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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 04 May 2016 42-55

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 4th May, 2016

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

VISITORS IN THE SPEAKER’S GALLERY

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, I recognise the presence in the

Speaker’s Gallery of members and officials of the Parliamentary

Commission of the Parliament of Uganda led by Hon. Ronald Regan

Okumo.  You are most welcome – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

CREATION OF A WEBMAIL OF ADDRESSES

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I wish to remind Hon. Members that the ICT Department has created a Webmail of addresses for them which enable Hon. Members to receive mail and documents electronically from Parliament.  This facility became effective from Tuesday, 15th March 2016.  The Hansard and Votes and Proceedings are being sent to Hon. Members who have registered with ICT Department.  If you have not registered, you will receive nothing.  The process of configuring passwords is going on at the ICT desk at the Hon. Members’ dining room

from 1200 noon to 4.30 p.m. during sitting days.

SEMINAR ON THE EASE OF DOING BUSINESS IN ZIMBABWE

THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that the seminar on the Ease of Doing Business in Zimbabwe which was earlier on postponed is now scheduled for 5th - 8th May 2016, at the Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel. Buses leave for Bulawayo at 1100 hours, on Thursday, 5th

May, 2016. Members of the following Committees are expected to attend:

  • Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development;
  • Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce;
  • Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment;
  • Thematic Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment; and
  • Selected Members of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs.

THE HON. SPEAKER’S RULING

HON. MUDARIKWA’S POINT OF ORDER ON THE LOCKING OF

EMERGENCY EXIT DOORS AND GATES AT PARLIAMENT

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Yesterday, there was point of order raised by Hon. Mudarikwa regarding the locking of emergency exit doors and gates at Parliament.  It is true that the doors are locked for security reasons.  If all the emergency exits are kept open, it will compromise the security of the building.  Our security continually assesses the security and safety of the building.  In the event that a security threat is detected requiring that the building be evacuated urgently, the doors will be immediately opened to allow people to leave the building.  The personnel with keys to the doors are on standby 24 hours a day to react to any security threat.  The same applies to the emergency gates in the car park.

         ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

*HON. MAPIKI: My question is directed to the Minister of

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.  May he tell

this august House what programmes they have in place for winter wheat and winter maize since the country is facing starvation?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE,

MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT

(CROPPING) (HON. MARAPIRA):  I thank the Hon. Member for asking the question.  Our plans regarding wheat farming for A1 farmers are; we are giving them assistance and we expect that in respect of summer maize, they will go back to plough winter wheat after harvesting.  The same applies to A1 and commercials farmers in Chiredzi which is in the hot region; we expect that those with fields will plough winter maize.  Thank you.

HON.  CHIMEDZA:  I would like to find out from the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon Chinamasa, when the debt to Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) will be paid up.  We understand that now there is a new CEO at PSMAS but Government, from 2014 and before, owes PSMAS $94 million.  From 2015 to date, contribution for employees amounting to $15 million is owed and owed employee contribution is $60 million.  So the bulk debt that Government owes PSMAS is $169 million.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON CHINAMASA):  I am aware that

Government owes PSMAS employee contributions but I am not aware of the exact amount.  So, I cannot confirm or deny whether Government owes the $169 million.  As to when it will be paid, we have now started meeting the contributions from March and I think that these payments will be sustained.  [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, there is too much noise.  Can the Hon Minister be heard in silence please?  Hon. Chibaya, are you listening to the Chair.

HON CHIBAYA:  Yes Mr. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you.

HON. CHINAMASA:  I was saying that we definitely owe

PSMAS money in terms of arrear contributions.  I am not in a position to give the august House the exact figure but on our part, we were reluctant to pay to a corrupt administration because it was like putting money into a bottomless pit.  So we insisted that they should restructure the management, which I believe there has been a very good attempt to do. So, from March we started making payments to PSMAS but with respect to arrears, we are going to enter into arrangements to pay them over time.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  From the Hon Minister’s response, it

would appear that this question needs to be put in writing so that a detailed response can be made.

HON. CHAMISA:  On a point of order Hon. Speaker Sir.  My point of order is a Constitutional point and a point to do with the good hygiene of Parliamentary debates and Parliamentary proceedings and processes.  In terms of Section 141(a) of the Constitution, Parliament must, underlined- meaning to say that it is not may but is peremptory. Must is an obligation on Parliament to make sure that we facilitate public involvement in all legislative processes and the processes of the committees.  Why am I raising this Hon. Speaker Sir?  This is very important.  I know Hon. Chinamasa …

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Please address the Chair.

