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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 04 MARCH 2021 VOL 47 NO 29
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 4th March, 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
COLLECTION OF MIFI DEVICES
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to advise Hon. Members who have not yet collected their MiFi devices from ICT department that they are encouraged to collect them from Office Number 402. Further to that, Hon. Members are reminded that data is being sent to their e-mails.
LOGGING IN ON VIRTUAL PLATFORM
THE HON. SPEAKER: I also have to remind the House that all Hon. Members are required to log-in using their full names for identification purposes or indicate their names on the chat platform. This will assist officers in capturing their names on the attendance list.
Furthermore, Hon. Members are advised that they must keep their gadgets on mute and only unmute when called upon to speak by the Chair.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mine is both a motion on national interest but also with your direction, I may need to have your ruling upon it because I do not remember it happening before. Yesterday during Question Time, I raised a question with the Minister of Justice because the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education was not in the House, in connection with issues to do with school fees. The concern that I raised is provided for in the Act, that any school that intends to increase school fees or set school fees within a year needs to get the approval of the Permanent Secretary.
In response, the Minister of Justice said it is only Government schools and not non-governmental schools and I tried to engage him to say the Act is clear that non-governmental schools are still under the purview of the Ministry of Education. A lot of parents have been raising this issue with us as Committee because the school fees that are being put up by both private and mission schools, people cannot afford them generally. You are creating an elitist situation in which even those that can afford a little bit are unable to take their children to school.
I also raised the issue that, in asking schools to put an application with the Permanent Secretary, you also would deal with the issue of the prorate because if the school term is not going to be the usual school term, then the school fees has to be in relation to the prorate. The Minister of Justice at that point said to me trust schools, non-governmental schools are governed under contract law. I know I have the actual Act. Section 21 is very clear. When we did the amendment, we said the Commission which is the Competition Commission would be responsible in circumstances where there has been that violation but the application still needs to go to the Permanent Secretary.
I am concerned that the response of the Minister yesterday would get schools to start thinking that they do not have to make an application. This is why I said I am not sure procedurally how that would happen because we need a formal correction of the position that was given by the Minister because it is fundamentally wrong and it will set a very bad precedence in terms of what is happening in the schools right now. It is one of the issues that is really topical in this nation currently. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and I stand guided by you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The best way to deal with that issue is to make a written question in which you quote the relevant Act accordingly and you will have more interface in terms of the interpretation of the Act. Meanwhile, I suggest that you have a second or third legal opinion on that interpretation so that when you deal with the matter – I know you are a budding lawyer but there is no harm in getting second opinion so that you are fully armed to debate the issue next Wednesday.
Hon. Misihairabwi, there is another element that you have not included in your inquiry. The question of schools demanding payment in foreign currency, that is an issue that is also a thorn in some parents because they are not earning in foreign currency. Why were the schools demanding payment in foreign currency? Perhaps you might need to couch your quest so that we have a full understanding of what the position of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I stand guided Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my point of national interest is to do with devolution. I want to dwell on few sections of the Constitution, but key points. Section 264 is about Devolution of Governmental powers and responsibilities.
‘1. Wherever appropriate, governmental powers and responsibilities must be devolved to provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities which are competent to carry out those responsibilities efficiently and effectively.’
Section 264 (f) is about to transfer responsibilities and resources from the national government in order to establish a sound financial base for each provincial and metropolitan council and local authority.
- General principles of provincial and local Government.
- a) Ensure good governance by being effective, transparent, accountable and institutionally coherent;
- Provincial councils
1) There is a provincial council for each province, except the metropolitan provinces, consisting of- I will go to 1 (e) all Members of the National Assembly who are elected in terms of Section 124 (1) (b) from the province concerned;
(f) The women Members of the National Assembly who are elected in terms of Section 124 (1) (b) from the province concerned.
The reason why I am bringing this up is whilst there is an argument for the amendment of MPs not to be there, the Constitution reads differently. My concern is that the provincial councils are supposed to be in place as per the Constitution, with Members of Parliament being in there. Already, the devolution funds are going there. One of the issues again Mr. Speaker Sir, which is critical is Section 270 - Functions of provincial and metropolitan councils. The most critical one is 1(e), monitoring and evaluating the use of resources in its province.
You recall Mr. Speaker Sir, and I was motivated and inspired by you when you raised it when we went to that Victoria Falls Pre-Budget Seminar. The Minister of Local Government was there and he did concede that he needed to ensure that he does not disburse money before these structures are put in place, because it was unlawful and it remains unlawful. It remains unconstitutional as well because these councils are not there who are supposed to be monitoring funds. So devolution money is just going and no one is monitoring.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we are supposed to be part of it, even though people do not want MPs to be part of this, the Constitution is saying otherwise, it is saying we must be part of it, until the Constitution is amended. You then ruled that Hon. Ziyambi and the Attorney General must come up with the position pertaining to this. The position still is not there. The biggest game changer in this country is the devolution, but the monies are not being monitored according to the Constitution because the provincial councils are not in place. This is also one of the reasons that led the former President and the late R. G. Mugabe out of power. It was because of the issue of devolution that he was not following the Constitution. This particular one of provincial councils was critical to that.
We are here and nothing has happened, as the House that ensures that the laws are followed, what are we saying to the people? Who is monitoring, evaluating this money? Central Government must allow the structures which are mentioned in the Constitution to play their role. I do not know why we have been quiet about it and yet corruption is happening because no one is monitoring and evaluation the resources for each province.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not know how best we can deal with this, but it has become a source of corruption in a big way. The local authorities as you would appreciate have been the talk of poor service delivery yet money is going there through the very same tenets of the Constitution which ensures that resources go to them. Your guidance and ruling is critical because we cannot as Parliament sit and watch the law not being followed.
THE HON. SPEAKER: My ruling at Victoria Falls Pre-Budget Seminar has been responded to. Indeed, there has been some conversation between the Minister of Local Government and Public Works as well as the Minister of Finance and Economic Development in consultation with the Attorney-General. Views that we expressed at that Pre-Budget Seminar have been taken on board, resulting in the Minister of Finance and Economic Development acknowledging the need for a legal framework to be in place in order to ensure that devolved funds are accounted for in terms of the structures that must be in place.
If you read the the National Strategic Document No. 1 under Devolution, you will see that acknowledgment where the Minister of Finance and Economic Development has said expeditiously, we need that legal framework to be there.
In tandem a Constitutional Amendment (No. 2) Bill is now in place. It has been gazetted and if you look at it carefully, it will address some of these gaps which unfortunately have taken too long to be addressed so that by the time the devolution funds would have been devolved and distributed to the provinces, that constitutional amendment should have been in place. The only mistake that we did as framers of the Constitution was, if you go right at the beginning of Section 264, the framing of subsection 1 creates a weakness in that it says, whenever appropriate, there is no time line. Governmental powers and responsibilities must be devolved to provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities which are competent to carry out those responsibilities efficiently and effectively.
I think that clause gives allowance and it has given allowance, when you say whenever appropriate, when you decide when it is appropriate, but having said that, I think the response by the Executive shows a positive development and I am sure any time now, Constitution Amendment (No. 2) Bill will be tabled to the House to correct the situation accordingly. Thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: I do follow you. Whenever appropriate is the same as when funds are permitting, but now when you have funds and whenever that is in place, should those structures not be in place? The reason why I am saying this, should those provincial councils not be in place? Whoever they feel is competent, they have disbursed money. Should there not be a structure despite the amendment coming through, but it is not yet here and it is not yet law. How then do you reconcile an amendment which is coming which is supposed to change the law and the law which is there? Which one comes first? Common sense, the law which is there must be able to be seen working.
I know being both a lawyer and a teacher, I think you understand where I am coming from. It is simple that the provincial councils are not there, money has been disbursed. So it still answers the question ‘whenever’. So now it has arrived whenever is everything in place - appropriate Government powers, responsibility. They have disbursed this money without the structures again. So who then does the monitoring unless there was no money in place, unless there is a suspension, but money is still going but the Constitution also talks about provincial councils sitting. I am told, if I am not mistaken, some are being paid but I have not had myself, maybe other Members of Parliament can tell me whether they were ever called to provincial council meetings.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I hear you Hon. Mliswa. You are now engaging in a debate which I think will be better responded to by way of a written question so that the responsible Minister disbursing the funds would then answer to your queries which are reasonable, but what the amendment of the law is doing now, including the Constitution, is to address the mischief which you have identified. The mischief is being addressed like what the English would say, you want to close the stable when the horses have bolted. That is the mischief you are bringing across and that will be better answered by the Hon. Minister concerned, but I hear you, the mischief is definitely there.
LEVEL OF PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY RELATED TO SEXUAL AND GENDER BASED VIOLENCE IN THIS COVID-19 PANDEMIC
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. NYONI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. May I, on the onset, express my gratitude to the Parliamentary Committee on Women Affairs, Community Small and Medium Enterprise development for a very comprehensive and informative report that they presented in relation to visits that they carried out to ascertain the level of public service delivery related to sexual and gender based violence in this COVID-19 pandemic.
We acknowledge that this is a time of great anxiety, uncertainty and stress for many as normal life routines are changed. Women and girls who constitute the greater percentage of GBV survivors find themselves trapped in homes with abusive husbands, fathers, brothers and family members with limited access to protection and support services.
I concur, Mr. Speaker Sir, with the report as we have indeed witnessed unprecedented incidents of rape during this period. The Victim Friendly Unit of the Zimbabwe Republic Police received 1 222 cases of rape in the third quarter of 2020 and in the fourth quarter they received 1 274 cases country wide. Alarming figures of rape of girls below the age of 18 were as follows:
|Age Group (years)||Number of reported cases (4th Quarter comparison)|
A total of 836 girls, 17 years and below, were raped in the period October to December 2019 and in the same period in 2020, 900 girls were raped and these were reported cases. We still grapple to understand the real magnitude in view of unreported cases as the Committee has rightfully pointed out that most cases go unreported at the community level.
My Ministry therefore commits to scale up community level awareness raising with the aim to encourage report of such incidents especially where minors are the victims. The community has to know that it is criminal to withhold such information as well as failure to report abuse and rape of minors.
Equally disturbing are cases of teenage pregnancies from across the provinces. These cases were experienced from January to the 5th of February 2021.
|Province||Teenage Pregnancies||Child Marriage|
A total of 4959 got impregnated in such a short period and this means that nearly 5 000 of our girls risk losing their educational opportunity if they do not pursue re-admission. Most worrying is the 1774 who are in matrimonial union before their 18th birthday. They have lost opportunities and have also become vulnerable to other forms of violence, assault, which include economic and emotional abuse.
An Hon. Member having passed between the Chair and the Hon. Member speaking.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Gwanetsa, you may not cross between the speaker and the Chair.
HON. NYONI: We take note of recommendations and observations of the Committee. The Committee expressed concern on the transport challenges being faced by survivors in accessing services at one stop centres and shelters. May I inform the House that my Ministry now has a facility to support movement of survivors to access GBV. Through the spotlight initiative, we are providing fuel to our district office and this is to specifically facilitate the movement of GBV survivors to enable their access to all the necessary services that the survivor may require. Initial uptake was low due to limited awareness, but as awareness has increased on the availability of this service, there has been increased uptake by the survivors. However, this is currently only in the spotlight districts and all one-stop centres and we are making frantic efforts to ensure that this facility if made available nationwide.
Key institutions such as the police and other stakeholders have been engaged to accommodate the movement of victims to access GBV services. The ZRP Victim Friendly Unit has made efforts to ensure that police officers manning roadblocks have been advised to allow passage to women survivors of GBV who are travelling to seek services.
In addressing the challenge of increasing cases of GBV, we have ensured that partners continue to offer GBV services by having these declared critical and essential services. The Ministry has facilitated clearance of GBV service providers to enable them to continue to offer services throughout the country, even during the lockdown. Our one-stop centres and partner-run shelters continue to offer gender based violence services. In addition, there are one-stop shop centres, the Ministry is implementing mobile one-stop centres which are taking services to the people. These have been well received and examples are in Chegutu District where we have the first 12 days of mobile outreach they managed to assist 223 gender based violence survivors. Toll free lines have been expanded by the civil society partners to make sure that even those that do not find it easy to travel can signal the need for service and a partner can reach out to them.
We take note on the observation made by the Committee regarding the need to ensure disability friendliness of our service centres, namely Gwanda. May I take this opportunity to inform the House that my Ministry carried out an assessment to establish the friendliness of our services to people with different forms of disability and this was noted. As we expand services, we are learning from our experience and continuously improving our standards. We have ensured that all our one stop centres are disability friendly. We have also gone a step further and provided training in basic sign language to our officials at these centres.
My Ministry has recently set up one stop centre in Bindura and Epworth and these have been made disability friendly. Similarly, we shall be rectifying omissions done in the previous set up of one stop centres and upgrade them to be disability friendly.
May I also inform the House Mr. Speaker Sir, that it is our plan that we establish at least one stop centre in each province and further strengthen coordinated multi-sectoral gender based service provision at district level. This year we shall be setting up two additional one stop centres; one in Bulawayo at Mpilo General Hospital and the other in Mashonaland East. I am glad to state that we are increasingly getting resources from Government towards these initiatives and that promotes sustainability of our efforts and inventions.
