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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 03 AUGUST 2021 VOL 47 NO 72
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMABWE
Tuesday, 3rd August, 2021
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
PETITION RECEIVED FROM THE SOUTHLANDS RESIDENTS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that on 27th
July, 2021, Parliament received a petition from the Southlands Residents Association wherein the petitioners were concerned that the right to education for the children in Southlands had been violated by the City of Harare. The petition was deemed inadmissible and the petitioners were notified accordingly.
TABLING OF A REPORT
AUDITOR-GENERAL’S SPECIAL REPORT ON COVID-19
THE HON. SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that
Section 12 (2) of the Audit Office Act [CAP. 22:18], provides that; where the Minister or appropriate Minister fails to lay any report before the House of Assembly in terms of Section 11(1) (a) within the period specified therein, the Comptroller and Auditor-General shall transmit a copy of such report to the Speaker of the National Assembly for the Speaker to lay it before the National Assembly. I, therefore, lay upon the table a Special Audit Report by the Auditor-General on COVID-19 pandemic financial management and utilisation of public resources in the country’s provinces by Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity. Following the launch of the national dress which was largely spearheaded by our First Lady, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Parliament through the Committee on Culture, it is my request if Parliament could facilitate that on a certain day, either weekly or monthly that Members of Parliament put on the national dress colours to encourage members of the public, those whom we represent to also take up the national dress and its colours and wear them, even when they go outside Zimbabwe.
The national dress issue entrenches itself as a culture in our society among the people of Zimbabwe. So, it is my request Mr. Speaker, that if there was room that Parliament could facilitate that in two ways: allowing or encouraging on a specific day that people put on this national dress. Maybe if resources permit, Parliament Administration can help Members of Parliament to acquire these national dress clothes so that they can put on as a process of encouraging our society to celebrate our national dress. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Did you say Hon. Members must be
assisted to buy the national dress? Where is your patriotism? It is just like buying a suit, either female or male to be presentable. I think if it is a national dress, the Hon. Members should subscribe to it in the spirit of patriotism to identify themselves. All of us will get rid of these ties and start putting on the national dress. So it is a call that we need to respond to out of national interest, driven by our patriotism. Thank you very much Hon. Togarepi – [HON. DR. KHUPE: Facilitate the availability of the material.] – Yes, Hon. Togarepi is or was in that team of putting together what was deemed to be the national colours. He worked very closely with small Parliamentary Committee under the auspices of the
First Lady and the Minister of Small to Medium Enterprises, Hon.
There was a quibble here from Hon. Dr. Khupe that the material must be availed here at Parliament, so let us have a buying point where we can congregate and choose the patterns that we would like to purchase. I think the House is saying to you Hon. Togarepi, make sure that the arrangement is available, then we can announce at an appropriate time, where exactly we can purchase the material. Thank you.
(v)HON. MUCHIMWE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity. I would like to applaud His Excellency, Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa for his dedicated and relentless efforts to upgrade national roads. So to speak, Mutare West road from Marange to Sabi Ridge is now tar macadamised. His name is a talk of the day in Manicaland. This area had been marginalised since 1980. Long days to the President and more blessings to Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa for the economic development. Lastly, if people could stick on to this chapter and verse in the Bible from Exodus Chapter 23:25. People must read this verse.
Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: We shall read it Hon. Muchimwe. (v)HON. NDUNA: Thank you for according me this opportunity Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of national importance is that we have gone from bearer cheques, Zimbabwe dollar, bond notes and now to RTGs and also to a basket to currencies. In so doing Mr. Speaker Sir, we have not hedged our pensioners’ funds on the same basket of currencies. We have hedged it against the inflation of our own local currency. My point therefore Mr. Speaker Sir, speaks to and about non-monetary incentives to retrenches; pensioners in Government and quasi-Government departments, including the private sector, in particular, places like Elvington Mine where workers have been retrenched and where pensioners have taken up their pension. We have places like BHP and
David Whitehead Textiles.
It is my view Mr. Speaker Sir, that you assign your Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce and that of Mines to see if it is possible that the retrenchees can also be accorded the houses that they occupy in those companies. This becomes a hedge against inflation for their earnings that they would have earned during the time they were placed in those companies. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much. Be guided that you do not instruct the Chair to put together relevant committees on an issue, you request. That is the proper approach. Secondly, your issue of national interest is very broad based. I would suggest that you come up with a motion so that the matter is debated exhaustively.
HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of privilege is on the experience I got with the PSMAS card two weeks ago. Two weeks ago my mother fell ill and I took her to the doctor. The doctor refused the PSMAS card, and then I paid cash. He then prescribed quite a number of medicines. My young brother went round looking for medicines and all the pharmacies refused to use the PSMAS card. Only Westend accepted on condition that they would supply the medicines after having seen the proof of payment. It took a week to get the proof of payment from PSMAS. After going round, we went to
PSMAS pharmacies and there were very long queues. After queuing up we got a quarter of the medicines. So, we had to go back to folk out cash.
My appeal is, when we pay in advance for these medical aids, we expect to get service immediately when there is need. I do not blame these people because PSMAS was very good when it was started but because of corruption, people have no faith in it. Coincidentally, one of my friends who was using CIMAS managed to buy anything he wanted; the CIMAS card was accepted everywhere. So, I am appealing to you Mr. Speaker and Parliament, yes PSMAS is part of us as Government but if they are not providing the service, I think you should also think twice as Parliament and have the right medical aid. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I think this affects quite a number of
Members, if not all of you. I will ask the Clerk of Parliament to pursue the matter so that there is some efficiency. Perhaps liaise with the
Public Service Commission because I think all civil servants are under PSMAS, so that it is brought to their attention concerning their efficiency. So, Hon. Tekeshe, bring the details to the Clerk of Parliament and we will take it up from there administratively.
HON. MOKONE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise on an issue of national importance. There is a looming disaster in Matabeleland South. ZINWA has cut off its water supply from two major towns in the province, that is Beitbridge and Gwanda towns. ZINWA has attributed this move to non-payment of dues by the two aforementioned towns. Today we are in day eight, without any drop of water in Gwanda Town. I find this uncalled for, especially since we are faced with this COVID-19 scourge where running water is very important in preventing the spread of the disease. It is also a violation of human rights as water is one of the rights that is enshrined in the Zimbabwean Constitution.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the situation is really dire. Hospitals have suspended theatre services because there is no single drop of water running from their tap. This House can imagine the risk in such a situation. The two major towns in Matabeleland South have gone back to the stone age period. I therefore urge or rather, request the responsible Ministry to look into this with urgency or better still come to this august House and explain why the two major cities in Matabeleland South are still being supplied ZINWA water, yet the municipality got the directive to get water plants from ZINWA. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: A very important matter of national interest and very concerning as well. I am not sure whether we can get a statement by tomorrow; the Minister of Water is in Cabinet today. May
I request the Clerk of Parliament to go to his office now and phone the
Permanent Secretary to prepare that statement, in liaison with the Deputy Minister so that when the Minister comes out of Cabinet, he can approve that statement for delivery tomorrow. The Clerk of Parliament, please proceed accordingly.
RESPONSE TO ISSUES RAISED BY THE PORTFOLIO
COMMITTEE ON BUDGET, FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT ON THE FAMILIARISATION TOUR OF
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I
rise to make a Ministerial Statement, providing responses on the issues raised by the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic
Development’s familiarisation tour of the six border posts, June to July, 2019. Last week I had laid down the report but I was supposed to make a presentation.
Mr. Speaker Sir…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, can you put that gadget next to your left hand so that it can capture what you are saying.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The Portfolio
Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development conducted a tour of the country’s border posts in order to familiarise with operations of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), alongside the then members of the ZIMRA Board and Management. The team visited
Kariba, Chirundu, Forbes Border Post, Beitbridge, Plumtree and
Kazungula Boarder Post during the period of June, July, 2019.
The following are the Committee observations, recommendations and measures taken to date to address concerns raised.
Staff Accommodation and Office Space
Inadequate staff accommodation, in particular at Beitbridge and Kazungula Border Post resulted in an inadequate staff compliment, long working hours and high costs incurred in renting space or hotels during peak periods such as the festive season. The Committee recommended construction of adequate staff accommodation as well as office space to accommodate other agents at border posts such as security agents to facilitate issues of confidentiality and ease of physical inspections. The following measures have been since been adopted;
Chirundu Staff Houses
Phase one with five staff houses accommodating 20 officers was completed at the end of 2019 and Treasury has already commissioned them in February, 2020. Phase 2 with three by four bedroomed staff houses is now at 80% final stage completion with procurement of floor tiles in progress. Once the tiles have been secured, it will take a month to complete the works. Work on screens is in progress. The project will be completed in the third quarter of 2021.