HON: CHAMISA:  I address you Hon Speaker Sir, the Minister was behaving in a thuggish manner.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  No, address the Chair.

HON. CHAMISA:  Thank you for protecting me against thuggery.  Thank you very much.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, may the Hon. Member withdraw

that statement thuggery?

HON. CHAMISA:  Yes, I seek to obliterate that statement.  My point is to do with the coverage of Parliamentary debates.  You are aware that we had a resolution here in Parliament, your resolution Hon. Speaker Sir, and you actually had an agreement which we got about debates being covered.  This is not to benefit any one political party but the people who elected us.  I can tell you that if you go to the rural areas, people want to understand what Parliament is doing, but you will find that there is no reason that has been given why debates are not being covered Hon. Speaker Sir.  If it is a question of ZBC not being able to cover or Parliament not being able to cover, we need to hear from you because we want to take certain positions, not just as Parliamentarians but from a Constitutional point of view.

There are issues that arise.  We are custodians of the Constitution and we are supposed to defend the Constitution as Parliamentarians and as Parliament.  So, we cannot be at the centre or forefront of mutilating this Constitution.  It is not our problem Hon. Speaker Sir, that Ministers do not have answers.  If they do not have answers they should simply come and explain then go back and research instead of saying we cannot have these debates covered in a particular manner.  So I am raising that as a point of order Hon. Speaker Sir, hoping that you will be able to address this issue.  Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order.  The point of order is noted and indeed, it is a constitutional provision which must be respected.  I am advised that the crew that was supposed to come here was covering an international event of the African Capacity Building Conference.  I am sure they will be here any time, otherwise the point of order is taken.

Secondly, radio is covering…

HON. CHAMISA: Hon. Speaker Sir, if you may call the House to order, we cannot hear properly.  It would appear some ministers are making noise.

THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member is right but I am not

sure of his focus.  I was saying we currently have full live radio coverage except for ZTV.  We appreciate that point of order.  Thank you very much.

An Hon. Member having stood up to raise a point of order.

THE HON. SPEAKER: No, this is question time, I am not allowing any points of order.

HON. DR. LABODE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question goes to the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care.  As you are aware Mr. Speaker, the Public Health Act has been under review for the past six years, I wanted the Minister to inform this House when we should expect the bill to finally come to Parliament or we have another six years to wait.  Thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE

(HON. DR. MUSIIWA): Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking this question.  It is indeed true that the Public Health Act is due for review.  I want to promise this House that within this Session, we are bringing it to the House.  Thank you.

HON. M. KHUMALO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  My

question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture, I see the Deputy Minister of Agriculture (Livestock) is here.  The question refers to the recent ban of quail birds.  Our farmers in the rural areas are rearing these birds, but there was an ultimatum by the Ministry that the rearing must stop.  What is the Government policy on the quail birds?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE

(LIVESTOCK) (HON. ZHANDA): Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  I am reliably informed by the Minister involved, that the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate withdrew the ban.  I think there could have been a misunderstanding because domestication of quail birds rests with the Ministry of Agriculture.  We are the only ones in terms of the Department of Veterinary Services, that can issue the ban in terms of whether they are suitable for consumption or not.

However, it was the issue of hunting the quail birds in the bush, obviously, it could have been related to the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate.  I am reliably told that she has since withdrawn the ban.  I thank you.

*HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. On the issue of the Quail birds – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection] – uri chihuta here iwe] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order.  This will be a second time asking an Hon. Member to address the Chair.  Ignore digression please.  Thank you.

HON. CHAMISA: My question to the Hon. Minister is to do with the policy inconsistencies.  Is this not a reflection of yet another case of inconsistency within Government?  We have heard about STEM, we heard the other Minister speaking to STEAM, now we are hearing something about the quail birds.  Are you saying that they were not banned?  The Minister of Environment issued a press statement and now we are hearing the Deputy Minister saying she never said that.  Is this not further evidence of a Government that is becoming expert in double speech?  They say one thing and do a different one, they indicate left but turn right.  Can you address us on that issue, Hon. Minister?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, could you clarify the difference between the policy on hunting and that on domestication, I think the Hon. Member did not understand.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE

(LIVESTOCK) (HON. ZHANDA): Thank you Hon. Speaker.  In

actual fact, I had answered the question, but on the basis of hearsay because I was not privy to what the Minister said.  If anybody was privy to what was said by the Minister, it was through the media and that is not a policy.  At this juncture, I might want to ask if the Hon. Vice President can respond to the question because it relates to policy inconsistencies in Government and not the issue of Agriculture.  I thank you.

*THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE,

LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON.

MNANGAGWA): Hon. Speaker, if the Government has put in place a legislation on something which is or is not permissible, there is a procedure that is followed.  Hon. Chamisa should understand that by now.  However, he goes on to say that and yet he knows the procedures even with the knowledge that if the Government bans something, it is gazetted.  There is no policy that is publicised only through the media, Government Policy is in written form.  What he has not understood is that there are two types of quail birds, there are those that are allowed in this country and those who domesticate them and sell the eggs are doing

it legally.

Members of Parliament can also engage in such projects, but what is not allowed and was not understood by the Hon. Member is that there were others who are moving around the wild life taking away quail birds’ eggs, we are not happy about that.  There is a way of rearing quail birds commercially, carrying out your quail birds’ project and selling to hotels, but we do not allow people to poach quail birds in the National Parks.  That is the issue, so we are simply making everyone aware so that our nation develops.  There is no policy that has been put in place in

Zimbabwe that quail birds’ projects are not allowed.  The birds are very delicious, we enjoy the quail birds.  Thank you.

+HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  Thank you Mr.

Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance, Hon.

Chinamasa.  We have realised that there is a cash shortage in the banks.

If the use of the United States Dollar (USD) is problematic, is Government amenable to use the rand as legal tender?  Children have faced problems going to school.  Can you address that issue as a matter of urgency because people are facing problems doing their day to day business?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Mr. Speaker, I want to

thank the Hon. Member for her question.  She raised the issue of cash shortage and I hope she will bear with me and the House will also bear with me if I give a little bit of background before I come to answer the specific question.

The issue is that yes, there is a problem of cash shortage but I want to say that to every problem, the flip side is a solution and an opportunity.  It gives us an opportunity to sort out and restore the multicurrency system.  What has caused the cash shortage is a combination of factors some of which are to do with the appreciation of the USD, the depreciation or devaluation of the currencies of our neighbours, the high cost of our production, high imports and low exports.  All that combination of factors has caused a higher demand on the USD than was the case.

I will give an example that in 2013, currencies which were circulating in Zimbabwe were something like 60% USD and 40% South African Rand (SAR).  Progressively, the SAR circulation in our economy has been declining to a point where last year, it came to zero.

That factor increased the demand on the USD.

We also know that we are using the USD to finance domestic transactions that is; paying wages, buying mazhanje, tomatoes.  A USD generally is a reserve currency.  Most countries have vaults to keep USD as reserve currency.  In our situation, it is not only a reserve currency and a store value but also we are using it to finance petty domestic transactions including importing trinkets. That totality of the factors that I mentioned has caused a squeeze on the USD currency.

As I am speaking, the Governor of the Reserve Bank will be announcing a raft of measures in order to address that issue but primarily it is intended to restore the multi-currency system.  When we introduced the multi-currency system, we mentioned that it was a basket of currencies; the Euro, Yen, Rupi, SAR, Botswana Pula and so on.  What we are trying to redress now is that the dominance of the USD, which is now making our economy a uni-currency regime and not a multicurrency regime.  The measures will seek to increase the circulation of rands or Euros in our economy so that the burden on demand is shared amongst many currencies.

I want to thank the Hon. Member once again for her question because it gives me an opportunity to explain that while it is indeed a crisis, for us it is an opportunity to move forward.  After the implementation of the raft of monetary measures to be announced this afternoon, I can see that there would be a very smooth trajectory on growth.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. MAJOME:  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you

Hon. Minister of Finance for your response.

My supplementary question is; is there any truth or correctness in the understanding among a lot of economic analysts that the real cause of the shortage of currency is because of the Government going into the money market and mopping up liquidity in the form of treasury bills (TBs).  Is there any truth?  And if there is not, what is Government doing in order to allay that fear?  Does the Government have money to pay back and to support that?

HON. CHINAMASA:  Clearly, there is no truth to the fact that the cash shortage is caused by the TBs that we have been issuing to finance some Government programmes. There is no truth.  The truth is what I have given you.  For as long as we import more than we export, for as long as we are using a currency which is appreciating when we have neighbours whose currencies are depreciating, we become a mopping house.  People come to mop our USD and when we consider the issues about illicit financial flows, it means that any USD we bring even if we bring into the market USD2 billion, it will soon vanish because people want USD as a store value.

