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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 02 February 2017 43-31
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 2nd February, 2017
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: On a point of order in terms of Standing Order Number 69.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I stand on a matter of
privilege as per Standing Order Number 69 and I raise this particular point of order with a very heavy heart Mr. Speaker. I say heavy heart because it is an issue that involves the media with whom I am intimately involved in because of my profession and I have in my years of activism defended their right to exist. Mr. Speaker, the issue that I am asking you to rule on relates to a debate that I had in this House on Wednesday, 1st February, 2016. You will remember Mr. Speaker that in that debate, I presented to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development a bouquet of flowers to which I asked that they be given to a lady Mrs. Mhini. I went into detail about what this woman had done in relation to the issue of sanitary wear. You remember Mr. Speaker that in remonstrating me you said that you were not going to allow this to happen again; you referred this particular issue as an issue of human dignity. You referred that it had been raised in the Westminster House and I understood you to mean that you were going to allow this to happen only because you really felt that it was not a frivolous matter.
Mr. Speaker, a journalist, fortunately I do have his name here because he has his bi-line, by the name Zvamaida Murwira of The Herald proceeded to write an article. Let me for avoidance of any doubt; I am not asking that this particular journalist should have written about my debate. He is under no obligation to do so but I think what he is under obligation to do is to write the facts as they happened.
In that article, he writes about everything else that happened in the
House and all the other debates, and decides that in his last paragraph, he will put this. “Earlier on, proportionate representative Member of
Parliament Mrs. Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga MDC gave Minister
Chinamasa flowers for his sterling work to try and steer the economy”.
Mr. Speaker, this is not only malicious but it is sexist in the highest order. I will tell you why I think it is sexist. If you go into the entire article, this particular journalist makes a point of quoting every other person that he wants to write in his article and quotes them verbatim.
Ironically, all these people that he quotes verbatim are males. He quotes Hon. Chakona, Hon. Maridadi and Hon. Chinotimba. When he comes to the reference about me, he deliberately puts a misrepresentation on what happened.
This cannot be a mistake. It is somebody who deliberately wants to undermine, not only the debate that is here and this is why I am standing up. If this had been any other political debate, in spite of the fact that I would have known that I am in the legal right, I would not have raised it in this manner. This is because I was raising something that some of us really think is fundamental and it is an issue of human dignity to quote yourself. I seriously think that he needs to be taken in for Contempt of Parliament. It is not new for that to happen Mr. Speaker.
In the year November, 2000, the then Speaker of the House, Hon.
- D. Mnangagwa, now the Vice President, ruled that the Financial Gazette publication was in Contempt of Parliament. I am asking not only for the publication to be in contempt of Parliament. I am asking for the individual particular journalist to be in Contempt of Parliament. Section 21 of our Privileges and Immunities Act is very clear, that the offences that are defined in the Schedule of the Privileges and Immunities Act are an offence.
I will refer you to the Schedule Mr. Speaker which you put in our
Standing Rules and Orders. That Schedule has No. 10 as an offence;
“willfully publishing a false or perverted report of any debate or proceedings in Parliament or willfully misrepresenting any speech made by a member.” It is more serious because I also note that last year, in one of your Speaker’s dialogues, you had a dialogue forum with the media practitioners. You took them through the Constitution, the Standing Rules and Orders and you also took them through the Act.
You were very clear that you were going to allow the media to come into the House to cover the proceedings of the House, but you were asking them that they were under obligation to cover those with integrity. Mr. Speaker, my ruling is very clear, my prayer is very clear. I ask that this particular journalist be taken in for Contempt of Parliament. I ask that the publishers be taken in for Contempt of Parliament because they have an obligation to check that those issues that are being raised in the House, are raised with the integrity that it deserves. Mr. Speaker, I am hoping that you will get back to me after you have considered this particular prayer. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. MisihairabwiMushonga, I will study the publication and if you could favour us with your observations and then we will make a ruling next Tuesday on the matter which is serious in terms of impinging upon the integrity of the
House. Thank you.
HON. HOLDER: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Similar to what Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga is mentioning here, there was an article written by Langa saying that Members of Parliament come to Parliament drunk. I was implicated because of one of the Hon. Members who just through his mouth said that Hon. Holder is drunk and nothing was done about that. I ate what we call humble pie and it is hard to swallow. Nothing was done about that, why???
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Matangira, please Order. When the Chair has made a ruling, you cannot debate on a similar matter. If it was a matter that affected the Hon. Member, you should have raised it on a similar manner like what Hon. MisihairabwiMushonga has indicated. So, it cannot arise from her order of privilege today. Thank you.
HON. NDUNA: On a point of order. Thank you and good afternoon Mr. Speaker. I am quite alive to the fact that the other day Hon. Minister Chinamasa stood up and gave an eloquent...
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of order based on?
HON. NDUNA: It arises from that Mr. Speaker. I wanted to give you a brief...
THE HON. SPEAKER: I want the Standing Order.
HON. NDUNA: On a point of privilege Mr. Speaker, it is Order
No. 69 which goes as follows: When he asked for Automatic
Adjournment to be removed from 7.00 o’clock, what also needs to cascade downward is that the administration which also has to sit out and also do the Hansard long after we are gone and to upload it on the Internet two hours after the adjournment be considered. Mr. Speaker Sir, today as I wanted information from Hansard, I got information to the effect that there was no food offered to these people who are working into the wee hours of the evening, who are Administration of Parliament, who are Hansard operatives in particular. It is my request therefore that as the head of Parliament, as we remove the Automatic Adjournment, it also goes down to these administrators who are here to burn the mid-night candles so that the ethos, works and the issues that are debated in Parliament come out on the internet. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, why was this not raised at the material time?
HON. NDUNA: I went to Hansard today to seek information that
I wanted from some Hansard transcripts, Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Please take your seats. I would like to thank Hon. Nduna for his point of order and advise that all staff members who work late are given a late allowance for that. So, they are recognised.
LEAVE TO MOVE RESTORATION OF THE SECOND READING
OF THE FINANCE BILL [H.B. 3, 2017] ON THE ORDER PAPER
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, since the
beginning of the debate on the Budget, we have had debate aborted on two occasions for lack of quorum. That does not speak very well of us as Parliament. It does not speak well of our obligations as Parliamentarians and I believe that we should always consider the work, especially of the budget debate, in a very serious manner.
So, I am standing today in respect of last night where a debate was aborted due to lack of quorum and I am now seeking leave for the second time in two weeks, to move that the motion on the Second Reading of the Finance Bill [H.B. 3, 2017] which was superseded by lack of quorum be restored on today’s Order Paper as Order Number 1
in terms of Standing Order Number 73.
Motion put and agreed to.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I thank you Minister for your preamble to your request and I am sure Hon. Members have taken note of the dereliction of duty, particularly when we are discussing the National Budget. I hope it does not happen today. If it so happens, I will want the list of those who will have remained behind so that we deal with those who have caused lack of quorum.
RESTORATION OF THE SECOND READING OF THE FINANCE
BILL [H.B. 3, 2017] ON THE ORDER PAPER
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I now
move that the motion on the Second Reading of the Finance Bill [H.B. 3,
2017] which was superseded by lack of quorum be restored on today’s
Order Paper as Order Number 1 in terms of Standing Order Number 73.
Motion put and agreed to.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Just a note before I proceed, and this is for the Clerks at the Table. Yes, on the Order Paper, we have the names of all those that were here and we shall compose that list of those who were not present and I will deal with that in the most appropriate manner.
HON. CHAMISA: Well, I have taken note of what you are saying that you intend to deal with those who were not around. I am not so sure whether that is a promise or a threat, but Hon. Speaker Sir, we appreciate the concerns that Parliament has to be in session all the time, but the predicament Members of Parliament are encountering is that we do not know the agenda of Government. So, when we come here as Members of Parliament, you know in terms of the rules, you are supposed to sit until when the business adjourns, but you are aware of the competing interests in terms of time, representation of our constituencies and making sure that we do other work. As you know, Members of Parliament come here literally moonlighting because of their circumstances. It think it will be very difficult, Hon. Speaker Sir, for you to come to the conclusion that absence is on account of truancy, absence is on account of delinquency, absence is on account of indiscipline, absence is on account of mere dereliction of responsibility of duty.
There are many factors which have to be investigated. You may need to investigate into the affairs around the welfare of Members of Parliament. I know you are not an exception, Hon. Speaker Sir. You also leave this Parliament from time to time because you have to find a way of surviving. Your Chair, Hon. Speaker Sir, has not been given the dignity by Government. The dignity that has to give it the comfort and security of that office and we are really worried about that. It extends also to your Members of Parliament across the political divide and it is an issue you may need to take due cognisance of.
So, what do I say and what am I saying? Let us be clear. If the
Minister is to come here to say, this is what we want as Government, let us know in terms of the various time lines and trajectories he is going to take to have this matter debated. If he wants our time, he must actually give us time to say, we want to execute this thing so that the Bill is adopted by that time so that we are available. Now, we are guessing, we do not know what he wants, we are just punching in the air. We cannot just come here in Parliament without the full knowledge of the intentions of the Executive. Once he is clear to us, we will also be able to assist
Hon. Speaker Sir. However, I totally appreciate that we have to be here in Parliament and on this side of the House, we are always punctual and I know that, that side of the House is always punctual, save for the circumstances of survival and also subsistence of our offices. Hon.
Speaker Sir, please let Government also be warned. If you may also commit to deal with the Government before you start dealing with your
Hon. Members of Parliament in terms of their conduct – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
You know that Hon. Ministers do not come on time, when they come they take Parliament as something that is just placatory and peripheral. Right now, we are aware that they have issued a Statutory Instrument (S.I) which is going to have an effect on the Budget we were discussing. So, Government must also take us in confidence; respect Parliament so that we respect them. Thank you very much Hon. Speaker
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, this is not a Chamber to advance populism – [HON. MEMBERS: Aaah.] – Yes, you have to go back to your Constitution, Section 119. Your first calling is to your duty to Parliament and not moonlighting. Read the Constitution, I stand firm on that one. Secondly, comparison with the Executive, two wrongs do not make a right.
If there is something wrong that is being done by the Executive, it should not give licence to Parliament to make another wrong, it is not acceptable. It is illogical. So, our first port of call is our responsibility to Parliament. Thirdly, you cannot ask the Minister to say, this business is going to take two hours. Where has that happened? It was only on Tuesday this week when this Chamber debated for more than six hours and there was no lack of quorum. It can be done. Let us protect the Constitution and create time for other things. If you come to Parliament here, representing the people, represent them fully. That is why I sit in my office and wait until the debate is completed, I do not go out moonlighting – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – I have made my ruling.