Kazungula Staff Houses
Four by four bedroomed staff houses are now at the final stage and there are around 70% complete whereby the procurement process of appointing the supplier of floor tiles have been completed. Once the tiles are on site, it will take one month to complete the works. Work on sliding doors and screens is in progress. The project will be completed in the third quarter of 2021.
Kazungula Border Office Accommodation
Mr. Speaker Sir, I wish to advise that the project will be implemented on a phase approach, starting with the refurbishment of the current border offices and customs yard. The offices will be refurbished and expanded in order to accommodate more officers. The customs yard will also be expanded in order to create additional parking in light of increasing traffic. The designs for this phase are being finalised and tendering is expected to commence by the 15th August, 2021.
Phase two which will involve Zimbabwe joining the one-stop border arrangement with Zambia and Botswana will be implemented after completion of phase 1.
The Committee observed that infrastructure at most ports of entry is now very old and inadequate, hence cannot match the current volumes of traffic. It was also noted that the Beitbridge upgrade plan was behind schedule. The Kariba Border Post was constrained in terms of expansion and the Kazungula Border Post upgrade that had been endorsed by Cabinet needed to be completed within 12 months in order to be integrated into the quadripartite arrangement. In addition, the Committee observed that all border posts lacked support services such as banks, duty free shops, restaurants and service centres. In view of the foregoing, the Committee recommended prioritisation of the Beitbridge,
Chirundu and Kazungula Borders infrastructure development in 2020.
I wish to advise that the following measures have been implemented.
Beitbridge Border Modernisation
Mr. Speaker Sir, phase 1 of the project includes development of the following;
Commercial freight terminal, warehouse and two scanner shedes and parking area for commercial trucks. Work is now at 60% completion level and is on course for the targeted completion date of 14 September, 2021. Subsequent phases of the project which include the development of staff houses will be completed on a phased approach up to 2023.
In addition, construction of the 36 bedroomed flat on Stand 48 is set to resume after the Procurement and Regulatory Authority of
Zimbabwe approved the contractor’s price increase request.
Border Line Security and Physical Barriers
Mr. Speaker Sir, ZIMRA has employed a fulltime senior experienced Loss Control Manager who is now in charge of all security matters at all borders. The manager is responsible for coordinating the activities of State Security agencies and the revenue authority’s activities on all matters of security.
Border Line Security
Drones for patrolling the border line will be shortly deployed following the announcement in the 2021 National Budget to adopt the use of surveillance drones. The tendering process of the drones’ project is now at an advanced stage. In addition, the revenue authority has appointed a manager responsible for border surveillance who will work with the security management unit and security forces in order to ensure the border line is secure.
Perimeter Fence and use of Boom gates to Control Movement of Traffic and Passengers
Mr. Speaker Sir, with respect to the need to erect a perimeter fence and use of boom gates, a security management unit is currently conducting an assessment on the perimeter fence at all border posts. The necessary measures will then be implemented accordingly.
Destruction of Physical Barriers by Wild Animals
Mr. Speaker Sir, following the Committee’s observation of threats posed by wild animals to human life, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management has been engaged for purposes of implementing measures to curb such incidences. In that regard, a training programme has been scheduled for all ZIMRA officers stationed in wildlife infested areas so as to reduce wildlife-human conflict.
Electronic System andCCTV
Mr. Speaker Sir, implementation of the electronic single window system to be used and shared among various Government agencies remain work in progress as most agencies still require technological capacitation through automation of their business processes. The easy of doing business initiative ushered the single window project which continues to be implemented. The accelerated developments at Beitbridge have meant that the Beitbridge CCTV requirements can now be delivered through the modernisation projects.
Border Post Warehouses
Mr. Speaker Sir, the border modernisation plan embraces the provision of adequate warehousing facilities. Meanwhile, whilst the infrastructure is being implemented to decongest warehouses, ZIMRA is conducting auction for disposing forfeited goods in terms of the customs and excise legislation.
Kazungula One Stop Border Post
With respect to the Kazungula Border Post, engagements are currently in progress with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure
Development on the Kazungula One-Stop-Border-Post in order to ensure at Zimbabwe joins the One-Stop-Border-Post arrangement with Botswana and Zambia. The project will be implemented on a phased approach due to the shortage of funding starting with the refurbishment of the current border offices and customs yard.
Whereas the offices will be refurbished in order to accommodate more officers, the customs yard will also be expanded with a view to create additional parking for the increasing vehicular traffic. The designs for this phase are being finalised and tendering is expected to commence by the 15th of August 2021. Phase 2 which involves Zimbabwe joining the One Stop Border arrangement with Zambia and
Botswana will be implemented after completion of Phase 1.
Forbes Border Post
In order to reduce congestion at the border post, plans are underway for a Zimbabwe/Mozambique bilateral agreement to increase border post’s operation hours and modernisation of the border post through an upgrade.
With regards to the issue of limited parking space at the border post, I wish to advise that a truck park is being developed in order to address the challenge. The park will also house ZIMRA offices for the clearance of commercial trucks. Designs of the park have been finalised and this will be followed by the tendering process to appoint the contractor.
Power Back up at Border Posts
I wish to advise that solar power has been installed at Plumtree and Nyamapanda Border posts as the primary source of power while ZESA energy is now used for back-up. Back-up power is also being provided through the use of diesel powered generators at all the other border posts except for small border posts such as Mukumbura in Mashonaland
Central and Mpoengs in Matabeleland South.
I wish to advise the Committee that the Canine Unit was deployed at all major border posts namely Beitbridge, Nyamapanda, Chirundu,
Plumtree, Forbes, Kazungula and Victoria Falls, including Victoria Falls
International Airport, Harare Central Sorting Office, Bulawayo Post
Office, J. M. Nkomo and Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
Hon. Members will be aware that Treasury has introduced the Dry Port concept across the provinces in the country. The Makuti Dry Port is going to be developed ahead of the other dry ports in line with the findings of the needs assessment. Land has already been secured for Makuti and Mutare Dry Ports while Masvingo and Bulawayo, the
process is still in progress.
The architect to prepare designs and project Gantt chart was appointed through the Procurement and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe. Contract negotiations are currently in progress with the contract signing and drawing up of the work plan expected to be completed by 31 July 2021.
Lack of Border Coordination among Border Agencies
The Committee noted the poor co-ordination by agencies operating at ports of entry which lead to delays in clearing traffic and travellers. For instance, duplication by Police and Zimbabwe National Army members in undertaking physical searches can be undertaken under one roof.
It should be noted that there has been an improvement after the security services sector was engaged in a bid to improve Coordinated Border Management (CBM). In addition, the CBM has enabled standard clearance procedures to be implemented at all border posts in order to ensure consistency.
The only problem area being experienced now is prosecution of all corruption and smuggling cases. This is affecting the momentum as the same criminals will continue coming back immediately after being released by the courts. The Prosecutor General was engaged in May 2021 on the issue and has promised to take decisive action to ensure all the outstanding cases are resolved.
Revenue Retention by ZIMRA
The Committee recommended that ZIMRA retains an unspecified portion of revenue collections in order to capacitate ZIMRA service delivery.
I wish to advise that the principles of transparency and accountability in the utilisation of public finances require that all State revenue be collected and remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
In addition, utilisation of such funds whether recurrent or capital, should be through the Appropriation Act for which Parliament has oversight. This will go a long way in minimising opportunities for abuse of public funds as well as corrupt tendencies. Treasury will also ensure that the Revenue Authority is adequately financed in order to enhance operations. It is important for Parliament to take lead in promoting use of public funds through the Appropriation Act. I also wish to advise that Government has since directed all Government ministries to direct all revenues collected through retention funds to the CRF in order to enhance transparency and accountability.
The current staff establishment of ZIMRA is under review following the approval of the new ZIMRA structure by the board.
I wish to advise that progress has been made to capacitate ZIMRA with operational motor vehicles which are key for staff mobility, particularly at border posts. In 2020, ZIMRA also received five pick-up vehicles (Nissan NP300) and five Hiace minibuses coupled with acquisition of 20 Land-cruiser off-road vehicles to augment current fleet in 2021.
Plans to purchase additional 85 vehicles comprised of 35 double cabs and 50 sedans are at an advanced stage with the first batch expected in July 2021...
An Hon. Member having passed between the Chair and the Hon.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Member, you may not cross between the speaker and the Chair.
