Plan to strengthen national preparedness, response capacity for floods gets priority

Source: Plan to strengthen national preparedness, response capacity for floods gets priority | Herald (Opinion)

Acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Jenfan Muswere addresses journalists during a post-Cabinet briefing in Harare yesterday

Cabinet received an update on the country‘s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and a report on the procurement and roll-out of vaccines,  as presented by the chairman of the Ministers’ Committee on the National Covid-19 response, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable Dr CGDN Chiwenga.

The nation is advised that, as at 20th November 2022, the country’s cumulative cases since the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 stood at 258 914, with 252 762 recoveries and 5 616 cumulative deaths. The recovery rate was 98 percent, with 516 active cases having been reported. The pandemic remains under control. To maintain the situation, Cabinet agreed that all Ministers will lead teams to all provinces across the country to ramp up vaccination uptake, with special focus on Harare, where the vaccination levels are low, and other provinces such as the Midlands and Mashonaland West, where the second dose vaccination levels are low as well.

Regarding the national vaccination programme, Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that, as at November 20, 2022, a total of 6 565 695 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered, while 4 933 944 people had received their second dose, and 1 225 359 their third dose. This translates to a national coverage of 58,4 percent. Accordingly, an annual Covid-19 re-vaccination exercise will be introduced across the country.

REPORT ON THE NATIONAL GRAINS STATUS, WHEAT HARVESTING AND DELIVERIES

Cabinet received the Report on the National Grains Status, Wheat Harvesting and Deliveries as at November 21, 2022, which was presented by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Hon Dr Anxious J Masuka.

The nation is being informed that the GMB grain stocks as at November 20, 2022 stand at 561 554  tonnes comprising 482 554  tonnes of maize and 79 120  tonnes of traditional grains.  Using a monthly consumption rate of 49 295  tonnes (24 295 mt for Social Welfare and 25 000 mt to millers and stock feed manufacturers), the available grain will last for 11,4 months.

Millers and stock feed manufacturers are expected to import grain to cover the gap in their own requirements. A total of ZW$25,161 billion and US$24 million has since been paid out to farmers for grain intake since April 1, 2022.

Current wheat stocks at GMB stand at 160 262  tonnes, while the millers have 33 500 mt in stock.

The GMB stocks will provide 7,6 months’ cover at a consumption rate of 21 000  tonnes per month, while the total country stock will last 9,2 months.

The nation is further informed that the 58 972 ha which have so far been harvested have culminated in 255 618 mt of wheat. On a sad note, a total of 3 980 ha of the wheat crop was damaged by rains, with the largest hectarage of 3 225 being in Mashonaland West province.

MULTI-HAZARD CONTINGENCY PLAN FOR THE 2022-2023 RAINFALL SEASON

Cabinet approved the Multi-Hazard Contingency Plan for the 2022-2023 Rainfall Season, as proposed by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Honourable July Moyo.

Cabinet notes that hazardous events have increasingly become more frequent, intense and complex to manage.

Natural hazards include tropical cyclones, droughts, floods, hailstorms, lightning, veld fires and strong winds, among others. Though natural hazards cannot be prevented from occurring, their effects can be mitigated through early warning systems and effective emergency preparedness, mitigation, disaster response and recovery systems.

Preparing for disasters improves the well-being of citizens and enhances economic growth through protection and creation of livelihood assets, thereby reducing costs associated with response and recovery.

Government has therefore prioritised the development of the Multi-Hazard Contingency Plan for the 2022-2023 Rainfall Season in order to ensure that the population is effectively prepared for disasters so as to reduce the loss of life and property. The Contingency Plan articulates the measures Government with the support of partners, will take to prevent or reduce any potential adverse impacts emanating from natural and man-made disasters.

It seeks to promote a coordinated approach to preparedness and response before, during and after emergencies.

The Plan will strengthen national preparedness and response capacity for disaster risk management. It was therefore informed by a multi-sectoral and broad-based collaborative approach, which ensures the full participation and involvement of all stakeholders, especially the affected communities.

