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The Herald

Cost of medical care rises

Health Reporter Ivy Ncube
CASH paying patients are now being asked to pay a $21 000 deposit at
Parirenyatwa Hospital and anything over $100 000 at private hospitals before
being admitted.

For a child, a deposit of $10 600 is required at Parirenyatwa.

In addition to the exorbitant fees, patients are also required to buy most
of their medication which Parirenyatwa cannot offer.

At the same time the prices of essential drugs have skyrocketed over the
past 12 months despite tariff reductions on drugs.

This effectively means that poor patients, including those with chronic
conditions, will continue bearing the burden of poor health.

Parirenyatwa is the country’s premier referral institution, where patients
are referred for specialised care or treatment. The exorbitant fees mean
that the poor — who are not on medical aid — cannot access advanced

Avenues Clinic is asking for $150 000 deposit from all cash paying patients
as deposit.

The Department of Social Welfare, which catered for poor patients, exhausted
its budget early this year. It owes Parirenyatwa and other institutions
billions of dollars.

A two-week old baby from Epworth was almost turned away from Parirenyatwa
hospital at the weekend because her father Mr Peter Fengu did not have the
$10 600 deposit.

He was later asked to pay at least $3 000 for the child to be admitted while
he went to look for the balance. He only had $1 000
on him.

The cashier even suggested that the child be taken to Harare Hospital
despite the fact that doctors who had assessed her had recommended that she
be admitted in Ward A4.

He only accepted the $1 000 after the intervention of a Herald reporter who
had been watching the desperate family pacing up and down the corridors of
the hospital looking for assistance.

The reporter questioned the logic and the morality behind sending a child,
visibly in pain, back home or to another hospital when doctors had already
drawn blood samples and recommended admission.

The deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, who
was not available to comment yesterday is on record saying no one should be
denied treatment if they cannot raise the hospital fees.

A survey by The Herald in Harare at the weekend showed that since September
last year when the Government announced a reduction of the tariffs on
essential drugs, prices of some of the drugs had now more than doubled.

Retail pharmacies contacted yesterday said they were buying the drugs at
equally high costs from wholesalers who in turn blamed the manufacturers.

Manufacturers have, since the reduction of tariffs, argued that they had no
choice as they were also facing shortages of foreign currency. Observers
said there was no way the prices could be reduced as they were getting their
foreign currency on the parallel market.

No comment was available from the Retail Pharmacies Association, as the
spokesman was said to be away in Scotland.

A 10-mililitre vial of Actraphane Insulin, for the control of diabetes,
which cost between $1 000 and $1 500 in October last year now ranges between
$5 000 and $6 500 in pharmacies in Harare.

Sources said the same drug costs $1 300 at outpatient pharmacies located at
central hospitals.

Other drugs for hypertension, asthma, diabetes, heart and arthritis cost on
average $1 500.

A Harare man said he had bought a three-day course of a hypertension drug,
nifedipine for nearly $600 which translates to $6 000 for a month’s course.

Dr Parirenyatwa on Friday said the Government was concerned that private
drug suppliers, taking advantage of persistent shortages in public
institutions, were charging exorbitant fees.

He said the move by the Government to control prices of basic commodities
would include generic drugs.

Dr Parirenyatwa was in India last week looking at how Zimbabwe could access
affordable generic drugs manufactured by Indian companies.

He said the response he got was very encouraging and he would be meeting
with his colleagues in Government today over the issue.

Some in the pharmaceutical industry are suggesting buying the drugs in bulk
for the whole country and also doing the packaging locally to cut costs.
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The Herald

Row over price controls

THE Secretary for Industry and International Trade, Mr Stuart Comberbach,
has threatened to resign today after clashing with a Parliamentary Committee
on Empowerment over price controls.

He is being accused of failing to be assertive when handling the price
control issue and of siding with some leading millers and bakers that are
strongly opposed to the controls.

The companies have threatened to close if the controls are not reversed.

Mr Comberbach, who confirmed in an interview with The Herald yesterday that
"the best thing is for me to walk away", said he made a serious mistake last
week when he failed to indicate in the Government gazette that the price
controls should have been effective tomorrow.