HON. CHIDUWA: In addition, work is in progress to purchase three conventional buses and operational vehicles in support of the Electronic Cargo Tracking system project. Delivery of these vehicles is also expected during the 4th quarter of 2021.
The Committee recommended that rehabilitation of the BeitbridgeHarare-Chirundu highway be accelerated in order to enhance trade facilitation since the Chirundu Border post is one of the region’s gateway to both the Southern and Northern parts of Africa via the
Beitbridge Border Post.
As the Committee is aware, in 2019 Government embarked on the upgrading of the 580km Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Road which is a critical link along the North-South corridor. The scope of work involves designing and widening the existing lanes to meet the Southern Africa Transport and Communication Commission (SATCC) standards.
In terms of implementation, the project was split into phases with five contractors namely Bitumen World, Fossil, Masimba, Tensor and Exodus engaged for the rehabilitation of the first 200 km. Already, the bulk of works under Phase 1 being the first 100 km have since been completed whilst Phase 2 being the second 100 km are almost completed. The initial target was to complete the 200 kms by December 2020.
However, due to COVID-19 pandemic and other constraints, the target for the first 200km was not achieved with a total of 175km having been completed as detailed below:
|Contractor||Equivalent km completed|
|Department of Roads||7.2|
As of 30th July, we had opened 195.55 to traffic. Given that some contractors have completed the first 40km contracted, procurement of phase three works targeting additional 40km has been completed and work is underway on some sections. Judged by the current progress, it is anticipated that the 580km will be completed by end of December 2022.
To date, Government has paid ZWL$19.9 billion towards the project. In order to lock in the contract prices, Government has made a decision to re-denominate the road contracts in US Dollar, with payments being partly in ZWL and USD. Additionally, through support from the Japanese Government, a total of 6.5km were also upgraded on the Makuti-Hailsgate stretch along Harare-Chirundu which was officially commissioned in May 2021. With this submission, I want to thank you Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Deputy Minister for the comprehensive response to the Committee Report. I hope other Ministries will follow suit in terms of timeously responding to Parliamentary Committees Report. I need to announce some adjustments to our Portfolio Committees.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I wanted to debate and ask questions to the Hon. Minister’s Ministerial Statement on
response to the Committee Report.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister is responding to a
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: The Committee Members are here
and need to amplify certain issues that he has mentioned.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You wanted to clarify certain things. I see. Now it is fine.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Firstly,
I want to sincerely thank the Minister for his thorough responses to our Committee Report. I encourage the Minister to continue to be forthcoming when he is made aware of our Committee Reports. Of course, never mind the fact that this is a 2019 report. I hope in future, he will try to come to Parliament timeously so that these issues are addressed timeously as well. Be that as it may, Mr. Speaker Sir, I have got a few issues to ask the Minister.
The first issue is you know that for us to meet the targets of the African Free Continental Trade Area, our ports of entry must be modernised and up to date. I appreciate what you have been doing so far to make sure that that happens. In our report, I think we mentioned the need for a centralised ports authority like other countries. The Minister or ZIMRA does not deal with these ports of entry separately. They have got centralised ports authority which look at all those things like infrastructure, housing for employees, modernisation of ports of entry, the use of ICTs, parking space, security at border ports and so on. It is one centralised body which will introduce efficiency in the management of border posts. How far are we as Zimbabwe in terms of introduction of ports authority backed by the necessary legislation so that it can work independently and give you solid reports? Instead of you coming and responding to what is happening at each border post, you will just be tabling the report of the ports authority on what they are doing to manage our borders – including reduction of tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and so on and so forth.
The second issue is that in our report, we also recommended the transformation of the Beitbridge Border Post into a one-stop border post.
You know Beitbridge is a nightmare. If you drive through the North South corridor, most people who come to our country have got nightmares, even our citizens, cross border traders. Everybody is complaining about Beitbridge. When are we going to develop it into a one-stop border post like what we are planning to do with Kazungula? I hope this is a matter of urgency. I thank you.
HON. DR. KHUPE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would also like to add my voice in thanking the Minister of Finance for heeding to the call by the Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic
Development. I would also want to say, ZIMRA is Zimbabwe’s cash cow. In order for a cash cow to produce more milk, it is supposed to be fed adequately. I am therefore, appealing to the Ministry of Finance so that they feed ZIMRA adequately. ZIMRA must be given all the necessities in order for them to perform their duties effectively and efficiently.
Madam Speaker, I listened to the Report from the Deputy Minister but I did not hear him speak about cameras and drones, because the Committee recommended that all border posts must be under camera so that everything happening in all the ports is under camera – [AN. HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – I did not hear it. If he did, it must be urgent Madam Speaker. We need drones and cameras because so many things are happening in border posts. We have got touts who are extorting people daily but if everything is under camera, all those things will be recorded and corruption is going to be minimised. I thank you.
HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for the insightful presentation. Hon. Minister, in your presentation, you said something about accommodation for workers. What is the Ministry’s policy on deployment of couples working for the institution as a way to reduce accommodation problems?
HON. NDEBELE: Madam Speaker, I just have a few points that
require clarification from the Deputy Minister. I could not agree more with Honourable colleagues that ZIMRA is supposed to be our cash cow and that the institution must be handled with a lot of care and pampering. Let me begin by expressing disappointment. Sometimes when a Ministry is under a whole professor and a lecturer of note such as Deputy Minister Chiduwa, you expect things to move.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Ask your question Hon.
HON. NDEBELE: That is where I am going. I will not sit down before I get there. The Minister expressed the fact that a new structure was approved at ZIMRA last September. After approval, they went on to appoint people into that structure in an acting capacity. My question to the Minister is: since September last year, when should we expect substantive officers to be appointed into these offices? Related to that, I know for certain that your Ministry refused to pay these people acting allowances. It is an important one. Why are you not paying them acting allowances? For anyone to deliver, they must be incentivised. Why has it taken us so long to appoint a Commissioner General at ZIMRA? I know interviews were held last year but everyone in the ZIMRA top hierarchy is acting. Commissioner Domestic Taxes, Commissioner Customs, Regional Managers are all acting. It is a very important institution but it is running without substantive managers. Hon.
Minister, if you may respond to that.
Also your report came in too late. The question of Beitbridge water was raised here and even if it came too late, this House still wants to know what you are doing in the interim in terms of providing water to our staff, particularly in Beitbridge. We know they have been hit left, right and centre by the COVID-19 pandemic. In relation to the Chief
Whip’s question, I know there is no family accommodation for your ZIMRA officers. We want you to speak to that. We know that separating couples is a key driver of HIV and AIDS, particularly at border posts. What are you doing about family accommodation? Then with respect to the one-stop border facility, it is going to combine three countries. What assurances are we getting from your
Ministry that the accommodation that you will build for our officers will not make them any poorer than the other two cousins? With that Hon. Minister, I think we have no need to be discussing this. ZIMRA is the one that gathers most of the funds for our government, so let us pamper them. In fact Hon. Minister, everything comes back to your Ministry. A lot of government infrastructure, even in this Parliament, if you walk into certain rooms here, you will be shocked by the dilapidation. It all comes back to you. In Bulawayo for instance, the Police Headquarters, Southampton House has been condemned by Fire Brigade and the City Council as totally inhabitable. These are questions that come back to you. What are you doing about maintenance of government infrastructure? I submit Madam Speaker.
HON. DR. NYASHANU: My contribution will be short but I just want to say to the Minister, the Committee is very much concerned about the time it is taking to appoint the substantive Commissioner General, given the strategic nature of ZIMRA. The fact that the whole nation is expecting funds from ZIMRA to finance some budgetary needs, we would need to make sure that this organisation is capacitated to the extent that it is able to provide the much needed revenue.
Somebody was saying but ZIMRA is exceeding targets. I would say we would want ZIMRA to collect as much as it can, therefore it must always be capacitated and be in a position to deliver. Taking about eight months before a substantive Commissioner General is appointed is a bit wayward. The Ministry needs to come up with a robust HR framework that looks into issues of succession planning so that immediately after somebody has left, it must take a shorter period to replace that person. I thank you Madam Speaker.
*HON. KARUMAZONDO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I have
a few clarifications that I need from the Minister from his presentation. I want to thank the Deputy Minister for clarifying the tender process for procurement. I understand that when he was talking about vehicles he was talking of the stages one has to go through in procuring a car. He also looked at a number of issues. I will give an example of Forbes Border Post where there is a weighbridge. He said that the tendering process is being done but he did not give the timeframe of when this will commence. That project could have started in 2016 or 2017, but it is still incomplete. In some cases you will realise that if projects are not completed the money will not be adequately used. So, my request is for him to explain that if there is a project being done he should give us the timeline.