We also shall be ensuring that there are enough rooms for our service providers to ensure privacy and confidentiality as they execute their work. Our purpose is to observe the best interest of the survivor and indeed do no further harm through a survivor centred support system. My Ministry has noted that one of the major causes of gender based violence is poverty and lack of economic empowerment. We have been working with the partners as rightly indicated. Msasa is offering livelihood skills whilst a survivor is administered in the shelter. As the Ministry, we are making deliberate efforts to include women survivors of gender based violence to benefit from facilities that we administer such as Women Development Fund. Once they have a skill, we support them to develop a viable proposal for eligibility to accessing such facilities. The Ministry believes that prevention is better than cure. May I take this opportunity to also update the House on some of the legislative issues which my Ministry is working on which we think will contribute towards prevention.
The first one is Sexual Harassment Bill and Gender Equality Bill. The Ministry received a set of draft principles for the Sexual Harassment Bill and Gender Equality Bill from the Zimbabwe Gender Commission. The Bills are expected to criminalise the offence of sexual harassment and provide frameworks for gender equality. As part of the law development process, consultations are very critical and the Ministry is at an advanced stage in organising consultative meetings with law based women’s organisations at national and regional levels. We have a roadmap and we think that by May we would have submitted the principles to Cabinet.
The next one is the Anti Domestic Violence Council now under the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. May I bring to the attention of the House that the Anti Domestic Violence Council is now being administered by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. It has moved from my Ministry.
The next one is the mandatory sentence for rape. The Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs administers the Criminal Code Reform Act and it is spearheading the amendment of the Act to include mandatory sentencing for sexual offences. The drafting process has begun. However, the drafters have identified that most relevant stakeholders on the proposed law were not consulted, hence there was need for further consultations.
We continue to encourage the sharing of information about how to report and where to get help to enable survivors to get gender based violence and access to a holistic service that our Ministry is offering such as help psycho social support, legal and police services. Where they cannot be provided under one roof, we are coordinating a multi sectoral approach with identified partners providing specific services throughout the country. District specific referral pathways have been developed. Referral pathways provide basic information on what constitutes sexual gender based violence. The nearest service is available as well as contact numbers. These have been translated into various languages and simplified as much as possible for the benefit of our populace.
Most importantly, we must remember that according to Section 52 of our Constitution, every Zimbabwean citizen has a right to personal security and bodily integrity. Freedom from abuse or fear is a right to every victim and child who witnesses domestic violence. It is our collective responsibility; each one of us has a role to play to ensure that gender based violence does not happen, and in the event that it happens we encourage survivors to seek help.
My Ministry will continue to work with and coordinate our stakeholders to ensure that GBV services remain available. Hon. Members, a request was also made for us to respond to the consolidated financial performance report and I wish to highlight the following;
- Submission of Financial Report
The Ministry in 2020 has been submitting financial reports
accompanied by programmes and activities carried out in each particular quarter. The reports were showing achievements and challenges faced each quarter by each department. The report included the Ministry mandate and all its planned activities for the year, what has been done and what was still pending.
- Release of funds from Treasury
The releases were mainly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Treasury tried its best to support the Ministry with funds which we manage to procure seven vehicles and a balance of the other seven vehicles are expected to be procured in the 2021 Budget releases. The money for the vehicles is awaiting transfer into the Ministry account as all the payment processes were done.
Release for programme three was erratic due to the fact that most of the funds were allocated for the construction of work space. The necessary bid documents which were needed for the release of funds took time to be obtained. The tender procedures required to engage suppliers took a long time and were completed in December, 2020.
iii. Roger Howman Training Centre Revenue
The revenue for this training centre has been affected by two
factors. The first one is COVID-19 lockdown; no activity or training could take place. The second one is that there are boxes of election material which are occupying the classroom blocks. The centre was left with no classrooms for us to use to provide its services. Efforts have been put for the removal of those materials and even requested ZEC to pay rentals but seem to be fruitless. After easing of the lockdown, it is the Ministry’s hope that these boxes will be removed to enable resumption of programmes in this centre in order for the centre to get its revenue. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I am disappointed that the media seem not to be around because you have made very important statements about the welfare of the girl-child and women. Clerk-at-table, can you make sure that there is proper coverage including by our own media people.
(v)HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker, I have got about eight points of clarity that I seek to have from the Hon. Minister –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Member. The forum is for as many Members of Parliament as possible. Can you synthesise your eight points to only two so that others have the opportunity to also seek points of clarification.
(v)HON. NDUNA: You have made it very difficult for me Mr. Speaker, however I am going to try.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are well schooled in English, please synthesise.
(v)HON. NDUNA: I want to know how the Hon. Minister is going to deal with the Minister of Education in-so-far as the issues of returning the girl-child home because of none payment of fees as this is one of the other causes of rape at home. How is she going to deal with the issue of deficit in housing with the local government which has seen overcrowding of people, which is housing the girl-child with the parents, grandparents or relatives in one room? How is she also going to deal with the Minister of Agriculture in-so-far as ZINWA and the boreholes are concerned? The deficit of water is one such cause. That is the first one.
The second one is ...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Member. Do not undermine my intelligence. You have asked three questions for clarification, you have to stop there.
HON. TOGAREPI: In the report by the Minister, I heard something like Harare and Bulawayo did very well by recording something close to zero. Is it true that there was enough education for these people to come out or report those cases because we have more violations of the law; the sexual harassments and so forth in urban centres more than in the rural areas in my view? So, how come these cities with their large population do not have such cases? Is it an accurate assessment or there was something wrong in the observation that was made, either by your Ministry or whoever gave you that piece of information?
(v) *HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. I want to begin by commending both the Portfolio Committee and the Hon. Minister for bringing these very important issues for our attention. My point of clarification relates to the cases of rape which the Hon. Minister referred to. I want to find out what efforts the Ministry has taken to make a follow-up to ascertain the outcome of those reports. I know that usually cases may be reported but sometimes because of various reasons like poor investigation, poor prosecution, sometimes witnesses not turning up, some of those cases do not result in conviction. I want to find out what the Ministry is doing as a follow-up to find out what is the outcome of those cases.
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. S. NYONI): I do not understand what he wants me to follow up.
HON. GONESE: To find out what will be the outcome of the report they gave, because you made reference Hon. Minister to reported cases of allegations of rape and I am now referring to the outcome. Previously, a lot of those cases actually resulted in conviction because such cases people get acquitted because of various reasons which are poor investigation and others - so I want to find out whether the Ministry is making a follow-up to find out what the outcome of those cases has been and what steps are being taken to ensure that those cases which are reported are prosecuted.
The Hon. Minister having indicated that she cannot clearly hear what Hon. Gonese wanted her to do.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, you can write that on our chat platform and the Minister will go and do the fact finding and come with the response later.
HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. Let me begin by actually expressing my appreciation for the presentation and respond rather to the report of the Committee, Hon. Madiwa. I think many times we have bemoaned the absence of responses and the knowledge shared by the Minister in terms of us getting back to the people so that everyone else is knowledgeable and I want to appreciate that. Thank you Hon. Minister, through you Madam Speaker for the responses and the information.
Perhaps really just for the Minister to shed light where she mentioned that survivors must seek help in terms of GBV if they are victims. Today I am not a victim but I may be a victim tomorrow, the same as you or anyone else out there. What are the modalities in place for the public that they would know in terms of access to this particular information so that it reaches out to the people and where they can actually seek the help? Perhaps that was not very clear in terms of the presentation.
HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. Thank you Hon. Minister for the presentation. In your presentation you indicated that some girls are now in matrimony under the age of 18, what have you done as a Ministry to make sure that the perpetrators are brought to book?
HON. DR. LABODE: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam for this opportunity. I want to thank Hon. Minister Nyoni for a very elaborate report. Hon. Speaker in the past two weeks, Hon. Madiwa the Chair for the Committee raised an issue of teenage pregnancies and child marriages. The following week, we received a report from Hon. Misiharabwi-Mushonga the Chairperson of Education Committee, bemoaning the same issue that they discovered a lot of school drop outs at primary schools due to pregnancies. Today Minister Nyoni has also emphasised on that.
What I am saying Madam Speaker is that we have received reports and we all know one of the reason why we have such a huge number of one in five young people getting pregnant below the age of 18. It is because of a law in Section 36 of the Public Health Act that restricts a person under 18 years from seeking something that will prevent them from getting pregnant while they are sexually active, that is where the problem is. Oliver Mtukudzi said in one of the songs, kuseri kweguva hakuna munamato Minister, shandisai mazano. We know children are dying because of getting pregnant and are unable to deliver because they are too young. They are dying because of abortion but we have decided – tichangochema, zviri right, we need to do something. Thank you Minister for a brilliant report.
(v)*HON. CHIKUNI: Thank you Hon. Minister for the report. My worry now is because of lack of awareness of the GBV victims’ assistance which will lead to corruption and abuse of these funds by Provincial and District Officers. Who will follow up to check if the resources are used for the intended purpose and in this case gender based violence assistance
*HON. DR. NYASHANU: Thank you Madam Speaker for according me this opportunity. I want to thank Hon. Minister Nyoni for tabling this report in this august House. I want to add my voice on the issues raised. The Ministry which she is leading is very important when we are focusing on the issues to do with women and the girl child, but I want to plead with her that the job is not properly done. There are many things which must be looked into by this Ministry but in our constituencies, we see that there are many loopholes and a lot of things need to be done.
I want to tell her since we have met in this august House that your Ministry is not performing properly. We do not see your representatives in different constituencies, showing that they are doing what they are expected to do on issues to do with gender based violence, violence on women and children. We must work on finding ways to end gender based violence, not to reduce the rates of gender based violence. When the mother is being violated, the rights of a child are also violated. Therefore, we are saying Minister you have got a lot of work to do. We want to see your subordinates, your core-workers doing a lot on the ground so that we can eliminate GBV. Thank you.
HON, T. MLISWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My point of clarity is I did not hear men or boys being mentioned in terms of the GBV. Is it just women because men are being beaten by women and young boys are being abused. So much is happening as the desperation of the husband not being there and young boys under the age of 16 are taken to fill the gap. I did not hear that. We have graduated to a point where it is the women who are beating up the men more than the men beating up the women. I did not hear of such statistics because men are shy to go and report to the police because within the community they will be a laughing stock.
Men do not want to be exposed and in our language and culture, chakafukidza dzimba matenga. Men are suffering and young boys are suffering. The Minister can tell us in terms of their findings and their research where we are at as a country in terms of the abuse of women by men, the abuse of small boys by women and so forth. I just wanted clarity on that. Thank you.
HON. MAYIHLOME: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing up her report on this important issue affecting women, community affairs and gender in the communities that we serve. Like what Hon. Nyashanu has just said, the representation by ward coordinators in the constituencies that we serve is very low. In some instances, it is less than 20% and we think that awareness really becomes an issue. Women and girl children out there are just not aware of their rights and they are not aware of where they should go.
Some of the statistics might appear to be impressive, but perhaps it has to do with inadequate reporting or inadequate gathering of information. I also want to implore or appeal to the Hon. Minister that the shelters for women and girl children should be put up in every district if possible. In my case, this has been under construction and this is the second year now. These are NGOs, Msasa Project is trying to assist, but we are not seeing the Government doing something about it. We urge the Hon. Minister to take this as a very important aspect of her Ministry that the shelters are run by the Ministry. NGOs can come in to assist because they may come with their different agendas. We implore that all districts should have sufficient ward coordinators and they are educated appropriately.
The Ministry is very huge and only encompass anything you can think of in the community and really touches on this particular Ministry. We applaud the work that they are doing but I think they are limited in terms of resources. Again mobility - each time we want to take them for projects, they appeal to you as the Member of Parliament to carry them because they would probably have one vehicle and where there are so many wards, it is difficult to cover everyone and go to other areas. So they need to be resourced adequately. I thank you Madam Speaker. *HON. ZEMURA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I would want to start by thanking the Minister for the report which she has presented. I have a concern that a lot of children were abused during the lockdown and this was not entirely their fault or anyone’s fault. It is because of the environment which they found themselves in during the COVID-19 period. Girls from Form 1 to Form 4 were pregnant and we were forcing some of them to go and write their examinations despite their pregnancies. The abuse that was forced on women during the lockdown period - we urge the Ministry to come up with the statistics. The majority of these girls dropped out of school and their education has been affected but the boys wrote their examinations. This means that the women are disadvantaged in terms of education. It is my plea that whilst the girl child has delivered, they should be allowed to attend school and be given breast feeding time. This was caused by COVID-19 war. I thank you.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. May I thank the Hon. Minister for the presentation. May I seek clarification on two issues, the first concerns capacitation of officials working for one-stop shop? To what extent has your Ministry benefited from the 2021 Budget? Now that the Minister of Finance is now here, what has the Ministry benefited in as far as purchasing of off road vehicles is concerned.
The second and last question is that I heard shocking statistics of the number of teenage pregnancies in Mashonaland Central when there is zero cases in Matebeleland North. What could be the reason in your analysis or from the study that was done?
(v)HON. MAHLANGU: My question is, is it not proper to allow children to use protective measures so that they protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies and HIV. Thank you.
