of July this year which affected more than 20,000 workers added on to the bleak festive season.

Source: NEW ZIANA

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ZIMBABWEAN GOVT TO STEP UP EFFORTS TO IMPROVE EASE OF DOING BUSINESS

HARARE, The Zimbabwe government is working on a new 100-day Action Plan to improve the ease of doing business in the country and in attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), says the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda.

The flow of FDI into Zimbabwe has been low over the years owing to a number of reasons, including portrayal of the country as an unsafe investment destination by the Western media.

Investors have also been shunning Zimbabwe because of the pessimistic approach towards the country's Indigenization and Empowerment Act.

Dr Sibanda told a media briefing here Wednesday that following President Robert Mugabe’s directive to accelerate the ease of doing business by implementing a raft of measures by this Dec 31, the government had adopted a Rapid Results Approach.

He said the first 100-day Rapid Results Action Plan, launched on Sept 11, had yielded various milestones ,including reducing the number of days it takes to register a property from 36 days to 14 days and reducing the time taken to pay taxes from 242 hours to 160 hours.

He said the government was targeting the first quarter of next year to achieve key reforms which would improve the ease of doing business. Some of the reforms would include amending the Companies Act, Shop Licensing Act and the Procurement Act while also aiming to reduce the days it takes to register a business from the current 30 days to between 10 and 15 days.

“In order to maintain the momentum gained, the Action Plan for the next 100 days will be concluded by 31st of December 2015,” he said. “The next cycle of the 100 days will require the full and active participation of key stakeholders from both the private and public sectors, which will need to be buttressed by a robust communication and capacity-building programme not only at implementing officers but also at front line workers.”

Dr Sibanda said with the envisioned raft of reforms, Zimbabwe’s ranking on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business report was bound to improve. Zimbabwe was this year ranked 155 out of 189 countries on the ease of doing business report.

Speaking at the same event, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said the Cabinet had requested all line Ministries to be committed to the reform process to ensure its success.

“Cabinet went further to call upon all key Ministries to ensure that they played their part fully to enable complete buy-in of key officials in the reform and review of departmental processes under the programme," he added.

“It was noted that there was need to continuously review and communicate government procedures with the intention of providing an efficient and effective service delivery to domestic and foreign investors."

Source: NEW ZIANA

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2015 A CHALLENGING YEAR FOR ZIMBABWE, SAYS PRESIDENT MUGABE

HARARE, President Robert Mugabe says Zimbabweans and their leadership have reason to celebrate as 2015 comes to an end after the country managed to overcome some of the economic challenges it faced during the year.

President Mugabe, who was addressing leaders in government and the ruling Zanu PF party officials at a Christmas party here Monday, described 2015 as a “challenging” year and lauded the people for their resilience.

He said while some of the challenges the economy was facing were yet to be addressed, the country could afford to celebrate its successes and ability to successfully host mega events in the past year.

“.... all those events really, must give us at least something, something we can say is a (Christmas) party that recognizes that we have successfully gone through the year and surmounted the challenges , many of them, that faced us and others we continue to face,” he said.

“That a year like that needs to be celebrated, celebrated by us because of the resilience we showed, we showed as leaders of our people, and also succeeded in convincing our people to stand by us and accept these challenges as challenges to our nation together."

Zimbabwe’s economy is saddled with a number of challenges among them western imposed sanctions which are blocking government efforts to improve its performance and upgrade the socio-economic well-being of its citizens.

But during the year, the country was able to successfully host a number of events, among them the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit on industrialisation in the first half of the year, the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases as well as the State visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping early this month.

During the historic State visit, the two countries signed deals worth more than 4.0 billion US dollars which when fully implemented, are expected to give the economy a jumpstart.

The ruling Zanu PF party, which President Mugabe leads, also successfully held its annual National People’s Conference two weeks ago.

President Mugabe said the unresolved challenges must spur the country’s leadership to look forward to the New Year with determination to overcome them.

Source: NEW ZIANA

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Celebrity DJ And Philanthropist Beverly Bond Announces The 2016 Launch Of BLACK GIRLS ROCK! AFRICA™ During The Inaugural BET Experience Africa

Supermodel Millen Magese, Media Personality Bonang Mabetha and Actress Nomzamo Mbatha Joined Founder/CEO Beverly Bond at BETX Africa to Announce the Expansion of the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! platform to Africa JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire — Following the successful model of the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! platform in the United States, Beverly Bond, founder, CEO and executive producer […]
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