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Zimbabwe Plans to Cut 25,000 State Jobs to Trim Wage Bill

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Zimbabwe plans to cut 25,000 government jobs, or more than 8 percent of civil servants, to reduce a wage bill that consumes almost 97 percent of the budget.

The Finance Ministry wants to trim the number of state workers to 273,000, which will reduce the proportion of salaries to total revenue to 75 percent by December 2017, according to a budget document. While still high, it will be a “significant improvement on the current unsustainable situation,” the ministry said.

“We have started the process of auditing of civil servants so that we can identify the number of people to be retrenched,” Priscah Mupfumira, Zimbabwe’s public service minister, said by phone Friday. The government has implemented a ”freeze on all new appointments,” she said.

The latest push comes after previous attempts to trim government employees were thwarted by President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet, even as the percentage of revenue gobbled up by pay climbed from 83 percent earlier this year. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa told parliament on Thursday that some wages would likely go unpaid later this year because money may not be available. Civil servants and soldiers have repeatedly been paid late in recent months as the government struggled to meet scheduled paydays, sparking protests including a strike on July 6 that shut down much of Zimbabwe.

The southern African nation is experiencing its worst economic crisis since the hyper-inflationary period that peaked in 2008, when inflation soared to 500 billion percent, according to the International Monetary Fund. Now, after it switched to use of the U.S. dollar in 2009, a shortage of currency, deflation and unemployment of about 90 percent have plunged the country back into crisis.

Chinamasa didn’t immediately answer calls to his mobile phone when Bloomberg News sought comment.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market.

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COVID-19: EU Restricts Nigerians From Entering Europe After Infecting them

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European Union Excludes Nigerian from 54 Nations that Can Enter the Region

The European Union (EU) has excluded Nigeria from the list of 54 nations that will be allowed to enter the region when it eventually opens its external borders in July.

In a statement published on schengenvisainfo.com, the union listed the 54 countries as Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Australia, Bahamas, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guyana and India.

Others are Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mauritius, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Serbia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zambia.

While China, the outbreak nation, South Korea and Japan, two of the most affected nations in the world, will be allowed to enter the Euro-area when external borders reopen in July, Nigeria with fewer cases of COVID-19 has been excluded from the list despite an Italian businessman been the index case.

The Italian businessman had traveled to Nigeria in February 2020 and tested positive to COVID-19 on February 27 after interacting with Nigerians that came in contact with him.

The Nigerian government had allowed citizens of Euro-area to travel into the country despite the rising number of new cases in the region, especially in Italy, France and Germany. However, the revise is the case now, even with Nigeria addressing the situation started by the European Union.

Eric Mamer, the spokesman for the commission, said “The European Union has an internal process to determine from which countries it would be safe to accept travellers.”

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FG Test-Runs Nnamdi Azikiwe, Lagos Airport Ahead of Flight Operations

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FG Test-Runs Nnamdi Azikiwe, Lagos Airport Ahead of Flight Operations

The Federal Government on Saturday conducted a test-run of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport ahead of commercial flight operations following months of lockdown due to COVID-19.

In line with safety protocols, passengers will be duly screened to protect them and the cabin crew.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), provisions were made for hand wash and alcohol-based sanitisers, there were temperature checks, as well as strict compliance to social distancing of about one metre.

Also, the Federal Government has acquired robots to process passengers at the departure hall, according to NTA news.

robot 2

These robots were reportedly tested in Lagos earlier this morning.

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It would be recalled that Air Peace had flown 25 empty planes from Lagos to Abuja, Port Harcourt and back to Lagos to ascertain their working condition ahead of flight resumption.

The airline spokesperson, Stanley Olisa, stated on Thursday.

He said, “All the aircraft took to the skies flying to Abuja, Port Harcourt and back to Lagos without passengers.”

Speaking on the airline readiness, Olisa said “We have been operating ‘special flights’ to local and international destinations, and we have more of such flights in the works.

“This accentuates our preparedness for operation restart as our pilots, cabin crew and engineers have been hands-on and are current. So, we are 100 per cent ready to resume.”

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Oxford University Commences First Human Trials of COVID-19 Vaccine in South Africa

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Oxford University Commences First Human Trials of COVID-19 Vaccine in South Africa

Oxford University in Partner with the University of Witwatersrand has rolled out the first human trials of COVID-19 vaccine in Africa in South Africa.

The trials that started on Wednesday will consist of 2,000 volunteers between the age of 18 to 65 years, this will include HIV positive patients. Together they will be administered the vaccine and monitored for 12 months to evaluate how well the vaccine protects them against COVID-19.

Shabir Madhi, a professor of vaccinology at Wits University and leader of the trial said, “Once 60% of the population, especially the adult population, becomes immune, we expect that effective reproductive rate to go under 1, which basically means the virus will still be around, it will still circulate, but its chain of transmission has been interrupted.”

South Africa is now the second country after Brazil to take part in the trial outside the United Kingdom where 4,000 people had previously volunteered.

The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, also known as AZD1222, was developed by Oxford University scientists, that are now working with AstraZeneca on development and production.

The trial has created a mixed feeling among Africans following decades of using Africans as guinea pigs for new medical trials.

Junior Mhlongo, a volunteer who received the vaccine at a hospital in Johannesburg, said: “I feel a little bit scared, but I want to know what is going on with this vaccine so that I can tell my friends and others.”

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