HON. MAVETERA: I want to take this opportunity to applaud the Hon. Minister for coming up with the Sexual Harassment Act principles. I am sure that is a step in the right direction. Thank you very much Hon. Minister. However, let me now seek clarification. The first one is to do with sexual harassment. If you look at it Hon. Minister, what is it that you are doing in terms of rape cases? Have you made a follow-up? For example during this COVID period, what is it that you have done as a Ministry so that at least we do not get a lot of people coming up and reporting and then they withdraw because of certain issues. What plan have you put in place so that at least we get a conclusion when it comes to rape cases in this country?
The second issue is we have had a statement from His Excellency whereby he said that there is going to be a provision of 30% in local councils. What is it that you have done as a Ministry to make sure that this is implemented and executed towards making sure that we get 30% women representation in local councils – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I do not know if may be my memory is a bit skewed. Did we not pass a law in this House that young girls could be pregnant and go to school? Has that not also made it worse? I thought we passed a law in this House. The reason why I am raising a point of order is that some of the laws that we pass as Hon. Members here, come to eat us again. We debated strongly on it and there was a law, so because there is a law, what stops a young girl from being pregnant when knowing that she can go to school?
I am just trying to remind the august House that we passed a law here that young girls could be pregnant and go to school. May we just think about that? Was that good for us to pass that law? We passed that law in this House. So what stops them from being pregnant when they are young knowing that they can go to school. It is a law, they cannot be arrested and they cannot be stopped from going to school. So, some of these laws do put us into trouble. Let us really think about it.
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFAFIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (HON. DR. NYONI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon, Members for the questions they have asked and some have also proffered very good suggestions. The first one I think came from Hon. Nduna who asked a question about what we are doing together with the Ministry of Education for non-payment of fees, overcrowding in houses and also the Ministry of Agriculture for lack of water.
The answer is that we all have common responsibility. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, I think has also to make sure that the girl child is facilitated. On the overcrowding of housing and that it is now causing the young people to get pregnant; I would like the House to know that Government is now doing a lot about housing. Very soon we are going to see improvement especially in the towns and growth points. We want to acknowledge that in the inner cities, it is very true that there is really crowding which may cause young people to get pregnant because there is very little privacy.
The Chief Whip asked why I think Bulawayo and Harare had low figures and yet there is so much violence and so much promiscuity in those towns. Madam Speaker, this was just for these statistics which are huge and frightening. They were only for two months and were given to us by the ZRP, but I want to agree with the Chief Whip that it is not conclusive. It does not mean to say that Bulawayo and Harare do not have these criminals. It just means that during this time of the survey, this is what came out and I do not think that we need to relax just because of that.
Hon. Gonese, I want to thank you for your question and really apologise because there were a lot of echoes. Should you write your question down, we will be able to answer. Hon. Mpariwa, your question was survivors must seek help at one-stop-centres, how do they get to know where to go. The Ministry tries to communicate through our officers, the media, our website but I want to agree that we are not doing enough, we need really to do more. Now we are making arrangements that we need to put pamphlets out there so that people know in each village, district what is gender based violence and if it happens, where do you go and also put some phone numbers so that they can report.
It is very important also that we send messages of non-tolerance of gender based violence and that gender based violence, the survivors and the services that need to be given and stopping it is a responsibility of everyone. The Deputy Chief Whip asked that girls in matrimony, what have we done to the perpetrators? Madam Speaker, I think there is a law that when people report, the police will take the case. What we have really done is that we have victim friendly police that take these cases, but I want to admit that because there are just so many cases, some of them delay until justice is not done properly.
I think we want to applaud the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and also the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development that we are now having victim friendly courts in every district and I think this is going to help. We want to encourage that perpetrators need to be brought to book because if perpetrators are not dealt with, this makes people think that this is child’s play.
Hon. Labode also had echoes, but I think she really made more comments than questions. Her question was, what are we really doing? We have statistics all over about abuse and gender based violence, what are we doing and her emphasis was that we need to do something and we need to do more. I would not agree with her more.
Hon. Chikuni talked about lack of awareness. I think I have already said indeed we cannot have enough awareness. The Ministry is aware of this and I want the Hon. House to be aware also that the lockdowns that we have had the whole year last year has really blocked communication in terms of reaching out to the people but a lot of efforts are being made and we need to do more to make sure that awareness is built.
Hon. Nyashanu, thank you very much. You are right when you say we are not very visible on the ground, because if we were doing what we were really supposed to be doing on the ground we would be breaking the lockdown. There was a lockdown, we were not allowed to go out, our officers were not allowed to go to communities and they were not allowed to hold meetings. I want to appeal for your understanding that once the lockdown is lifted, please call us to your constituency. We will be there and our best will be done.
Hon. Mliswa, thank you very much and you are right that I did not mention more about men but when we talk about gender based violence, when we talk about gender, we talk about both men and women, but maybe what you should have said is that we should have really disaggregated the statistics and said of these 300, so many were women and so many were men. I want to agree with you that we are having a society where both men and women are victimising each other and sometimes you have woman to woman or man to man and it is all gender based violence and we need to condemn it in its entirety. It does not matter whether it is done by a woman to a man or a man to a woman, it is wrong because we need to respect each other.
Hon. Mayihlome, the coordinators are very low. I think I have answered this. Yes, they are very low. I think Hon. Members will also be aware that we are still recruiting so that we have more ward coordinators but if they are there and their work is not visible, I hope you understand that it is because of lockdown and thereafter we will make sure that they move. You also mentioned that you see private partners and not Government. There is no private partner or NGO that can work a Ministry’s programme without the agreement of a Ministry and we do not want to duplicate, so that if Msasa Project is building a shelter the Ministry also comes there to build a shelter. That is a duplication of resources. So I think what we need to do is to make sure that what Msasa Project is doing is according to the regulations of Government but Msasa Project is in Umzingwani because we have various partners and we allocate them various areas.
Hon. Zemura, thank you very much also for your question that girls get pregnant, what is now going to happen to them. You are correct Honourable that this really reduces the number of educated girls and some girls do not really dare to go back to school. They get discouraged, shy and they need a parent, they need communities to encourage them to pick up from where they have fallen. You are right that the boys will go to school. I think yes, let us encourage those boys to go to school so that we should not punish the boys and punish the girls because we will then be destroying the society. What we should really do is that both of them, when they have fallen, we must as society help them to rise up, to get up and to go back and resume their education because education for children is very important, but I agree with you that when a girl gets pregnant, it is very rare and very difficult for her to keep up with the boys.
Hon. T. Moyo, thank you for your question and I am glad that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is here. Yes, we did budget for one-stop-centres and I am glad that our budget, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development gave us but as always, it is not enough and we hope that as we want to expand the programme, we budgeted not only for the one stop centres but also for off road vehicles so that we can reach out; thank you very much. We have got seven and we still have seven to buy. The budget is there but we need more money for one stop centres and for the strategies that we have put to present GBV such as economic empowerment for women.
What is the reason that we have more child marriages in Mashonaland Centres and less in Matabeleland North – this is something we are still going into; some of it could be overcrowding or cultural differences or even overpopulation. We are working very hard to ensure that this trend in Mashonaland Central is reversed.
Hon. Mahlangu, you said since young people engage in sexual activities they get pregnant and get diseases – should we not allow them to have prevention. I think this is a catch 22 question. I remember this question is still being debated; do we allow our children to have access to contraceptives or do we need to have sex education. I think that is a debate that is ongoing.
Hon. Mavetera spoke about harassment, whether we have made any follow up on rape cases. Yes we have and a lot of rape cases are very complicated because the courts have not been functioning at full throttle. Because of that, a lot of these cases have delayed. The more they delay, the more the people feel discouraged. I know of people who have travelled from the rural areas to the courts in town only to find the courts closed. I think we need to make sure that these people are followed up and they do not give up until the perpetrators are brought to book.
We want to thank His Excellency on the 30% of local authorities. A lot is being done. My Ministry through the Gender and Mainstreaming Department are trying to work with all stakeholders, civil society and also political parties to ensure that more women are involved in politics and we hope that this 30% will be achieved.
Hon. Mliswa, you said we made this law here – was it not encouraging; I do not think so. I think what we were trying to do is to really deal with the victims and not the prostitutes because if children then decide to go and get pregnant, I think that is different from children that really want to go to school and are disciplined but circumstances like lockdown or anything else forced them to do that. I think we need to protect them and make sure that they then go to school and that their future is not spoiled because of the mishap that was beyond their control. I thank you Madam Speaker.
(V)HON. PHULU: I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for a comprehensive report on gender based violence (GBV) during this lockdown period. One knows that it is an unsolicited report and we would like to thank her for that. There are a lot of things that I wanted to dwell on but they have been covered. I will zero in on one item.
Perhaps time has come for us to zero-in on GBV which we are seeing on the internet. We see people being assaulted and all sorts of drama. The clubs are watching and celebrating what is in fact GBV or domestic violence. In their investigations in the Ministry, do they have a unit that follows up or recommends on instances of violence that we see happening online because people violate each other online on a regular basis. That is my concern and to also underline the concern raised by Hon. Mliswa to say, disaggregation of statistics as the Minister has pointed out would be very important because the boy child and men are also suffering. We would want to see how these statistics are moving.
In terms of the recommendation, the action part of this report resides in other ministries. We would want to hear other ministries such as the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Education responding to this report in terms of what steps they are taking to deal with these issues.
HON. TOFFA: I would first of all want to thank the Hon. Minister for presenting this important report to us which is eye opening and quite shocking considering that it is a report from two months.
What effort is your Ministry or Government going to take to alleviate and support the families from which these children come from? I know we are just talking statistics and people have asked about what would be done but I am looking at the situation we are in now. What are we going to do to help these children? We are talking about gender based violence. If Government does not come a step forward, I can see more GBV coming up because obviously the parents are going to be fighting, blaming each other and because people live from hand to mouth and cannot even afford to help themselves, now there comes this extra burden where this child needs maternity, food – the young girl needs to buy baby clothing and so forth. I would like to suggest that Government quickly looks into this. They have the statistics of the young girls and obviously know where they are because you would not just come up with numbers and maybe speak to the Ministry of Social Welfare and Ministry of Finance to see how you can actually help. This must be a concerted and joint effort to help the situation, like other Hon. Members have said that it was not planned. It just happened and we need to seriously consider and make sure that the young girls who engaged in sexual activities must have access to SRHR health facilities. Madam Speaker, whilst the Minister spoke about following up rape after an Hon. Member had asked, I think this needs to be looked into as a matter of urgency because sometimes a young girl has been raped. Surely, we know that a young girl cannot carry in most cases to full term. We need something to be done so that the girls can have abortion.
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Toffa, you do not have to debate. Please ask your point of clarification.
HON. TOFFA: I was proffering a solution. I have already asked my question to say, what will Government do with regards to the young girls that are pregnant and the welfare of the whole family needs to be looked into so as to avoid further gender based violence?
HON NYAMUDEZA: I would like to thank the Minister for a good report. My question is that, have you ever considered roping in traditional leaders and councilors to help you on gender based violence awareness campaigns?
HON TSUNGA: I too join my colleagues in thanking and congratulating the Hon Minister for a beautiful report which is quite informative and providing some introspection into those tasked with ensuring the safety of our young girls. My point of clarification relates to the increased instances of transactional sex that our young girls are engaging in recent years including trafficking that we have also seen in recent years and months. What is her Ministry doing to increase access, ownership and control of sustainable livelihood activities by women and girls in an effort to reduce gender based violence because in many a case, such indulgence in transactional sex is a result of the absence and lack of activities by young girls and women.
HON. M. M. MPOFU: Is there any counseling session for those who have been abused because due to the lockdown, there was a lot of child labour taking place in the homes? There was a lot of conflict between children and parents because of staying together for a long time.
HON. MAPHOSA: My issue has been slightly touched on by Hon Mpofu but my clarification is; is there support for the victims, for instance let us say their issue has been taken to court and it is now over. Is there support system for the victims after reporting and when they go back to their relatives and friends where they would have been abused? What support systems are there so that those victims are not further victimised when they get home?
My second clarification is on the police side when people are reporting GBV. I have noticed that the police do not do what they were doing before, to say when you want to report about the issue, they say please go back home and even in the courts they now say, go through the courts. I want to understand if the Minister can or if she can refer me to the Ministry of Home Affairs to say, is there a policy or a circular for every issue that comes to the police station to do with gender based violence that might not be treated as a civil matter but as a criminal matter because some of it would have been injured or morally let down.
HON. DR. S. NYONI: Let me thank Hon Members once again for the questions that they asked and also some of the suggestions that were made. The first question was on the support for the need to disaggregate statistics and also to work very closely with other ministries such as Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health. I think this is very important and the point is taken.
Hon Toffa, you are right that there is need for the Ministry to make an effort to work with families and the comments that you made. Your point is also taken that we need to work very closely with the Ministry of Social Welfare because ours would be to attend and prevent gender based violence by all means possible including empowering girls, boys and families. After that the Ministry of Health when there are health issues takes over. When there are psycho-social issues, the Ministry of Social Welfare takes over and when there are social services related issues, the Ministry of Social Welfare takes over. I think I want to thank you. We need to strengthen this relationship.
Hon. Nyamudeza, thank you very much. We need to work very closely with councillors, especially the fact that they are on the ground, they could be a very useful resource. Hon. Tsunga, thank you for your question and suggestion. You asked what we are doing because really this GBV is increasing and one of the major causes is poverty, to summarise. So what are we doing to make sure that girls and women are engaged in livelihoods that will give them the dignity or prevent this?