Cabinet wishes to highlight that hazard models, which have become more accurate, show that urban and rural areas are equally affected by climatic hazards.

For example, the heavy rains experienced in the 2020/2021 season left most roads impassable, resulting in the declaration of a State of Disaster on roads throughout the country in February, 2021.

The resultant establishment of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme to provide the basis for mobilising required resources has seen a marked reduction in the backlog of road rehabilitation.

Government, through the National Development Strategy 1: 2021-2025, remains committed to prioritising increased investment in Disaster Risk Management Systems, including early warning systems and contingency planning.

The national and regional early warning systems are monitoring and advising all end users to be active and ensure readiness for all hazards associated with the rainy season. This will positively impact expenditure management, reduce post-disaster trauma and result in early recovery and re-growth.

REPORTS ON THE 3RD 100-DAY CYCLE PRIORITY PROJECTS

Cabinet received reports on progress made in the implementation of priority projects for the 3rd 100-Day Cycle of 2022, as presented by the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, and other Ministers.

4.1 The Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable Gen (Rtd) Dr C.G.D.N. Chiwenga, reported the following progress which was recorded on projects under his purview:

(i) On the drilling of boreholes at 10 primary care clinics, the drilling and installation of boreholes and 5 000 litre water tanks had been completed at 8 health facilities, namely: Chiwundura, Lower Gweru and Nyoni Clinics in Midlands province; and Cuba, Mafindifindi, Gavhunga, Mukarati and Murambwa Clinics in Mhondoro Ngezi District of Mashonaland West province;

(ii) Pertaining to the installation of 5 KW Solar Power systems at 10 Primary Care Clinics, the Ministry has installed the solar power at the following 7 health institutions, Fanison Clinic in Nkayi District; and Chunga, Nansengwa, Sinakoma, Chinego, Pashu and Siadindi, all in Binga District, Matabeleland North province;

(iii) The construction of the Chomutukutu Health Post in Rushinga, Mashonaland Central Province has reached 95 percent completion, while construction works on the other 3 Health Posts at Nakaluba and Mpambe in Binga District; and Chikunguru in Hurungwe District are still to commence;

(iv) The refurbishment of Binga District Hospital Mortuary stands at 85 percent of completion. Upon completion, the mortuary will have double capacity; and

(v) Under the Polio Supplementary Immunisation Programme for Children under 5 years, which was scheduled for October 27 to 30 and in synchronisation with neighbouring countries, the nurses have been trained. Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials have been produced, and 30 journalists have been trained on the Polio Vaccination Campaign.

4.2 The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Evelyn Ndlovu, presented some highlights of the projects under her purview as follows:

(i) The planned registration of 40 schools has reached 85 percent of completion;

(ii) The construction of classroom blocks at Glenwood Primary School in Epworth, Mncumbatha Secondary in Bulawayo, and St. Johns in Mutare, as well as the administration block at Hlabangeza High in Matabeleland North have been completed;

(iii) The development of the video lessons for the deaf has reached 85 percent of completion; and

(iv) The construction of a girls’ dormitory at Sihlengeni Secondary School in Umzingwane District, Matabeleland South province was completed.

4.3 The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Honourable Professor Mthuli Ncube, highlighted the progress made in implementing projects under his purview, key among which are the following:

(i) The 2023 National Budget Statement, Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue Measures have been produced and will be presented in Parliament on Thursday;

(ii) Total revenue mobilised for the month of September 2022 stood at $289,7 billion, surpassing the target of $278,5 billion by $11,2 billion;

(iii) Under Budget Implementation, employment costs were paid on time, social benefit support amounting to a total of $82,5 billion (including $20 billion for BEAM) was disbursed, a subsidy of $4,5 billion was disbursed to ZUPCO, ZW$18,9 billion was extended to the health sector, and $104.64 billion has been disbursed towards capital expenditure; and

(iv) As at October 20, 2022, $12.85 billion had been mobilised from the domestic market.

