More tourists, more ex­ports cheer up Zim

Pretoria News - - NEWS - Tawanda Karombo

GOLD pro­duc­tion, ex­ports and tourist ar­rivals are up in Zim­babwe, giv­ing the strug­gling econ­omy a much-needed re­prieve from for­eign cur­rency and cash short­ages.

Tourist ar­rivals were higher in the first half of the year, giv­ing a ma­jor boost to the coun­try’s for­eign cur­rency re­ceipts. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased by Africa Al­bida Tourism, the newly up­graded Vic­to­ria Falls Air­port has in­creased its ca­pac­ity by more than 125 000 pas­sen­ger seats a year.

“A size­able drop in lo­cal ar­rivals has been masked by sig­nif­i­cant growth in in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals on the Zim­bab­wean side. In­ter­na­tional tourist ar­rivals to Vic­to­ria Falls rose 17 per­cent in 2016 and have gained an ad­di­tional 32 per­cent in the first six months of 2017,” the re­port said.

Re­gional and in­ter­na­tional air­lines that use Vic­to­ria Falls in­clude Ethiopian Air­lines, Kenya Air­ways, South Africa’s Air­link, Bri­tish Air­ways, Air Zim­babwe, South African Air­ways, Fast­jet and Air Namibia.

Fidelity Print­ers said Zim­babwe’s gold pro­duc­tion for the first eight months of 2017 in­creased 10 per­cent to 14.6 tons.

Fidelity Print­ers is a unit of the Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe, which is the coun­try’s sole buyer of gold.

Zim­babwe is eye­ing about 24 tons of gold this year, and bul­lion out­put was about 2.5 tons in Au­gust, the high­est monthly pro­duc­tion in this cur­rent. “Last month, gold de­liv­er­ies reached a record high of 2.5 tons and ex­ports went up by 17 per­cent,” Jonathan Moyo, a cab­i­net min­is­ter, tweeted.

Zim­babwe is also a sig­nif­i­cant pro­ducer of plat­inum, nickel, chrome and coal.

The gov­ern­ment has been bat­tling to con­tain cash short­ages de­spite the in­tro­duc­tion of more bond notes and coins.

Los­ing ground

The bond cur­rency has been los­ing ground on the par­al­lel mar­ket, with prices go­ing up as busi­nesses fac­tor in the cost of buy­ing hard cur­rency on the in­for­mal cur­rency mar­ket.

The stronger gold min­ing per­for­mance has been aided by min­ing firms’ fo­cus on in­creas­ing pro­duc­tion by re­struc­tur­ing.

Mzi Khu­malo’s Me­tal­lon, which runs four mines in Zim­babwe, has said the re­struc­tur­ing of its busi­ness was part of a strat­egy to in­crease ef­fi­cien­cies. “As part of this re­struc­tur­ing ex­er­cise, each of Me­tal­lon’s four op­er­at­ing mines will now op­er­ate as sep­a­rate en­ti­ties. By mak­ing the mines stand­alone op­er­a­tions, Me­tal­lon will in­crease ef­fi­ciency,” it said this month.

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