One of my Ministry’s mandates is to do community development and we have got community development funds in which if any family or group of people find a livelihood possibility, we are there to fund and assist them. When the lockdown is over, we want to galvanize our coordinators at ward level to work with families to ensure that livelihoods are enhanced because I am sure that is where the crux of the matter is, that people need to be supported for better livelihoods. That is one of the things that my Ministry is looking into. Hon. Mpofu, yes we need counselling services for both parents and children, especially after GBV has occurred or a girl gets pregnant at home and parents usually start fighting - we need to have counselling services and this is also where we work with Social Welfare.
The next question was on what happens after issues have been taken to court. What support services are the families given? Like I said, there is a thin line. If it is something to do with economic empowerment, the Ministry takes over but if it is something to do with social welfare or health issues then we take it to the Ministry of Social Welfare. Thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 35 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 36 has been disposed of.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WOMEN AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMEs DEVELOPMENT ON FACT FINDING VISITS TO ASCERTAIN LEVEL OF PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY RELATED TO SGBV AND COVID-19
Thirty-Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Community and SMEs Development on public service delivery related to SGBV and COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.
Question again proposed.
(v)HON. MADIWA: Let me from the onset thank you Hon. Minister for a job well done in coming to present the statement in response to the report that was tabled by the Portfolio Committee on Women’s Affairs, Community and Small and Medium Enterprises. Let me say the Minister made all the efforts to respond to all the questions raised and I am glad that the Minister appreciates in accepting the recommendations that were made by the Portfolio Committee.
Madam Speaker, let me highlight that GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of the victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of society. Victims of violation suffer as highlighted by the Minister sexual reproductive health consequences and I am glad that the Minister is looking at all these issues. Let me thank the Hon. Members of Parliament for making various suggestions and highlighting all these issues for Government’s attention. I am glad that the Government through the Minister is going to look at all the issues that have been raised by Members of Parliament.
I now move that this House takes note of the report of the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development on the fact finding visits to ascertain the level of public service delivery related to SGBV and COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I move that we revert back to Order of the Day Number 5 on Today’s Order Paper.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE LOAN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE AND THE ARAB BANK FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA (BADEA) RELATING TO URGENT RESPONSE OPERATION TO FIGHT COVID-19
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): THAT WHEREAS, Section 327 (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an Agreement which is not an international treaty but which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority with one or more foreign organizations or entities and imposes fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;
AND WHEREAS, the Loan Agreement between Government of Zimbabwe and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) relating to Urgent Response Operation to Fight COVID-19 concluded 28 August 2020 to be implemented through the Ministry of Health and Child Care; and
NOW THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (3) of the Constitution, this House resolves that the aforesaid Agreement be and is hereby approved.
This Madam Speaker Maam is a 10 million USD loan. We are borrowing this money from the BADEA, the interest rate is 2% per annum and the grace period for the loan is five years. The tenure of the loan 25 years and the Government will repay the principal in 40 semi- annual installments where the repayments paid within 30 days of the due date will attract a 0, 25% discount on the interest rate – so this is attractive indeed.
The project is really meant to support the current efforts to fight the pandemic and therefore reduce the health, economic and social impact of COVID-19. Specifically, it will target the prevention and fighting COVID-19 including procurement of diagnostic equipment and medical supplies; it will target equipping of laboratories including procurement of equipment and personal protective supplies and finally the procurement of medicines. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Hon. Minister, are there any terms in terms of interest, is there any collateral attachment of minerals and so forth? We have seen quite a lot of these loans happening, the next thing would be a certain farm, land and so forth was given.
(v)HON. DR. LABODE: Madam Speaker Maam, I am concerned with this our borrowing, especially towards COVID-19. I would have been more comfortable if the Minister would have brought-in before, his report on all the donations we have received and what they have been used for specifically regarding COVID-19.
I am still uncomfortable and I will sound like a broken record; we have now received everything that was supposed to be purchased by the 45 million USD from Global Fund. That is the only donation I know. So I am really thinking, as Zimbabweans, we were told immediately after we queried, the ZACC reported that there were test kits found in Bulawayo stolen worth $12 000. Do we want to be borrowing for certain individuals somewhere then to come and steal?
When the Ministry reported on drugs, NATPHAM seemed to have adequate drugs for COVID and I was even worried that they might expire on us. So my concern is what exactly are we going to use this money for? Let us not get ourselves in debt unnecessarily.
HON. MARKHAM: I just want to back up what Hon. Labode said. I think the Minister should give us a reconciliation of all money borrowed in the name of COVID and donated in the name of COVID and what it has been used for.
HON. CHIDAKWA: Before we talk about borrowing for COVID-19, there must be clarity and audit on what all the money which was borrowed was used for. Was the money even used for the intended purpose? May the Minister of Finance and Economic Development bring a Ministerial Statement on the money used and money donated by other countries to help us fight the pandemic? I thank you.
HON. A. NDEBELE: Madam Speaker related to that, I remember vividly at some point that the Minister allocated an equivalent of 10 million dollars to COVID research. It will be interesting for him to break this down as to what research is being undertaken under COVID in our country because I honestly feel that any research that we will be doing is as good as reinventing the wheel. I thank you.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I thank Hon. Mliswa for his question, very pertinent, on the structure of this loan. Is it linked to commodity, minerals or land? The answer is no. This is a plain vanilla concessionary loan. As I said, the tenure is 25 years, so we will pay it over 25 years. We have a 5 year grace period permission and any payment of interest on time, the interest is 2% per annum. If we pay our interest on time within 30 days that it is due, we get a point two five percent discount. Actually, the effective interest rate for paying on time is 75 percent and it is not backed by commodities or indeed land, plain vanilla loan.
Hon. Dr. Labode, said look, we have received some donations from various partners which is very welcome and what is the status of those because now we are borrowing and so forth. Yes the partners have donated monies towards COVID-19 to the tune of US$220 million but the release of these resources is at their pace, at their choosing and the time is also in their choosing and these resources, by the way, do not go through our budget. We do not sit here as Parliament to deliberate over it and approve because it is outside the budget. We have allowed them to do that also because they have made that request to manage it outside the budget. So, most of the donors would use an agent such as UNOPS and others. So, we have no control in terms of pace of deployment of critical resources when we need them. The advantage of what we have before us, the US$10m, it looks small but this is a high impact concessional loan Madam Speaker, very high impact in targeting COVID-19. We have control if we needed to know the areas where it will be used.
I did outline this in the sense of diagnostic equipment, medical supplies that we procured and then equipment for our laboratories and some medical equipment as well. Here, we are now trying to also acquire some vaccines to inoculate our citizens and all of us. These resources could; some of it, find their way there. So just give us more flexibility and more options and I do not think US$10m is a really painful amount for the nation also given the tenure of 25 years, 5 year grace period as well as favourable concessionary interest rate.
Let me turn to the question of Hon. Markham, he talked about reconciliation of all the COVID-19 donations. We cannot give you a reconciliation. All I can talk about is tell you how much they have pledged and how much they have given us so far but I cannot tell you the detail because the donors themselves control that. We have allowed them to do that because they are managing these resources outside the budgetary process, outside our monitoring systems. Hon. Markham, so far they have disbursed half of what they pledged. So it is just over US$110m worth of resources that have been disbursed.
If I can link that back to the question by Dr Labode, she asked about Global Fund sources, so far the Global Fund sources have given us PPEs and equipment and other support for COVID-19 to the tune of US$17.5 out of the 45 million that they had pledged and this is welcome. We expect that in the next quarter we will receive probably equipment to the tune of another US$12.5 million and then the last US$15m or so later in the year or even early next year but this is at the pace of the donor and the ability to disburse. The US$10m that I am requesting here, once it is received, then we can move faster because we will be in control.
Hon. Ndebele asked about resources set aside for research and that we are perhaps duplicating and so forth, I think here he is asking about a different port of resources and I think that we always say look R and D is very critical, we should support our universities. I think that if they choose to research on COVID-19, which they have done among other things, that is a good thing because of the little that I know not being a scientist that research opens up, vaccine research for other types of viruses and not just the COVID-19 virus, it is just an entry point.
So the fact that our universities are researching, it is a good thing and I think that we should support them, it is important that they contribute fully to our health and delivery system by providing the knowledge base plus developing these vaccines. I thank you.
(v) HON. MARKHAM: On a point of order Madam Speaker Ma’am.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): What is your point of order Hon. Markham.
HON. MARKHAM: Did the Minister not say he cannot reconcile what has been donated. In other words, donors do what they want with the money. Can he just confirm that? I am sorry my line was bad?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: He did not say that. Okay let him respond. Hon. Minister Hon. Markham needs clarity on what you said previously concerning the money for donors. Did you say you cannot account or you can account? What is the position concern the money from donors?
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: The money from donors does not come to Government, so I cannot account for it. Only the donors can account for it. So we would have to ask them one by one to see how much they have donated, how they have done it, where has it been targeted? So, this is how we work, each time we do a budget, we do this round with them where we request that information and then we are able to share that information. We do not account the information and we do not even control it. We have given them that permission because that is what they have requested. So, we thought look, if the resources are going to our citizens, why should we not allow them to supplement what we are trying to do in terms of budgetary process, we do not account for those sources.
(V)HON. MARKHAM: Sorry Madam Speaker, I heard him saying he has been given US$10 million dollars.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: That is why the Minister said you can then request that from the donors because as far as it is concerned, he said that the money does not come to Government. So, if money does not come to Government, there is no way he is able to account, according to what the Hon. Minister said now.
(v) HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, what he has just said, I find incredulous.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: That is not parliamentary language Hon. Markham. I am sure he has lost connectivity, we cannot proceed more with him, he wanted to indulge you but unfortunately his network is bad.
Motion put and agreed to.
(V)HON. NDEBELE: You left us out of the conversation because you were muted all along and I think that it is deliberate.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): My apologies. Unfortunately, it was due to network connectivity since we do not create it.
(V)HON. NDEBELE: I had my hand up and you deliberately muted us out of that conversation in the House.
HON. MAVETERA: My apologies Hon. Anele Ndebele, everything was in order. I am sure that it was due to network connectivity on your side. Thank you.
(V)HON. NDEBELE: You saw that I had my hand up and you ignored me and went on to mute us out.
HON. MAVETERA: Hon. Ndebele, your hand was up from where you were and I am sure that network was problematic there. There is no way that I can create or stop the network from doing what it can do. So I am sure that it was a network challenge and I am sorry about that. We are going to proceed. Thank you.
RATIFICATION OF THE LOAN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE AND THE EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF INDIA RELATING TO HWANGE UNITS THERMAL POWER STATION LIFE EXTENSION PROJECT
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Madam Speaker, I move the motion standing in my name;
THAT WHEREAS, Subsection (3) of Section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an Agreement which is not an international treaty but which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority with one or more foreign organisations or entities and imposes fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;
AND WHEREAS, the Loan Agreement between Government of Zimbabwe and the Export - Import Bank of India relating to Hwange Units Thermal Power Station Life Extension Project being implemented by Zimbabwe Power Company concluded on 24 February 2020; and
NOW THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (3) of the Constitution, this House resolves that the aforesaid Agreement be and is hereby approved.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, with your indulgence, I will elaborate on this loan agreement. The Hwange Power Station has an installed capacity of 920MW comprising of six units that were commissioned in two phases as follows: - Stage One which is a four by 120MW was commissioned in 1983 to 86 during that period. Then Stage Two which was 220MW units were commissioned between 1986 and 1987. The units were operated beyond their life expectation of 30 years. Hwange Thermal Power Station is currently generating an average of 300MW which is less that 50% of its capacity to produce. Reduction in the plant is mainly attributed to the age of the plant and lack of regular scheduled maintenance due to lack of resources. Plant rehabilitation initiatives have been undertaken since 2009.
However, due to its age, the plant now has high and frequent emergency shut downs for unplanned repair works. Cognisant of the above, the Zimbabwe Power Company approached Treasury to secure resources to undertake life extension with the purpose of restoring the power station’s capacity back to 880MWs and to further extend the life of the power station by a further 20 years. The total cost of the rehabilitation programme is estimated at USD$440 million. USD$125 million has so far been secured from Standard Bank and Exim Bank – so it is USD$50 million from Standard Bank and USD$75 million from Exim Bank.
An additional USD$310 million has since been secured and that is what we are on about this afternoon in this presentation. So in response to ZPC’s request for funding for the project, the Government negotiated and signed USD$310 million line of credit agreement with the Export and Import Bank of India which was concluded on 24th February, 2020 for Hwange One to Six thermal power station life extension project. The loan will be utilised towards the procurement of a project management consultant and the rehabilitation of Hwange One to Six thermal power stations. The rehabilitation project entails upgrade and general overhaul of turbines and boilers as well as the auxiliaries of boilers and turbines.
The line of credit from the Export and Import Bank of India has the following terms and conditions:- the loan amount is USD$310 million; the interest is 1.75% per annum; there is a commitment fee of half a percent (1/2%) on the undrawn balance; the management fee of 0.5% and this is a once off payment and there is a default rate of 2% should there be any default. The facility will be online to the Zimbabwe Power Corporation at the same terms and conditions of the facility from the India Exim Bank. The Zimbabwe Power Company will be responsible for the repayment of the loan directly to the India Exim Bank as well as the payment of the management and commitment fees.