I want to assure the Hon. Member that there is no truth in what she has said.  I also want to say that we have faithfully honoured all TBs and all debt instruments when they come to maturity.  We have never heard the market complaining except people who are not even subscribers to those TBs. Those are the people who complain.  Those who are subscribing are quite happy with the manner that we have been running the show.

HON. BHEBHE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Local

Government.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, I thought you wanted to ask a supplementary question.

HON. BHEBHE:  No, it is not a supplementary.

HON. GABBUZA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker, in view of the

Minister of Finance’s answer, is it therefore a prudent idea to continue housing regional trading giants who are continuously siphoning that short US dollar back to their country such as Pick n Pay, Choppies and so on?  They are selling South African Products and taking even more money back to South Africa – [HON. ZWIZWAI:  Especially Choppies  inogara yakaitwa official opening].

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  I want to thank the Hon.

Member for the supplementary question.  Among the measures that the Governor is going to announce, they will include a priority list for use of the hard earned foreign currency.  In other words, there will be a priority list of goods which can be imported using our foreign currency.  So, I think that once that priority list is implemented, I am sure that the problems you mention will become less and less.

Basically the priority list is going to say with respect to banks; give priority to importing fuel, machinery and essential goods and commodities.  I am talking of raw materials not trinkets, not dollar for two shoes.  So that essentially is what is going to be proposed.

HON. DR. KEREKE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  One of the measures which was welcomed by our market was the debt resolution strategy prefixed as the LIMA Strategy.  May the Hon.

Minister give an update in terms of the policy position on how far the LIMA programme has gone, when can we expect to see the fruits? We believe it will help a lot in our financial market.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Mr. Speaker Sir, we are a

member of the three multilateral financial institutions and we owe them money.  According to their rules, we cannot secure new funding or enjoy the benefits of our membership unless and until we clear our arrears.  We fell into arrears in 2000, we had not been paying.  Now, we entered into a Staff Monitored Programme and the clearance of arrears was dependent on us meeting the staff monitored targets.  This, we have done, an IMF mission came to the country February/March, assessed whether we had met our target for end of December last year and it concluded that we had indeed met our targets.

The team also did Article 4 consultations and they were reasonably satisfied with the economic direction that the country is taking, in particular the reform agenda.  In fact the mission was pleasantly surprised that they were reforms that we were undertaking which were outside the Staff Monitored Programme.  Of, course we explained that we do these reforms for ourselves and not to please the IMF.  The meeting on Monday of the IMF board received a report from the mission as well as a report on the Article 4 consultations.  I am happy to say and this has been communicated to me yesterday, Tuesday, 3rd May, 2016.

I am happy to say that the IMF Board was satisfied with

Zimbabwe’s performance.  So, the coast is now clear to implement the LIMA strategy for clearance of arrears and we are expecting that from now on, the necessary documentation will now be done.  The necessary written commitments will now be sought and given and that the multilateral institutions boards will meet September, October or thereabouts to approve the strategy.  But alongside the clearance of arrears Mr. Speaker Sir, we are negotiating a new financing programme, to support and finance those sectors of our economy which if supported and financed, will have a transformative impact in our economic recovery.

These factors are basically what is laid out in the ZIM-ASSET document.  In respect of productive sectors, we are talking of agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and so on.  In the case of infrastructure, we are talking about power, roads, railways, water and ICT.  So, Mr. Speaker Sir, in short answer to Hon. Kereke, we are on course.  I want to appeal to Hon. Members on both sides of the political divide to support the strategy without respect to political affiliation.  We, should, on economic issues, speak with one voice in order to restore and build confidence in our economy and in our country.

HON. DR. KEREKE:   I want to find out on the issue of ZIDERA

and the binding constraints it gives on multilateral organisations like the IMF, the World Bank.   Is it not fact that for as long as ZIDERA is a statute that is active, it is not possible that the IMF, even if Zimbabwe clears it arrears, will be able to give loans to Zimbabwe - particularly in view of the fact that what Zimbabwe owes the IMF; technically Zimbabwe has paid because the IMF is holding our money which will more than offset what we owe them.