He also explained about the Beitbridge Road. Yes, the road is being constructed well. In the past years, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development used to rehabilitate roads. Our request is that they add two sections that they can give to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development so that we can reach our target since we are still in the COVID period because if we wait for the contractors who are doing 20km stretches, it will take long but if we are to engage the services of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, it will lessen the period and complete the project on time.
Again Deputy Minister, on the issue of ZIMRA employees, are you giving them incentives in the work that they are carrying out, for example giving them a set target whereby upon reaching the target they can be incentivised because if we do not do that, they are prone to corruption through bribes from the public. So, I think you need to look into that and ensure that you give them adequate remuneration for them to perform their work diligently. I thank you
HON. I. NYONI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Firstly, I would like to thank the Minister for the response. However, if I could also have some clarity on the ZIMRA issues. We know ZIMRA does not operate on its own. There are various stakeholders that operate with ZIMRA according to the Customs and Excise Act [Chapter 23.02]. ZIMRA collects import duties and import VAT as part of their revenue collecting duties, that is for goods that are imported and according to the Act, these revenues, clearance of these commercial goods have to be done through customs clearing agents. If the Minister could highlight when it comes to infrastructure development what is being done to accommodate these clearing agents, particularly at such major ports of entry like Beitbridge, Chirundu and Kazungula. I know at Plumtree there is an agency block that was built when that particular border post was constructed because this definitely will compromise the collection of the revenue that is due.
I would like to proceed and buttress on what Hon. Dr. Khupe mentioned on the issue of security at border posts. However, I will zero in at Beitbridge.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nyoni, you only have to
ask questions to the Minister, not to debate.
HON. I. NYONI: What is the position regarding security because some time last year there was an incident which I will share with the House here. A certain importer who is resident in my constituency imported some three or four trucks. The truck batteries were stolen right in the customs yard and some spare wheel were also taken. When reports were made to the police, the CCTV was not functioning. So basically my question is; when can we have improvement in the security at that particular place?
Lastly, the bonded warehouse or the State warehouse at Beitbridge was destroyed by fire sometime last year. What is the current position? Thank you Madam Speaker.
(v)HON. R. R. NYATHI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I have two questions for the Hon. Minister. The last time when we visited the Beitbridge Border Post with one of the Portfolio Committees, the major challenge that was mentioned is that there are no cleared roads along the border so much that the police and those that monitor have problems with animals and a lot of people crossing the border unmonitored. So my question to the Minister is; as he was looking into the financing of the other projects, why can we not do some police posts maybe15km on the right and on the left so that it can be used to safely monitor our border post?
The Minister talked about the construction of roads on the Beitbridge highway. We noticed that our cement in Zimbabwe is very expensive and if you order cement from South Africa, Zambia or so, the landing cost will be around $3 but our cement, if we buy it in our shops anywhere in hardwares you are looking at around $7 to $10 a bag which
I think would cost a lot of money that is not really necessary. What is the Minister doing to encourage our local manufacturers of cement to reduce the cement so that our construction industry in Zimbabwe becomes better and our people will not envy to go and buy outside and use the much needed foreign currency? Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. N. MGUNI: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity. My concern to the Minister is on health. The toilets in these border posts are appalling. Why is the Minister not assigning the Port Health Office or officers that fall under Environmental Health and also a department of the Ministry of Health and Child Care to look into the cleanliness of these borders, especially now with this COVID pandemic? Thank you Madam Speaker.
(v)HON. NYABANI: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add a few words. What is the Ministry planning in terms of putting a backup for energy in case we lose out electricity? It is not about installing security cameras only but we also need to look at the workers’ welfare. Yes we may put cameras, but if you do not address the issue of workers’ welfare, you will not solve the problem. It is just like the issue of vehicles. Vehicles that were supposed to come in July did not go through. So, we need to find out whether they came in or were imported. I thank you.
(v)HON. G. DUBE: I just wanted clarification from the Minister.
He spoke about housing for staff at Kazungula Border Post which he
said they are 70% complete. I do believe this is a 2019 report. Is the Ministry aware that these houses are still at 70% and the pace at which they have been completing them is very slow. If they are aware, what is the timeframe for completion because it has always been 50 or 70% for the past three years?
HON. MAVENYENGWA: I would like to thank the Hon.
Minister for the very good report he has presented to this august House. I would also want to thank our Government for the good work it is doing on the Beitbridge – Chirundu Road because at the moment, the completed sections are so good that when you are travelling on them, you enjoy driving. My question is on the quality of the road. I want to find out from the Deputy Minister the expected lifespan of our road which we are constructing and what happens if some of the road portions are damaged before the lifespan? Do we have a period that a contractor is responsible for any damage to that road and what is the contractor supposed to do?
(v)HON. SANSOLE: I also want to acknowledge the good work being done on the Beitbridge – Chirundu Road; however I just want to say in view of the increased vehicle traffic that is passing through Beitbridge – Victoria Falls – Bulawayo Road, what plans are there to construct this road?
(v)HON. MAGO: I heard the Minister talking of the road from
Beitbridge to Harare. We heard that this road is supposed to be a dual carriage. Is it still on plan?
(v)HON. MUDARIKWA: Is the Minister aware that Zimbabwe’s Beitbridge Border Post is the only border post which was declared a protected area in Beitbridge. The rest of the border posts are not declared protected areas? On the issue of roads, there is this idea which was once mooted by the former Minister of Transport about the Harare – Nyamapanda Road which is known as Nyakara Corridor. What has the Ministry done so far because in his deliberations, he never mentioned anything about the Harare – Nyamapanda Road?
HON. CHIDUWA: I would like to thank the Hon. Members for their questions. I will try to provide the responses to the best of my ability following all the submissions that have been done by the Hon.
Members. I will start with the submission by Hon. Mashakada. What he said is very important for the development of this country in terms of trade were he applauded that it is very important that we be prepared as a country for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and there is need for us to ensure that our borders are modernised.
He then said how far are we with regards to the setting up of the
Ports Authority? I would want to say in terms of us having the National Ports Authority as a country, this is an idea that has been accepted and we have said as a country, we need to have a Ports Authority. In terms of the exact timing of when it is going to be put in place, I would need to consult further but it is accepted at Executive level that we should have a Port Authority as Zimbabwe.
When are we going to have one-stop-border-posts? Again, this is an issue of timing. For Beitbridge, the one-stop-border-post is now hinged on the completion of the modernisation that we are currently engaged in. So, I may not have the specific dates and timing but the onestop-border-post concept has been accepted and we are moving towards that. We have been engaging our counterparts from South Africa and preliminary work is being done on that but in terms of the exact dates of when it is going to be done, I would need to consult further on that.
Going on to the submissions by Hon. Khupe, a very important point - we should feed ZIMRA adequately. This is very important and there is really no debate on that to say we need to remunerate ZIMRA. However, what is linked to the remuneration of ZIMRA again is the issue of the board that has been raised. We have done interviews to make sure that we have a substantive Commissioner-General. Interviews were completed I think last month and what we just need is some administrative work that is being done in order to make sure that we have done the due diligence exercises but interviews were done, what is just needed is to write the final letter of appointment and we are almost there. Once we have got the substantive Commissioner-General, together with the board, they will come up with recommendations in terms of improvements on the conditions of service which obviously
Treasury is going to approve. What we would want is to ensure that
ZIMRA staff is well remunerated. So, I would want to thank the Hon.
Member for that submission and I think this is also going to guide us in terms of the decision making process.
Policy on the deployment of couples to deal with accommodation problems – to the best of my understanding, at the moment, there is no written policy to say we should deploy couples. On a humanitarian understanding, we have had cases where couples have been deployed. In terms of it as a written policy for ZIMRA, we do not have such a policy.
On the submissions by Hon. Ndebele, I am sure Hon. Members understood when Hon. Ndebele said the whole Ministry which is being led by a professor and his deputy being a lecturer - Hon. Ndebele was my student at Midlands State University. I taught him Quantitative Methods – [AN HON. MEMBER: Was he good?] – Yes, he was very good, he decided to change course but he was very good. The submission at ZIMRA is supposed to look at the welfare of workers. Again this is an issue which has been submitted by Hon. Khupe that we need to make sure that we adequately remunerate ZIMRA staff and I accept that. As I have said, once the substantive Commission-General is there together with the board, they will make recommendations which I think will be in sync with the submissions that we are getting from Hon.