Hon. Mliswa having stood up to speak.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have not recognised you Hon. Member.
I have made my ruling and I am not going back on that. Please sit down.
Motion put and agreed to.
FINANCE BILL [H.B. 3, 2017]
First Order read: Second Reading: Finance Bill [H.B 3, 2017].
*HON. MAONDERA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like
to add two points to this Bill. The first notice is that, the Minister would like to increase fines from level 1 to level 9. For example, fines paid to the police are being raised from US$20 to US$30. What I am saying is that, by doing that, the Hon. Minister is creating an atmosphere which is conducive to the perpetuation of corruption because if fines are high, motorists cannot afford and they will negotiate with police officers for bribes instead of paying the fine of US$30. I represent the Glen Norah Constituency and people have a bad feeling concerning the increase on fines. Is the Hon. Minister aware of the economic climate in the country, we cannot afford such increases.
Money is a problem, we are facing a liquidity crunch and already people are talking of the problems they face in paying these spot-fines. They are more of being forced instead of being given some time to pay over a period of time; the money should be paid there and then. We are appealing for point of sale machines to be put on the road blocks or police stations so that people may swipe. I fail to understand the logic of raising these fines to such levels. I am appealing to the Hon. Minister to have a rethink. Minister, the people of Zimbabwe are suffering a lot, please give them a respite. We know as representatives of the people, we are very sympathetic to the people’s cause. We are all aware of the fact that most of our people in Zimbabwe cannot afford a meal and our roads are full of potholes and vehicles are being damaged by these potholes. When a person is arrested for driving a faulty car he is made to pay a fine and yet the damages are caused by our roads.
Therefore, I am appealing to Hon. Chinamasa, please suspend the proposed fines. You also talked about ring-fencing US$0.05 on airtime which will be used in the health sector. What has since happened is that nobody has had any monies paid for their medical bills especially for people who want to go outside the country for medication be it India or South Africa. I am appealing to the Minister that if the money has been collected as a health fund please let us use it for health funding. Let us not plagiarise, let us not misuse this money, if we do that we will be creating a great problem for the country.
As far as you know, we have children who have health problems. What we want to see as Members of Parliament is when these monies are deducted; we will play our oversight role and see how the fund which will have been created is going to be disbursed. We do not want to come to Parliament and start debating on the abuse of funds. At the same time I would like to congratulate the Vice President of the MDC-T Hon. Chamisa who has celebrated his 39th birthday today.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Is it true that it is your birthday.
HON. CHAMISA: Yes – [MDC-T HON. MEMBERS: Happy
birthday to you.] –
HON. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this
opportunity to debate. There is a book but- I have forgotten the author which says “first things first”. Section 325 of the Constitution is clear about the funding of Parliament, we continue to sit here and go through the necessary processes as legislators yet Parliament is underfunded. In terms of the Budget it is important that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development looks at the priorities. We represent people and they believe that whatever the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development is saying is coming from us after their representation.
Members of Parliament do not have resources to even get to their constituencies they wait for fuel coupons like school kids who are waiting for milk. What concerns me is the amount of time Members of Parliament are spending in doing useless things because Parliament is underfunded and for as long as it is underfunded, in The Herald today, there is a headline of a legislator who is involved in crime allegations because of underfunding. A lot of us will follow; we are now resorting to means which we are not supposed to be what we are supposed to do because we are underfunded. I cannot say much because it is case before the courts but it is just to say that they are more cases coming because we underfunded.
You then expert this nation to come up with a holistic budget without the people’s involvement so, who are we representing? There are certainly not enough resources for us to get to the people, to hear what is affecting them and then feed into the Budget through the various channels which are there. You have a situation where the Executive expenditure is high, “first things first”. When the Budget is being looked at, you have the aspect of production. There is so much money which is spent on having to import what we could be producing here, for example ZISCO Steel. I do not see anything meaningful in the Budget based on importing but not producing industry or agriculture.
In my constituency we have that imports buying steel from South Africa. The amount of money which is being spent is a unjustifiable. A good example is a company that is manufacturing nuts and bolts in Norton Central African Forge. When the companies are buying equipment from South Africa, they are given the total package of the nuts and bolts, it means that we are equally importing that yet we have companies who manufacture that here. I do not see any measure from the Budget which indicates that the local manufacturers would be protected and be capacitated. So, it is equally important that local manufacturers are actually protected in this Bill to ensure that production is high.
We have a situation where in terms of expenditure of the Executive there is no indication whatsoever of cutting down costs. I, in my last tenure in Parliament did not take a car because of the Government emphasis on ZIM ASSET and to support Willowvale Motor Industry which manufactures vehicles has been manufacturing vehicles it has become a warehouse where maize is stocked. From a manufacturing plant to a place that stocks maize, ZIM ASSET which is the Blue Print document for economic recovery is not being addressed. Is it working, is it not working? We cannot have a situation where we have VAT being imposed unilaterally without considering the economic climate in this country. People are suffering; we are being insensitive to the plight of the people without providing a solution at the end of the day. Where are they getting the money?
Government has gone into a mode of waking up have to impose certain methods of getting money from people which clearly not fair, you must ask yourself, where is the money coming from for the people to pay? The levels of corruption are out of this world. Nothing has been done to address the aspect of corruption. There is no political will whatsoever, I keep saying that for as long as there is no discipline from the Executive for the country to be able to address the aspect of corruption, we are still not going anywhere. Those issues are critical even in the foreign direct investments that we need. If a country is not willing to deal with certain issues which have become an impediment on growth from an economic point of view, then we cannot just be used just to be rubber stamping.
The issues that the parliamentarians bring up through your guidance have got to be implemented. They have got to be put into practice. This is the reason why when it is time for there to be a quorum it is not there because for a every time we are speaking to executive who seem to be deaf and dump yet they are not. We cannot continue operating like that and we cannot continue having a situation where we are please bring the Executive to order. I have not seen anything at all in terms of the Constitution if you go through it. The Auditor General’s report critical in us having to pass the Bills as it exposes all the
Government departments. So, what is the role of the Auditor-General? If the Auditor-General is clear in indicating that there is financial indiscipline in the Executive, why do we keep giving money to the very same institutions which have been exposed by the Auditor-General? Are we not undermining the office of the Auditor-General? It is her mandate that she has from the constitutional point of view. This is why I equally agree with Hon. Chamisa than no one is bigger than the other. We all complement each other. A car has six pistons. The six pistons must fire. Unfortunately, there is one piston which is not firing, that is the Executive. If it is not firing, how is the car going to move?
It is very important that we do not just come here to debate. We do not come here to be whipped. Fortunately, for me, I do not belong to a party and I am not whipped by anybody. I pity those who belong to parties. We cannot be whipped into things which we know are not real. We must face reality. Members of Parliament, the Executive must start facing reality. We cannot be a Parliament which will be known for just having sat, passed Bills and not addressed any issues. There is no ad hoc committee since this Parliament sat which has been put together to address issues at that point in time. When we wanted to create one for corruption, it was moved by Hon. Zindi at that time; it was shot down but there is a provision if I am not mistaken for Parliament to set up an ad hoc committee which will deal with the matter. After the matter has been disposed of, the ad hoc committee’s term ends.
Nothing like that has happened. It is like everything is normal in a country where things are not normal. It is like we must come here – sit yet we have people to represent and I agree with you Mr. Speaker Sir. The mandate that we have from the people equally expects us to be with the people. We expect to hear what the people have to say but that is not happening. To me, it becomes very disturbing at the end of the day to say we only got a year or so before this Parliament, we have to ask ourselves what have we done?
The Minister of Finance works hard. At times it is not about working hard but it is about working smart. There are those who work hard but they do not achieve what is achieved by those who work smart.
We have got to understand. Everybody understands that Hon. Chinamasa works hard but it is also about working smart too. Working hard without smart – there is also an issue there. We have got to be clear on that. This is where we need to be very clear. I am not taking away from him but I must be very clear.
I believe that if you are going to be the Minister of Finance, you must understand finance. If you are going to be the Minister of Justice, you must understand law. I am not undermining him but do we not have economists in this country who can be Minister of Finance, present a proper economic blueprint document which is realistic? Now we do not know if there is something that we need. To me it is equally important for us to realise that for progress sake.
The reason why I am saying this at the end of the day is because there are absolutely no results economically. There are absolutely no results in all the things we are doing from an economic point of view and it is important that there is a review of policy. A review is critical and it is incumbent on the person that is responsible in discharging their duty. We cannot be saying people are working when there are no results.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, order, order! There are certain statements that smust try to make some sense. Any Minister is not self appointed. He or she is appointed by the appointing authority. So, you cannot cast aspersions on the portfolio of the Minister who did not appoint himself. There are a number of examples elsewhere where Ministers of Finance are not accountants or economists.
As a matter of fact, without defending the profession, lawyers are very learned and very expansive in their understanding of issues. You may carry on and please may you wind up.
HON. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I remain guided by the Constitution for us having oversight. In my role of oversight, I do not look at how they are appointed. As long as it is within my ambit as a legislator, I think it is equally important from an oversight point of view to be able to also look at how they discharge their duties.
We are talking about an economic situation which is not improving. That then, from an oversight point of view, brings me to question the competence of the person doing the job. That is oversight.
Unless with your guidance you are saying it is not.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Member you cannot argue with the ruling of the Chair. The point you are making could have been made very differently and I am sure the Hon. Minister will address the issue accordingly. Can you proceed with a new area of your contribution?
HON. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I am talking what the
Constitution says about the Parliament oversight. It is about the Constitution and it is not about your ruling. Your ruling must be based on the Constitution and if I am wrong in terms of the Constitution, then you can cite the section of the Constitution. I can equally give you the section of the Constitution that empowers me to have oversight over the Executive and Minister Chinamasa is part of the Executive. I stand my ground from the constitutional point of view. If you give me two minutes, I am able to give you the section in the Constitution that allows me to have oversight over the Executive.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, we are not discussing the issue of oversight. I am correcting you on the question of appointment.
If you have nothing else to say you can take your seat.
HON. MLISWA: What is critical Mr. Speaker Sir, is the aspect of the Bill which I think has not got the merit it deserves and in saying, it needs results. We have gone through this before. We have gone through discussing issues in this Parliament. If we can be honest, the discussions have amounted to nothing. This is the reason why passionately, from a patriotic point of view; I am now starting to doubt those given jobs by the President to execute their jobs because we have to get somewhere.