HON. CHINAMASA: Normalisation with the United States of America remains a problem and it is problematic, that I must admit.  But we continue to engage them, almost every time we go to these meetings, we have been engaging the State Department and United States Treasury. Not only about seeking their support for our debt clearance strategy but also appealing to them to lift the sanctions.  Just before I went to the annual meetings, the United States slapped sanctions on our fertilizer companies, which basically is a direct attack on our agriculture.  So, I recognise it is a problem but certainly we will do whatever is in our power to find ways around it.

What I think Mr. Speaker, the House needs to know is that the

United States, whilst being the biggest shareholder, has no right of veto.  It has not right of veto to any decisions that the board may want to take on any of these. So, its influence is through moral suasion.  So, we are trying our best to talk to those who are supporting us who are friends of the United States, so that they can be more supportive.  I thank you Mr.

Speaker.

*HON. MUPFUMI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs.  Last time you explained that the police can access people’s accounts and get money from them.  However, the law of the land says that the police are there to arrest offenders and the courts are there to pass sentence.  Why are the police taking the law into their own hands without following the procedure?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Members, this is question time;

you just ask straightforward questions.  We expect the Hon. Ministers to respond accordingly.  Please ask your questions directly and use one language.

*HON. MUPFUMI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My question is, which law is being used by the ZRP to access money from people’s personal accounts?  The police should inform members of the public of the crime committed and the person should go to court.  What is Government policy concerning that?

*THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. DR.

CHOMBO):  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I thank the Hon. Member for his question.  The question is very pertinent such that I need to go and look at the legislation that is available, investigate more on the issue and submit a written submission in response to the question.  Thank you.

HON. BHEBHE:  Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.

We are aware that the country has a housing backlog estimated at over 1.5 million.  Recently, you were on the news canvassing for 20 000 stands that you are going to distribute on partisan lines.  Is it not prudent for the Minister to encourage the Government to allocate proper land to fulfill the waiting list of 1.5 million?

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC

WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE): 

Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would want to thank Hon. Bhebhe for a good question.  First and foremost, we are not distributing or let alone having people access stands on the basis of their political cards.  We want to ensure that all Zimbabweans where possible, have housing opportunities – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] -

Mr. Speaker Sir, the housing waiting list by city authorities has been very disappointing, if I have to say it.  For a very long time,

Government has been making land available to the city authorities.  However, if you see the records by city authorities, most of the land was distributed to land barons and cooperatives, to the extent that many of the people who accessed the land did not pay for the land even to the city authorities.  We felt this process or system can no longer be acceptable.  We have authority within Government; the Urban Development Cooperation which is charged with ensuring that we develop housing and house our people.  We are going for a transparent process, – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  a system that will ensure that the majority of our people has access to land.

Mr. Speaker Sir, it would have been my desired route to work with the city authorities and give them land but some of them have publicly said they do not want the land, with 100 000 people on the waiting list.  I cannot force cities which have said that publicly and I can quote

Bulawayo Mayor.  He said the 100 000 people on the waiting list is not an issue.  How can 100 000 people be not an issue to a city father?  We are saying we will move into Bulawayo and ensure that we give land to the people; irrespective of their political persuasion, we are going to house them.  I thank you.

HON. BHEBHE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  It is on record that

Bulawayo City Council has applied for land in Umguza through the

Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.  That application has not been approved to date but the same Minister is coming up with a partisan list that expressly said 20 000 stands, that he addressed at a rally.  What effort is he making to ensure that he reduces the 100 000 and not creating yet another list against the local authority list?

HON. KASUKUWERE:  Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Member can

favour me with the application from City of Bulawayo to my Ministry.  I will be glad to receive that.  I can also assure him that Bulawayo City Council has a lot of land under its control, including farms which they have been lazy not to service and give to the people.  Right now as we are speaking, there is land that has been taken by their senior party officials in Bulawayo, including the race course.  The land has not been allocated to the people but individuals in a corrupt manner.  We cannot accept that – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -

*HON. PEDZISAI:  Thank you.  My question is directed to Hon. Minister Kasukuwere.  What is the Government policy concerning the acquisition of land that is in  a private property  in the urban areas and farming land in connection with the issue of housing.  What does the law say concerning private property land in urban areas?

         THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC

WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):

Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question that he has raised.  Let me say that Government policy is clear, if land is privately owned, it is private property.  I am not sure whether the Hon. Member was saying that is it wrong to invade someone’s private land, was that the question?