On the issue of acting positions, most of the acting positions would need the presence of a substantive Commissioner-General. So I am hoping that once the regularisation of the appointment of the substantive Commissioner-General has been done, we should be able to deal with the other issues of acting positions.
Why are we not paying acting allowances? I would need to check on this matter because I do not have enough information on whether those who are acting are not being paid their allowances. Ordinarily, they are supposed to be paid allowances, I would need to check on that.
On provision of water in Beitbridge, I may not be the right person to comment on that but what I am aware of is that we have done a budgetary disbursement to ZIMRA of 350 million Zim Dollars. This is coming from the Vote allocation, so the ministries and agencies that owe ZIMRA; I think we should be able to see some movements from today because the budgetary allocation was done, so what is just left is the
cash to be released to ZIMRA. On family accommodation, I have already attended to this.
On one-stop-border-post accommodation: Hon. Ndebele mentioned that let it not be a case where our staff are going to appear to be poorer when we compare them with our peers, Zambia and Botswana. As Government, what we want is to make sure that those people who are providing services are well remunerated. We may have constraints but the objective is to make sure that our people are well remunerated. We are hoping that should there be need to have such comparisons then our people should be well remunerated. It is not the policy of the
Government to impoverish our employees but we hope that there is need to make that comparison, our people should be well remunerated compared to their colleagues.
On what we are doing about maintenance of Government infrastructure; there is provision under the public sector investment programmes to ensure that all dilapidated infrastructure is rehabilitated. As Treasury, what we work on is submissions that are coming from
Ministries. We only release budgetary funds based on demand. So, if there are requests for such rehabilitations, we provide funding. On the submissions from Hon. Dr. Nyashanu that we seem to be taking time to appoint a substantive Commissioner –General, I have responded to this. Interviews were done and what is just needed is the final letter to appoint the substantive Commissioner-General.
There is need for us to capacitate ZIMRA; he mentioned the issue of a robust succession plan. There is a bureaucratic process in Government but sometimes it is because there is need for us to do enough due diligence. The wheels of succession may be slow but sometimes it is very critical for us to make sure that we do enough due diligence. There is need to check the criminal record of those who are going to be appointed, where they worked before and all that. It may appear to be slow but I think Hon. Members may need to appreciate that this is a process that is needed.
*Hon. Karimazondo, you said we need a timeframe on projects, and mentioned Kazungula. I need to research on this so that I give a correct answer. It was bided for, what is left now is for men to go on the ground. You asked why I have mentioned five companies. The Department of Roads is repairing the road from Beitbridge-Masvingo and the Harare-Chirundu road. Now the Department of Roads has since repaired 7.2 kilometers, so there are included on those 5 companies.
*On whether we are giving any incentive to ZIMRA staff to motivate them - right now we do not have any specific incentive that is directed towards performance. We will do that when we have the
ZIMRA board and when the Commissioner-General has been appointed.
Hon. Nyoni, ZIMRA works with other stakeholders and what is being done to accommodate other agencies who are performing their duties within the border environment. You mentioned clearly that if you go to Plumtree Border Post there is a provision which is already there. There is a provision for an area where the agencies work from and if we check the modernisation plan for Beitbridge, there is also provision for the agencies. What we need to take note of is, going forward; our border areas are security areas. There is no need for loitering because it is as good as the airport. So that provision for us to have the agencies is there and for the Beitbridge modernisation, it is already provided for.
What is the position regarding security – I have mentioned in my response to the Portfolio Committee’s report that we already have a manager who was appointed to deal with the security issues. The issues are being managed by the security manager working together with other stakeholders, the security forces and the police to ensure that there is security. The issue of the CCTV – again, I mentioned that it is an issue that is being managed by border security.
The position of the warehouse that was destroyed by fire – at the moment we have not rehabilitated them yet since we have already put everything under the modernisation project. Given our targets that we should be done by 2022, we have seen it prudent that the warehouse is part of the modernisation programme. If you check, in terms of the sequencing of the project, the warehousing is supposed to be finished and completed by end of this year, which is part of the sequence. Hon. Nyathi raised the issue of monitoring roads and animals. In my response, I mentioned that we have already done the tendering for the drones. We have done the procurement for the CCTV’s and this again is part of monitoring our borders. Therefore, I think this should also go a long way in ensuring that our borders are well monitored.
Our cement is very expensive – our cement as compared to what is obtaining in our neighbouring countries is very expensive even if it is coming from the same company. If it is PPC Zambia and PPC Zimbabwe, you will see that the discrepancies are glaring but we have engaged our cement companies in light of a number of developments that are happening. It is not just on roads construction but there is also massive construction of dams and they use a lot of cement. They are also failing to meet local demand.
However, in terms of pricing, what they are citing is that the local labour is very expensive. They are also citing the issue of the volatility of the currency and all that, but we are saying in terms of us as a country to be competitive, there is need for our companies to come up with innovative ways of production. So, this is an issue that is under the purview of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce but we are also engaging our companies to ensure that their cement is competitively priced.
Hon. Mguni mentioned that at the border the toilets are appalling. The cleanliness of the border is an issue that we will engage the border authorities to ensure that our ports of entry and exit are clean. This is again part of the ease of doing business. It is an issue that we are going to take up with our border authorities.
Hon. Nyabani asked on the issue of electricity and the issue of workers’ welfare. On the issue of electricity, I mentioned earlier on that we have installed solar systems at all ports of entry and exit, hence ZESA has become a back-up. However, there are also standby generators, so in terms of power, I am sure I have addressed that very well.
Regarding the welfare of workers, it is our wish that all our
ZIMRA employees should earn money that is intandem with their job. This will also help in reducing corruption. However, the coming on board of the new Commissioner General in conjunction with the board, will give us new recommendations that we will consider as a Ministry, especially with regards to ZIMRA employees earning salaries that are intandem with their jobs. We will also check on the delivery of vehicles that were supposed to have come by the 31st of July, 2021. I am sure those vehicles should have been bought by now.
With regards to housing, the Hon. Member said we are only talking about 70% and that what are the timeframes. If I remember well, on Kazungula we are supposed to finish the construction of houses by the end of 2021. So, I will have to go and check the status now but they should be finished this year.
Hon. Mavenyengwa questioned on the quality of the road and what the expected life span of the road is. On life span, this is an issue that I may not be able to answer. However, the quality of the road is supposed to be in line with the Southern Africa Roads Commission Standards. So in terms of the life span, I think the best Ministry to respond to this would be the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
Hon. Sansole asked on the plans for the Beitbridge – Bulawayo- Victoria Falls Road. Yes, there are plans and I think there are some investors who have expressed some interest to do the construction of the road from Beitbridge, Bulawayo to Victoria Falls but in terms of the modalities of what have been done so far, I think it will be a purview under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
Hon. Mago asked if the dual carriage way is still being done on the Beitbridge Road. Again, this is an issue for the Ministry of Transport but we ensured that the rehabilitated road is in line with SADC standard. From the information that I also got, the dualisation is going to be done some 10 kilometers before every major town but for now, I think we will continue with the single carriage way. Hon. Mudarikwa, are you aware that the border posts are not protected areas except Beitbridge - this one I was not aware. So I think we need to get more information and as I have mentioned to say all our ports of entry and exits should be security areas. If they are security areas, then they should be protected areas. I think this is an issue that we would need to take up with the Executive so that Cabinet can make a decision on that. With these responses, I would want to thank you Hon. Members for the opportunity.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER
APPOINTMENT TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEES
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): I have
to inform the House that the following Hon. Members have been assigned to serve on the following Portfolio Committees:
- Mudau to serve on the Committees on Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare and Information, Media and
- Chinhamo-Masango to serve on the Committee on
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science, Innovation and
Technology Development and
- J. Sithole to serve on the Committee on Information,
Media and Broadcasting Services.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. I was not around but is the Minister aware that the Chairman of ZIMRA, Mr. Calisto Jokonya has not been the Chair for a long time due to some in- house fighting that happened with him and the former Commissioner General? The Hon. Deputy Minister was talking about ZIMRA Board - how can he talk about the board when the Chairman is not there? There is an Acting Chairperson for the board and there is an Acting Commissioner-General and so forth. We know that Mr. Calisto Jokonya is a man of principle from CZI who has done a lot of good for the country.
