Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media,

I have decided, through you, to share with the Nation details on my forthcoming five-nation visit to Russia, Belarus, Kazakstan, Azerbaijan and Switzerland. My visit to the first four States will enhance bilateral relations in line with our policy of engagement. As you may be aware, these four countries have had good relations with us before and after Independence, with Russia standing with us in the United Nations Security Council at our moment of greatest need. My visit this time around will focus predominantly on bilateral economic engagement especially in areas of mining, technology, agriculture, energy and human capital development, among others. As I visit, Zimbabwe already has scores of students who ore receiving tertiary training in critic; skills areas.

In Switzerland, I shall be attending the Davos World Economic Forum. Alongside other world leaders and business executives, I shall be consolidating and reaffirming our message that “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” and “Dialogue” in the context of our policy of engaging and reengaging the world. Given that the World Economic Forum is a premier Forum for the interaction of political and business leaders, Zimbabwe will take full advantage of this opportunity to market itself and to seek gainful investment partnerships. For its recovery, Zimbabwe cannot go it alone. To this end, my delegation will include our own business leaders who will be interacting with their counterparts and potential investors.

As I leave the country, I am aware of the economic strides we have made, and also of the challenges that lie ahead. In particular, our agricultural performance is likely to be impacted negatively by the El Nino phenomenon. It is in this regard that Government, alongside other SADC States who are in a similar situation, has initiated an appeal for appropriate assistance from the international community.

Let me now turn to the fuel situation obtaining in the country.

Following the persistent shortfall in the fuel market attributable to increased fuel usage in the economy, and compounded by rampant illegal currency and fuel trading activities, Government has today decided on the following corrective measures:

  1. With effect from midnight tonight, a fuel pump price of $3,11 per litre for diesel, and $3,31 per litre for petrol, will come into effect. These prices are predicated on the ruling official exchange rate of 1:1 between the Bond Note and the United States Dollar, and also on the need to keep fuel retailers viable. Guests of Government by way of foreign missions and other registered foreign bodies, and tourists will fuel and refuel at designated points at the price cf US$1,24 per litre for diesel, and US$1,32 per litre for petrol, upon production of proper identification documents.
  2. Cognisant of the need to prevent generalized price increases for goods and services in the country, with the attendant hardships which that will entail especially to the commuting workforce, Government has decided to grant a rebate to all registered business entities in Manufacturing, Mining, Commerce, Agriculture and Transport sectors. Details on the exact form the rebate system will take will be announced in due course. Given these cost mitigations and incentives, Government does a not expect, and will not allow, businesses to trigger a new round of price increases.
  3. Equally, Government will enhance the export incentive scheme by an additional 2.5%.
  4. Government has put in place measures to ensure constant fuel supply into the country for sustainable fuel availability.
  5. Government is putting in place a package of measures to cushion its workers, until a full review of Cost-of-Living Adjustment package due in April 2019 is effected, in the context of the current budget.
  6. Government is aware of attempts by certain elements bent on taking advantage of the current fuel shortages to cause and sponsor unrest and instability in the country. Such politically motivated activities will not be tolerated. To curb continued misuse of fuel in the country, Government, through relevant Departments which include its security structures, have started on a comprehensive audit of all fuel draw-downs with a view to establishing points of leakages. Where criminal conduct is apparent, the law will take its course.

I thank you.