HON. CHAMISA: On a point of order! Mr. Speaker, we

appreciate the fact that the Ministers have to give responses to the Members of Parliament after questions are raised but I think the Minister should be brought to order because he said that the Hon. Member is an invader.  We do not want the factionalism in their party in this august House.  We do not care whether people are Lacoste or G40; we do not want that Mr. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  The Hon. Minister of Local

Government, National Housing and Public Works talked about invaders not Hon. Members as invaders.

HON. PHIRI: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I simply want to thank the

Hon. Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for indicating that he is more transparent than the previous Minister.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order!  It is not your role Hon. Member to be judgmental.  Can you withdraw your statement and ask your question.

HON. PHIRI:  I withdraw Mr. Speaker.  Hon. Minister on the land issue and other issues pertaining to the purview of your Ministry, it is perceived that you are interfering too much, you are micromanaging...

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Can you please ask the question?

HON. PHIRI: Mr. Speaker, that is my question.

THE HON. SPEAKER: No ask the question.

HON. PHIRI: Hon. Minister why are you micro-managing Local

Authorities as if you are leaving in the pre-2013 era, when a new Constitution had not been brought into place?  Why are you not coming up with a new piece of legislation that complies with the provisions of the new Constitution?

THE HON. SPEAKER: That is not a supplementary question.

HON. TOFFA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My supplementary

question to the Minister of Local Government with regards to the issuing of land to the youths is that; are the youth going to be given title deeds? Secondly are the youth going to be economically empowered for them to manage those stands? Also, does the City Council have the capacity to service those stands that they are giving to youths that do not even have one dollar today?

HON. KASUKUWERE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for her question.  Hon. Member, we must empower our young people whether they have no resources or they have, it is their right as Zimbabweans.  Secondly, when we are fighting poverty and this is the commitment by our party to fight poverty amongst young people of this country – [HON. CHAMISA: Party yako ichii urikuda ku former another part] – ZANU PF!

So, we will not hesitate, Mr. Speaker Sir, to ensure that we go the full length and help our young people to access title deeds where they have satisfied the requirements, they will get them.  Why should they build homes and not have access to title.  We are doing it because we know that this is about their livelihood, it is about their future, they must be secure and that is what we are doing.

In the process, Mr. Speaker Sir, our young people will also be engaged; I can give you the example of Caledonia which we are rebuilding, and we are working hard on.  The young people there are working but they are also paying in a small way for the stands that they have.  So, we believe this is an opportunity to empower our young people at the same time giving them an opportunity to work for themselves.

HON. MALABA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  Seeing that our Local Authorities are failing to rehabilitate the roads in all our cities – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection] - I come from Bulawayo and I know what I am talking about.  Hon. Minister what is the Government policy in terms of ZINARA managing the roads, will it be a prudent idea if ZINARA would even manage the roads in the towns just like what ZESA is an electricity authority?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):

Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Malaba for that question which gives me an opportunity to explain what ZINARA is doing and what local authorities should also be doing,  ZINARA is just a funder which collects money and disburse it to road authorities which are urban or city councils, rural authorities, DDF and department of roads.  You are insinuating that ZINARA should be the one to collect and again work on the roads or rehabilitate the roads.  You are forward looking but the situation as it is at the moment is that ZINARA is contented by the work that the road authorities are doing.  Some very important work is being done by local authorities.  For instance, the Bulawayo City

Council that you are talking about are the best in the country … - [HON.

MEMBERS: Hear, Hear] – in utilising the funds that are disbursed by

ZINARA.  I would actually urge all local authorities, urban, rural and

DDF to emulate the City of Bulawayo.

Whilst you are of the opinion that maybe we should engage ZINARA to do the work that local authorities are doing.  I would say, local authorities must emulate those local authorities that are using the funds that are disbursed to them in a very successful way that satisfies our people.  If you look at Bulawayo, I say they are the best because they have already started using the money that was disbursed to them to employ youths and go about patching the roads.  I thank you for your question.

HON. MALABA:  I know that the Minister was in Bulawayo recently for a seminar but he attended a stage-managed… - [HON.

MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.

HON. MALABA:  He attended a stage-managed programme in

Makokoba…… - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order can you ask the supplementary please.

HON. MALABA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker that is exactly where I am going.  My question is, the roads in Bulawayo are in a deplorable state.  I am talking about the roads in the eastern and western suburbs.

They are terrible despite the fact that Bulawayo was given funds by ZINARA to rehabilitate the roads.