There is no point sitting here and rubber stamping. I am not like that. I am not whipped and that is my point. I must be able to say, Minister, with due respect, we have gone through this Bill; it talks about the same things all the time. There is no money coming through and there is no production at all where money is going into production so that that Budget can be funded. We have fake figures which are presented to us. We sit as Members of Parliament where Minister of Education will be given so much money. At the end of the day, they are not given that amount of money.
This is where I am now saying, why do we not have a situation where we are realistic, honest and we are not known to be a nation which is passionate about writing and does not implement. That is what we are well known for. These are serious issues which I think if the Minister dealing with this Bill and us debating this Bill – there are certain things which are missing which we all know about but there is equally no solution.
It is important for us not to send a wrong signal to the people because as Members of Parliament, we are under pressure in our constituencies to deliver but we deliver because of the Government policy which is there. Our role is not for us to make money. Our role is to implement our programmes in our constituencies through the Budget, through the Treasury at the end of the day. If the Treasury is not functioning, then we have no role. It is equally important Mr. Speaker Sir, that the matter be taken with the seriousness it deserves, not that I am undermining any of the powers that they have before then but I equally have the right to judge the work that they are doing in terms of what they bring before us. It is equally important Mr. Speaker Sir, for you – several times, we have pleaded with you to talk to the Executive at the end of the day. I even said the last time, at the Cresta session that is it not about time that you talk to the President about the performance of the Executive because it has to get to him. I cannot do it. Through you, we are trying to do as much as we can. I think it is important that we meet somewhere so that we serve and move this country forward.
We are all here trying to make sure that the country deals with bread and butter issues and this Bill will never and does not deal with bread and butter issues. From an agriculture point of view, as much as we are talking, we are seeing the crops being green, that is compound but you harvest through ammonium nitrate (AN). There is a shortage of AN in the country. I am under command agriculture, my crop is looking green but it is becoming pale because of the lack of ammonium nitrate. This has a bearing on the GDP of the country. This has a bearing on the very same Bill that he is talking about. Being green means nothing. Those who grow tobacco will tell you that it is great to see a green and a big leaf but it is the curing of the tobacco that ensures that you get the money that you require.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I appeal to your office to ensure that the Executive performs and the message must get to His Excellency who, from your guidance and rightfully so, is mandated to appoint the Executive but they are failing in discharging their duties. These Bills mean nothing at the end of the day. What we are doing amounts to nothing because there is no result. Thank you very much.
*HON. ZINDI: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on this debate regarding the 15 percent VAT. This is being put on food products such as other groceries. It pains me because as a result of the 15 percent VAT, most of the families will not be able to have food on their table because it will be too expensive. The problem I have with this Budget is that when Government is sourcing for funds, instead of thinking of other ways that may bring in the money, they are thinking of increasing the prices. If the milk was selling for 10 cents, it is now selling at an increased price. How many people can afford that kind of food, especially with these increases?
I was reading in the newspaper today, we have researchers who are looking at this Budget, they have come to the conclusion that the
Minister is looking forward to increasing funds into the coffers of the State. On the contrary, the 15 percent which has been introduced, there is not going to be any increase in the coffers because he is now promoting backyard stores. They are going to buy from the informal sector where there is no 15 percent VAT. This means that there is going to be a reduction in the revenue for the Government.
When dealing with the informal sector, ZIMRA is not going to be able to trace all the transactions that are done by this sector because meat had no VAT but now VAT has been introduced. There is going to be malnutrition in the State because not many families are going to afford the price of meat. I am appealing to the Minister of Finance to look for other ways of sourcing funds for the Government because the way we are doing it seems to be squeezing tight, especially those at the bottom of the ladder of the economy of the country.
Let me talk about the ZIM ASSET, Value Addition and Beneficiation. My hope was that the Minister of Finance could have crafted a policy that is going to create beneficiation on the agriculture sector. Let me give you an example, in China, they consume over 52 metric tonnes of chickens per year and as Zimbabweans, can we not supply these chickens to China where there is such a big requirement and consumption of chicken. I know, if we start saying we want everybody to benefit, the old people in rural areas all have roadrunners and they will benefit. We will harvest those in the rural areas, put them in containers and sell them to China. The processing equipment is very easy to manufacture and you can easily get that.
Since we have a mega deal arrangement with China, they can easily supply us with the correct equipment for value addition and beneficiation. When we have acquired the state of the art equipment, we put them in different provinces such as Murambinda, Zindi, Zimunya,
Gwanda, Tsholotsho and people will process communally and funds will be deducted for the payment of that. I believe as Zimbabweans, we have a Standards Association which will tell us of the required international standard of selling our products as exports to other countries.
This is one of the ways you can use in creating funds for the State coffers, instead of going back to those people who are earning $200 and keep on burdening them with taxes. Please, let us sympathise with the people. Beneficiations, I appeal to the Minister of Finance to please look at the field of agriculture. We have goats and we have read so many articles which are saying goat meat is a favourite in the international world. When people who have been allocated farms in rural areas will be told how to process goat meat according to the international standards. In that way, we will be practical.
In Zimbabwe, we have said, our economy is agro-based, hence we need to look for ways of developing regarding agriculture. As we go to negotiate with the Chinese, why do we not look at the Zimbabweans, especially those who are beneficiaries of the land redistribution so that they benefit from this equipment. I read some article and it pained me that when we look at countries like Argentina and the United States of America, they are the people pushing products such as maize and other cone. They require cone which can be exported to China, the United States and Argentina to use it as animal feed.
I am appealing to the Minister of Finance to please look at beneficiation and value addition instead of squeezing the people of Zimbabwe who have tightened their belts and they cannot tighten them anymore. We have increases on the fines, on whatever it is and increases on food you wonder how do Zimbabweans survive because, the Government is squeezing them financially.
My last contribution is, we usually talk of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). I need to be educated because I thought that when we are talking of FDIs, it means that we have to develop our economy and create jobs so that many people will benefit. But, when looking at what is happening, we are asking foreign business people to come to Zimbabwe to bake bread, for example the Chinese. How can we get somebody to come and bake bread in Zimbabwe? They are a family who bring in their own equipment. So, we wonder how we would be creating employment and economy for the country. Is that Foreign Direct Investment – definitely that boggles the mind.
This morning I went to some studio to be photographed and this shop is owned by the Chinese – a lady and a man and these people renting this shop are Chinese. I ask myself, do we not have any reserved sector for the people of Zimbabwe than letting them being taken over by foreigners such as the Chinese? Where do we expect the Zimbabweans to go? If you go to suburbs like Avondale and Mt Pleasant, the restaurants in those areas are run by the Chinese who have things like
the Shangri-La. You ask yourself if this is what we call employment creation and is it going to lead to the growth of the economy? It really boggles the mind. I have noticed that when they are coming, they will be a family made up of a husband and wife. I am pleading with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development as we have some areas which we were told that they were reserved for Zimbabweans.
Therefore, let us make it a point that whatever happens, we will not have a foreigner who will come and set up a restaurant because it has been set aside for the people of Zimbabwe. Photographing has been set up for the people of Zimbabwe and even the bakery that I talked about. So, when this family is coming to do that, how do they create the money? You also notice that when you swipe on their machines because they use these swipe machines, the amount got is electronically taken to China - Beijing, or whatever town. Therefore, I am appealing to the Minister to see that we have some areas which are reserved for the people of Zimbabwe and we have retail shops which unfortunately some of them have been taken up by the Nigerians. If you go to the shops in the central business district (CBD), we have foreigners who are operating them but this should be set aside for the Zimbabweans. You simply go and buy some goods, put them in a shop and put some markup of 20% and you benefit. Therefore, I am saying, let us reserve the side given to Zimbabweans. I would like to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for the time you gave me.
Let me conclude by looking at the user fees for example, if you go to the Ministry of Health and Child Care or the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development who have universities which they are running and the students pay tuition fees. Our intention is, when you create that Blue Book Minister, you should tell us how much money a university such as NUST has collected so that we see it in the Blue Book because, you could say we have a smaller cake, yet we have some institutions which are harvesting millions of money through fees. Even when they go to health institutions – how much are they collecting? These should be reflected in the Blue Book so that we know how much money is being collected and also know how the funds are going to be used. I may also want to include the fines which are paid to the Zimbabwe Republic Police – how much are they collecting. I know that they have a certain percentage which they have to retain but, we need to be told how much the police have collected and the fee retained. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution.
+HON. G.M. MALABA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving
me the opportunity to make my contribution on the Finance Bill raised by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. I have a few contributions which I want to make on this Bill, especially regarding this budget.
When the Minister was making this outline, there are lots of things which I have observed which I think are shortcomings of this Bill. The first one is, Bulawayo was an industrial City which was known throughout Zimbabwe that it had the biggest industry and Zimbabwe is being left out. The people of Bulawayo are crying because they feel that they are being left out in the cold. I remember sometime back when we had the Government of National Unity; we had a fund which was created. It was called DIMAF and it was supposed to be used in assisting in the resuscitation of the industries in Bulawayo. In 2015, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce also gave a Statement saying that they have some ideas and funds put aside for resuscitating the industries of Bulawayo.
Hon. Minister Chinamasa, in his budget speech did not mention the steps taken in developing the Bulawayo industry. The people of Bulawayo are in problems because there are no jobs there and the youths are now drunkards and the girls are now into prostitution because they have no employment. Hence, they have to get money through prostitution and the men are drunkards. We need to look for ways of creating funds.
We know that one of the biggest industries in Bulawayo was the railways and what now remains is that we have the Railways in the country but it is not really being resuscitated. The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development informed the nation that they bought 31 wagons from South Africa for use by the Railways. But what I know is that, in Bulawayo we have industries which can manufacture those coaches. We have Morewear and ZECO but we get people who prefer going to import these wagons when they could create jobs and empower these organisations by giving them money so that they can manufacture these locally. It is a pity and it pains me. When I was looking through this budget, I also noticed that the Minister of Transport and
Infrastructural Development has asked for some funds to be used in the resuscitation of the railways which was US$1.4 million. This is going to be used for the recapitalisation and use of the signals which had been vandalised.