So, it was the politics within ZIMRA that led to that. How can we have an efficient ZIMRA without a substantive Chairman of the board and a substantive Commissioner-General? All this he had alluded to changes but the board has oversight over management and yet the Chairman of the board is not there. I do not know what the response of the Deputy Minister would be because if you really do not need him, I think he has not been a Board Chairperson and since he was appointed, he served a few months and since then, he has not been there. You might as well ask him to go home and appoint a substantive Chairperson rather than the politics at ZIMRA continuing and so forth. Thank you Mr.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Thank
you Hon. Mliswa. With all due respect, the point that you have raised, I appreciate it and it is a very important point. Unfortunately, it is not within the Deputy Minister’s response to the Committee report. The Deputy Minister was responding to the Committee report. However, if the Deputy Minister is comfortable to give a response to your question, I give him the floor. Thank you.
HON. NDEBELE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I just want to ask one question to the Hon. Deputy Minister which I think is very important before he gives a response to Hon. Mliswa’s question. On the question of fires that was raised, is the Deputy Minister aware that there is a possibility that these could be man-made fires driven by the fact that ZIMRA is no longer holding auctions for confiscated goods that are forfeited to the State? Why are they not being asked to hold online auctions? Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Hon. Speaker and
thank you Hon. Mliswa for the question and obviously all the Hon.
Members are concerned especially with the effective service delivery by
ZIMRA and this is why this question is very important to this august House. I want to say to Hon. Mliswa, you mentioned issues to do with politics and issues to do with the current Chair not being in a position to discharge his duties. This is a specific issue that I would need to look into so that I can verify if that is the position that is obtaining on the ground. Thank you.
The other issue which has been raised by Hon. Ndebele is to do with ZIMRA not holding auctions. The critical issue here is ZIMRA is holding auctions. They can be physical or they can be on line. Recently, we had an auction and I think it was in June. We had an auction and it is only in July because of the COVID containment measures where we did not hold the auction. I am not sure if it is true that ZIMRA is not holding auctions because in June, we had an auction. So, whether it is physical or virtual, it becomes something else but what is critical is auctions are being done. Thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers. 1 to 3 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the
Day have been disposed of.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the
Question again proposed.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir,
for this opportunity. I wish to make a Ministerial response in reply to the debate on the Presidential Speech. My submission is going to be very short. It is going to be a response to the submissions that were done by two Hon. Members.
The first response is going to be on the submission that was done by Hon. Gabbuza on ZESA. Hon. Gabbuza implored the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to seriously look at the issue of energy if the country is to achieve economic growth and the upper – middle income status by 2030. He added that ZESA is currently in a bad state as most generators are dilapidated and there is also lack of tools of trade for operators. For example, there is a shortage of vehicles to attend to faults countrywide. Hon. Gabbuza also said that ZESA staff is underpaid, hence, the country is losing a lot of engineers to our neighbours, such as Zambia and South Africa.
He therefore encouraged the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to tour the ZESA plants in order to understand the situation. Hon. Gabbuza also highlighted that the country is importing electricity at US$0,13 and selling it at US$0.04 which is uneconomic. Also, local production cost is US$0.08 and they sell it at US$0.04 cents and Government is paying the difference. In this regard, Hon. Gabbuza reiterated the need for the country to charge a cost reflective tariff of 10 cents per unit for ZESA to survive. Hon. Gabbuza also requested the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to consider allowing ZESA to charge clients in foreign currency, just like fuel importers.
The Hon. Member implored the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to capacitate ZENT, which is ZESA Enterprises which has the capacity to manufacture transformers. Currently, middlemen are being allowed to import transformer components at a premium yet there is ZENT, which has the capacity to manufacture the same transformers.
This was the submission by Hon. Gabbuza and this is our response to his submission. While the issue is under the purview of the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, with Treasury providing the necessary financial support, however Hon. Members may recall that the Zimbabwe Transmission and Distribution Company adjusted the electricity tariff by 30% effective 26th May, 2021. This will be further revised gradually until a cost reflective tariff is achieved in order to make sure that ZESA operates sustainably.
Regarding the issue of allowing ZESA to charge clients in foreign currency, Government thrust is to promote the use of domestic currency. However, this issue can be addressed on a case by case basis. Already, some exporting companies, the bulk of which are mining companies are paying electricity in foreign currency.
Hon. Speaker, there is another issue which was raised by Hon.
Gabbuza on ZISCO Steel. Hon. Gabbuza proposed the resuscitation of
Zisco through charging a steel levy on imported steel, particularly from South Africa and ring-fence the money as currently there is no progress on ZISCO resuscitation. He added that the economy is losing a lot of foreign currency yet there is a lot of steel ore deposits in this country. Our response is as Government, we should focus on providing incentives to companies in order to realise economic growth as multiple taxes may stifle profitability of companies. In this case, efforts should be directed towards advancing and accelerating implementation of the ease of doing business reforms. This may solve the issue affecting the resuscitation of
My last response is on the submission that was done by Hon.
Mudarikwa. Hon. Mudarikwa asked if it is not better for the
Government to give vehicle loan schemes to certain ranks of the police officers. The reason being that it is your personal vehicle, one could take more care of it and this could also increase the pool of vehicles within the police force. Our response Hon. Speaker is; Members may recall that in the 2018 National Budget, Government introduced a vehicle loan scheme to some categories of civil servants, excluding the security sector because of the nature of their service which does not make them to qualify for the scheme as communicated in the Public Service Commission circulars.
In this regard, Government is obliged to provide the vehicles as part of their conditions of service. Given the importance of the security sector in provision of security, Government has already started a recapitalisation programme in 2021. Treasury has committed to procure an additional 300 vehicles to enable the ZRP to undertake their mandate. These are our responses Hon. Speaker to the issues that were raised by the Hon. Members. Thank you.
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 4th August, 2021.
HON. T. MLISWA: I have a point of order.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Now I
can recognise you. You have got the floor.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, my point of order really is, the Chief Whips and the Leader of Government Business were instructed by the Speaker to make sure that Ministers come and respond to the State of the Nation Address. Today they are not here again. They are never here. What does it say about their conduct? We have said this over and over again from a constitutional point of view. They are failing the country, from His Excellency appointment, in having to entrust them with those portfolios. They are not respecting him. They are not even respecting themselves. Today, they were supposed to have responded. Why can you not come up with a cut-off date because we cannot continue with this? Some of these things have been overtaken by events but they still do not come.
May I implore Hon. Chair, that you make a ruling that on this day, the Ministers must come. Today is their day; this is Government business today and they should be responding. The little that they can do to show respect for themselves is to respond to His Excellency, the appointing authority. They are discharging their duties because he is not a Minister, he deploys them to be able to do that and the nation must hear the responses according to the mandate given to them. How long do we continue like this? The Chief Whip speaks, the Speaker and Leader of Government speak but they are not here and we continue adjourning this debate, until when?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Thank
you Hon. Mlsiwa, I have heard your point of order. May I remind you Hon. Mliswa that today is Tuesday, there is Cabinet and this is the reason why you have seen this response is being given by the Deputy Minister. Government Business is for tomorrow, that is when we will see a lot of Ministers here. Today there is Cabinet. Thank you very much.
HON. T. MLSIWA: With due respect, Cabinet is not more important than this institution. We have oversight over Cabinet.
Cabinet is not as powerful as this institution and they must know that. We have oversight over those Ministers and their coming here, is to respect the very same Chairperson of Cabinet, the President. In responding to these issues they are always absent, Cabinet, Politburo, so what is their business; Central Committee and so forth. This is Parliament and we have the right to ask questions from them according to Section 107 of the Constitution. So, we are entrusted with that and we must make sure we do it. Cabinet is secondary to us as Parliament as far as I am concerned.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 5 to 13 be stood over, until Order of the Day, Number 14 is disposed of.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
VIRTUAL REPORT OF THE 65TH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION
ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN ON WOMEN’S FULL AND
EFFECTIVE PARTICIPATION AND DECISION MAKING IN
HON. KWARAMBA: I move the motion standing in my name
that this House takes note of the Report of the 65th Session of the
Commission on the Status of Women on women’s full and effective participation and decision making in public life as well as the elimination of violence for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls held virtually from 15th to 26th
HON. MADIWA: I second.
As one of the United Nations (UN) family of organisations, UN Women convenes the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) annually. The CSW’s mandate is, among other things, to receive State Parties reports, consider and prepare recommendations on promoting women's rights in political, economic,civil and social rights. It is also an advocacy platform where calls are made to member states to address the challenges faced by women in all walks of life. This is in compliance with the provision of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995. The 65th Session was held virtually from March, 15th – 26th, 2021 under the theme, “Women’s full and effective participation and decision making in public life as well as the elimination of violence for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” This report provides a summary of major outcomes of the presentations and deliberations of side events attended by Parliament delegation.