Therefore my question to the Minister is, who now supervises the usage of those funds?  Is it ZINARA or the Ministry?  Last year

Bulawayo City Council was given … … - [HON. MEMBERS:

Inaudible interjections] – Hon. Speaker, I am saying last year, the Bulawayo City Council was given $870 000.00 by ZINARA and the uptake was only 55% of those funds yet the roads are in a deplorable state.  Who is policing the City Council and ensuring that they are properly utilising the money to rehabilitate those roads?

HON. DR. GUMBO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not know

about stage-managing but what I know is that I visited work in progress when I got to Bulawayo not just in Mzilikazi but across the town both the low and high density areas.  I can also confirm that we were also given a list of some of the very bad roads in Bulawayo.

I agree that the City Council cannot maintain all the roads at the same time.  It is a process that has to take a long time.  The important thing that everybody knows and most people have been to the Trade Fair, just facts and nothing else.  Bulawayo City Council has got the best roads in the country and I believe they are using the money that we disburse to them correctly.  I am urging all urban authorities to emulate what Bulawayo is doing.  Harare is also trying and I cannot expect them to have rehabilitated all the roads at the same time.  Let us accept that work is being done.

My point to Hon. Malaba is that whilst he might have a place in Bulawayo that has not been attended to, it does not mean that they are not doing their work.  Bulawayo City Council are doing their best and will continue to do their best because we also disburse funds after they have acquitted what we will have allocated to them.  We also have a process of verifying that the money has been properly utilised, that is the supervision that we do.

So, ZINARA cannot supervise and the … - [HON. MEMBERS:

Hear, Hear] – whilst ZINARA supervises through audits, we also ensure that the money has been properly utilised by making follow-ups.  I thank you.

+HON. MLILO:  My question is directed to the Minister of Local

Government, Public Works and National Housing.  Minister, what is Government policy on hiring people in the wards particularly those engaged in grass-cutting?

*THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC

WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE): 

Thank you Mr. Speaker, the question that was raised by Hon. Mlilo concerns workers in the urban areas especially those engaged in grasscutting.  These are public works that are being done and as a Government, we look at Councils who have the responsibility of collecting rates.

He may be talking about Cowdry Park, the residents of this area should ensure that Council employs youths from these areas to do the work to ensure that they keep their city clean.  I thank you.

+HON. MLILO:  Thank you for the response Minister but what is transpiring is not making everyone happy as there is subjective hiring of people yet we have Residents Associations.  Why is the hiring of people not involving the Councils so that it can be conducted in a transparent manner instead of hiring people at MDC rallies?

*HON. KASUKUWERE:  I thank Hon. Mlilo for the supplementary question that is looking at the conduct of people who employ workers.  There are quite a number of issues raised in doing the work.  My request is that when youths are being employed, let us give the people of Zimbabwe, it is sad that in the urban areas when the councillors recruit workers, they only take those people that they want and employs them. I hope that the issue that was mentioned of Bulawayo, if that is what is happening there as the Hon. Member has said; we will investigate and find out what is happening.  We will assist the Council to address the issue to ensure that there is transparency in the employment of people. I thank you.

*HON. CHIBAYA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. There are NRZ employees who have not received any salaries for the past 15 months.  As a Minister what are you doing about it because it is affecting the economy as a whole, because there is nothing that is taking place at NRZ? I would want to know as the Minister is doing to ensure that the workers at NRZ are able to fend for themselves and earn a decent living. I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (DR. J. GUMBO):

Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank Hon. Chibaya for the question that he has raised.  It is a question that affects a lot of people here in Zimbabwe as well as families.  It is true that the National Railways of Zimbabwe employees have not received their salaries for the past 15 to 16 months.  What has been happening over this long period of time is that the workers were engaging with the management to ensure that they get at least a little of the money.

Those who occupy top management were being given $700 and those at the lower ranks were given about $175 per month. The challenge right now Mr. Speaker Sir, is that those who were giving work to the railways for example Tongaat Hulett have stopped working with NRZ.  Other companies such as ZIMASCO folded and ZPC has also stopped engaging NRZ, which means that the little money that NRZ was able to get and the that the agreement that had been reached of them getting a little of their salary is not longer available.

The Hon. Member went on to ask what we are doing as a Ministry, we are requesting the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development headed by Hon. Chinamasa that those who were indebted to the NRZ companies like ZISCO, ZIMASCO, Makomo, ZPC, Tongaat Hulett and GMB, to give us Treasury Bills in order to assist us in paying these workers.  The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has agreed to this and we got about $3 million that we have managed to

pay the NRZ workers. We have paid them at least $3 million and we are requesting that they should come back to work and to continue working for the Government by bringing in produce from GMB.