We know that when we talk of railways, we are not only talking about signals and wagons, but we have the formal workers of the railways who have not been paid for years yet these people continue working. We have some people who are benefitting from that and yet the workers who continue to come patriotically are not benefitting. We need to see the growth of Bulawayo. The railways was the biggest industry in Bulawayo and it was the biggest employer. What is happening now is that these people simply go to their work stations at the railways just to while up time and go back to their homes.
We have heard the railways saying they are looking for partners which may help them in resuscitating its system. Why are we not clear on what these partners are doing, who they are and their requirements? Why do they not start working so that we see some signs of improvement? The people of Bulawayo and Matabeleland in particular, for the past years have been looking for a development programme such as the Zambezi Waterway. What is happening to the Zambezi Water projects? So much work has been put on this and it was going to create some greenbelt from Hwange to Matabeleland.
The waters passing through these areas will create this greenbelt. We have had the change of Government and these people have not seen any development of this project. The people of Matabeleland are saying,
‘up to when are we going to continue suffering because we should benefit after these waters have been brought from the Zambezi waterways. We are suffering.’ The people of Bulawayo are mourning, grieving, crying and they are saying, please put into fruition and implement the Zambezi Water Project.
Let me turn to the Cold Storage Commission. This is now a pale shadow of itself. It is no longer a meat processing centre. It has been turned into an SME centre. Some people are attending churches, chain smiths and tailors are now in that place and yet in the past, when you were passing through the premises of the Cold Storage Commission, you would get the smell of beef. Now there is nothing of the sort. Where is the problem in resuscitating the Cold Storage? Who destroyed this essential institution and what was his intention?
Hon. Minister, we had a one to one discussion with you and the Head of Matabeleland. We gave each other ideas on how we could revive the Cold Storage. We came to a conclusion that there was a clear path which we could follow. The main part of the resuscitation was the Cold Storage Commission. My question still stands, will always stand and stood even yesterday why we continue talking. When we go to Lupane to a place called Dotsholo, there is a place which has a very promising future and it has lots of deposits of methane gas.
For the past five years, we have been told that we will soon be mining this gas in Lupane. We have heard that some partners have been identified who could go into joint partnership with the Government and mine this gas, but why till now? Are we still waiting for mining? Why are we still suffering? We know that if we start mining this gas, not only will Matabeleland benefit, but the whole country will benefit. I wonder why the Government is dilly dallying on this project. Why are they procrastinating on such a project?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, please address
+HON. G. M. NCUBE: Hon. Chair –[HON. MEMBERS:
Laughter]- Thank you Madam Speaker for the direction. I will follow the right path. What I am putting across is that the Government should create these ideas and they should be put them into fruition. They should be implemented such as this Lupane gas. This is where the country may benefit. We know that Zimbabwe is richly endowed with a lot of riches by God. Zimbabwe is wealthy, rich and it is blessed. But, because we cannot be organised, hence we find ourselves in such problems and because we are failing to implement the plans which we craft, we end up looking poor, and we seek for assistance from other countries when we have the solutions within the country. It pains me.
Madam Speaker, I know we are relying heavily on the Chinese Government. They are giving us a lot of things which some of them are of no value. May be they are using us as a dump site. My question is, why do these Chinese people not come and open up these industries which have been shut down so that the trinkets and the small things that they are importing into our country, they come and manufacture them.
The dolls and the trinkets...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, you are
making a lot of noise. I know that some Hon. Members do not understand what the Hon. Member is saying because of the language, but I think it is better to respect the debate. If you follow up, next time you will understand what he will be saying.
HON. G. M. NCUBE: Thank you Madam President. I know there are some of you who do not understand Ndebele, please come to me and I will explain. I can speak any language in Zimbabwe and I will use my mother language. Where is the problem Madam Speaker? We have people who are using us as the dumping ground and filling up our shores which are even stifling the growth of our industries. I can give you an example. We have Hon. Members who brought some of these goods in this House to show us that these are just things which are not meant to last for a long time, which were once termed zhing zhong. Why do they not come into this country and manufacture these goods?
We have big projects in our country and very soon, we will be talking about the Beitbridge to Chirundu highway. This is going to be floated as a tender. This tender will be awarded to a foreign country like the G5 of South Africa which constructed the road from Bulawayo to Mutare. G5 is not the one which is going to do that job, but it works hand in hand with the companies in Zimbabwe which they subcontract.
At the end of the day, they take the money to South Africa.
The road I am talking about to Chirundu has been won by a foreign country and this foreign company is going to work hand in hand with the companies in Zimbabwe and my question is, why do we use foreign companies? My wish is that we should use local companies and I wish my fellow Parliamentarians would understand what I am saying.
The biggest question still stands – up to what time should the people of Bulawayo keep on mourning, keep on crying for the development of their city and area.
*HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to add my voice…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order. Our debate should be
focused on the Finance Bill and general issues relating to the revenues, not everything we are debating because I think we got a chance to do this, but now we have got to be focused.
*HON. CHAMISA: I do not want to waste time. I have got four things to add to this budget which will help our Minister to build the economy of this country. I said I should use my mother language so that I can bring out exactly what is in my heart so that everyone will benefit.
I want to thank you Madam President, that when you read the statement which the Minister brought in, there are a number of things that we should look at. The one thing that is surprising is the money that is allocated to Parliament. If we look at the money that is allocated to Parliament, it is very little. I was in the West African country, Ghana and the Members of Parliament there, each and every one of them has offices. They have a building which houses the office of Members of Parliament and each MP has two assistants who help them to do research. If we do not do that, the debate that will come out of this Parliament will not be in-depth. So, this issue of Parliament funding is very important.
That is not the end. What I also saw in Ghana is that there are houses for MPs. MPs do not stay in hotels, but they stay in houses which are built by the nation. We are wasting a lot of money paying hotel bills. We should build a village where MPs should stay when they are on Parliamentary business. So, Minister, for you not to crack your head with this budget, I think we should look into the money that we allocate to Parliament. We do not want to come back next time and talk about the same thing. Some MPs die in hotels and otherd get their things stolen in hotels. In hotels you come across a lot of things. MPs should have their own security when they are here so that we curb crime which affects them.
The second thing is about education. The money that is being allocated to education is very little. For a country to be strong, more money should be channeled to the primary and secondary education. If it were possible, I think we should say in our budget, from Grade 1 to Grade 7, it should be free education. The Government should pay their fees. What we believe in is that in Government, when they are collecting money, they should make sure that from Grade 1 to Grade 7 the Government pays and then parents would know that from Grade 1 to Grade 7 fees is being paid by the money coming from people who are paying taxes. We have seen parents falling into debt because they are failing to pay school fees for their children. Grade 1 to Grade 7 pupils should be allowed to go to school for free and then the parents would prepare for their secondary education. We can take this money from mining. That money that was stolen, if we had taken it and given it to each and every one of us, all the people would be thanking the Government. It is possible if we go and take the money that is only getting to the rich.
What is very surprising is that when it comes to corruption, we talk a lot about corruption, but there are others who are getting more than others. Our resources are dwindling, but those who are benefiting are still benefiting. What I am saying is that the Ministers who are corrupt, we have never seen anyone being dragged to the courts for corruption, which means that we have a challenge there for money not to get to education.
We know that when Hon. Chinamasa was growing up, I was told by one of my colleagues that he was very intelligent. The white people would really fear him, but they were given grants during that time and it is public knowledge. What we are saying is, we are killing children who are coming from poor families because they cannot get money to send their children to universities. We should help the poor; we should help those from the rural areas so that they go to school and further their education through grants which come from the Government.
When we were student leaders, we were given money and we were expected to return the money after completing school. We were many, but the Government would find ways. I plead that we should look into this so that in schools, they go back into cadetship. I think we should go back to the grants because grants will not work if we have not looked at employment and revamped our industries.
How do we revamp our employment and industries - is that we should look at our Government policy. We should have a consistent policy where there is unity because we have seen disunity between the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Ministry on the implementation of STEM. This only goes to show that Government is marred with problems of disunity and disagreements amongst its own ministries. This will reduce the number of investors coming into the country because no one wants to invest in a country where policies are not consistent yet they would have invested their monies. That is what we should address so that we can begin to earn foreign currency and use it wisely.
Madam Speaker, in the Budget presented by Hon. Chinamasa, I have noted that the issue of elections also needs to be addressed. The budget allocation to ZEC is not adequate to complete the biometric voter registration process which is now being used in other countries. The shortage of this funding will lead take us back to our traditional problem where after the elections there are always contestations. To avoid such problems, it is good to make sure that all the people who are on the citizens’ roll should automatically be registered if they are aged 18 years and above. This will make it easy for citizens since they will only confirm their place of residence. We are computerised and there should be software for automatic entrance onto the voters’ roll so that we cut on the budget of Government in conducting unnecessary processes.
There is no need to stretch the process unnecessarily. ZEC should be allocated money. I do not know what the Minister intends by not allocating money to ZEC when elections are supposed to be conducted in 2018. If these elections are not smoothly conducted and conflict ensues, it will result in our economy being shunned by investors because there will be political turmoil. We want to avoid such things so that there will be a smooth transition of power from one political party to the other. What I am talking about is happening elsewhere in Africa. There are obviously some leaders who cling to power like the Gambian President Jammeh. However, that is the spirit we want to get rid of because it reduces economic growth. The spirit of Jammeh is not welcome in this country…
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member, you are
debating well but be guided that you may be going off topic. You are now talking about Jammeh when we are debating about our Budget.
*HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, let me leave the issue of Jammeh. I was talking about addressing the issue of elections. Allow me to discuss about the remuneration of civil servants. Hon. Minister Chinamasa has a budget which he is bringing, which should be implemented by civil servants, some of whom are helping in the Minister’s office. For example, we heard Hon. Misihairabwi referring to one of the officers, Ms. Mhini. If you observe the work of these officers, they craft the country’s Budget consisting of a lot of money, even if it is not adequate. The officers themselves are not being well remunerated. Civil servants’ bonuses are not addressed in the Budget.
This does not motivate the civil servants as they conduct their duties. The absence of bonuses is problematic as even police officers and soldiers are not inspired to conduct their duties whilst the ordinary civil servants who are responsible for implementation of the budget in ministries are equally not inspired because they are not well remunerated.
