TWENTY-FIRST POST-CABINET PRESS BRIEFING
1.0 UPDATE ON ZIMBABWE’S RESPONSE FO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Cabinet considered an update on the response to the COVID-19 Outbreak which was presented by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development on behalf of the Chairperson of the Task Force.
Cabinet advises that, as at 28 June, 2021, Zimbabwe’s cumulative COVID-19 cases stood at 46 442, with 37 187 recoveries and 1 736 deaths. The recovery rate stands at 80%, with 96% of COVID-19 positive cases being attributable to local transmission. The number of active cases stands at 2 923.
Cabinet noted, with concern that the surge reported the previous week continued, with a total of 3 882 cases recorded during the period under review, compared to 1 239 reported the previous week. This represents a 213% increase. The majority of cases were recorded in Mashonaland West (1 798), Mashonaland Central (1 375) and Midlands (493). The following areas have been designated as hotspots in Mashonaland, West Kariba, Karoi, Makonde, Chinhoyi, Mhangura, Chidamwoyo, Magunje, Chirundu; in Bulawayo Nkulumane Emakhandeni and Northern Surburbs; in Mashonaland Central, Mount Darwin; in Masvingo, Chiredzi; and in Midlands, Kwekwe. Members of the public are strongly discouraged from visiting or transiting through these spots.
Under Case Management Infection, Prevention and Control, the nation is informed that hospital admissions due to COVID-19 have increased. As of 27 June 2021, there were 353 hospitalized COVID-19 positive cases, of which 40 were new admissions, 97 were asymptomatic, 209 were mild to moderate 44 severe and 3 were in the intensive care unit.
Noting that the frontline staff were given opportunity to vaccinate ahead of others, the nation is advised that a considerable number of frontline workers (20%) have still not presented themselves for vaccination. Given the risk this poses not only to other workers but also to patients, Cabinet has set 14 July 2021 as the deadline for the vaccination of the frontline workers. After this date those who would not have been vaccinated will not receive COVID-19 insurance payouts. For the avoidance of doubt, those vaccinated staff members who test positive will, however, still be eligible for the COVID-19 insurance pay out.
On law and order, Cabinet advises that as the number of COVID-19 cases and hotspots continue to increase, law enforcement agencies have widened their scope of operations to help the Ministry of Health and Child Care contain the spread of the virus. Furthermore, security forces have heightened patrols along the country’s borders.
Considering that agriculture is an essential service the nation is informed that the Grain Marketing Board, COTTCO and TIMB normal operating hours will be maintained across the country. Cabinet advises that Government continues to review the situation. His Excellency, the President has already issued further directives in this regard.
2.0 PROGRESS REPORT ON THE PROCUREMENT AND ROLL-OUT OF COVID-19 VACCINES
Cabinet received an update report on the procurement and roll out of the COVID-19 Vaccines, as presented by the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable C.G.D.N. Chiwenga.
As of 27 June, 2021 a total of 764 248 people had received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 534 906 their second dose across the country. Cabinet is pleased to report that measures have been put in place to increase the procurement of vaccines. The following quantities of the COVID-19 vaccines have already been procured:
a) 2 000 000 doses of Sinovac Vaccine by end of this week;
b) 1 500 000 doses expected mid-July, 2021;
c) 1 500 000 doses by August 2021; and
d) 1 500 000 doses expected by September 2021.
Cabinet would like to reassure the nation that measures are in place to safeguard health. In addition, the nation is advised that travelers coming from countries with high risk of the Alpha and Delta COVID-19 variants of concern shall:-
a) be quarantined in a designated hotel at their own expense; and
b) have PCR test conducted at their own expense as follows:
i) tested on arrival;
ii) tested on day 3;
iii) tested on day 5; and
iv) tested on day 10.
