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Cost of medical care rises
Health Reporter Ivy
CASH paying patients are now being asked to pay a $21 000 deposit
Parirenyatwa Hospital and anything over $100 000 at private hospitals
For a child, a deposit of $10 600 is required
In addition to the exorbitant fees, patients are also
required to buy most
of their medication which Parirenyatwa cannot
At the same time the prices of essential drugs have skyrocketed
past 12 months despite tariff reductions on drugs.
effectively means that poor patients, including those with
conditions, will continue bearing the burden of poor
Parirenyatwa is the country’s premier referral institution, where
are referred for specialised care or treatment. The exorbitant fees
that the poor — who are not on medical aid — cannot access
Avenues Clinic is asking for $150 000 deposit from
all cash paying patients
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.
two-week old baby from Epworth was almost turned away from
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
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
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.
deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, who
not available to comment yesterday is on record saying no one should
denied treatment if they cannot raise the hospital fees.
by The Herald in Harare at the weekend showed that since September
when the Government announced a reduction of the tariffs on
prices of some of the drugs had now more than doubled.
contacted yesterday said they were buying the drugs at
equally high costs
from wholesalers who in turn blamed the 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
on the parallel market.
No comment was available from the Retail
Pharmacies Association, as the
spokesman was said to be away in
A 10-mililitre vial of Actraphane Insulin, for the control of
which cost between $1 000 and $1 500 in October last year now
$5 000 and $6 500 in pharmacies in Harare.
the same drug costs $1 300 at outpatient pharmacies located at
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
He said the move by the Government to control prices of basic
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.
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
He is being accused of failing to be assertive when handling
control issue and of siding with some leading millers and bakers
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
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
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".
interest is to make sure that bread production continued. I have a
from Lobels, which indicate they are very unhappy with the way, the
Committee has conducted its business. I subsequently telephoned
Chiyangwa but that is neither here nor there.
quite abusive on the cellphone and (Cde) Kasukuwere was even
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
Lobels said it was operating below capacity with only 75
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
The Government reintroduced price controls last week to curb
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.
the end of the meeting no-one was sure if there was going to be
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
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
"This shows that they are conniving to fix the Government by
views of the few rather than populist views".
Kasukuwere said Zanu-PF’s
l To Page 3
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
"If Lobels close we will buy it and ensure that indigenous
expertise run the company for the benefit of the
Yesterday the committee visited several businesses in Newlands,
the Avenues among others to check if bakeries, wholesalers and
implemented the new prices.
The MPs said that price
controls should also be extended to other products
such as timber, steel and
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.
Bakery along Simon Mazorodze Road, the production manager, Mr
Jonathan, said they had reduced production pending the outcome of
discussions with the Government.
Bakers Inn had reduced its bread to $44
for a standard loaf
Adverse media coverage scares away investors
FOREIGN direct investment into Zimbabwe has been seriously dented by
continual international media beaming to the outside world of perceptions
political violence and lack of rule of law in the country, a visiting
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
The trade expert said although Zimbabwe’s macro-economic
no longer as positive as they were in the mid-1990s, the
country still had
the opportunity to move forward.
people, he said, looked for investment environments where
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
"I do not think that
African embassies are doing a good job of
communication,'' he said in a Ziana
Mr Gathers said there was very little information of what other
as business groups, were doing and as such very few were making
invest in African countries.
''The commercial attaches and
officers could at least strive to be more
business oriented,'' he
Apart from insecurity concerns, other areas of concern to American
investors in Africa were low population figures, low spending power,
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
The business consultant challenged the Southern African
Community (Sadc) to play a pivotal role to market the region and
trade and investment between African countries and the US.
Gathers is a former director of the state of California's office of trade
investment based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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
The provincial administrator for Mashonaland Central, Mr Josphat Jaji, said
the resettled farmers in the province were occupying 294 farms measuring 291
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
The action committee is the largest of all such set-ups in the Government.
It encompasses representatives from all the ministries including other key
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
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
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
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.
Zimbabwe in bid to woo fresh investment
ZIMBABWE, eager to attract fresh domestic and foreign investment, is
several economic development corridors over the next few years to
around the economy.
Over the next 12 months the Government,
in a joint venture with the
Mozambique government, is expected to develop the
The Beira Corridor
already has developed infrastructure from its previous
status as a transport
corridor from Harare to the port of Beira in
corridor was rehabilitated, it was to provide alternative routes at
South Africa had been under apartheid. The aim did not have any
the expansion of industry, commerce, agriculture and mining.
proposed development, the belt for the corridor has been expanded
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
operational. The marketing of the project is expected to kick off
with the staging of an investment conference and the refurbishment
infrastructure, particularly the Beira Port.
Proposed anchor projects
include tourism, agro industry, forestry, stainless
steel, industrial parks
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.
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
two governments have also formed the Joint Technical Committee to
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
growth," Transport and Communications permanent secretary
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
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
The other proposed economic corridors are the Limpopo
Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique, the Zambezi Valley
Development Corridor, Trans-Zambezi Limpopo, Highveld
Copperbelt Development Corridor and Mid-Zambezi
Beira Development Corridor project manager Mr Manuel Ruas,
for the success of the corridors, said there had been more
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.
the Southern Africa Development Community there were a number of
development corridors which are expected to propel regional growth.
the successful corridors include South Africa’s Maputo Development
and the Walvis Bay Corridor.
MDC has lost focus
The MDC has
lost focus and will not succeed in its efforts to stop internal
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
"Nobody is bigger than the party…we are not afraid to take
However, a ZanuPF parliamentarian, Cde David Chapfika (Mutoko
the opposition had lost focus and through the resultant
started fighting amongst themselves.
officials, including four MPs, were suspended from holding any
the party on Saturday pending the outcome of investigations
violence. The four MPs, Mr Learnmore Jongwe (Kuwadzana), Mr
Job Sikhala (St
Mary’s), Mr Tafadzwa Musekiwa (Zengeza) and Mr Tapiwa
were suspended together with the party’s St Mary’s
branch chairman Mr Alexio
At the recommendations of a committee headed by health
Tichaona Mudzingwa, the other officials placed under suspension
Boniface Manyonga and the other two only identified as Sendekai and
Cde Chapfika said: "The problems in MDC were expected because we
remember that it is only a movement. It came into existence by
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
Mr Sibanda chairs the party’s disciplinary committee.
Prof Ncube said the
suspension of the eight was not a punishment but "simply
He said the members would resume their
party positions if the investigations
Mr Jongwe is the
party’s spokesman, Mr Sikhala heads the security division
while Mr Mashakada
is the shadow minister of finance