Hon. Speaker, I am requesting that all civil servants be wellremunerated despite the shortages currently being experienced. We should make sure that foreign trips by senior Government officials are reduced. I am sure that when they go on these foreign trips, they do not use bond notes in their transactions; they use United States Dollars
(USD). I conducted a research Hon. Speaker and found out that most Ministers went on holiday outside the country and realised that they were all using USD out there. We should therefore restrict the foreign trips by Government Ministers using Government funds so that we use that money for other critical departments like health and education. This can be done. If you take for an example in Tanzania, they have reduced trips by Government Ministers, let us reduce workshops done by
Government departments in hotels and even the expensive cars used by Government Ministers so that we buy low cost vehicles to suit our situation. It is not conducive to use helicopters and expensive cars when there is no money to meet that standard. They are unable to detect the presence of pot-holes on the roads because their vehicles are highly suspended and shock- resistant. Let us address that so that they also use ordinary cars which are easily damaged on pot-hole infested roads. If the Hon. Minister’s car is damaged by pot-holes like any other ordinary citizen’s vehicle, then we would know that we are on the same level with our Ministers. This will enable us to have a common budget.
In conclusion, I want to make recommendations which will lead to the eradication of all these problems. Hon. Speaker, there are two things which we need to do. Firstly, I would want to request from President
Mugabe to pick up his phone and call Mr. Tsvangirai – [AN HON.
MEMBER: Aah.] – Someone is disputing – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections] –
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, let us listen to the debate.
*HON. CHAMISA: Hon. Speaker, there is no Government which thrives without getting counsel and this counsel comes in different forms. Let the counsel be heard first before it is rejected. The leadership should gather, join hands with other political parties, churches, traditional leaders, Members of Parliament and industrialists in this country and figure out what can be done in terms of the problems in our midst. It is like a parasite plague has entered our household silo.
We cannot continue to bring shallow budgets like these…
*HON. MUPFUMI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. We are debating the Finance Bill, we are not at a political rally where we want Mr. Tsvangirai and the President to engage in a discussion. Let us debate issues relevant to the debate. Thank you.
*HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, you have witnessed it on your own. Hon. Speaker, the way we debated on Tuesday, I wish we can all have that mind set. When a village put their minds together, it is not possible not to come up with solutions to pending problems. I request Hon. Members across the political divide to note that there are some people whose lives come to an end before they have worked for a single salary. Some end up dying whilst sleeping on a reed mat and never experience the comfort of a luxury bed. There are youths who are not employed and have never been employed… Hon. Chamisa having been speaking to the gallery.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chamisa address the
*HON. CHAMISA: I am sorry Hon. Speaker. Let me address the Chair, I will not repeat that. I wish we were able to come together and have a shared national vision. We do not have inclusivity in terms of gathering views from all the citizens so that we come up with a shared vision of our economy by 2023, 2025, 2030 or 2040 so that we move together with a national vision not to say that ZIM ASSET has come from one party but it should come from everyone so that people will know that we have a vision as a nation. If we are able to do that our nation will be well.
HON. KHUPE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. Today I
want to speak as a woman and as a mother. Before I speak as a mother and as a woman I would like to allude to the fact that Government must remove the burden of raising revenue from its citizens. There are other ways of raising revenue. This country requires billions of dollars and I do not think that billions can be raised through fines and so on. We have been talking about a geological survey because Zimbabwe is a very rich country, it is endowed with enormous resources like diamond, gold, platinum, methane gas, and you name it.
The problem that we have is that we do not know how much we have underground. This is why a geological survey is very critical and important. The Minister must look into those issues because that is the only way we can get out of the problems that we are faced with at the moment. Our debt is above US$10b, this country requires more than US$20b to move this country forward and you cannot raise this money through fines.
Madam Speaker, like I said earlier on, I want to talk like a mother today because I want to talk about women. I want to talk about those in the rural areas because they are in the majority. The monies that we are talking about are supposed to satisfy the needs of these women. Without women there is no country to talk about. Half of the food consumed in this country comes from a woman’s hand. Women work 10 times harder than men and I would like to substantiate why I am saying women work 10 times harder than men.
If you go to our villages they wake up as early as 0400hrs, it is either this woman is pregnant or she is carrying a baby on her back or both. They go to the fields to till the land, to plant crops and cultivate using primitive tools in the bear sun of Africa. They come back to the village later in the day, they carry a bucket of water they walk for kilometers to go and look for water. They come back and go back to look for firewood, make the fire and prepare food their children. They sleep late everyday Madam Speaker. Women work for more than 16 hours every day and if this woman is pregnant, she does not have time to go for antenatal care.
This is why our maternal mortality is very high 900 out of every 100 000 live births meaning that more than 15 women die every day in this country whilst giving birth. Giving birth is not a punishment; we are performing a national duty by giving birth to Members of Parliament who are sitting in this House, to Hon. Ministers who are sitting in this House, to our Hon. Speakers of Parliament, people who are supposed to do things which are supposed to move this country forward. Madam Speaker..
HON. MATANGIRA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
*HON. MATANGIRA: My point of order is that she is out of topic. We want something to do with the Budget and she is out of order.
HON. KHUPE: Madam Speaker, the issues that we are raising have everything to do with the Budget because without money you cannot do these kinds of things. The reason why I am raising these kinds of things is because I want this Budget to address these issues. I want this Budget to make sure that the burden is removed from the women in the villages. I want this Budget to make sure that they introduce modern agricultural technologies like drip irrigation because you use a small piece of land little water but the yield is very high.
If women were to do drip irrigation they will not spend most of the time going to till the land, waking up at 0400hrs. I want the women in the villages to open water from a tape and cook using stoves. There is bio-gas where you just use cow dung to generate gas and you can cook using that gas. You can have electricity using that gas and do all sorts of things. This Budget is supposed to be addressing these kinds of issues. They are not difficult to do, they are simply things. This is why it is said development is not rocket science. Development is about discovery and copying from other people.
We went to Bangladesh and saw how biogas is very effective. This is the reason why I am talking about biogas. I want this Budget to make sure that every ward has got a clinic so that when women are pregnant they can go for antenatal care, so that women can be checked whether they have cancer because early detection of cancer saves lives. These are the issues that this Budget is supposed to be addressing. The other issue is that I want this Budget to make sure that schools are built so that children do not talk for more than a kilometer going to school.
Schools must have laboratories and everything else so that they are able to graduate in universities, they can go to any universities. If you look at Matabeleland, some of the schools do not have laboratories so, children cannot do science subjects. They only do the other subjects and this is not right.
I want this Budget to make sure that it address all these issues so that at the end of the day the burden is removed from us mothers and our children because they is no country to talk about without mothers and our children. So, I am appealing to the Minister like I said earlier on to say you cannot raise enough revenue through fines. Let us do the geological survey that we have been talking about from time immemorial. This will allow this country to generate billions of dollars.
I thank you.
*HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The issue
that we are debating today is very important it is for the betterment of our country as Zimbabweans. Looking on how Zimbabwe can go forward, we should look at the history, what used to happen in Zimbabwe. Our country Zimbabwe has Chiefs called Munhumutapa. His wealth and his power were endowed in gold and this gold is still in our country. Our panners are saying that gold is now on the surface, we are going to harvest from the fields and from gold as well. What we are saying is how we can easy on harnessing gold. There is no way a country can go forward if people are ideal, we should mine that gold.
When we were growing up, if a beautiful girl comes at our school, we would wait for our brothers who were working in Harare to come so that they will talk to that girl. We want to wait for foreigners to come and harness our gold. We should go into the rivers and harness that gold. For example, when people were mining diamonds, the City of Mutare had changed but when we brought in big companies, the situation changed. The City of Mutare is now in a sorry state.
When it comes to the economy, native people work very hard. It is not a difficult thing. We have about three million people who are ready to go into gold panning. What is only needed is for the Government to go and buy gold from designated points. The gold that we have is our inheritance. We should move in that direction. This issue of prosecuting people because they possess gold should not be allowed to happen. It is our gold. Our Governor, Dr. Mangudya said if you see a person with gold, he or she is carrying the wealth of the country for the betterment of the people of Zimbabwe. With gold, we can do a lot of things. We can go and get loans.
When it comes to mining, the ease of doing business – we should not include a lot of beauracracy. During the war, some men failed to marry because of beauracracy. When it comes to the economy of the country, we should do away with a lot of beauracracy. If possible, we should give the powers and matters relating to gold and gold mining to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. People would then deliver gold to the Ministry and be given their money.
Chrome is now US$150 from US$60. This shows some positiveness since there has been a rise on the price. We should not ban chrome mining like what happened in the past. We have a lot of people who have the knowledge and skills of mining chrome. Whether they have licences or not, people should mine chrome. The minerals in Zimbabwe are for the people in Zimbabwe and everyone should have primary rights to minerals and not to say minerals are for foreigners.
Gold can realise US$5 billion and chrome if mined, can help us a lot. Chrome will resuscitate our railway line because our trains are now grounded. If we start mining chrome, all our railway lines will start operating. Chrome mining needs only a hoe and shovel for someone to go into the mountain and start digging chrome. Everyone should be involved in matters of the economy because our main issue is to fight poverty. Many people in the country have been affected by the requirements that qualifies one to mine. People are told that if they want to mine, they should have EIS which takes about four months to acquire. The customer who needs the chrome will be gone before one gets the EIS. We are at a cross road. We should move very fast on things that are at our disposal.
We have many platinum mines in this country. Government only marks the size and whatever size is left is sold. We can raise US$20 billion per night because Government is the one that should just supervise on how the things are being mined but we want to do everything. We want to be referees and judges at the same time in mining of platinum.
This year, we have a bumper harvest of maize and tobacco. We should start introducing command agriculture to the wheat and tomato growing so that our house is always in order. We should help our people when they are working. We have the authority to do everything.
We have solar energy and we should look into that as well because people look good because of the sun. Solar energy can boost our economy. We should also engage into renewable energy so that people will see using the sun and we revamp our economy. We should work together to ease our burden.
There are some Hon. Members who spoke about education. Government is supposed to build schools and pay teachers but as parents, we should be at the forefront to build schools. The power that we used in bearing children should also be used in building schools and hospitals for the betterment of our country.
Looking at the welfare of Members of Parliament; a person who is not poor but is poor in the mind when they see people crying they will also go and cry even if they are crying over nothing – they will just cry. They will just join in because they will think that they will benefit from there. It is because of the poverty that is imbedded in people. Our poverty is being caused by us legislators because we do not know the law. There is no Labour Relations Act that sitting allowances should go and pay a debt. It is an allowance that we were given to cushion us.
