Economy in great first quarter performance

01 Jul, 2022 - 00:07 0 Views
Economy in great first quarter performance The mining sector performed positively during the first quarter as most mineral output was above the same period last year, with substantial expansion in gold, diamonds and coal.

The Herald

Farirai MachivenyikaSenior Reporter

MOST sectors of the economy, except agriculture, recorded positive growth in the first quarter of the year, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development reports.

Agricultural production was mainly affected by the erratic rainfall recorded in the last summer cropping season: the late start followed by the long mid-season dry spell and then a late set of rains.

This meant the total seasonal rainfall was not that bad, but distribution made farming difficult.

“The first quarter of 2022 was generally characterised by positive performance in almost all sectors, which include mining, manufacturing and tourism. 

“However, agricultural activities were affected by poor rainfall distribution which has the potential to compromise the attainment of the projected 5,5 percent growth of the economy this year,” reads the Ministry report.

The mining sector performed positively during the first quarter as most mineral output was above the same period last year, with substantial expansion in gold, diamonds and coal.

“Higher mineral production also benefited from firming international mineral prices, on the back of geopolitical tensions. As a result, the mining sector, except gold, realised US$925,1 million through export receipts, a 2 percent increase relative to the same period in 2021,” reads the report.

Gold output in the first quarter surged by 87 percent to 8 tonnes, compared to the first quarter last year, with the increase in output largely driven by small-scale producers who contributed more than 61 percent while large-scale producers contributed 34 percent and the remaining 5 percent came from secondary producers. 

Platinum miners produced 3 530,5kg of platinum, a 4,8 percent rise compared to the same period last year. This was because the miners have been expanding their mines.

The manufacturing sector continued to grow despite global dynamics, inflationary pressures and exchange rate depreciation, with a number of sub-sectors such food, drinks and tobacco, non-metallic mineral products, and metals and metal products recording improvements in capacity utilisation due to continued availability of foreign currency on the auction market and localisation of value chains. 

For tourism, the year began on a positive note with Government gradually removing Covid-19 restrictions and allowing all tourism activities to resume. 

“New airlines such as Eurowings Discover Airline began flying into Victoria Falls, South Africa’s Airlink added a new Harare-Durban route whilst fastjet Zimbabwe introduced the Victoria Falls-Kruger Mpumalanga route. 

“International tourist arrivals stood at 126 955 during the first quarter of 2022, an improvement when compared to the same period last year. The positive performance was on account of a freer global travelling environment when compared to the whole of last year,” the report reads.

The national average hotel room occupancy level recorded a 20 percent improvement from 14 percent occupancy rate in the first quarter of last year to 34 percent this year. 

All regions in the country experienced tourism growth ranging from 7 percent to 37 percent with Bulawayo recording the highest growth and an occupancy rate above 50 percent with buoyant results for the first quarter remaining closely hinged to the resilience of the domestic market with the domestic clientele accounting for an average of 94,7 percent.

In terms of receipts, tourism is estimated to have generated about US$129,2 million during the first three months compared to US$54,2 million generated in the same period last year, reflecting a 138 percent increase.

Pan-African Chamber of Commerce board member Mr Langton Mabhanga said the first quarter performance showed that the economy was on a firm footing.

“The results vindicate our position that the economy is on an upward trajectory. The issues we are experiencing with the currency are hygienic that can be resolved with enforcement of the law but do not mirror the performance of the economy,” he said.

Infrastructure expansion being implemented by Government such as dams and roads construction, added to the expansion of mines and opening of new ones showed that the country’s prospects going forward were bright.

Another analyst, Mr Goodwine Mreriwa, said the performance showed Zimbabwe was capable of growing its economy using its own resources.

“The performance in the first quarter is a reflection of President Mnangagwa’s mantra that “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo”. 

The country has faced challenges from the attacks on the currency and erratic rains, but remained on a growth path.

“This shows that as a country we can grow our economy without depending on foreigners,” he said.

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