- The head of delegation – President of the Senate, Hon. M.
- The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly – Hon T. Gezi
- Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus
(ZWPC) –Hon. G. Kwaramba
- Vice Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC) – S. Budha-Masara.
- The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs,
Community and SMEs Development –Hon. C. Madiwa
- The Chairperson of the Thematic Committee on Gender and
Development –Hon. C. Ndlovu
Official Opening Ceremony
The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and high ranking officials from the African Union (AU), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) officiated during the official opening ceremony.
During this session, reference was made to the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on women, noting that women make up 70% of the frontline workforce. Emphasis was also put on the need to recognise and give value to productive care work that is done by womenfolk at homes. The UN Women Executive Director, Pumuzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, noted that COVID-19 has resulted in an increase in the number of orphans and child headed homes as well as school drop-outs. An estimate made was that by the end of 2021, 10 million girls will have dropped out of school. Noting that only 5% States, at global level, had gender equality in the COIVID-19 and Climate Change task force committees, a call was made for policy makers to ensure women, especially young women, are represented at all decision making levels.
The country Statement to CSW 65th session presented by the
Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, and SMEs Development, Hon. Dr. S. Nyoni, made reference to initiatives aimed at achieving gender equality and women empowerment. These include the constitutional provisions, the establishment of Zimbabwe Women Micro Finance Bank, the Zimbabwe Gender Commission and the affirmative action policy in the enrolment of students at tertiary institutions. It was further noted that women were represented in the judiciary, that a number of them attained positions as principals of State teachers’ colleges, and in parastatals such as Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) and
Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA).
Outcomes from Side Events
Political participation in a post-COVID-19 WORLD
COVID-19 exacerbated pre-existing inequalities. Measures recommended to attain gender parity include presence of wellcoordinated national gender machinery; strong political will; relevant constitutional reforms; enactment of gender responsive law; parliamentary gender monitoring office; existence of vibrant forum of women parliamentarians; existence of a mechanisms to combat GBV; parliamentarians working in unison with CSOs to curb GBV; and lastly sharing of regional and international best practices.
Intergenerational alliances and participation of young women in public life was key at CSW 65. State parties were challenged to ensure the engagement of youth and students and to recognise that early exposure to women leaders as role models as well as policy making spaces – mentorship measures are needed to enable young women to successfully grow in leadership. State parties also need to ensure that there is balance of power in all spheres of society.
As for people with disabilities (PWDs), State parties and civil society organisations (CSOs) were urged to develop an enabling environment, through enactment of laws and policies to ensure full inclusion of women with disabilities. Policy measures to increase participation of women and girls with disabilities include:
- massive deliberate employment programmes of women with disabilities as an empowerment programme;
- creation of a database of women with disabilities;
- adoption and domestication of the Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol;
- public education on disabilities and people with disabilities
- mobilization of women living with disabilities to register to vote;
- making use of electoral colleges for nominations to elect women with disabilities into decision making and leadership positions as is the case in Kenya and Uganda;
- deliberate legislation for women with disabilities representation in leadership positions;
- political parties and civil society organisations (CSOs) should assist with networking, training and encouraging women with disabilities to vote and participate in public and civil affairs;
(xi) women with disabilities to be included in election observation mission since often observers do not check on participation of women with disabilities.
Women and the digital world
It was noted that women were generally excluded from internet connectivity since at global level, of the 69% using the internet were youths and that 55% of them were males, while 45% were females. State parties were challenged to promote equal access to ICTs and to the
Internet for all women and girls, increase women’s access to digital technologies to enhance their productivity and mobility in the labour market, work towards closing digital divides, include the gender digital divide, ensuring that programmes, services and infrastructure are adaptable and suited to tackle different technological barriers, including literacy, and targeting science, technology and innovation strategies to reduce inequalities and promote the empowerment of all women and girls and women’s full and effective participation in public life.
A call was made for member countries to put in place deliberate laws and policies that promote digital inclusion of women including online protection from cyber-bullying and online violence. In addition, State parties were urged to engage the internet service providers to simplify applications to foster rural women to embrace digital technology.
Violence against Women
With evidence showing that COVID-19 had aggravated Gender Based Violence(GBV), the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) intensified its call for gender sensitive Parliaments and the use of IPU gender sensitive tool-kit to address the alarming levels of sexism, sexual harassment and the widespread under-reporting of such GBV cases. Among other things, Parliaments were encouraged to continuously assess situations, review laws and policies on ending sexism and GBV, provide effective report and investigation mechanisms that are independent from any form of interference.
There was consensus on the prevalence on online platforms, of abuse, cyber stalking, hate speech, doxing, intimidation and threats, trolling, public shaming and cyber bulling. In addition to awareness campaign against cyber-bullying and online violence, State Parties, were urged to include Information and Technology (ICT) into the school curricula to inculcate into pupils, skills of how to deal with online abuse, what to do or what to post and what not to post on the internet and other online platforms.
Recommended measures to curb online violence against female journalists emphasised involving the whole society, putting in place gender sensitive laws and policies that empower police to protect women journalists and that vibrant and independent judiciary should prosecute and deter perpetrators of online GBV. More importantly, that multilateral policies should be cascaded to regional and national levels.
Concerning the high prevalence of GBV cases which have since been worsened by the advent of COVID19 pandemic, it was recommended that this can be prevented through a number of measures that Parliament can facilitate:
(i) ending all forms of harmful practices; ii) putting in place early warning systems;
- effective implementation of existing gender and GBV laws;
- collaboration of CSOs with parliamentarians;
- adequate investment in women empowerment programmes;
- special measures including quota systems to boost women representation in key public institutions;
- compilation of femicide database;
- review of legislation.
The side event on child marriages involved testimonies from our very own Chief Mangwende and Chief Bushu, who show-cased empowerment programmes in the form of Pfumvudza, Tseketsa Kumwanasikana and the Nhangato empower and protect the young girls from early marriages. A resolve was made that State parties, should rollout in rural areas targeted programmes that seek to empower the girl child and cushion them from the scourge of poverty, a root cause which tends to push girls into early marriages or unwanted pregnancies. Equally important, States were encouraged to put in place laws that criminalise child marriages and punitive legal measures, to deter those who intend to engage in or facilitate child marriages.
Given that it is estimated that over 10 million girls will be out of school due to COVID-19; the empowerment of girls starts with keeping them in school and also having access to sexual reproductive education. The need to have all girls completing High School is a stepping stone towards empowerment. A deliberate programme and policy has to be put in place to address the plight of girls in order to deal with the effects of COVID-19 and HIV and AIDS. A policy addressing child marriages is also key as Africa has the highest number of these. The most vulnerable groups fall in the ages between 13 and 21years hence the need for access to information. Children in rural areas need special consideration as they have little or no access to technology. Government’s response to COVID-19 must be practicable and localised. Parliamentarians to emphasise gender transformative approach to poverty alleviation, gender sensitive fiscal policies, gender responsive budgeting, and that social protection and poverty eradication should be bottom up in approach.
Parliament to facilitate investment in care economy especially supporting unpaid care work and safety net coverage focusing particularly upon women in rural areas, minority populations, for example immigrants, refugees and PWDs, ensuring financial institutions contribute towards women financial inclusion and security through training, offering special funds and loans, and facilitating access to entrepreneurship technology use by rural women. Resources provided should also cover child care expenses to release women to engage in more productive paid work. Parliamentarians to spearhead labour law reforms, in particular conditions and maternity leave, and they should be guided by the 2019 ILO Violence and Harassment Convention (No. 190). To attain food security, parliamentarians should facilitate strengthening of agricultural supply chains. More importantly, Parliament to ensure that women empowerment projects are integrated into national development plans.
Parliament should facilitate mainstreaming of widowhood in national policies and laws through review of gender justice laws, financial inclusion policies; health insurance; affirmative social protection and safety nets; and construction of national widows database. COVID-19 social protection funds should be deposited right into widows’ accounts, as was noted in the case in India and the impact was felt by communities. Widows should be trained to deal with four challenges: material change, for example acquiring assets, skills and awareness to do more with assets acquired; relational change
(negotiations with late spouses relatives, standing for elections, etcetera.) ; and lastly women's sense of self esteem in order for them to participate in public life such as elections. Parliamentarians should, in their legislative and oversight roles, link widows concerns to 12 goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relating to health, hunger, poverty, and others. Parliamentarians should promote widows decent work for survival.