If you look very closely, you might not be aware of it – many times you find that Members of Parliament are not able to take their suits to the dry cleaners especially during mid months. That issue should be looked into closely. Still on that, Hon. Members are now known on the high-ways because they are now using their cars to ferry people. Their cars are always overloaded because they want to make ends meet. I have a picture on my phone but it is unfortunate that I do not have it
now. I would have shown you an Hon. Member’s Ford Ranger that was overloaded. His mind is now full of poverty. Whenever he sees people, he wants to carry them.
The issue of Constituency Development Fund should be expedited so that our Members of Parliament should go into the rural areas and work for the country of Zimbabwe. When we are debating like this, there are some who are looking at you. Some are saying that what you are debating is bad. Some are saying it is good. Please do not look at me with that eye, you can have a chance to debate as well. I want to thank Hon. Members for being resilient on the challenges that you are facing. In our Shona culture we say that, chipoko chinomukira pachakafira. Saka chamukira muno muParliament ndomatakaurayiwa nenzara. So, there is need for improvement. I thank you – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
*HON. CHIPATO: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on this debate. Let me start by thanking the Minister of Finance for crafting such a Budget under difficult economic conditions. Some of the problems which we are facing in the country and may lead to problems are that we have projects we are undertaking in the country that are incomplete. Let us see them through for instance, in a construction project, we must see it through. I am giving an example of the police and the army. I sympathise a lot with the personnel because some of the monies that goes into the State coffers comes from the roadblocks and at times from the fines paid in courts.
I know there is a CID office in the country and I am pleading with you that this office that is under construction should be completed so that these members of the CID would work in a conducive environment. I understand that the amount that is needed for the completion of the building is $2 million and I am saying part of the fines that are collected by police at the roadblocks be used for the completion of that project because they will be working comfortably in offices which make them think properly.
Let me turn to the Army. We also need to have an Army that is well taken care of by the State. When we look at the accommodation for soldiers, there are times whereby the soldiers or police officers are renting a one-roomed cottage and that is where all his property is. How can such a person perform to his utmost when he is coming from such a background. Let us take care of the welfare of our military and police.
I will go on to my second point .....
*HON. SITHOLE: On a point of order Madam Speaker. According to Standing Order Number 106, it forbids us from tautology and rhetoric because what she is saying has already been debated by previous speakers. Please stop her from repeating.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no point of order.
*HON. CHIPATO: Thank you Madam Speaker for protecting me because most of these Members were repeating what has been said by other Members. I was on my second point regarding the Budget. I am looking at the climate that we have and God blessed Zimbabwe with plenty of rains so that when we embark on our agricultural projects, we will develop and we know that our economy is agro-based. I am saying the Minister of Finance should give the GMB enough money so that farmers benefit from the sale of maize.
I talked about the projects, I visited some place in Kadoma and there is an office and noticed that at times we waste a lot of money that is budgeted for in this House to construct something. When we start projects, we do not complete them. I am pleading with Government to please put enough money, for example, the Offices of the Registrar General, it was initiated with a lot of money to launch the project but to date the offices are still incomplete.
I will now look at the roads, they help us in sourcing funds for the development of our economy.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I think we should not
generalise. This is what you should have done in the initial stage of this Bill. What we want now are the ways and means of gathering funds so that the Minister knows where to get funds for financing the State
*HON. CHIPATO: Yes, you cut me short when I was talking of the state of the roads in the country. The roads are responsible for driving the state of the country but these roads are in a poor state. When we look at the Beitbridge Road, it is one of the cash cows of the country because of all the road traffic such as lorries from South Africa to Malawi and Zambia use this road. We need to refurbish and rehabilitate them so that we get more money into our state coffers. We also have lots of fruits in the country and we can value-add these fruits. I remember we had Sandton which was in Mutare which used to manufacture beans, peanut butter and other food stuffs. We need to resuscitate these companies and Zimbabwe is known as a cattle country. At the moment, the Cold Storage is not functioning at all, as a result, cattle is being taken by people from other countries. These people are not creating jobs for the people of Zimbabwe.
I am appealing to the Minister, when crafting your Budget, please put more money for the resuscitation of the Cold Storage Commission and you would have done the nation a great service in the revenue collection. I thank you.
*HON. MUPFUMI: Thank you Madam Speaker. The Minister talked about increasing money so that we have so much in our coffers. Let us look at the currency that we are using as Zimbabweans. We are using the United States Dollar and it does not bring profit to any economy. I am calling for the adoption of the Rand because it may bring profit to us. When we look at the US$ and you are running a business, you have a profit of two cents. When you are getting profit of such small margin, how are you going to get the money to pay your managers and other workers? As long as we do not change our currency which we are circulating, we will not benefit much because we need to talk about the retention. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development has money which is coming from all those other people who are feeding into the Government coffers yet we realise that these companies which are supposed to bring money are retaining that money for their own use. And, when the Government is paying salaries, it also pays salaries for those organisations which are retaining the monies which they are collecting from the public. This should be done so that we have a Consolidated Revenue Fund and pay for all the services.
The Constitution says people should be protected including the vulnerable, the poor and the disabled and the businesses, but this is contrary to what is happening in Zimbabwe. People are now taking care of the Government instead of the Government taking care of them.
When somebody is staying in Zimbabwe, we notice that life in
Zimbabwe is very expensive. For instance, if you want to drive your car to any journey, you are given so many taxes which you have to pay. If you go to a roadblock, they ask about breakdown triangle, spare wheel, spanner and all those things which have nothing to do with the creation of wealth for the country. Some will even ask you about a fireextinguisher in your car and I am saying, Government should invest its money on the project of resuscitating companies. We know that many organisations closed down and I bet you, we will not be able to reopen these companies as long as we are using the US dollar. These countries which come into this country and pretend to be assisting us, when they have made enough money, they repatriate that money illegally.
When I was growing up, I used to think that maybe there was a problem with this country. I am saying, most of the companies which you are protecting in Zimbabwe are of no benefit, not only to the
Government, but to the people of Zimbabwe. I urge the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to please, look at supporting the mining companies and let me just take a good example of the diamonds which we have in Marange. We should be having enough money to take care of all the expenses of the State such as salaries. Unfortunately, some of these companies are illegally exporting the moneys which they get through their business transactions. Please, let us do our things in time and that can only happen if we have the Parliament of Zimbabwe which is quite independent, create laws and follow some of the ideas which I am putting across.
I know that if we continue sitting, we will soon have no quorum but the problem which happens is that, it is not that we are deliberately doing that to run away but MPs come to Parliament on Sunday and tomorrow will be Friday. They are supposed to be going back to their constituencies. Unfortunately, they do not get any allowances or coupons. Some female MPs here cannot drive, they either have a driver or drivers. What happens is, the female MP has a husband and the law says it is only the MP who should feed. The driver or the husbands are not supposed to feed. How can we create good ideas when we are not looking after the welfare of the legislator -HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.
Please when we are heckling, let us do it on time and give the Hon.
Member on the floor the time to make a contribution.
*HON. MUPFUMI: I am calling on the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to say please, let us look at the welfare of legislators. They should get remuneration and allowances which will entice them to sit in the House until we are through with the business of the day. But as of the moment, these MPs just come here to be marked as present and then they have to go and moonlight or carry out their businesses so that they have a decent life. I am pleading with the
Minister to say please, the welfare of the legislator is very important.
I will now look at the ordinary person. We are overtaxing the people of Zimbabwe. All these reporters we see are pained because of the high taxes which we are facing. I represent Mutare and when I travel from Harare to Mutare, I pass through about 24 police roadblocks on the way and at every roadblock I have to pay some money. I think this is too much and we cannot afford that. Let us look at the welfare of the civil servant, the police and pay them handsomely so that they do not indulge in corrupt activities. I thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I plead with
you to stop debating. Let us call the Minister to come and respond.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I want to thank all Hon.
Members who have contributed to this debate but I want to observe that it is a repeat of the debate on the Budget Statement. So, as I was listening, I could see speakers basically repeating what they said when they contributed and this is an issue that I think we need to be wary of next time around so that we do not waste time.
Madam Speaker, let me just make some general remarks. I think I need Hon. Members to understand me clearly. The reality of our situation is that out of every $100 revenue that I receive, 90% to 97% is going to wages. This means that I have $3 which I have to devote to service delivery and all the things that we are talking about here – roads, schools and clinics. That is the focus that we must give as this Parliament – to change that structure and we cannot change it by speaking in tongues.
When I say by speaking in tongues, it is that people come here and recognise what I have said but all the contributions are basically to say, spend more on that and on that and no appreciation that there is very little from which to spend on all those things. I think I know more about the state of the economy than anybody here because I have to superintendent over all the sectors. So, I know what the situation is in the health sector. The fact that in the health sector I am unable to find money to hire doctors and nurses, I know that. The fact that there are no drugs and equipment in hospitals, I know that. If you go to education, it is the same thing – there are no teachers or there is a shortage of teachers.
Infrastructure is in a dilapidated state and these are problems that have accumulated over many years. If we look at the railways, there was Hon. G.M. Ncube speaking about the railways. Some of our problems, especially with respect to the cost of doing business, are arising from the fact that the railways collapsed. They should be carrying all the heavy loads and leaving our roads only to light loads, then the damage will be less. As long as we have not resuscitated the railways, it does not matter in what we do by way of rehabilitation, they will soon be damaged because the loads are quite heavy.
I do not want us in future to spend much more time talking about the situation. I am more conversant about the situation right across the board. What I would want us to do Madam Speaker, is to dwell more on what we can do to recover our economy, earn more money and revenue. Those ideas are not available. That is my primary mandate, but I would want us to spend more time dwelling on issues to do with what we can do to create businesses which pay taxes.
Another point Madam Speaker is that there does not seem to be a link from the contributions between taxes and service delivery. You cannot have your cake and eat it. If you do not want to be taxed, please do not shout and expect better service delivery. The problem we are encountering is that because of the informalisation of our economy, a lot of our people are in the informal sector. They do not want to pay taxes. Even those who are in the informal sector, rikanzi business ratorwa nemunhu mutema, totoziva kuti harichabhadhara tax.
We do not have that culture to link taxes to service delivery. If we want better education, health, roads and everything, we need to have the culture of paying taxes. When we all come here, everybody want the conditions to go up, allowances and everything and you tell me not to tax this and that, and not to touch this and that. Yet, you want all these good things. We need to understand. We cannot have all the things we want and then protect sources of taxes from being taxed. There was a statement that we should not tax citizens. The citizens’ first obligation is to pay tax so that you can sustain your Government and Government is to sustain your service delivery in education, health, roads, etc.