The benefits of the project Madam Speaker Ma’am, are on improved power output. So it is really reduction of the supply demand gap especially experienced during the peak hours. There has been increase in Zimbabwe’s power generation, reliability and efficiency. There will be reduction in power imports thus reducing demand on foreign currency. There will be improvement in the plant efficiency and it will also go a long way in reducing fuel consumption. There will be reduced cost of energy production, reduced consumption of chemicals and consumables from the existing generating facilities. The increased power supply will ensure sustained economic growth and development as energy is a key enabler and not only jobs will be created – both skilled and unskilled and downstream benefits will accrue to the local industries and related value chain. I thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Obviously and naturally nobody can deny Government to borrow in order to boost our power generation. Certain questions or several questions arise Madam Speaker, which I would wish the Hon. Minister to answer.
When you look at USD$440 million, is there no scope in coming up with a new power station that will generate almost close to what we are trying to resuscitate because the Hon. Minister says that power station was commissioned in 1980 and since then has been operating under a lot of heat. Definitely, trying to resuscitate something that has been burning since 1980 is not wise because the generation on thermal is about heat, heat day and night. Is it not worth reconsidering coming up with a plant that perhaps with USD$440 million, would give us close to the capacity that they are aiming to generate?
The second issue is, who will refurbish the power station? We see that this is money that is coming from India, is it not going to be a situation where the same Indians will come and bid for the project, refurbish and take back the money, instead of putting it at competitive bid because we have such projects undergoing similar arrangements. The country or the nationals bring in their everybody - no local employment, no benefit except for the power station which will be left to us but the money goes back. We have various examples, like the G5 road construction. None of the Zimbabweans benefited. The same South Africans gave us the money - follow it and take it back.
Then lastly, you are talking of US$440 million, obviously negotiations were done before the recent damage that took place on Unit 1. Will that not entail extra amounts now that there has been the burning of Unit 1 which caused substantial damages to it but it is outside the US$440 million? Are they not going to ask for extra monies to top up so that it covers extra damages that were caused about two/three weeks back? Thank you Madam Speaker.
(v)HON. MARKHAM Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is; are there other loan agreements other than with China-Exim bank that you have entered into? Secondly, do you still owe them money?
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The Minister certainly is trying to do his best by ensuring that there is power. There is the Batoka programme, the Kariba as well. There are many programmes that are supposed to be generating power. We are equally looking into solar and I am saying to myself, we are well positioned for that and in terms of priority and sustainability, the green energy we are talking about, US$440 million, putting a solar plant, what does that do to us? Has that been considered because we seem to be approached for things that are on their way out in terms of lifespan. They are nearing the end but we are putting in money there as Hon. Gabbuza said. What other options have come through and what measures have been taken to ensure that this is the most competitive price that we have?
Do we have the Chinese as we ought to say to them if you have to do this, how much will it cost? We have Russians, the Americans, the Indians we have done that and there are many power houses from an economic point of view. Have we gone that far or India came and we are quite grateful because they just said this is what we want to give you without also looking out? The issue Madam Speaker, is the debt that the country has is so much and what we will leave for generations to come is just debt. The resources that we have had, we have not even done much in terms of showing that they sustain programmes and so forth. We have economic blueprints which talk about programme 1, 2, 3 but we keep moving. It is a pot which is leaking and that leak is corruption. Whatever we are putting in the pot is leaking. So, at what point are we now going to have a situation where the resources that we have put into Treasury are enough to sustain this country?
Maybe we dream, maybe we have not quantified the resources. The very same Hwange area, I do not know whether the Minister is aware of that. It constantly parcels out to people who will be speculating. Billy Rautenbach was given Todal mine in terms of platinum and he sold it. Now he was given western area, which is the future of Hwange; he is going to speculate again. Why do we not also give resources to our own people to speculate and make money in their own country? We seem not to be putting our own first and we continuously remain in this problem.
The rate of borrowing is a bit too much, it is worrisome. We still have resources but why do we not then quantify our resources to say what does India want in terms of resources. The problem is we are giving a lot more resources to people for nothing. Coral Resources is there, we talk about a $12 billion mining industry, Coral Resources came in, a briefcase company that did not help the Minister at all yet it is a resource if you find people with capacity. It can generate income where we are now able to put it in our own thing. So, Madam Speaker, it is important that the Minister finds it in himself. I know he has the heart for this country but the borrowings and resources – do we not have people whom we can sell these resources to?
We have spoken of privatisation of companies, that we must privatise so that we also earn money. Most of the Government parastatals are not functioning; they are not doing well. What have they done to go on? They go on fundraising to also dispose Government assets which are not viable at all? I thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I just want one point of clarification from the Minister. The world over, people are worried about thermal power stations. They are offloading them because there is an international cry for clean energy. So many developed countries are offloading, throwing away all this dead thermal power stations. My fear with this deal is, is there no possibility that we are being given a loan so that we buy again the dead thermal power station that they do not need and then pay an interest on the same? How will you guard against such because if you are going to engage the same Indians to refurbish Hwange, they will bring what they no longer need? What they are offloading and throwing away, they are selling charging us? Can the Minister make a comment, how are they guarding against such malpractices by international bullies?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Madam Speaker Maam. I thank the Hon. Members for their interventions, comments and requests for clarifications. Let me start by Hon. Gabbuza who said that with US$440 million you can build a new power station. There were also other subsidiary questions like who were the technology partners; if not so, then the lenders will not impose technology partners on us and would require more resources arising out of the damage on Unit 1on the new power station. Naturally as Treasury, we are led by experts in the Ministry of Energy and ZESA. They have done their analysis and they feel that basically this kind of refurbishment of Unit 1 and 6 is the best option out of the many in that they have considered including building a new power station. There is also something about ZESA in Hwange and also Hwange Colliery. These are institutions in that part of Matabeleland North which really are the hub of the city. It is a way of life within those communities.
I request Members of Parliament as you reflect on these things, there are also those simple but very emotional social issues that have to do with the lives of those who live around those facilities and we have a duty to protect them and their jobs. You often find that some of the decisions to refurbish this have to do with that kind of thinking of maintaining the social fabric in those areas and yet a simple financial approach is to just say close that and rebuild something else, but it does not work that way socially.
In terms of technology partner, we have to rely on our engineers and the Ministry of Energy to make sure we source the best technology partners for this purpose. It is also true that we have had a long working relationship with India Technology Department .That is correct since the early 80s and I am aware of that. I cannot imagine that they will be discounted just because their country provided us with the loan. They should be included. I am sure that ZESA and the Ministry of Energy will do their best to select the best partner.
When it comes to damage on Unit 1, I have not yet received this on my desk from Ministry of Energy as to whether they need any support on this issue. It will cost money for sure but we should stand ready to support it because we want to do that. As to whether we end up asking India Exim Bank to top up the $310 million, I think that is another issue. Let us cross that bridge when we get to it. We still do not know for sure what that damage is going to cost but we need to fix Unit 1.
Hon. Markham said, have I brought any other loans at this House. Yes I have. You recall I brought a loan for China-Exim Bank and another one for India-Exim Bank pertaining to Hwange 7 and 8 and India Exim bank pertained to the Bulawayo Thermal Power Station. We have a strong relationship as a country between India Exim bank and ourselves as well as China-Exim bank and that is a good thing because there are not too many countries or too many institutions where the country can borrow at the moment. It is not that we just want to keep borrowing. We are also watching our debt sustainability levels.
The arrears that we have with the institutions such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank, European Investment Bank; we can no longer borrow from those institutions and those are the facts. These are some of the remaining institutions - the India-Exim Bank and China Exim Bank from which we can borrow from. But, we also need to borrow prudently not that these loans are concessional loans, they are long term loans and they do have grace period. That is very helpful. I can assure you that we are watching our debt sustainability levels.
Hon. Mliswa asked a pertinent question about whether they have looked at other options. Again, he was in a sense affirming Hon. Gabbuza’s sentiments that we could as well build a new power station. Again just to say Ministry of Energy and ZESA have told us that they have done this kind of analysis. As for the other funders, sure we have looked at other funders but they are not too many if you look at Africa Exim Bank, India-Exim Bank and China-Exim Bank; those have been some of the few institutions from which we can borrow from. Those have been some of the few institution from which we can borrow and we have already borrowed from them. So, it is good that India-Exim Bank could lend us money but we do not have too many options for sourcing funding.
India-Exim Bank could lend us money but we do not have too many options for sourcing funding. We did look at others and this was still the best option. It is a concessional loan and, interest rate is 1.75%. It cannot get better than that.
Hon. Mliswa raised concerns about the locals not having enough of an opportunity to access the resources on the ground in the Hwange area in terms of coal mining. I have noticed that this is something that I will also pass on the Ministry of Mines to see whether more locals could be accommodated in whatever concessions are available. I had the pleasure of visiting Zambezi Gas for example, who are doing very well in terms of coal mining in the area and also Makomo Resources as well; they are doing well and then Hwange itself but obviously more players are better.
Hon. Mliswa said, let us privatize resources as well. I am afraid to say privatisation of resources have been slow to be realistic. We went through a period when the currency was volatile and that did impact. The perception of suitors to some of our privatization of resources; that is true because if you want to invest in a country and the country is all over the place, you worry about your returns. So, that did have an impact but with the stability that has been engendered in the last eight months or so, I think we will see some attraction but we are not there yet in terms of privatisation of resources.
When you look at these borrowings - this borrowing is not for consumption and it is true in the past. We have borrowed for consumption and that is not healthy for debt sustainability. If you are borrowing for investment because when you are refurbishing Hwange 1 to 6, that is where investment is going to produce electricity which electricity will be used by industry and commerce to produce goods which will be exported. That is an investment and it is a different type of borrowing and if all goes well, also Hwange should be able with ZPC, to service the loan from the tariffs that it charges on the electricity that you sell. That financial model works but whatever works is, if we are borrowing for consumption. We have done this in the past and I can really assure this House that we do not want to borrow for consumption anymore and that should be avoided.
Hon. Gabbuza mentioned that the thermal power stations are being dumped all over the world because coal is dirty and so how can we protect ourselves from being a dumping ground for others. We will try to be vigilant again. We are sure that the experts will look out for us and do the best in the procurement of this equipment. Also thinking about the technology for power production from coal, there is also clean energy around the world that you could build a successful and clean coal powered station. I visited one in Finland which after burning the coal just produces water. There is no smoke that comes out in it but it is just water that comes out. So, it is possible to produce clean energy from coal if we use the right technology. I am not saying that is what is going to be used at Hwange. I am just saying that while coal looks dirty, it is not completely dirty if you use the right technology. I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 7 to 14 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 15 has been disposed of.
HON. MUTAMBISI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
FIRST REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT ON THE STATE OF INDEPENDENT POWER PRODUCTION IN ZIMBABWE
HON. GABBUZA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development on the State of Independent Power Production in Zimbabwe.
HON. NDIWENI: I second.
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Madam Speaker.
1.1 Zimbabwe has over the years experienced a severe energy crisis because its major sources of electricity are struggling to keep up with the ever-increasing demand. The failure of the major sources to sufficiently supply power has been attributed to several factors such as ageing infrastructure, low water levels at Kariba Hydro Power Station, shortages in foreign currency to complement local sources and the general increase in demand.
1.2 The energy supply crisis has impacted greatly on other sectors for national development such as health, mining, agriculture and industry and commerce. In order to increase power generation and supply in the country, the Government of Zimbabwe opened the energy sector to Independent Power Producers to participate in power production. Accordingly, the Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development was prompted to conduct an inquiry into independent power projects in Zimbabwe that have been licensed to produce and supply power in the country.
- a)To understand the operations of independent power production in the country;
- b)To appreciate challenges being faced in investing into independent power production; and
- c)To recommend strategies that may enhance productivity by independent power producers.
3.1 This report is informed by oral submissions made by licensed Independent Power Producers and the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA). The Committee held oral evidence meetings with 25 licensed Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in hydro, solar and thermal technologies as stipulated below;
|1. Rio Zim-Sengwa Power Station||14. Africa Oracle Solar Group|
|2. Per Lusulu||15. Pito Investments|
|3. Southern Energy||16. Solarwise|
|4. Great Zimbabwe Hydro||17. Energywise|
|5. Tsanga Power Station||18. Solar Group Zimbabwe|
|6. Penhalonga Energy||19. Indo Africa|
|7. Richsaw Solar Tech||20. Sinogy Power|
|8. Aspire||21. Guruve Solar Park|
|9. Plum Solar||22. New Glovers Park|
|10. Harava Solar Park|
24. Distribution Power Group
|12. Custodian Energy||25. Planet One Solar|
|13. Tokwe Mukorsi|
3.2 Due to the overwhelming similarities of the evidence presented to the Committee by the above stated IPPs, only 10 of them will be used for the purpose of this report. The meetings were held on the 14th of November 2019, 28th of November 2019, 20th of February 2020 and the 5th of March 2020.
3.3 In order to get official and technical insight into challenges being faced in investing into the projects, the Committee conducted a verification visit to the Harava Solar project in Dema. The Committee also conducted familiarization visits in July 2019 to Pungwe B Mini Hydro Station in Honde Valley and Riverside Solar Park in Mutoko, with the objective of appreciating the operations of projects that are generating power.