3.0 REPORTS ON THE 7TH 100 DAY CYCLE OF THE SECOND REPUBLIC
Cabinet received reports on the 7th 100 Day Cycle of the Second Republic from the Ministers of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Primary and Secondary Education; Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation; and Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Hon S.G.G. Nyoni advised Cabinet that funding of 20 Women’s Projects is at 90% with funds having been disbursed to 17 projects by POSB. A total of 163 women from three provinces were trained in Business Management. Each project got ZWL$300 000.00 amounting to a total of ZWL$6 000 000.00. 100 Women Empowerment Clubs will be established in all provinces.
The nation is advised that funding for Post COVID-19 Recovery of 50 SMEs is at 84%. Forty-six projects were identified and visited under the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), and 66 projects were identified and visited under Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation (SMEDCO). A total of ZW$89 600 000 was disbursed to 42 projects under SMEDCO SME Fund creating 68 new jobs and 589 jobs were sustained. Under the OFID Programme, ten (10) projects were approved for funding to the tune of US$411 000.
The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon C. Mathema apprised Cabinet that twenty-five schools out of the annual targeted 200 schools have since been registered. The nation is advised that 345 radio lessons were developed and are being broadcasted from an annual target of 750 radio lessons. The development of learner modules is at 50%. A total of 16 classroom blocks out of the targeted 100 school infrastructure were completed. Regarding the development of e-learning platforms, one (1) platform was developed. The platform is now accessible to learners, teachers and parents for use as supplementary teaching and learning materials.
The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Hon A. Murwira reported that the Wetlands Masterplan for Zimbabwe was developed and is now in place. Regarding the agriculture research and development programme, the nation is informed that one industrial cattle pen at Chinhoyi University of Technology is at 90% completion, while the Commercial Milking Parlor thereat is 100% complete. It is highlighted that the Mapfura Beneficiation Plant Building in Mwenezi is at 95% completion. Construction of the Kushinga-Phikelela Female Hostel is at 95% completion.
The Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Hon. K. Coventry reported on the projects under her purview. Pertaining to the equipping and operationalization of the Mutoko Tomato Processing Plant, in Mashonaland East Province, Cabinet advises that the project is 85% complete. Regarding fitness and wellness for youth and persons with a disability, it is reported that stakeholder identification was completed and the Project will be launched in Bulawayo at a date to be advised.
On the construction of Chambuta Cultural and Creative Gazebo in Masvingo Province, Cabinet advises that the super structure is 100% complete and roofing is at 80% level of completion. The nation is informed that skills outreach programmes were conducted in Midlands, Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North Provinces. It is reported that to date 2 979 girls and 364 boys were trained. 3% of those trained under the Skills Outreach Programme are enrolling for full time courses at Vocational Training Centres and 15% of the trained have gone for attachments in formal employment.
4.0 UPDATE ON THE 2021 WINTER WHEAT PRODUCTION AND MAIZE MARKETING SEASON
Cabinet considered an update on the 2021 winter wheat production and maize marketing season as presented by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, Honourable A.J. Masuka, M.P.
Cabinet advises that of the 85 000 hectares planned for wheat, 62 879 hectares have been planted for the Presidential, National Enhanced Agricultural Productivity Schemes/COMMAND/CBZ Agro-Yield and Private Sector Schemes. Plantings are 53% above what was planted last year.
The nation is informed that a total of 296 443 mt of maize an increase of 306%; 29 205 mt of traditional grains, an increase of 1184%; and 10 198 mt of soya beans, an increase of 866% have been delivered to date to the Grain Marketing Board. The increase of which is a marked improvement from 2020 deliveries.
On tobacco marketing, Cabinet advises that cumulative sales of 170 866 919 kg were realized this year valued at US468 926 709, 19% above last year. This was due to the prices which were 13% firmer than last year and delivery of better quality of the tobacco. Of the reported 277 cases of illegal sales of tobacco, there have been 144 convictions to date. Total tobacco export shipments have reached 65 474 million kg (to over 50 destinations) as at 25 June 2021, 94% of tobacco had been sold under contract and 6% under auction. To date, decentralized selling points have handled 43% of the tobacco.