The controls were immediately introduced on Friday upon the publication of
the Government gazette.

He said he had offered to resign today "if indications were that I am
favouring established firms at the expense of the majority".

His threat yesterday followed, a tour of factories, retail shops and
bakeries in Harare by the Zanu-PF Caucus Committee on Empowerment comprising
Chinhoyi MP Cde Phillip Chiyangwa, Mount Darwin South MP Cde Saviour
Kasukuwere and Mutoko North Cde David Chapfika.

However, a Government source said they would more than appreciate it if Mr
Comberbach resigned "because his attitude showed that his position was to
represent industrialists than populist views".

"Our interest is to make sure that bread production continued. I have a
report from Lobels, which indicate they are very unhappy with the way, the
Caucus Committee has conducted its business. I subsequently telephoned (Cde)
Chiyangwa but that is neither here nor there.

"Chiyangwa was quite abusive on the cellphone and (Cde) Kasukuwere was even
more abusive accusing me of siding with people who were not patriotic. If
that is the view of the MPs, I offer myself to resign. My opinion is that
this whole thing is not being well co-ordinated. It is my opinion that MPs m
ust not abuse businesses," said Mr Comberbach.

Some companies including leading bakeries have reportedly threatened to
close shop in protest against the price controls.

Lobels said it was operating below capacity with only 75 employees reporting
for duty yesterday.

Over 200 workers have reportedly been put on shorter working hours.

On Friday Mr Comberbach and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development
Cde Simba Makoni, officials from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and
Social Welfare and the President’s Office held a six-hour meeting with
millers and bakers to break the impasse over controls.

A source said the preference for Cde Makoni was disturbing because prior to
his Cabinet appointment, he was a board member of the Innscor, proprietors
of Bakers Inn and was suspected to be sympathetic to the bakers’ concerns.

The source also scoffed at Mr Comberbach’s suggestion that the parliamentary
committee should have notified him before visiting the business in Harare.

The parliamentary committee was considering ways of taking over businesses
which continued to flout the Government directive to lower prices of
selected goods and commodities.

The Government reintroduced price controls last week to curb soaring prices
of basic goods and commodities.

Mr Comberbach said some companies had indicated they would have limited
production of bread because they were no longer making profits.

"When the meeting ended at 9:30 pm there was no consensus as the bakers and
millers maintained that it was not viable as they were making losses of
between $6 and $9 per loaf of bread and on that basis they indicated that
they would stop producing bread.

"At the end of the meeting no-one was sure if there was going to be
production of bread. However, they called me on Saturday that they were
going to have limited production," said Mr Comberbach.

Both Cdes Chiyangwa and Kasukuwere denied ever using abusive language in
their discussions with Mr Comberbach saying they told him their committee
had gone on a factfinding mission to establish if the businesses had
complied with the Government directive.

Cde Chiyangwa said "we do not get instructions from secretaries but we are
members of a legislature. How can a secretary ask us about a particular
business when we have visited several of them?

"This shows that they are conniving to fix the Government by representing
views of the few rather than populist views".

Cde Kasukuwere said Zanu-PF’s

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position was not to represent industrialists only but the majority.

"Can the Minister (Herbert Murerwa) and Stuart (Comberbach) be more
responsive to the people’s needs. We as a committee will accept his
(Comberbach) resignation tomorrow (today).

"If Lobels close we will buy it and ensure that indigenous blacks with
expertise run the company for the benefit of the people".

Yesterday the committee visited several businesses in Newlands, Mbare and
the Avenues among others to check if bakeries, wholesalers and retailers had
implemented the new prices.

The MPs said that price controls should also be extended to other products
such as timber, steel and building materials.

A survey indicated that most of the shops were still charging old prices for
selected goods and commodities that were now controlled by the Government.

At Newlands bread was selling at $65, at Fife Avenue bread was between
$52,80 and $88 per loaf while other supermarket owners said the Government
had not communicated with them.

At Lobels Bakery along Simon Mazorodze Road, the production manager, Mr
Zilatner Jonathan, said they had reduced production pending the outcome of
the discussions with the Government.