4.0 COMMITTEE FINDINGS
4.1 STATE OF AFFAIRS IN THE INDEPENDENT POWER PRODUCTION SECTOR
4.1.1 As alluded to earlier on, the power sector is being crippled by several inefficiencies to meet the demand required by the country. The peak demand for power ranges between 1350 Megawatts (MW) and 1800MW. According to the submission by Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA), licenses for independent power production capable of generating about 6 858.65MW have been issued. However, only 135.8MW is being fed into the main grid by the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) that are operating. IPPs which have a potential to generate about 6522.35MW are not performing and some of them have been holding on to their licenses for as long as eleven years.
4.2 PROJECTS IN THERMAL TECHNOLOGY
4.2.1 RioZim -Sengwa Power Station
220.127.116.11 During the meeting held on the 14th of November 2019, the Committee was informed that the company runs two projects, namely thermal and solar technologies. The Sengwa Thermal Power Station project is located in Hwange with a generating capacity of 2800MW. The project is to be implemented in phases with each earmarked for 700MW. The total project cost for each phase was estimated at US$1.5 billion. The project was licensed on 23 September 2010.
18.104.22.168 The project had secured funding during the era of dollarization but lost the investor when the Government of Zimbabwe de-dollarized. As a result, the progress of the project was delayed by two (2) years. About US$20 million was spent on exploration works at Sengwa coal bed. The plant would be powered by coal and 1.3 billion tonnes of coal was secured. The company is listed on the stock exchange, hence the stakeholders are public. In terms of the power purchase agreement, it was highlighted that there is a condition that provides for a change in currency from foreign to local currency when the country adopts a local currency.
4.2.2 PER Lusulu
22.214.171.124 The project was initially licensed in October 2010 and re-licensed in 2014. The proposed site for the project is Binga District along Lake Kariba. The plant has a capacity to generate 2000-2100 Megawatts and it will be implemented in phases with each phase targeting 660 to 700 Megawatts.
126.96.36.199 At the time of the enquiry, the project was at the stage of finalizing its financial closure status. The project had initially received debt financing from Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China that required government guarantee. The guarantee was presented to China in December 2016 but China withdrew as the debt financier in 2017 because there was an outstanding debt that had not been repaid by the Government of Zimbabwe. Therefore, the company engaged government to assist in securing another financier.
188.8.131.52 The Committee was informed that, there were negotiations with Eskom to be the off taker to allow the project to have guaranteed foreign currency. The project will also be raising its local funds through supply to the local market.
4.2.3 Southern Energy
184.108.40.206 The project is a coal fired power station licensed on 27 May 2013. The project has a generating capacity of 600MW that will be implemented in 4 phases with each earmarked for 150MW. Southern Energy is owned by African Power House (51%), Sinohydro (15%) and Southern Energy Mauritius (34%). The power plant will be developed as a mine-mouth power plant located at Makomo Resources, in Hwange district. The total project cost for phase 1 was estimated at US$1,16 billion and would cover the power plant, water pipeline from Zambezi River and transmission connection works.
220.127.116.11 The Committee was informed that the company was yet to generate power because it had not reached financial closure. The company applied for tariff approval to ZERA in 2018, but the proposed tariff for the installed capacity of 600MW was rejected because it was considered too high. Consequently, the company had to reconfigure the plant into phases and come up with a reasonable tariff for one phase. It was indicated that the project will be funded on a 70% debt and 30% equity. Debt financing will be secured from banks in South Africa whilst Sinohydro will provide part equity and part debt.
4.3 PROJECTS IN HYDRO TECHNOLOGY
4.3.1 Great Zimbabwe Hydro
18.104.22.168 Great Zimbabwe Hydro is a private company owned by ML Power-a local development led by Eng. O. Chakwanda, Ms. M. Mashingaidze and Mr. Denhere. However, there is a joint development agreement between three parties that will be developing the project, namely ML Power, VS Hydro (Sri Lankan hydro development company) and the Industrial Development Cooperation of South Africa.
22.214.171.124 Great Zimbabwe Hydro was formed in 2010 and licensed in November 2010. The project has a generating capacity of 5MW and it is situated in Masvingo, adjacent to the Lake Muturikwi dam wall. The project obtained Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certification, lease agreement and a non-consumptive water use agreement from Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA).
126.96.36.199 The company was targeting to reach financial closure within few months from the time of this enquiry and begin construction. The shareholding percentage for the financial closure was 51% foreign owned and 49% locally owned. It was indicated that the shareholding would assist in securing the foreign currency needed for about 60 to 70% of the project. The total project cost was about US$13.8 million. It was further indicated that foreign shareholders required certainty on repatriation of funds.
4.3.2 Tsanga Power Station
188.8.131.52 Tsanga Power Station Limited was incorporated in 2017 and falls under Nyangani Renewable Energy Group. The company is involved in three hydro projects namely Tsanga A, Tsanga B and Tsanga C. Tsanga B was the first hydro plant to be built in April 2018 after being licensed in January 2018.
184.108.40.206 Tsanga A hydro plant has a generating capacity of 2.65MW. The project managed to set up a weir, interconnector, powerhouse foundations, pen stop-pipe and faced some financial constraints to import other required components. It also faced a challenge on the signing of power purchase agreement.
220.127.116.11 Tsanga C project will be constructed after the completion of Tsanga A project. Tsanga C has a generating capacity of 2.15MW. The company managed to raise funds locally through prescribed asset status and launched a local bond which was very successful. The company avoided borrowing offshore. In order to meet its import bill, the company was converting its local funding to hard currency.
4.3.3 Penhalonga Energy
18.104.22.168 Penhalonga Energy builds, owns and operates small run of river hydro power stations supplying power into the national grid. The company has six hydro projects, but only one project was commissioned and currently feeding into the national grid. The total expected output from the six projects is around 5.7MW. The Committee was informed that three projects were licensed in October 2019 and they did not obtain power purchase agreements.
4.4 PROJECTS IN SOLAR TECHNOLOGY
4.4.1 Richsaw Solar Tech
22.214.171.124 The solar project is located in Gwanda and was licensed in 2016. The project received local funding from Old Mutual Life Insurance Company on debt and equity basis. At that time, the company was able to convert the local funding into foreign currency at an interbank market rate of 1:1. The company engaged RBZ to allocate about US$5 to 6 million for the project but failed to get the foreign currency.
126.96.36.199 The company formulated a foreign currency raising strategy when government liberalized the foreign exchange market through the establishment of the interbank market in February 2019. The company went into an agreement with a local tobacco exporter. The tobacco exporter would receive local funding from Richsaw Solar Tech to buy tobacco locally and repay in foreign currency received from its exports.
188.8.131.52 Richsaw Solar Tech managed to receive US$560 000 that was forwarded to the Engineering and Procurement Contractor (EPC). In June 2019, Government of Zimbabwe made a shift in the monetary policy and prohibited the use of foreign currencies which led the tobacco exporter to repay in local currency. Consequently, Richsaw Solar Tech had to convert the local currency into foreign currency at interbank market rate.
184.108.40.206 At the time of the enquiry, the company had received about ZWL$1 million from the tobacco exporter but had failed to access foreign currency on the interbank market. The Committee was assured by the Director of Richsaw Solar Tech, Mr Chiwara, that construction of the plant would be completed within 4 months, subject to availability of foreign currency.
220.127.116.11 The project was licensed on 4 September 2019 to operate a 60MW solar park. Its directors are Mr. K. Murapa, Ms. C. Mareya, Mr. K. Masenda. The proposed site of the project is Chiredzi and is strategically near existing transmission lines. The project will be built in phases of 10MW as recommended by Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) based on a grid impact study, they undertook on behalf of Aspire.
18.104.22.168 Mr. Murapa highlighted macroscopic challenges being faced in investing into projects under independent power production and these included investors’ perceptions and the absence of assurance with regard to repatriating investor dividends. He added that, investors had reservations towards the default off taker, ZETDC, having the capacity to generate sufficient foreign currency and pay for power supplied. Investors were also requesting for security for their investment.
22.214.171.124 He further highlighted that, there was a challenge in securing adequate land for the projects near established Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority’s (ZESA) infrastructure. It was again highlighted that, most investors were not content with land tenure security judging by previous experiences associated with the land reform programme. The project company faced a challenge in finalizing land lease agreement with Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA). Aspire ventured into partnership with ARDA and was requested to cater for the expenses of introducing ARDA to all the investors around the world, including the Engineering and Procurement Contractor in Israel. Aspire felt that the request was unfair and this had weighed down on the progress of securing the land.
4.4.3 Plum Solar
126.96.36.199 The solar project is located on 100 hectares of land in Plumtree. Plumtree is generally known to be one of the preferred areas for the generation of solar energy in Zimbabwe, and even in the Southern African region, due to its abundant solar radiation. The shareholders of the project are Mr. T. Nhete and Mr. K. Masola. The company has obtained Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate, grid impact analysis, Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and Engineering and Procurement Contractor (EPC). The company targeted to commission the solar plant by May 2020. The total project cost was estimated at US $6 million.
188.8.131.52 The company had managed to secure US$5 million from a development and finance institution in Botswana. It however failed to satisfy one of the seven (7) conditions which was the country risk premium. The company managed to have another foreign investor who was interested to come in on both equity and loan financing. The company was given a condition by ZERA to renegotiate with ZETDC on the power purchase agreement and tariff. The most contentious issue was the denomination of tariff in local or foreign currency.
4.4.4 Harava Solar Park
184.108.40.206 The company was incorporated in July 2017 and was formed as a special purpose vehicle to build, own and maintain a solar plant with the intention of selling the power to the national grid. It was formed primarily by Zimbabweans from the Diaspora with Mr. A. Ngadya as the founder. The key shareholders on board are Invest Solar in Botswana and Old Mutual which is providing loan financing. The project was licensed by ZERA in January 2018. The company spent a year going through the permit process that is; EIA licenses, geo-technical studies, land utilizations and designs approvals. The project implementation commenced in May 2019.
220.127.116.11 The project had an estimated capacity of 20MW and will be implemented in phases with each phase targeting 2.5MW. At the time of the enquiry, the company was awaiting a shipment of solar panels from Jinko Solar which was expected to come in batches of 2.5MW. The solar plant was being constructed by a Germany company called Soventix. The company had targeted to commission the solar plant by 31 December 2019 but failed to access the required foreign currency. As a result, the solar plant would be commissioned by 30 April 2020.
18.104.22.168 The project received its local funding from more than 10 pension funds. In order to meet its import bill, the company was converting the local funding to foreign currency. The project was facing delays in getting foreign currency and they were engaging key banks such as Standard Bank and NMB in that regard. The Committee was informed that there was support from the Ministry of Energy and Power Development and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development on fiscal incentives as well as Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) on importation of all the required components.
4.5 RESPONSES FROM ZIMBABWE ENERGY REGULATORY AUTHORITY
4.5.1 The Acting Chief Executive Officer of Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority, Mr Mazambani explained that, the main issue raised by the licensed companies was that of currency risk. There was a concern by IPPs that they will not be able to expropriate their profits or even service their loans. There were also issues to do with the viability of Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) which the Regulator was trying to address through giving IPPs a tariff which is cost reflective at the credible off taker. He highlighted that, there were credible off takers within the country and Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) did not obligate IPPs to produce power for ZETDC only. Licensees could dedicate the power to any local company.
4.5.2 The Committee was informed that, currently there was a standard power purchase agreement that is denominated in USD$ but payable in local currency in order to comply with S.I 142/2019. Hence, the power purchase agreements that came after the promulgation of S.I 142/2019 had not yet been signed by ZETDC. ZERA had engaged the Ministry of Energy and Power Development to give guidance on power purchase agreements in order for the industry to move forward.
4.5.3 At the time of the enquiry, it was highlighted that there were representations by IPPs with a national project status. They were expected to come up with what was required from government in order to unlock investments. This would allow ZERA to look at the peculiarities of each project and come up with a position.
5.1.1 Delay in securing Power Purchase Agreements with Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company
Most of the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) expressed concern that it was proving difficult to sign a power purchase agreement with Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) since at the time it was not possible to negotiate based on a USD$ tariff due to Statutory Instrument 142/2019 and 212/2019. As a result, the generation licenses and power purchase agreements were un-bankable and developers were unable to raise finances required to build these projects. The IPPs also stressed that, there was lack of a currency convertibility guarantee. The IPPs further stated that some of the power purchase agreement were denominated in different foreign currency pricing.
5.1.2 Delay in securing lease agreements from councils
The Committee was informed that, it took Solarwise Energy close to 2 years to secure lease land from Chiredzi. The project only managed to secure the lease around the time ZERA had called for a showcase meeting on license withdrawal. These delays were affecting the development of the projects. Government departments engaged to assist the IPPs were also reluctant in rendering their services. The IPPs indicated that, the delay experienced in dealing with the Regulator, off taker and other authorities gave the potential investors an impression that Zimbabwe may not have the requisite “ease of doing business” in order to merit their investment.