So if you say citizens should not be taxed, who is going to be taxed? I cannot tax foreigners. I have to tax nationals and whoever has income and wherever I see is a source of income, I zero in to tax and raise the money. I think we need to understand that. Let me now respond to the contributions which were made by Hon. Members. I will just touch on those contributions which I believe were not a repetition.
Hon. Nduna who spoke yesterday urging integrating computerisation. I support him fully. This is an exercise that we have mandated the Ministry of Home Affairs to undertake so that the police, ZINARA, ZIMRA and CVR are integrated so that when you get to a police road block, that computer at the police road block should tell the policeman that in the past, you infringed and you did not pay the fine. It should tell that you have previous convictions of negligence. That is the direction that we are going. To do that, it is a process. I want to say to Hon. Nduna that it is an issue that we are looking at and it will also help to stop leakages in revenue collection. It will also go a long way to fight corruption because everything will be computerised.
Hon. Majome only stood up to make a point of order which she then said to me that she was mistaken, that I did not have power to change the levels of fines. Wherever money is being paid, it is paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund and the Minister of Finance has a right to reduce or to increase. If you deny the Minister of Finance that power, then he has no basis to be the Minister of Finance. So I want to make that clear.
Hon. Maondera, you did not understand the schedule in the Criminal Code, we are only changing three levels. He rightly pointed out to us that we are changing $20 to $30 and so on. When we stand here, these are the people who are breaching the law. To the extent possible, you should be on my side, not on the side of those who are breaching the law. You are law makers and you put this law into effect. Now you come here and stand on the side of those who are breaching the law and you say no, do not touch them etc, and you are legislators. I want us to clearly understand. We need to support each other in this regard.
When I look at the state of our roads, we are looking at billions and not small money to get them repaired. We should be putting our heads together as to where we are going to get that money from. People talk about us being richly endowed, yes we are. Platinum, gold, diamonds and so on, but for as long as it is underground, it is of no value to the Minister of Finance. It needs to be taken out of the ground and to do that, you need money and whose money? This is where people think it can be a one day wonder. It is not. We engage in lengthy meetings with investors, some of them who do not even pursue it beyond first meetings.
Some drop out when you think you are near to clinching a deal. These are the realities. When people talk, they talk carelessly or confidently saying we have money and so on. You do not understand how many investors have come into my office saying they have billions of dollars. When I pursue it, they cannot put even US$1 000 on the table.
So, we need to be careful about these things.
Hon. Maondera, I thought on the health levy, it is a matter that I have been thinking very much about. I do not want the health levy to be eaten up by any bureaucracy. So, I am going to create a special account into which this money will go and the next issue is, Treasury will just disburse it to the Minister of Health for the purposes for which this levy is intended. No boards of directors, nothing of the sort and no cars at all. I treasure very much debate and talking about debate and I keep an open mind. It does not matter where good ideas are coming from; I always take them on board.
I think we should never degenerate into abuses. When you abuse other people, even some of the good ideas you mention, I close my ears and I thought that Hon. Mliswa got very much to the border of abuse. It is not good. I know he could have been brought up to abuse other people without any problem so far, but if he is to be taken seriously by me, I think he needs to confine himself to the realm of ideas.
The issue about Willowvale Motors - it is not just Willowvale
Motors, but AVM and Quest Motors. We have been working so far with Quest Motors and AVM to insist that the cars that they manufacture should be sold locally. In other words that we stop importation and that they should produce quality cars which match those which are imported and I think we are going quite far on that route. So far, we have started it with purchases of buses by schools. We have put a ban on importation of buses so that they are sourced locally in order to create local employment and we will extend that understanding to other sectors in the motor trade.
I also thought that I should make this point, Mr. Speaker Sir, I think we should never justify corruption on the basis that we are underfunded. Parliamentarians are the salt of the earth. If we justify corruption because we are not funded, who are we going to oversee and will we be taken seriously? So, the contribution by the Hon. Member and others basically to say, we can skip Parliament. We just come here, collect our coupons and go wherever and at the end of the day, the truth of the matter, Mr. Speaker Sir, if we follow them, they are not even going to do businesses.
So, I want us to remain on track. Yes, there is underfunding, but we understand why we are in that situation and we will work hard to improve those conditions. We should not carry very easy comparisons like comparisons which were made here with Ghana. Ghana has no level of education that we do here. We are supporting thousands of university students in this country, which is what Ghana is not doing. All the university students, we are supporting. So, we need not do comparisons which are not quite helpful. We have a situation, we have a problem. Let us work at it and not in a miraculous way because miracles do not happen. Step by step, we must work to get us out of the situation that we are finding ourselves in.
I have already started a process to deal with auditor’s reports. My handicap was that I did not have the staff to comb through the voluminous auditor’s reports. We had to negotiate with the Public Service Commission so that we create an establishment solely dedicated to reading auditor’s reports and responding to those reports and I believe we are almost getting there. You cannot respond to all those auditor’s reports unless there is some team dedicated to ploughing through all those reports and disseminating or rather discriminating what may not be quite true and what is true and correcting the mistakes which are pointed out in those reports.
He was of course not right, Mr. Speaker, unless one is expecting dramatic things. He says the economy is not improving. From where I stand I know where I stood in 2013, whether we are talking about the gold sector, whether we are talking about the tobacco sector, whether we are talking about any sector and I can show, when time permits, how we have moved. In terms of gold we have moved from 12,5 metric tonnes to 23 metric tonnes last December. That clearly is an improvement. We can talk about tobacco, how we have moved even under very difficult circumstances.
So, we need to acknowledge those steps. Let us not say all the negative things which basically kill the spirit of those who are trying to make things work. We must try to encourage each other basically, to turn around the fortunes of this economy and it can be done. You talk about chrome. It went down. It collapsed, because the price was so low. Now is the moment to get it back to production. We are talking about nickel. We have seen, although the prices were down, they made up for it in quantitative production and so was the case with platinum. All those are achievements we need to talk about.
We talk about agriculture. We have never spent, Mr. Speaker Sir, as much money on agriculture, that we have done this season. We have never done so in the past and God willing, with the rains which came, I hope things will never be the same again. More particularly, we have already stopped the importation of maize. The cotton crop - I had photographs which were shown to me from Chiredzi, Karoi, Guruve, Gokwe and Rushinga. The crop is looking good, notwithstanding the problems of lack of chemicals and fertilizer and so on. So, we need to build on the positive developments that are taking place and not to shower negative statements that basically discourage those who are attempting to do good work.
Hon. Zindi, I have replied you. I need to tax something. I hear you, but I need to tax something. Link taxes to the demands for more expenditure and ask yourself, where am I going to get the money. The response is, yes, we are rich and so on, but to get a response on the supply side takes ages and a lot of hard work. It is not a miracle and I want us to understand that. So, when we identify, because already we have identified the volumes of money that is transacted in all those areas and we think that if we restore this 15%, it will make a change for the better and in any case, we are targeting those items which are bought by rich people.
So, the mega deals with China – let me say something about the mega deals. They are all to do with infrastructure – Kariba South, Hwange 7 and 8 and some from independent power producers. The requirements of Chinese Financial institutions are that when they lend us money, the contractor must be Chinese and the equipment must be sourced from China. We then remain with a little which we can use to source local materials. When you look at the cost benefit analysis, we want power and the sooner we can start on those projects, the better and it is the only country where we can borrow from right now. So, we decided we take the loan, notwithstanding the restriction on where to source equipment and where to source the contractor. I must say, this is also the practice of most countries. They do not give you money to pay to companies from other countries.
With respect to some of the dualisation, we have to negotiate like what we have done with the dualisation from Beitbridge to Harare. We have negotiated a local content of not less than 40%. The FDI, which she mentioned, that is what Special Economic Zones (SEZ) are going to be all about. I do not want Bulawayo to be left behind in this regard. You should feel free to talk to any investor who may want to come to Bulawayo to resuscitate the industry there and you should also come to me with any investors. Ask them what incentives they want in order to operate there and I will certainly consider granting them. So, let us be helpful and collaborative in this matter.
There are obviously complaints over Chinese nationals who come to set up businesses in reserved sectors. It is a matter that the Hon.
Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment has to work on. The law and the reserved sectors are set clearly. What is problematic though is that there were already people in those sectors before we were strict on enforcement.
However, that can be sorted out easily. I agree with you though on reserved sectors for Zimbabwean but you can ask where were you when the Chinese were setting up a bakery in Mutare? Why did you not know that Mutare eats bread? The bakery equipment does not cost much, we are probably talking about US$5 000 and Hon. Minister Nyoni is spearheading that. Where were you? Do you want us as Government to tell you what to do? It must come from you, not from Government. We do not create entrepreneurs; it is not the responsibility of Government to create entrepreneurs. What these contributions basically mean is that we lack an entrepreneurial class in our country who show their own initiatives and take the first step. As said earlier on, to set up a bakery needs US$5 000 to US$10 000. You can also buy the machinery from China at a cheap price, may be US$2 000, but why are we not doing that? You want the Government to operate bakeries? No please, it is us who should do that Mr. Speaker Sir.
On user fees Mr. Speaker Sir, there are user fees which are collected at universities and other institutions. We all stand here to say medical treatment, drugs and everything must be for free even when we know that Government has no capacity to do all those things – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO):
Hon. Members can you lower your voices.
HON. CHINAMASA: I heard someone saying education must
also be free. We should work out the equation, if we say it is for free, who is going to pay for it. Why do we not ask ourselves such simple and straight forward questions? If you are asking for free things, someone must pay and who is that? As a result of psyching our people that they must get everything free, there is no contribution. We tell school children that you do not pay, parents do not pay and as a result pupils go to school without text books, benches, desks or other items. We, therefore need to change our mindset and say, if we are saying free things someone must pay for it and please identify that person who can pay for all those free things, in education, health, railways and so on. We need to be very sensible about the contributions, there is nothing for nothing.
Hon. Malaba, I think I have already answered you. Bulawayo was the industrial hub of our country. I always narrate the story that when we were growing up, people did not recognise Salisbury as a town, all our people, with some who never came back, flocked to Bulawayo because it was the town. It was anchored on industry and the railway.
Now, we need to bring it back, but it will not happen through a miracle. We have to do it step by step. We have to identify investors and we find out what the investors want in terms of incentives in order for them to come back. So, be nice to them, do not shout at them, they bring you jobs, money and skills.