Bakers Inn had reduced its bread to $44 for a standard loaf

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The Herald

Adverse media coverage scares away investors

By Hatred Zenenga
FOREIGN direct investment into Zimbabwe has been seriously dented by the
continual international media beaming to the outside world of perceptions of
political violence and lack of rule of law in the country, a visiting United
States trade expert has said.

The president of a US international business development and strategic
marketing company, the Hanover Group, Mr Dwayne Gathers, said the portrayal
of Zimbabwe as an unsafe investment destination was scaring away investors.

He urged Zimbabwe’s diplomatic missions abroad to play a key role in
shooting down perceptions created by the international media reports.

"The news that we get out of Zimbabwe suggests that there is insecurity. In
the US business people pick perceptions of instability, lack of
opportunities, human rights abuses and lack of law and order from the
media," he said in an interview with Business Herald.

The trade expert said although Zimbabwe’s macro-economic fundamentals were
no longer as positive as they were in the mid-1990s, the country still had
the opportunity to move forward.

American business people, he said, looked for investment environments where
they enjoyed effective labour and judicial systems.

He said Zimbabwe must look beyond the trade opportunities created by the US
Government under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act.

"The fact that Zimbabwe is not part of AGOA does not mean that the country
should not trade with the US.

"The Act is an important economic opportunity but one does not have to use
the Act as the basis of doing business in the US. Quality and price of
products is what matters most,’’ he said.


Zimbabwe has been excluded from using AGOA, which seeks to boost trade
between the US and sub-Saharan Africa by granting duty and quota-free
treatment to most African products, particularly textile and apparel.

Mr Gathers, who was in the country under the auspices of the US embassy in
Harare, held meetings with business people in Harare and Mutare.

Addressing business people in Mutare, he said that the little information on
Africa accessed through the media cited insecurity on the continent.

He urged African embassies in the US to play a crucial role in marketing
their countries.

"I do not think that African embassies are doing a good job of
communication,'' he said in a Ziana report.

Mr Gathers said there was very little information of what other people, such
as business groups, were doing and as such very few were making efforts to
invest in African countries.

''The commercial attaches and officers could at least strive to be more
business oriented,'' he said.

Apart from insecurity concerns, other areas of concern to American business
investors in Africa were low population figures, low spending power, long
distances and problems to do with air travel.

Zimbabwe, said Mr Gathers, was geographically well situated to play a major
role in the Southern Africa Development Community.

"From a US perspective communication with Zimbabweans, who are reasonably
educated, is easy. The spin-off would be for US corporations operating in SA
to move into Zimbabwe.’’

The business consultant challenged the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) to play a pivotal role to market the region and promote
trade and investment between African countries and the US.