5.1.3 Unguaranteed payments from Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) as the sole off taker
The IPPs expressed concern on ZETDC’s capacity to pay for power supplied. They indicated that, ZETDC was the only feasible off taker and its financial status could not be guaranteed. As a result, it was taking several months to pay some local power producers. Given that the generation license had a lifespan of 25 years, Energywise and Solar Group Zimbabwe indicated that, investors were requesting for government to give cover on buyer default to ensure guarantee of payments for power supplied to ZETDC.
5.2.4 Failure to secure evacuation of generated power
It was highlighted that, ZETDC was struggling to maintain the transmission and distribution lines due to shortage of fuel and operational vehicles. Some IPPs indicated that they needed to construct transmission lines from the project sites to the sub-stations and this was costly.
5.2.5 Importation of power by Government of Zimbabwe
The IPPs expressed concern that government was importing and paying for power from Mozambique and South Africa, when there were local power producers that needed the foreign currency to develop their projects. As a result, the IPPs felt that there was no prioritization on allocation of foreign currency to local power producers.
5.2.6 Monetary policy inconsistency
Most of the IPPs indicated that the introduction of many monetary policies that are not investor friendly such as Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019 and 212 of 2019 caused setbacks in securing financial investment. Some of the IPPs had managed to secure funding during the era of dollarization but lost the investors when the Government of Zimbabwe de-dollarized.
6.0 COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS
The Committee made the following observations;
1) Most of the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) had an opportunistic behavior and lacked the relevant technical credentials in that area, hence they got licenses for speculation purposes.
2) There is no clarity and uniformity in the handling of applicants by both Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) and Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC).
3) All IPPs cited challenges imposed by S.I. 142 since their finances were being raised offshore and yet they were paid in local currency for power generated.
4) Most of the IPPs lacked financial closure, yet they were licensed by ZERA before reaching financial closure.
5) ZETDC is reluctant to assist IPPs to secure their power purchase agreements. As a result, it delays the progress of their projects.
6) The IPPs do not have a common association through which they can discuss their challenges and assist in bargaining with relevant authorities.
7.0 COMMMITEEE RECOMMENDATIONS
In light of the above observations, the Committee recommended the following:
1) ZERA should do due diligence in licensing IPPs to make sure that people with the right credentials are licensed to avoid speculation tendencies. There should be more stringent licensing conditions and a 5-year time frame within which to operationalize once licensed, and should be in place by 31 December 2020.
2) ZERA and ZETDC should synchronize the application process to ensure clarity and uniformity in handling of applicants by 31 December 2020.
3) ZERA must insist on financial closure before issuing a license to avoid speculative behavior.
4) Ministry of Energy and Power Development should facilitate engagement between ZETDC and IPPs by 31 December 2020 in order to establish a harmonious working relationship that does not derail any progress in power generation and supply.
5) There is need for the Ministry of Energy and Power Development to facilitate the set-up of an association for Independent Power Producers by 31 December 2020, to facilitate meaningful and coordinated engagement with power authorities.
Informed by the above, the Committee is highly optimistic that the relevant authorities will earnestly consider the recommendations made above for the purposes of yielding results in the energy sector. Moreover, the Committee expects results to yield, now that the major impediment stated by Independent Power Producers has been addressed by the liberalization of the currency regime. I thank you.
HON. NDIWENI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Energy projects are by far very intensive in terms of investment. They require quite a lot of money to start up. It is not very easy to set up an energy generation project. Here we are Madam Speaker, we have these IPPs. This is our chance as a country to go the IPP way. The IPPs are coming in with clean energy and they are telling the way to go – all the countries are looking at projects that concentrate more on clean energy. These IPPs, rather than being capacity intensive needing more money, they are coming in small companies. It is prudent for Government and all players to encourage them as much as possible to harness, small as they are. My father used to tell me that kana uchida kuita mari, ita ma business akawanda madiki madiki. Just like mvura ichienda mu Indian Ocean, tuma rwizi tudiki tudiki twakawanda but kana mvura iya yasangana yave mu Indian Ocean hauzozivi kuti irikubva kutumarwizi tudiki diki. Let us take advantage of these small IPPs. When they add up, they will add up to 6800MW.
These IPPs have their own problems like my Chair has said. I used to be a commissioner in the Electricity Regulatory Commission ten years ago and I gave some of those licences to these payers. They are still holding on to them. Unfortunately, some of them were getting these licences for speculative purposes. These are the bad apples. If the regulator had played a due diligence and scratched them out, maybe we should not have given them those licences because they are holding on to those licences and starting to run around looking for capital, by so doing disadvantaging the proper and capable players that need the licences. What happens in the end is they want to form joint ventures whereby they have no money at all and they just want to hang on to the licences. So, if we can clean up those bad apples and remain with the proper serious players, that will do the country much good.
Looking at the environment as well - when we look at the serious IPP players, they face the problem that my Chair has mentioned. Number one problem that emanated and it was raised by most of these players is that we have ZETDC. ZETDC is a player but at the same time it has to adjudicate on the PPAs. It is like having a referee and in one minute he is in the soccer field, he scores for the other team. That way we need a bit of fairness on handling. I would encourage that ZETDC is not involved at all in the crafting of these power purchase agreements. Maybe the regulator ZERA could be the only one that looks at regulating and also play a part in the crafting of power purchase agreements.
The tariff is another impediment to these IPPs. They borrow money offshore in hard currency but then when the tariff is set up, it is set up in local currency. So, they find it a bit difficult to then service the loans. I would have liked it if the Minister of Finance was here to hear this part because we have raised it with the Governor and him to try and level the ground vis-à-vis these players. If you look at the fuel sector, it is now going smoothly because they are dealing in hard currency and they are selling in hard currency. You do not see any problems in the fuel sector. We should treat them the same. Let us be uniform. If they borrowed the money in hard currency, we should agree and give them a tariff in hard currency as well.
The other impediment that we noticed that these IPPs are facing is lack of uniformity like my Chair said. If one player goes and he has friends at ZETDC, he or she gets a power purchase agreement that is different to the other one. The IPPs themselves are not at fault because they play each other. I remember at one stage we called them together in one room and they were giving their submissions. Some of them were surprised that the conditions that this one had were different from the conditions that the other one had. We put the blame on them as IPPs to say they should work collectively. They do not have an association. Vanotamba chihwande hwande. If it is good for me, then you do it for yourself and leave others at the back. We emphasise to them that they have a stronger voice if they are united than to stick individually and hope for better business.
Like I said, IPPs are the way to go. It is unfortunate that Government had a foresight in terms of clean energy. Government through ZETDC, engaged Chivayo and if it was not for corrupt practices within ZESA and Chivayo, imagine the amount of clean energy for that matter, that could have been generated from that Chivayo project. Government had foresight to say clean energy is the way to go. People on the ground at ZESA then connived with some of these briefcase business people and now we have 100MW that Gwanda project was supposed to have provided but it is still hanging in the balance until now.
As we look forward to the President’s vision of upper middle income economy by 2030, we cannot detach energy. Without energy, we cannot achieve that vision. As a Government and a people, there is need to look at energy projects and say there is no way you can develop without energy and moreso clean energy. I thank you.
(v)HON. I. NYONI: Firstly, I would like to thank the Chairperson Hon. Gabbuza and his team for a detailed report particularly on independent power producers. There was the issue of vandalism on ZESA infrastructure. This issue is also prominent in Bulawayo East Constituency and it basically involves the stealing of copper transmission cables, transformers and transformer oil. It is therefore vital that theft and vandalism are minimised through the suggested measures and arrests are made before is criminal and also education of the community on importance of the infrastructure so that the community plays the role of safeguarding the asset. Also, the close monitoring of those who deal with scrap metal that might have the market for the stolen cables.
We all know that electricity is a major requirement in the manufacturing industry, mining, farming, and other industries and of course there is domestic use. Perhaps to decrease reliance on the main ZESA grid and imports, some of the major companies like mines can be encouraged perhaps with incentives to build their own mini-solar plants that will make them self sufficient in electricity. Also, new suburbs that come in urban centres, people should be encouraged to use solar power for their own use so that there is less dependence on the main grid. Thank you.
HON. PHULU: I would like to make a small contribution on the report by the Committee, which I must say has been ably delivered by those who sponsored it, Hon. Gabbuza and the seconder Hon. Ndiweni. It has been concise and what I would like to focus on is the role of the independent power producers and the matter of concern that arises in as far as the issuing of licences is concerned where those licences are used for speculative purposes.
Perhaps, one take away from this report is that this House should consider the best way to circumvent those kinds of practices to say that even where reasonable periods are given for purposes of coming up with something tangible, there certainly is failure at the level of vetting these applicants. Maybe we need to identify gaps there but also perhaps, maybe in terms of the method we use to issue out the nature of the licence as Hon. Ndiweni laid out. What we may need to do is to consider having classes of licences, maybe from a provisional licence until you graduate to a fully blown licence so that if you are issued with a provisional licence there are stringent requirements for you, perhaps on a yearly basis to report on what you have been doing, successes and failures so that we can monitor those who are genuinely trying to set up and are meeting challenges and those who are sitting on licences.
Another area that perhaps we ought to look at is the process by which these licences are applied for. Are they highly transparent and subject to scrutiny? I have heard stories of people who have approached with ideas to say, I want to put up a solar plant in Gwanda and make the necessary approaches to the regulating bodies. You give them your idea and the next thing you are reading a newspaper and someone has been given that same licence which you proposed and you have not heard from the regulator. That process also needs to be reviewed to have a call for licences so that one knows when applications for licences on a yearly basis are open. People should bid for these licences in an open manner just like people would do in a tender.
I think that kind of approach would safeguard and ensure that the process that we use to apply for licences secures the integrity of those licences and just to underline that concern because you are speculating with our lives. Our children need energy in the future. We need energy now and our hospitals need energy. People are dying because there is no energy. This is a serious issue where it has been mentioned that the capacity of IPPs is that they can produce 6 800 megawatts and right now we are only able to make use of about twenty plus.
I think it is a great disservice to our nation where we are unable to leverage that kind of resource. It is a great resource and just because it is not tangible does not mean it is not valuable or it cannot be wasted. I think we are wasting a great resource because energy is one of the main issues that a country should be looking at. If you want to be a powerful and significant country, certainly you have to have your house in order in as far as energy is concerned. I think those leakages that have been highlighted, certainly we must find ways as a House to ensure that we review our legislation and try and refine our methods to ensure that we can take advantage of this resource that the Lord has given us in terms of our natural resources.
(v)HON. MUSAKWA: I also want to add my voice on the debate on IPPs. I think after we interrogated them as a Committee chaired by Hon. Gabbuza, it is also important to have the IPPs think outside the box in a manner in which we allow them a portion of what they generate to export so that they can meet their external funding obligations and then the rest we allow them to use domestically so that they can meet their local costs.
I think it is also a question of whether we can assist in coming up with appropriate laws and regulations that will enable that sector to flourish. We can also not over-emphasise the importance of removing ZETDC as a player and referee. That is very critical and in a number of countries you have the national grid being independent and then every power producer will come to it and they will receive fair treatment because they are submitting their power to an independent body which is not competing in the same sector.
I think Madam Speaker, the point also raised by other Hon. Members that people should be given licences based on proven capacity and not based on speculation that they need a licence to go and look for money, that is a problematic situation. People in part of the regulations must prove that they have got funding before they are issued a licence rather than being issued a licence so that they can look for funding. I would like to thank the Committee Chairperson, Hon. Gabbuza and the rest of the team for coming up with a plausible report. Thank you.
(v) HON. MOKONE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Gabbuza for the presentation that he tabled to the House. Most of the issues that I wanted to touch on have actually been highlighted by other Members of Parliament. However, there are a few issues that I need to buttress on.
The Committee Chairperson touched on the issue of the equipment that is old and outdated, so there is need for an upgrade. I would like to also add my voice on that, that there is need for us to upgrade the equipment that is outdated so that the services that are provided by ZESA actually match the current settings. The other issue that I wanted to touch on is the issue of infrastructure as highlighted by the Chairperson. The transmission infrastructure is not strong enough to sustain the current environment, so there is need to also look into that.
The Committee Chairperson touched on the importation of power by Government in foreign currency. That is a challenge because users pay in local currency. So that makes it unsustainable for ZESA to perform its mandate. There is also the issue of vandalism of the infrastructure. This is issue of vandalism of the infrastructure is very ripe in my constituency as well because a day hardly passes by without cases of vandalism being reported. ZESA takes a lot of time to attend to those faults. Therefore, there is great need as well for us to also look into that. Most of the things that I wanted to touch on have been spoken about by other Hon. Members, so I do not want to repeat the same points. Thank you Madam Speaker.
*HON. TSUURA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank the Chairperson of the Committee for that report. As we are all aware, the country needs energy in terms of production and also lighting. During this COVID period, students are using online platforms to engage in their lectures. So we need more independent power producers in different areas and this will alleviate the burden of shortage of power.
We also realised that in hospitals, some of the patients are losing their lives because machines that are there do not have electricity. This even affects mortuaries. If this is addressed, mortuaries will work. Also, when talking of theatres, they will be well equipped and functional.
The other challenge that women are facing in rural areas because of climate change, energy has become a scarce commodity. Therefore, I recommend that we adopt solar power. Once there is solar power, we get rid of deforestation. If electricity or power is available, development will take place. Those with licences to generate power should not just sit on them and forget about it but should ensure that they assist the nation by feeding into the national grid. I thank you.