However, the issue that arises, especially from the railways and any other parastatal or whether we are talking about ZISCO; those companies closed a long time ago but the people remain employed and the unpaid salary bill continue escalating, even though they are playing tsoro. They have been playing tsoro for ten years now and yet it is still being accepted that they remain on the pay roll. When we say let us restructure, Hon. Members here stand up and say, do not retrench anyone. You mean that it is good business to remunerate someone who has not been working for 12 years, not one person, no production but remunerate them for playing tsoro. This is for the reason that we lack the courage to take decisions which are business-like. Any person who is running a business knows that if they are not making money, they close the business. Hon. Speaker Sir, I want us to understand that.
The stories about buying in South Africa and so on, especially about the wagons, from my understanding, the wagons came from China. I may be mistaken. There was an order which was placed in China a long time ago, of something else which is not even wagons, for which the goods were not delivered. We then re-negotiated so that we get it through wagons and not what was originally ordered.
All the projects that have been mentioned, Zambezi Water Project, it is a matter that we have been handling. It was disrupted because of the threat. We had already pumped US$35 million into Gwai-Shangani, and a tender was awarded and work was done. However, when there was a threat on the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam, we diverted those resources to finish the Tokwe-Mukorsi. We are now going to be more focused on it so that it is finished. I have been to the site and some work was done.
The Cold Storage Commission Company is something that Hon. Minister Made is clearly looking into and we hope that we can come up with a resolution on this matter soon, so is the Lupane Gas. All this require an investor who brings money to exploit the gas, coal and all these issues.
Mr. Speaker Sir, a point was made about Group Five. What I think I need to Hon. Members to understand is that I think the sub-contractors ended up being Zimbabweans and one of the big sub-contractor was from Bulawayo for the Plumtree to Mutare Road. However, when we go out looking for money, it comes with conditionalities, which is why it is important to generate our resources so that we can take the decisions that we want. If they come with conditionalities, we have to choose whether to forgo the project or to take it. Invariably, we end up accepting the conditionalities so that the project can go on. As it is, the only road which is in a respectable condition is Mutare-Plumtree. Outside that, it is a disaster. If there are any investors who want to rehabilitate those roads and bring in their own money, bring them to us and we will talk.
Hon. Chamisa, again he means the point again that you cannot have your cake and eat it. If you are not taxing anybody, do not expect good things or service delivery. Do not expect to receive any salary because the salary comes from taxes. We need to understand that very clearly.
With respect to Foreign Direct Investment, we are doing whatever we can to create the necessary environment to make things happen. I am confident that things will start happening. He mentioned voter registration; I want to say that through the Vote of Credit and other initiatives that I am talking about, I am sure that I will be able to raise the necessary funding for the bio-metric voter registration which should take place this year. Infact, already I have had three or four meetings since last week to finalise this arrangement. In the 2018 budget, we will now put a vote on the cost of conducting the elections.
A lot of what Hon. Chamisa was saying is very populist. Pay everything, increase everything; Hon. Speaker, I also want to be a populist. I also want people to praise me for making promises but the difference between them and me is that if I make a promise, I must fulfill it and I do not want to make promises which I cannot fulfill. I tell the nation clearly what is and what is not in the coffers and what measures we need to take to move us out of that situation. That I will promise to do always but I would want to say to colleagues, please, I know the election season is near. Do not make promises to people. Our people are no longer as foolish as we think. They now distinguish people who tell lies and who tell the truth. Let us not hoodwink them by making stories that we know cannot happen.
Hon. Khupe, thank you very much for your contribution. Your address was more appropriate at a rally. I am aware that the Hon. Vice
President of MDC-T is very passionate on women’s issues but we have done our best to address women’s issues. The issues we are addressing are on health and I hope it raises the resources that I am looking forward to raise. It is basically to ameliorate the situation of women because they are the most affected when we come to health; whether it is mothers or individuals – all the cancers that we talk about affect more the women perhaps more than the men. I do not know what the scientific explanation is.
You are also aware that I have capitalised the Women’s Bank, the macro-finance bank in order to support micro businesses by women. The 2012 FinScope Survey showed that the informal sector was generating 5.7 million jobs and there were three million employers - the majority of them being women. We need to build on that, both women and youth. If we do, I am very anxious that we support the informal sector because it is from the informal sector that we will identify those companies which have potential to grow. We can then grow them into bigger companies where they can openly pay taxes. That is basically the direction that we are moving.
Hon. Mudarikwa, thank you very much for your contribution. I support everything that you said especially with respect to ease of doing business, especially with the need to resuscitate the diamond sector. Hon. Members will recall that in my 2014 Budget, I had projected 13 million carats of diamonds. As I stand, year to year, I have hardly got anything more than three million - when you know the structure of our diamonds from Chiadzwa are basically 10% gem. From 10-25% near gem, the rest 75% is industrial. Industrial, you are looking at something like US$8-10 per carat. If it is gem, you are looking at something maybe US$80 and above per carat. Anything with a near gem, we are talking about a range of US$10-50. We need to basically understand
Hon. Chipato, thank you very much. Sometimes we should not mix and become hostile to taxes because of the many road blocks. I think there is sometimes confusion about that. Let us separate taxes from whatever complaints we may have about the many road blocks. I hope that this will be done.
Hon. Mupfumi, let me make it very clear on the currency issue and I will also take the opportunity of a bit of the road map. We are not going to adopt the rand for the reasons that we are not involved in the decision making of its value – whether it is depreciated or devalued or it appreciates, we have no say because we are not the South African
Government. In the same way that we got into trouble with the United
States dollar here, we have no say over its appreciation which is what puts us in the condition that we are in. As it appreciates like it has, we become the most expensive country and we are not competitive. We are not going that route.
The route that we are taking is already clearly chartered. I have said so on many occasions. We are working on the macro-economic fundamentals to get our economy back on its fit in terms of higher production, reducing the fiscal deficit, taking care of the current account deficit, increasing more exports when building reserves at least three months cover for our imports. When we are near there, then we can talk about introducing our own currency. I want to make this clear. We are not introducing our own currency now until those macro-economic fundamentals are fulfilled.
Mr. Speaker, I want to conclude by thanking all Hon. Members for their support and excellent contributions that they have made. It is now my pleasure to move that the Finance Bill [H.B.3, 2017] should now be read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.
FINANCE BILL [H. B. 3, 2017]
House in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 36, put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
FINANCE BILL (H.B. 3, 2017)
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I move that the Finance
Bill (H.B. 3, 2017) be read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
MAIN ESTIMATES OF EXPENDITURE
Second Order read: Committee of Supply: Main Estimates of Expenditure.
House in Committee.
Vote 1 – Office of the President and Cabinet – US$175 643 000 put and agreed to.
On Vote 2 – Parliament of Zimbabwe – US$30 713 000:
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Chair, as promised
in my response, I am adding US$9 000 000.00 to the Vote and so, the amendment should reflect an addition of US$9 000 000.00. I have already said the Constituency Development Fund which is catered for elsewhere will be US$10 000 000.00, that is US$50 000.00 per constituency.
Amendment to Vote 2 put and agreed to.
Vote 2, as amended, put and agreed to.
Vote 3 – Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare – US$193 789 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 4 – Defence – US$340 522 000 put and agreed to.
On Vote 5 – Finance and Economic Development – US$281 191 000:
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): There is an adjustment
where I am deducting from the Vote of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, US$74 817 000, which was in the Vote of Credit and which we are now deploying to other Votes as in response to the sentiments made by the Hon. Members.
Amendment to Vote 5 put and agreed to.
Vote 5, as amended, put and agreed to.
Vote 6 – Office of the Auditor General – US$3 262 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 7 – Industry and Commerce – US$18 547 000 put and agreed
Vote 8 – Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development – US$292 696 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 9 – Mines and Mining Development – US$5 395 000 put and
Vote 10 – Environment, Water and Climate – US$40 100 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 11 – Transport, Infrastructural Development – US$55 838 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 12 – Foreign Affairs – US$32 473 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 13 – Local Government, Public Works and National Housing
– US$49 707 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 14 – Health and Child Care – US$281 976 000 put and
Vote 15 – Primary and Secondary Education – US$803 771 000 put and agreed to.
On Vote 16 – Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development – US$200 886 000:
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I move the amendments in
my name to increase Vote 16 by US$65 817 000.
Amendment to Vote 16 put and agreed to.
Vote 16, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Vote 17 – Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Development –
US$17 192 000:
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I move the amendment in
my name to reduce that Vote by US$630 000.
Amendment to Vote 17 put and agreed to.
Vote 17, as amended, put and agreed to.
Vote 18 – Home Affairs – US$364 308 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 19 – Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs – US$91 379 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 20 – Information, Media and Broadcasting Services – US$3 329 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 21 – Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development – US$6 131 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 22 – Energy and Power Development – US$6 288 000 put
and agreed to.
On Vote 23 – Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community
Development – US$8 324 000:
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I move the amendment
standing in my name by increasing that Vote by US$110 000.
Amendment to Vote 23 put and agreed to.
Vote 23, as amended, put and agreed to.
Vote 24 – Tourism and Hospitality Industry – US$2 674 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 25 – Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services – US$6 355 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 26 – Lands and Rural Resettlement – US$7 642 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 27 – Judicial Services Commission – US$14 099 000 put and
Vote 28 – Public Service Commission – US$18 744 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 29 – Sports and Recreation Commission– US$ 4 319 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 30 – Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion – US$5 927 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 31 – Welfare Services for War Veterans, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees – US$ 22 080 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 32 – Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of Culture and Heritage – US$15 751 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 33 – Council of Chiefs – US$3 130 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 34 – Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission - $1 951 000 put
and agreed to.
Vote 35 – National Peace and Reconciliation Commission - $1 149
000 put and agreed to.
Vote 36 – National Prosecuting Authority - $3 636 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 37 – Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission - $2 180 000
put and agreed to.
Vote 38 – Zimbabwe Electoral Commission - $9 761 000 put and
Vote 39 – Zimbabwe Gender Commission - $1 105 000 put and
Vote 40 – Zimbabwe Land Commission - $1 546 000 put and
Vote 41 – Zimbabwe Media Commission - $670 000 put and
Main Estimates of Expenditure reported with amendments.
Bill ordered to be brought in by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development in accordance with the Main Estimates of Expenditure adopted by the House.
APPROPRIATION (2017) BILL
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA) presented the
Appropriation (2017) Bill.
Bill read the first time.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I think we have done a good day’s work and we deserve our allowances. –
[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-
On the motion of the MINISTER OF FINANCE AND
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA), the House adjourned at Fourteen Minutes past Six o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 7th February, 2017.