Mr Gathers is a former director of the state of California's office of trade
and investment based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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Resettled farmers to prove critics wrong
By Hama Saburi
ZIMBABWE is on the verge of regaining its position as the breadbasket of the region but much depends on the availability of agricultural inputs for the newly resettled farmers.
The spirit among all the newly resettled farmers is that of proving their critics wrong.
"All we want to do is to dispel the myth that blacks cannot match their fellow white farmers," said a resettled farmer at Montana Farm in Mt Darwin who preferred to be known as Cde Chada.
It has been claimed before that the new settlers would fail the Government-driven agrarian reforms because they were inexperienced.
At least 22 000 families have resettled on 320 farms in Mashonaland East.
Another 11 500 people have benefited from the scheme in Mashonaland Central.
The provincial administrator for Mashonaland Central, Mr Josphat Jaji, said the resettled farmers in the province were occupying 294 farms measuring 291 183,35 hectares.
The same trend has been replicated in the other provinces in what should give a major boost to crop production. Visits by a Cabinet Action Committee on Land and Agriculture to Mashonaland East and Central came out with some positive indications.
The action committee is the largest of all such set-ups in the Government.
It encompasses representatives from all the ministries including other key organisations.
The committee is visiting the provinces compiling the concerns of both the new settlers and the commercial farmers.
It is also assessing progress made in preparing for the farming season.
Giant strides have been made to ensure the success of the fast-track resettlement.
Most of new settlers are now on their allocated pieces of land while the other new farmers are expected to move in soon.
Those who will not move have been warned that they risk losing their plots.
Dr Joseph Made who chairs the action committee believes that nothing can stop the exercise from succeeding.
"We are on target," said Dr Made the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement.
He, however, said they were a few impediments that needed to be addressed.
For instance, tillage facilities and other inputs such as seed and fertilisers have not been moved into other areas.
The new farmers are also asking for access to clean water, dip tanks and funding for the construction of blair toilets and clinics.
Institutions that should complement the Government in distributing the inputs are also reneging on the responsibility.
The new farmers are discontented that the Grain Marketing Board and the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe were not keen to provide the inputs.
Dr Made admitted that the government did not have enough capacity to execute the job at hand.
The private sector is therefore needed to complement Government efforts.
"We are making progress in ensuring that newly resettled farmers get all the support before the on-set of the rains," said Dr Made.
According to the Minister of Rural Resources and Water Development, Cde Joyce Mujuru, the District Development Fund was already looking at sinking boreholes in areas where families have been resettled.
The Member of Parliament for Mt Darwin South, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe should also buy into the input programme.
"The RBZ should change its attitude…the issue of foreign currency, which is a concern to the bank, can be addressed by increasing output from agriculture. What our new farmers want in this regard, are the inputs," said Cde Kasukuwere.
A number of farmers are happy that the dust has finally settled in areas that had been hit by hostilities between the new settlers and commercial farmers.
The spirit of core-existence has gained an edge over adversity.
Cde Kasukuwere said while members of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association were beginning to pull together with their black counterparts the same could not be said of the Commercial Farmers Union.
"For 21 years, they (CFU) have remained a white faced organisation. What we want in an all-inclusive CFU. Division is unsustainable. We cannot have an island of a few rich people and a sea of the
poor," he said.
Cde Kasukuwere said the Abuja agreement could only work if there was the spirit of co-existence.
But there are also a few white commercial farmers who were alleging that there were work stoppages on their farms. This is untrue, Dr Made said.
Some are still waiting for the Government to tell them whether or not they should plant crops.
Cde Made said he had not seen such work stoppages in the two provinces he had visited so far.
Instead, he has seen a good wheat crop that is now long overdue for harvesting and wondered about the motives of the relevant farmers.
Dr Made said white commercial farmers should always seek dialogue as a way of resolving disputes.
At one of the gatherings addressed by Dr Made, a white farmer appealed to the minister to consider the contribution he can give in terms of skills.
Dr Made was not amused. He said white farmers could not appeal to him when they were fighting the Government in the courts.

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The Herald

Zimbabwe in bid to woo fresh investment

By Charles Mtetwa
ZIMBABWE, eager to attract fresh domestic and foreign investment, is mulling
several economic development corridors over the next few years to help turn
around the economy.

Over the next 12 months the Government, in a joint venture with the
Mozambique government, is expected to develop the multi-billion-dollar Beira
Development Corridor.

The Beira Corridor already has developed infrastructure from its previous
status as a transport corridor from Harare to the port of Beira in

When the corridor was rehabilitated, it was to provide alternative routes at
a time South Africa had been under apartheid. The aim did not have any
reference to the expansion of industry, commerce, agriculture and mining.

Under the proposed development, the belt for the corridor has been expanded
to cover areas within 50 km on either side of the gateway.

The belt will be covered by investments projected to be above US$1,4 billion
when fully operational. The marketing of the project is expected to kick off
next year with the staging of an investment conference and the refurbishment
of infrastructure, particularly the Beira Port.

Proposed anchor projects include tourism, agro industry, forestry, stainless
steel, industrial parks and telecommunications.

Zimbabwe is in dire need of investment, which has been on the decline in the
last three years as the economy declined in the midst of runaway inflation
and an exodus of donors.

President Mugabe and his Mozambican counterpart, Cde Joaquim Chissano, are
expected to seal a Memorandum of Understanding on the project next week.