4.4 The Minister of Information Communication Technology,

Postal and Courier Services, Hon Dr Jenfan Muswere as the Acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services highlighted the following progress for projects being implemented in his sector:

(i) the refurbishment of Studio E at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting

Corporation’s Mbare Radio Zimbabwe Studios has reached 90 percent of completion;

(ii) The production of the “Zimbabwe in Brief” publication has reached 70 percent of completion;

(iii) The production of a detailed National Heroes/Heroines Obituaries publication has reached 55 percent of completion;

(iv) The installation and operationalisation of the Nembudziya Public Viewing Screen in Gokwe District, Midlands Province has reached 80 percent completion, while the Dzapasi Outdoor Public Viewing Screen in Buhera District, Manicaland province is at 90 percent of completion;

(v) The installation and operationalisation of the Midlands State University Campus Radio has reached 90 percent of completion, while the installation of the Ntepe-Manama Community Radio Station in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province was completed; and

(vi) The installation of the Bukalanga Radio Studio equipment in Plumtree, Matabeleland South province is at 40 percent of completion.

4.5  The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes, Hon Dr Jorum Gumbo presented the following:

(i) The construction of Gunguhwe and Somgolo Bridges in Gokwe North and Lupane has reached 86 percent and 77 percent, respectively;

(ii) The road maintenance projects were at different levels of completion, with 7 kilometres of the Monte Cassino Road in Macheke, Mashonaland East province now ready for surfacing;

(iii) A total of 956 boreholes were repaired across the country’s provinces; and

(iv) The first and second phases of the construction of twelve staff houses at Nenyunka Primary School has reached 70 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

REPORT ON THE VISIT TO THE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AND RESILIENCE, ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

The Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Hon Kazembe Kazembe briefed Cabinet on the 7th Edition of the International Exhibition for National Security and Resilience, which he attended in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from 10 to 12 October, 2022.

The nation is being informed that the Minister had the opportunity to visit various institutions under the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Interior, where he gained valuable insights into how technology can be deployed and utilised to enhance policing, security and safety of communities. Cabinet resolved to review the Private Investigators and Security Guards (Control) Act (Chapter 27:10) in order to improve the private security industry to ensure that only Police-trained guards work in law enforcement. This position was arrived at given the role the private security companies play in complementing the efforts of the Police in reducing crime in the country.  As such there is need for private security guards to receive basic formal training.

CRIMINAL LAW (CODIFICATION AND REFORM) AMENDMENT BILL, 2022

Cabinet considered and approved the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill, 2022, which was presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Honourable Ziyambi Ziyambi, as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation.

The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill, 2022 enhances the provisions of the Criminal Law Code in matters relating to the country’s sovereignty through the criminalization of conduct that undermines Zimbabwe’s sovereignty, dignity, independence and national interests. The Bill also provides for a mandatory sentence in rape and murder cases. In addition, it expands the definition of “dangerous drugs” and also amends the elements which form the crime of abuse of public office.

PROTOCOL TO THE CONSTITUTIVE ACT OF THE AFRICAN UNION RELATING TO THE PAN-AFRICAN PARLIAMENT

Cabinet considered and approved the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union to the Pan-African Parliament, which was presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Honourable Ziyambi Ziyambi, as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation.

The Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union Relating to the Pan-African Parliament was adopted in 2014 at the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly, and Zimbabwe signed the same on 21 March, 2018. The objectives of the Protocol include the following:

(i)  to give a voice to the African Peoples and the African Diaspora;

(ii) to facilitate the effective implementation of the policies and objectives of the African Union;

(iii) to promote the principles of human and people’s rights and democracy in Africa;

(iv) to encourage good governance, respect for rule of law, transparency and accountability in Member States;

(v) to promote peace, security and stability;

(vi) to facilitate cooperation and development in Africa;

(vii) to familiarise the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora with the objectives and policies aimed at integrating the African continent within the framework of the African Union; and

(viii) to encourage National and Regional Parliaments to ratify and integrate treaties adopted by the AU into their legal system.

The ratification of the Protocol will result in Zimbabweans fully participating in the economic development and integration of the continent, together with other African countries.

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