Trade Winds bimonthly update volume 21

Border updates, Beitbridge is currently a mess as COVID screening and an influx of trucks plus the added construction happening in the truck yards has created a massive delay on the South and North side of Beitbridge, SARS and ZIMRA are both blaming each other for the delays in clearance, agents are fighting for drivers to complete their COVID screenings online which would speed up the process by a considerable amount. On the Zim side of the border congestion seems to be an unsolvable situation at the moment, with capacity and capability issues at the container depot (ConDep) and the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) making matters worse.

With all the checks required on the Zim side, even within the port confines FESARTA are trying to get drivers and agents to have runners available at night.

It is known that the truck parks regularly fill to overflowing, despite Zimra working through the night.

With just days to go before Zambia introduces a new toll for foreign-registered vehicles whom already pay entry-and-exit tariffs which has been recorded to profit the country about $160 000 a day, transporters are desperate for intervention.

Effective 19th October 2020, all foreign-registered vehicles will have to cough up extra fees at tolls both at ports of entry and inland toll stations in accordance with Statutory Instrument No. 74 of 2020.

There is quite a bit of confusion especially with such short notice, transporters are asking the questions whether they will be paying double the toll fees in Zambia, other transporters are concerned that their vehicles will be stuck at these tolls as they will not have enough money with them to pay.

According to a transporter who travels in and out of the Copperbelt area spread across the north-eastern border of Zambia into the DRC, truck drivers will have to pay about 150 kwacha every time they pass through a toll gate.

In South African rand terms that’s more than R122 each time.

On the North-South Corridor stretching through Zambia into the DRC’s copper mining area, there are six toll gates transporters have to pass through from entering the country south at Chirundu heading towards the DRC border at Kasumbalesa via Ndola.

Transist recently said that in addition to the $160 000 Zambia already raised through entry-and-exit tariffs payable by foreign-registered trucks, the new tolls would raise an additional $94 000 a day, Transist has since advised that they are working on having this overturned before implementation.

Zimbabwe misses out on gold rush, gold might have hit an all time high in the recent months but Zimbabwe failed to capitalise on this due to mishaps in their deliveries and subdued performance by the big suppliers as well as the increase in illegal smuggling. Small scale miners produced the bulk of the metal.

Whilst the value of gold delivered to Fidelity Printers, Zimbabwe’s sole gold buyer, was in the region of US$1.3billion, a significant amount of gold was sold through the black market, affecting the countries much needed forex.

Gold mining and deliveries in Zimbabwe have also taken a hit due to concerns amongst the miners who cite it as the motivation to smuggle because of the 55 percent forex retention threshold.

However, there is a slight positive outlook, in its latest report, the World Gold Council believes global dynamics seeded over the past few years will generally be supportive for gold this year.

Caledonia Mining Corporation is considering listing itself on Zimbabwe’s new stock exchange knowns as VFEX which is based in the town of Victoria Falls and will be trading in US Dollars only in a move to allure new international investors and bring in much needed forex to the country.

VFEX is also offering incentives such as including a waiver on capital gains tax. There are also plans to provide political-risk cover. While the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will initially provide settlement for trades, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube wants this task handed to a global lender, and talks are underway with firms in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Zambia government to issue statement on KCM liquidation, the Zambian Government has said that it will issue a comprehensive statement in Parliament regarding the liquidation of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) after the court process.

Mines and Minerals Development Minister Hon. Richard Musukwa said that the next step will be dependent on the outcome of the court process.

Hon. Musukwa said that the current liquidator is working within the law adding that he is managing the affairs well by paying old and new debtors.

Hon. Musukwa said that Government has a strong case against Vedanta and will consider all legal options and that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s priority is to safeguard the plight of workers.

Musukwa also said that there are many investors that are interested in running the mine as soon as the due process of law is completed, adding that the action taken by Government was the only option at that time as it was in the best interest of the people of Zambia.

Threat of terrorism in the region, a growing concern!  Following on from the last update, The European Union last week Friday confirmed that it is ready to support Mozambique in its fight against the Islamist insurgents who have been terrorising several districts in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

The EU’s promise is in response to the request made by the Mozambican government last month, asking for humanitarian aid and logistical support as well as specialist training for the Mozambican defence and security forces.

The conformation came from the EU ambassador to Mozambique, Antonio Sánchez-Benedito Gaspar, who presented a letter from Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, which he delivered to Mozambican Foreign Minister Veronica Macamo.

This past Saturday, The Mozambican defence and security forces announced the arrest of a man accused of recruiting new members for the Islamist terrorist groups operating in the province of Cabo Delgado.

State of disaster extended! South Africa, again has decided to extended the state of disaster by another month which has left a lot of economists and majority of the public quite perplexed, South Africa currently sits at Level 1 of the Lockdown Phase with no word as to when the struggling economy will finally be opened up 100%.

There has been pressure from opposition parties on the ANC to open up the economy and drop the state of disaster but the demands were fruitless, word is that the lockdown could be lifted by December if the current COVID infections remain the same or drop as South Africa currently has a steady 90% recovery rate.

Steel prices continue to rise, major mills within the South African steel industry have again sent out notices over the past two weeks, informing the sector that there will be steel increases for the month of November, this is now the 9th consecutive steel increase in South Africa this year, the Plastics and Rubber industries have also recently increased their prices due to the increase of raw materials as well as increased labour costs

Please note Further information regarding these increases is available on our web site.

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”