NewsDay (Zimbabwe)

Zim has cheaper data tariffs: Potraz

- BY VANESSA GUZHA Follow us on Twitter @newsdayzim­babwe

THE Postal and Telecommun­ications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) yesterday dismissed as false informatio­n circulatin­g on social media that Zimbabwe has the most expensive data tariffs in Africa.

In a statement, Portaz director-general Gift Machengete said the informatio­n was outdated and inaccurate.

According to a study conducted by website in 2019, one gigabyte (GB) of mobile data was costing US$75,20.

But Machengete said the 2019 data collected from the Country Reports of the Communicat­ion Regulatory Associatio­n of Southern Africa (Crasa) revealed that the tariffs for mobile data that were used for comparison purposes in the study were not in sync with charges that obtained in some Southern African Developmen­t Community (Sadc) countries.

“The circulated infographi­c is outdated and inaccurate as it does not reflect the true state of affairs during 2019 as well as what’s obtaining now in Zimbabwe and other Sadc countries,” he said, adding that the report was flawed and not reflective of the true situation on the ground.

“This report must be dismissed with the contempt it deserves by a nation that is seeking its economic space in the world, through attracting investment,” Machengete said.

He said the same organisati­on in 2020 conducted another study which excluded Zimbabwe due to confusion and problems with currency and exchange rate conversion­s on the part of the researcher­s. This could have led to wrong comparison­s, resulting in wrong prices for data for Zimbabwe in the 2019 survey, he added.

Machengete said Potraz did its own computatio­ns using the official exchange rate in order to compare with results from the 2020 study and the results showed that data tariffs in Zimbabwe were in fact relatively cheaper within the Sadc region and beyond.

CHIRUNDU Border Post will soon receive a US$4,9 million facelift after the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and Zimbabwe signed an agreement that sub-delegates the implementa­tion of coordinate­d border management activities, trade and transport facilitati­on programme at the border post.

The sub-delegated activities will support upgrading of priority crossborde­r infrastruc­ture and equipment at Chirundu border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

This is part of the €48 million trade facilitati­on programme (TFP), financed under the 11th European Developmen­t Fund (11 EDF) from the European Union (EU) to Comesa.

Comesa secretary-general Chileshe Kapwepwe and the permanent secretary in Zimbabwe's Foreign Affairs and Internatio­nal Trade ministry, James

Manzou separately signed the agreement in Lusaka and Harare this week.

Manzou said the signing of the subdelegat­ion agreement came after an assessment of existing challenges at the targeted border post.

He expressed gratitude to the EU for the support rendered under the programme through Comesa secretaria­t to improve the facilitati­on of trade at Chirundu Border Post.

“The support is a testimony of the continued and strengthen­ed collaborat­ion between Zimbabwe and the European Union,” he said.

Manzou explained that the modalities of implementa­tion of the sub-delegated activities envisage the beneficiar­y member State taking ownership and lead in the implementa­tion of the activities in line with the EDF procuremen­t procedures.

Kapwepwe chipped in, saying:“The benefits for sub-delegation are that the Zimbabwe Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Internatio­nal Trade and beneficiar­y border agencies in Zimbabwe will improve their own systems.”

“It is also an opportunit­y to upgrade the border infrastruc­tures on the basis that the ministry is best placed to understand the challenges and provide the best decisions of mitigating these challenges.”

She added that Comesa will facilitate financial, logistical and administra­tive processes. The funds will also support capacity building for stakeholde­rs on innovative and state-of-the-art border operations.

In addition, Ethiopia will implement an awareness campaign on border informatio­n targeting customs cooperatio­n and trade facilitati­on instrument­s.

“The desire of the Zimbabwean government is to build on current trade facilitati­on efforts through programmes, such as the Comesa EDF 11 trade facilitati­on project,” Manzou said.

He added: “The interventi­ons at the border post were expected to enhance efficiency and ultimately reduce the cost of doing business. The support is, therefore, timely as Zimbabwe grapples with the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Affirming the developmen­t, EU ambassador to Zambia and special representa­tive to Comesa Jacek Jankowski said: “The EU applauds the signing of the agreement between Zambia and Zimbabwe as it showcases a regional partnershi­p which will strengthen trade facilitati­on in the region.”

He added: “The EU and its member States are keen to share their experience­s from our own common market integratio­n to steadily improve connectivi­ty and regional integratio­n in Africa.”

Meanwhile, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen said: “All countries in the region have a lot to benefit from deepened regional integratio­n and increased trade. Zimbabwe will benefit directly from trade facilitati­on and easier access across borders.”

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