5.0 REPORT ON THE 40TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND SYMPOSIUM OF SHELTER AFRIQUE: 20 -25 JUNE 2021: YAOUNDE, CAMEROON
The Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, Hon. D. Garwe reported that the 40th Annual General Meeting and Symposium of Shelter Afrique was held from 20 to 25 June 2021 in Yaounde, Cameroon. Zimbabwe was elected as the 1st Vice Chairperson of the Shelter Afrique Bureau and will host the 41st AGM and Symposium.
Cabinet approved Shelter Afrique’s pledged to invest in Zimbabwe through funding mixed housing construction ranging from 3000 to 10000 units; establishing a building technology plant with a proposed shareholding of 51/49 for Shelter Afrique and Government of Zimbabwe respectively; and establishing a regional office for the SADC region in Harare. Government will provide the requisite land.
6.0 UPDATE ON PREPARATIONS FOR ZIMBABWE’S PARTICIPATION AT EXPO DUBAI 2020
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Honourable F.M. Shava, updated Cabinet on preparations for Zimbabwe’s participation at Expo Dubai 2020 which runs under the theme “Connecting Minds- Creating the Future”.
Cabinet approved the amendment of Zimbabwe’s sub-theme from “Zimbabwe- the Land of a Great People “ to “Zimbabwe -a Land of Great Opportunities”
The nation is informed that the milestones completed to date are as follows: 1) the development of Zimbabwe’s Technical Participation Architecture; 2) formulation of the National Coordinating Committee and its respective subcommittees; 3) finalization of the country pavilion design, 4) development of an online application for companies to showcase their products; 5) development Zimbabwe’s Official Website for Expo 2020; and 6) participation in Expo 2020 Dubai Children’s Tales from around the World book.
Cabinet advises that the Zimbabwe pavilion will be the country’s main showcase, whose storyline will be expressed through exhibits, audio visuals and amplified by objects. The pavilion is structured in four main Zones: Our Heritage, Our Land of Abundant Opportunities, Our Human Capital base and Our Future.
Cabinet reports that the private sector will compliment Government efforts for Zimbabwe’s participation through provision of products for the World Market Store, Retail Store and content for the country, Women’s Pavillion and Side events. The private sector is encouraged to profile its investment projects, develop robust digital marketing platforms for sourcing partnerships and enhancing product and service visibility.
The Small and Medium Enterprises Sector will participate in the World Market Kiosk, through provision of products sourced from all provinces. Furthermore, SMEs, Women in Business and Youth-owned Enterprises will be profiled for marketing in Dubai through print and video content creation.
The nation is informed that Zimbabwe’s anticipated legacy from this Expo will be determined by the thoroughness of preparations with regard to the coherent communication of country’s strategic and comparative advantages. A draft communication strategy has since been developed. The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services and Agencies responsible for publicity and communication will work closely with contracted creative companies for guidance on content creation and coherent messaging.
7.0 REPORT ON THE PAN AFRICAN POSTAL UNION 39TH ORDINARY SESSION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL AND 10TH ORDINARY SESSION OF THE PLENIPOTENTIARY CONFERENCE
Cabinet considered and noted the Report on the Pan African Postal Union 39th Ordinary Session of the Administrative Council and 10th Ordinary Session of the Plenipotentiary Conference which was presented by the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services.
The Conference was held in Victoria Falls from 21 to 25 June 2021. Overally, the Conference was a resounding success in terms of NDS1 goals and demonstrated Zimbabwe’s capacity to host a hybrid event at the highest level. Our own Mr. Sifundo Chief Moyo was elected as the Secretary General, the first Zimbabwean and SADC national to secure the position. Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services will be Chair of the Plenipotentiary Conference for the next four (4) years, including the Extra-Ordinary Session in November 2021. Zimbabwe pledged to contribute to the construction of the Pan African Postal Union Headquarters in Tanzania.