There is need to develop robust national care system through labour laws and policy review focusing on the following:
- parental leave (maternal and paternal leave);
- care support for essential service workers;
- income support to parents;
- utility support;
- integrate unpaid carers into the labour force;
- introduction of flexible work arrangements with option of home-based work;
- improving workplace hours to allow more time for self-care.
Advocacy around Women Leadership for Climate Neutral and circular industries where women should have the drive to be involved in climate issues such as encouraging the green economy. Women need climate smart projects. A call was made to State parties to the acknowledged Paris Agreement to ensure that climate change actions should respect, promote and consider gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity. Full and effective participation of women in leadership and decision making on the mitigation and adaptation to climate change, environmental , disaster risk reduction and its resilience and adaptive capacities of women and girls to respond to and recover from adverse impacts of climate change were over emphasised.
Action Plan by the Delegation
The delegation recommends that the Zimbabwe Women’s
Parliamentary Caucus should;
|1.Call for adequate resources to be||- Exercise their role in the budget making process
- Advocacy on adequate budget
1. Labour and Social Welfare
2. Health and Child
|Workplans to be determined|
|availed towards ministries dealing with social protection issues ; Labour and social Welfare, Health and child care, , Local
|allocations in line with the Abuja
Local Government and Public Works
|2. Ratification of
the ILO Convention
|-Lobby through position papers the relevant Ministry to present the ILO
Convention for ratification
|Portfolio on Public Service Labour and Social Welfare Zimbabwe Women’s
|Workplan to be determined by the Portfolio
participation in mitigation and adaptation to climate change national strategy
|- Exercising its oversight function, Parliament must call on the Ministry to ensure the national strategy on climate change mitigation and adaptation provides for full and effective participation of
- Advocacy work by the ZWPC through engagement of the Ministry of Environment
Energy and Power Development
Thematic Committee on
|Workplan to be determined by the Portfolio Committee by December 2021.
ZWPC to engage Ministry by
|4.Urgent call for equal access to ICT access and passing of the Cyber Crime||- Exercising its oversight role, Parliament to engage the relevant Ministry on access to
- ZWPC to lobby for expedition of the Cyber Crime Bill
|Portfolio Committees on
ICT , Postal and
|Workplan to be determined
ZWPC through advocacy work to engage internet service providers through available mobile networks on
empowering women at grassroot level
Participation and Empowerment of women
|Exercising oversight function on women economic empowerment and address unpaid care work
Legislative function- Sexual Harassment legislation Lobbying and advocacy on amendment of the Electoral Act to include the 30% women’s quota at Local Government level
Advocacy role of the ZWPC – roll out the 50/50 position
paper to stakeholders
Work with WROs in advocacy work on representation of women in public entities, especially boards and other public entities
Legislative/ representative functions on National Health Insurance in line with NDS1 Legislative/ Oversight – strengthening of supply value chains and participation of women in line with NDS1
Lobby for a Gender Inclusive
National and Sectoral Results
Framework for NDS1
1. Women Affairs, Community, Small
2. Labour and Social Services
3. Health and Child Care
4. Thematic Committee on
5. Women’s Caucus
|Workplans to be determined by relevant Portfolio committees by
ratify outstanding 1.ILO
Convention relevant to labour standards and amend labour laws to sexual harassment
|Exercising oversight function in line with Section 34 of the Constitution
Lobby the relevant Ministry to move for ratification of the ILO
Convention and the CRPWD
1. Labour and Social Services
2. Thematic Committee on
3. Women’s Caucus
|Workplans to be determined by Portfolio
|2. Convention on the Rights of People With
|7.Establishment of internal mechanisms to deal with sexism, sexual harassment and violence Implementation of the IPU Gender Sensitive
|Parliament to set up an institutional mechanism to deal with issues of sexism and violence against MPs
Parliament to implement the
IPU Gender Sensitive
Administration of Parliament
|Work with CSOs in ensuring national
response and roll out of the
|-||ZWPC take an oversight role in advocacy for accountability and transparency on COVID-19 response with support from CSOs including WCoZ||1.
Health and Child
| Monitoring implementation and review of
|ZWPC with support from WROs design M&E framework to monitor implementation of NDS 1 especially on sectors relating to key CSW 65 issues Monitor and review progress in policy implementation||1.
No single effort can end women political and socio-economic marginalisation and SGBV, the approach should be multilateral, inclusive of CSOs and private sector, multi sectoral, and should be regionally collaborated. Only then will the effective and full participation of women and girls in public life be achieved for the achievement of SDG 5 on gender equality. As a member State to the UN, the delegation calls upon the Government to consider the agreed conclusions to enhance equitable, sustainable development as set forth by the SDGs and as Zimbabwe works towards the 2030 goal of achieving a middle income economy by 2030 by leaving no one behind.
I thank you.
HON. MADIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to second the report that has been presented by Hon. Kwaramba on the Zimbabwean delegation to the CSW. Let me say that I am quite pleased and I would like to applaud the Government of Zimbabwe for attending such events. It shows our Government’s commitment to issues of gender equality and women empowerment. The commitment to finance the Zimbabwean delegation to such fora is highly commended.
The CSW is a platform whereby member States show-case or present what they are doing for gender equality and women empowerment. It also shows their compliance to the 1995 Beijing Platform of Action where nations came up with 12 critical areas to address in order to advance women issues. Zimbabwe by attending such events is showing its seriousness; by signing such protocols at international level and commitment to issues of women. A lot of issues came up at the CSW. As a country, there were issues that we also learnt whereby we are saying what can we do to improve the status of women in our country.
Of importance, issues raised as was reported by Hon. Kwaramba – we have heard of women in decision making positions. These are issues that Zimbabwe as a country would want to look at and say how can we have more women in decision making positions. By having more women in decision making, we will address most of the issues; the 12 Beijing critical areas and most of the issues that are bringing out gender inequality in our country.
Some of the issues that were raised at the CSW include gender based violence against women especially during this COVID pandemic. Zimbabwe is not an exception. We also expected an increase in gender based violence during the lockdown. These are some of the issues that the Government of Zimbabwe would want to address. Most women are suffering during the lockdown and I am glad that this was seen as a global problem. Most women throughout the world are suffering especially during the lockdown. These issues need to be addressed.
For example, during the lockdown, we witnessed women failing to get justice because they are far away from courts and it was not easy for them to seek justice. I am glad that our Government has tried by all means to make sure that courts are decentralised although there is need for improvement so that women easily access justice. Issues of access for women were also highlighted. We are saying as a country, we need to do more in terms of making sure that women access and have legal representation.
Some of the issues that have been highlighted include women and the digital world. 52% of our population are women and of these, the majority, which is more than 70% are in the rural areas. We are talking of the digital world and everything is going virtual but I am thinking of women in the rural areas. Let me talk of my Constituency – Chavhanga and Mandeya area, network is a nightmare. What are we saying to women rural areas such as Checheche down there in Chipinge; even in Binga, do we have enough network so that everyone has access to the latest information that we would want everyone to have. Today the most important weapon for any development is access to information. What are we saying about the majority of those women who are living in the rural areas where we do not have access to information? These are some of the issues that we need to be looking at.
There were issues that were also raised about child marriages and women’s economic empowerment. Whatever we are doing, as long as women are not economically empowered, we are not going anywhere. I am glad that Zimbabwe has made some great efforts in trying to empower women economically. Access to finance, inasmuchas it is not enough considering the population of women that we have in the country. For example, if we are to look at the Women’s Bank and the amount that is put in the Women’s Bank, of course we commend the
Government for increasing the amount that has been put in the Women’s
Bank but is it enough for women to talk about women’s economic empowerment? These are some of the issues we want Government to address.
Another issue that was highlighted is climate change. Mr. Speaker Sir, issues of climate have affected women more than anyone else. We would like a situation whereby women’s issues are looked into. For example Mr. Speaker Sir, if we look at the woman’s reproduction role and look at issues of climate change, it means women are affected more than men when we look at issues of the environment. If we only look at issues of access to energy, issues of access to water, you will find that women are affected more than anyone else. This is homework for our Government to make sure that this is addressed.
On access to energy, I am glad Government is doing a lot in terms of renewable energy but we want all women down there to have access to renewable energy so that as we talk about women and energy, use of firewood which affects climate change would be a thing of the past.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank Hon. Kwaramba for a very detailed report and I also want to thank the Government of Zimbabwe for allowing the Zimbabwean delegation to attend CSW. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 4th August, 2021.
On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI, seconded by HON.
MPARIWA, the House adjourned at One minute to Five o’clock p.m.