HON. CHIKUDO: Hon. Speaker, we have been raising our hands for a long time now.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): Hon. Chikudo, you are not raising your hand. The only people who were raising their hands are Hon. Khupe, Hon. Markham, Hon. Ndiweni and Hon. Tsuura who spoke now. Your hand is not up, unless you are using another way. For now, I am interacting with Hon. Members within this House and I will come back to the virtual platform; I will recognise you.
HON. MKARATIGWA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am for according me this opportunity to actually express my appreciation to the motion that has been moved by our Chairperson, Hon. Gabbuza and seconded by Hon. Ndiweni on a topical subject. It is topical because energy is of paramount importance to the development of any society and Zimbabwe is not an exception. As we speak, we have a deficit situation which we are managing and if we are not careful and we do not calibrate our approach, it means in the future we might still be confronted with an energy deficit. However, IPPs present an opportunity to actually approach this challenge head on.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, on importation of power in the country, we should move away from the practice but we can only do so through immense investment in innovation and research in the sector. We have these vast lands and the blessing of water and solar which we have not yet harnessed enough at national level but more at household level. There is a possibility for Zimbabwe to import electrical energy or basically to have enough for use throughout the year. We are wasting energy away yet we lack it. When our river levels go down, our neighbour South Africa has been investing in energy storage, innovative capability for over ten years now and they are about to roll out some of these technologies in the country this year or in the coming year. Singapore is another example whereby through the involvement of the drive towards investment in energy, we have seen prices of power or the tariff going down, thereby promoting investment in any sector of the economy in that particular country.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, with the coming of the COVID-19, electricity has been proved to be important for both the CEO and the janitor. The common denominator Madam Speaker Ma’am is family and in particular kids who want to go to school, then the use of homes of o’levels as offices has actually increased the need for electricity throughout our dear country. We need to feed more energy into the main grid Madam Speaker, when it is not at peak periods or seasons to ensure longer periods of energy use. That can save our national generators to a greater extent. This is where innovation comes in and day-in day-out we are talking about innovation, there are Bills coming up, we have got our tertiary institutions headed by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education spearheading incubation hubs. They can come into play here and we have water bodies that can be used as batteries to store energy.
The use of hydrogen today Madam Speaker can present a solution. Why it appears to be a pie in the sky in terms of reducing the cost Madam Speaker, it is proven now in developed countries that it reduces the cost of electricity because electricity many a times is generated and when it is generated, you cannot store it. You have to use it straightaway. If you do not have the market, it means it is an outright loss, but if you are able to invest in hydrogen and you store it and use it during peak periods, instead of producing at high cost during peak periods you stop producing and you straight away utilise the energy that you have stored. Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe is endowed with minerals, fossil fuels and hydrocarbon. For example, coal and gas are part of those minerals. We have got them in abundance as much as we have the solar radiation and the green movement is moving towards renewable energy systems but as Zimbabwe, we need to strike a balance.
We cannot shun the hydrocarbons. We cannot shun the fossil fuels. We need a national approach that will embrace the two sides, that will embrace the two resources that are available to use. We need to exploit them in a manner that is going to help create energy sufficiency in the short to medium term while anchoring our future in terms of being able to maintain that energy sustainability for use by all communities. That will also assist the SDG focus – how do we develop the rural communities when we cannot have an approach whereby we organise the IPP. The IPP, Madam Speaker are organised in a way but they have a challenge that I think through our Ministry of Finance can be addressed.
Madam Speaker, when you look at part of their challenges, you will admit that we see the absence of commercial banks. Our own local banks are not participating, yet they can provide the much needed foreign currency to enable the IPP operators to unlock and be able to commission power plants that are going to serve mainly our rural communities. These Madam Speaker can be by way of off-grid and on-grid so that we are able to throw into the grid and supply any other off takers throughout the country.
I talked about energy storage technologies becoming key and we need to invest in our infrastructure through innovative research and development. The country has what it takes or if we are just innovative and intrinsically motivated to get out of the normal in terms of our ways of doing business Madam Speaker. Innovation will reduce the cost and burden on the citizens of Zimbabwe. Accessibility is a major issue in this country.
Madam Speaker, I think it is common knowledge that enabling sectors for an attractive investment climate for IPPs as spelt out by my Chairman include more competitive procurement effort from countries across the globe which includes encouraging long term contracts through a competitive bidding process. This is where transparency and accountability is encouraged. Madam Speaker, this can help secure reduced prices and help avert the issues such as the possibility of a problematic contract. If direct negotiations are conducted, they should be done transparently. Madam Speaker, clear and conducive energy sector policies, structures and regulatory environment, systematic and dynamic power sector planning which I believe, thanks to the new dispensation, our ministries are seized with-including the ability to project future electricity demand, determine best supply or demand management option and creates and anticipates how long it will take to procure, finance and build the required electricity generation capacity.
Financial viability of the public utility is vital Madam Speaker. Given issues such as high cost loses, poor billing and collection, it will be important to mitigate risk through measures that include providing financial guarantees and security measures to the assurance of new investors.
Our ministries know what is needed but they lack the capacity to implement, which is what I am highlighting and I feel this is correct and we need in the national interest to focus on this. As a Committee we need to make sure we nudge them into the appropriate direction. Madam Speaker, we should be aware that the industry is operating below capacity like what my Chairman alluded to. Once there is restoration in term of the lost capacity of the industry, there is need for reciprocating restoration in terms of power generation. In this instant Madam Speaker, I am talking of about power that can support base load. We need to draw the line and say the distinction between where our IPP operators are focusing. Some of them are focusing on solar, which solar still has challenges in terms of being able to support base loads, unless you are able to come up with huge storage facilities or systems that can compensate for that challenge. It is my view Madam Speaker that we will need to categorise these IPPs and confine them to areas of jurisdiction and areas of operation which can best suit their capacity. Some projects are left in the national pool for the interest of making sure we guarantee the future of all Zimbabweans in terms of energy sufficiency and sustainability. I thank you Madam Speaker.
(v)HON. Dr. KHUPE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would also like to add my voice in thanking Hon. Gabuzza for a well presented report. The issue I would like to raise Madam Speaker has to do with due diligence because it is very clear that there was no due diligence done on those given licences to get facts about them and to ascertain whether they have the financial muscle to produce the much needed energy. Madam Speaker, it is of no use to give licences to friends and relatives when we know that they do not have the financial muscle to produce energy. I hope and trust that we have learnt a big lesson going forward, such that when we want to issue licences, we will make sure that due diligence has been done.
Madam Speaker, the other issue that I would like to raise has to do with other sources of energy. I think it is important that we look at other sources of energy so that the rest of the energy is used by industry. For household use, I think it is important that we look at bio-gas. I want to talk about bio-gas because it is close to my heart and I want us to look at bio gas which is going to produce gas from municipal waste. There is a lot of waste which is being thrown all over - go to Harare, Bulawayo, Kwekwe, Gweru - there is a lot of waste which has become a health hazard. Why are we not using that municipal waste to generate bio-gas which can be used for household use?
Once that happens, you will not see anybody throwing waste anywhere because they will know that that waste is valuable, it can be used to generate gas. So I would like to propose to the Committee and to the Government that they look at other sources of energy and biogas which is going to be produced from municipal waste because it has become a health hazard in our country. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. It was a well presented report by Hon. Gabuzza, seconded by Hon. Ndiweni. The contributions, certainly talked to a number of issues. However, I will zero in on what is critical.
Statistics are important figures; we require about 2000 megawatts in this country for us to do what we need to do across the board. The BATOKA – when it is done, you are looking at 1200 megawatts, Kariba – 1 050mega watts. Right now we are looking at 600 megawatts which are available; you are looking at this bringing in 6 800 megawatts which if you really calculate, it is 11, 3 times as much as excess should be compared to the 600 megawatts which we have.
So, when you are talking about it being 11 times more than we have right now, what would be the reason for us not to sell. First of all, we are buying electricity, there is an opportunity to sell. Zimbabwe has one thing which no one can take, which is location in the SADC region. There is Zambia where the BATOKA is not yet done - if we move quicker to achieve this, before others do it, we will be able to feed surrounding countries that are able to give us money.
However, notwithstanding all this, there is an issue which is outstanding of infrastructure. For you to be able to accommodate all these independent power producers, there has to be serious infrastructure. The question we need to ask ourselves is how much money has been put into infrastructure. Without infrastructure supporting this, then there is not much that can happen. We need infrastructure that augments all these IPP’s.
Talk about transmission - right now, quite a lot has been done in terms of other road infrastructure, it is the same thing as us saying we have got a good mine which we must go and get some gold from. One of the things that the Smith Regime did in terms of mines was to put an infrastructure first. Most of the roads that you see going to all the mines, the conditions were that can we have the infrastructure in place first. So, part of Government’s condition to these IPP’s is to say how much infrastructure are you going to contribute? Government does not have money for infrastructure, this is where the Government guarantee is important. The reason why the funding is not coming through is that there is no Government guarantee at the end of the day.
Our own indigenous people whom we must support have got the licence, but they need a partner to be able to see them through. However, that partner is not going to come without a Government guarantee. A Government guarantee cannot be based on our local currency, RTGS and Bond – we know very well it does not work. So why is Government not supporting these with Government guarantees?
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development was here, he talked about the $440 million package which is for Hwange. There was no way that they can get that without the Government guarantee. So why are we not equally supporting that? If you look at the money being spent at Hwange and what we would spend in terms of guaranteeing this, it is nothing at the end of the day. This is a quicker way of us ensuring that we have got power in the country.
People spoke about solar energy which is the way to go. The 2030 middle income cannot just be for a few. We just had COVID recently, you know how it wrecked havoc, in schools there is no power, and there is no electricity. The pass rate for the children was poor because there was no electricity. If there is electricity, there are computers, when you have computers then the kids know what to do. Most of the kids right now are busy doing on line training. There is internet, the cables that we are talking about, the boosters for communication are critical, so these boosters that we have such Telone, Telecel and Econet do not mean anything if there is no power to be able to generate.
So, the 2030 middle income economy that we are talking about has got to be focused on the majority of the people. However, what have we done in terms of empowering them through electricity? The pass rate was out of this world because of lack of that.
Madam Speaker I also want to bring in the aspect of agriculture and mining. The 12 billion projected incomes is nothing if we do not have power. These are figures that we talk about, but without power it will mean nothing. Agriculture itself, we have done well with maize but there is the issue is wheat. We need transformers, electricity so that the wheat production is not disturbed. The maize has been excellent, there are no two ways about it, but the wheat needs water.
Unfortunately, wheat grows at a time when it is our dry season, we need to reach those capacities and it is only through electricity. If you look at mining and agriculture being supported from the power generation point of view, then there is revenue coming in. Once there is revenue coming in, then the issue of the 2030 middle income economy becomes easy to achieve.
A lot of people said great things but for as long as we do not allow them to charge in US dollars, it is going to be a problem for anybody to come in and invest in this country. The loans, what we are approving in this House are US dollar loans, they are not RTGS loan. The Minister has never come with an RTGS loan here to be honest with you. Most of the loans that come through are US dollar loans so why do we want to subject ourselves to RTGs and bond yet the foreigners are given foreign currency and the locals are given RTGS.
Unfortunately, we cannot have a situation whereby you are local, you must be subject to local currency and a foreigner must be subjected to foreign currency yet we want them to perform and so forth. Madam Speaker, I really want to thank you for giving me this opportunity and equally to say to the Chairman, I think issues that have been raised have got to be taken care of and those recommendations are quite critical in ensuring that we achieve the intended goal. I thank you Madam Speaker.
(V) HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I also want to add my voice to this report by Hon. Gabbuza. Hon. Speaker, all the way from independence, I think Zimbabwe did a lot in terms of providing power or electricity to the people. The situation as it stands there is now an endless demand to more electricity because of the developments that are there in our country. We have got more and more schools that are coming up, we have towns, growth points and business centres. All these now want electricity implying that we need to come up with new additional modes of coming up with more and more electricity.
Madam Speaker, I think you will find that our country has tried to shift from the use of firewood because of the amount of damage we are doing to our environment and we are all saying it is better to use electricity whether it is biogas or we are using solar. All these developments mandate us to make sure there is demand for electricity. Madam Speaker, I have been touched by the issue of IPPS. They held on to licences for a period of 10 years and they are not doing service. They are just behaving like people who may not even manage to provide us with electricity to argument what Government is doing. I believe we need to have a more lovely approach for our nation. If you look at the companies that are doing wonderful roads in our countries, they are doing a good job for us. If some of these IPPs would go with that same spirit, I think we can also see some good development going on.
Madam Speaker, I have observed a situation where we find there is a lot of disaster happening especially when we are in the rainy season, where electricity poles fall and we have seen a number of people electrocuted. In some cases, there is poor quality supply of materials where the poles do not last and there is too much rain so the poles just fall. I think these situations need to be looked at so that we do not have loss of life.
Madam Speaker, I also wanted to applaud the Minister this afternoon when he came with an appeal to make sure that he seeks measures to finance power generation. If our Ministry of Finance could continue seeking more ways to try to fund the generation of power to meet the growing demands in our nation, that would be good for the nation. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 9th March, 2021.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON. MPARIWA, the House adjourned at Eleven Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. until Tuesday 9th March, 2021.