The two leaders in August signed letters of intent for the project.

The Zimbabwe Government, committed to the implementation of the project, has
set up National Technical Units, housed by the Ministry of Transport and

"The two governments have also formed the Joint Technical Committee to
eliminate any bottlenecks that may retard progress. The committee’s
challenge now is to ensure the development not only of anchor projects but
of other ancillary projects in the corridor, leading to employment creation
and economic growth," Transport and Communications permanent secretary
Colonel Christian Katsande said.

Workshops have already been held in Zimbabwe to help iron out bump patches
in the project. The first one was held in Mutare while the second in a
series, attended by Mozambican officials headed by a Cabinet minister, was
in Harare last week.

The promoters of the project are agreed on the need for private sector
support. In return a number of incentives have been proposed.

The incentives include tax holidays, repatriation of profits, duty free
importation of capital equipment and machinery associated with the corridor
projects as well as exemption from withholding tax on dividends and loan

"The challenge to the private sector is to take up opportunities as they
arise and invest in the corridor," Col Katsande said.

Zimbabwe has proposed other corridors, which are expected to be implemented
shortly as efforts to resuscitate the economy continue.

The other proposed economic corridors are the Limpopo Valley covering
Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique, the Zambezi Valley Corridor, Lusaka
Development Corridor, Trans-Zambezi Limpopo, Highveld Development, the
Copperbelt Development Corridor and Mid-Zambezi Tourism.

Beira Development Corridor project manager Mr Manuel Ruas, expressing hope
for the success of the corridors, said there had been more development
initiatives in South Africa.

He said at least 21 percent of the estimated US$32 billion worth of projects
under the corridors had taken off in South Africa, with a potential to
create 80 000 jobs.

In the Southern Africa Development Community there were a number of proposed
development corridors which are expected to propel regional growth. Some of
the successful corridors include South Africa’s Maputo Development Corridor
and the Walvis Bay Corridor.

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The Herald

MDC has lost focus

Herald Reporter
The MDC has lost focus and will not succeed in its efforts to stop internal
violence that has rocked it, analysts said yesterday.

But MDC secretary, Professor Welshman Ncube said there were no scared cows
in MDC hence the suspension at the weekend of eight senior party members.

"It (the suspension) shows that the party is very firm, focused and does not
tolerate any indiscipline. A party that does this is in perfect control,"
Prof Ncube said last night.

"Nobody is bigger than the party…we are not afraid to take action."

However, a ZanuPF parliamentarian, Cde David Chapfika (Mutoko North), said
the opposition had lost focus and through the resultant frustrations had
started fighting amongst themselves.

Eight senior officials, including four MPs, were suspended from holding any
positions in the party on Saturday pending the outcome of investigations
into intraparty violence. The four MPs, Mr Learnmore Jongwe (Kuwadzana), Mr
Job Sikhala (St Mary’s), Mr Tafadzwa Musekiwa (Zengeza) and Mr Tapiwa
Mashakada (Hatfield) were suspended together with the party’s St Mary’s
branch chairman Mr Alexio Musundire.

At the recommendations of a committee headed by health secretary, Dr
Tichaona Mudzingwa, the other officials placed under suspension are Mr
Boniface Manyonga and the other two only identified as Sendekai and Mutamba.

Cde Chapfika said: "The problems in MDC were expected because we must
remember that it is only a movement. It came into existence by default
driven by anger.

"The party has no policy on issues at hand. People were expecting it to
resolve problems but in reality the party has been working against the
wishes of the people. It has lost focus and members are now burning each

He said more problems were to be expected in the party.

However, Prof Ncube said MDC vice president Mr Gibson Sibanda, was at the
weekend given powers to "immediately" deal with instances of indiscipline.

Mr Sibanda chairs the party’s disciplinary committee. Prof Ncube said the
suspension of the eight was not a punishment but "simply to facilitate

He said the members would resume their party positions if the investigations
cleared them.

Mr Jongwe is the party’s spokesman, Mr Sikhala heads the security division
while Mr Mashakada is the shadow minister of finance
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