Zim has cheaper data tariffs: Potraz
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In a statement, Portaz director-general Gift Machengete said the information was outdated and inaccurate.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 cable.co.uk 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“The circulated infographic is outdated and inaccurate as it does not reflect the true state of affairs during 2019 as well as what’s obtaining now in Zimbabwe and other Sadc countries,” he said,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.”