As Government and as a Ministry, we also engaged in talks with other companies. I cannot divulge which companies - but we are talking to them in order to finance the NRZ in order resuscitate the NRZ industry, the railway lines, the locomotives as well as resuscitate signalling so that the employees work in a conducive environment without being prone to accidents.  What we request is that NRZ workers understand what we are going through for what we are planning right now, we would want them to understand what we are doing as Government. Our aim and hope is that they remain employed.  We know it is difficult to go to work without earning a salary but we asking them to bear with us as Government. I thank you.

*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Hon. Minister, my supplementary question is, what are you doing about the suggestion that came that NRZ has scrap steel that can be sold.  If this scrap steel is sold it will bring in a bit of funding that will assist in the paying of salaries for these workers.

Furthermore, as we look at this scrap steel, there is an issue of copper wire that was stolen from Gweru to Bulawayo which was for the electric train. Copper wire, we are talking of thousands of kilogrammes, if this is sold that will also raise quite a lot of funding to sustain the workers at NRZ. I thank you.                

HON. DR. J. GUMBO: I thank the Hon. Member for giving me more ideas and insight.  Mr. Speaker Sir, these are some of the ideas that we are using.  What we are doing in terms of scrap metal that he has mentioned, we have plans to dispose of it to raise funds.  We wanted to do it in a transparent manner.  We said we want to invite tenders to see who can buy the scrap.  That is what we are doing with the scrap metal in order to assist the workers as well as the copper wires that you mentioned about.  We are in the process of finding out which can be used and which we sell in order to raise money to assist the workers at NRZ. I thank you.

HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon Minister of Finance and Economic Development, the question is directed to you if you could kindly follow

it?   

HON. MUDARIKWA: My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development. What is the national policy of Zimbabwe in as far as the use of plastic money is concerned?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I want to thank the Hon.

Member for his question.  Our problem which was raised earlier by Hon. Misihairabwi–Mushonga is to do with shortage of cash which is caused by the fact that all of us walk with thousands and thousands of US$ in our pockets and bags.  People buy cars, go to put a deposit to buy cars and they take cash with them to buy cars. Even to buy a house they go and pay $20 000 to $30 000 deposit in cash. All that means it is cash outside the money system.  Sometimes the money spends two weeks under the pillow.

The strategy and policy is to encourage the use of plastic money so that it can be done electronically.  This is also helpful because we have an educated population and we think that we can cope and be able to adapt to the use of plastic money.  Therefore, the policy is to encourage, and I would want to call on all Hon Members to also try to use RTGs when they are doing transactions and not to withdraw cash from the bank.  Thank you.

HON. SITHOLE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Dokora.  Is it Government policy to impose the national pledge and the cancellation of Scripture Union in all schools without passing through Parliament as enshrined in the Constitution on Section 13, read in conjunction with Section 194?

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. DOKORA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I

will be seeking your indulgence to make a Ministerial Statement on the national school pledge.  Then, the second part of that question relating to the Scripture Union – the scripture unions themselves know that they are not banned from schools and they know precisely what they should be engaging in when they go to the schools.  Thank you.  [HON.

MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]

THE HON. SPEAKER:   Order; Hon. Mutseyami, order pleaseWe cannot allow supplementary questions because the Hon Minister has promised to make a Ministerial Statement.  After his ministerial statement, you can then seek clarification.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON.

SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.

HON. D. SIBANDA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I propose that we extend the time for questions without notice by 10 minutes.

HON. MUKWANGWARIWA:  I object.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY

LEGAL COMMITTEE

            THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have received from the Parliamentary

Legal Committee Non-Adverse reports on the following Bills: The Public Finance Management Amendment Bill, (H. B. 14, 2015), the

Pan-African Minerals University of Science and Technology Bill, (H. B.

10, 2015) and the Minerals Exploration and Marketing Corporation Bill,

(H. B. 11, 2015).

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

TOURS OF PROVINCES BY THE FIRST LADY

  1. HON. CROSS asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development whether the recent tours to the provinces by the First Lady were catered for by the State, and if so, to state the expenditure incurred and also if the Minister could report to the House the extent and justification of such expenditure.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  The short answer to the

Hon. Member’s question is that the cost of the logistics or movements of the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe to meetings, falls within the budget of the office of the President.  It is not feasible to isolate such costs from the overall costs or budget of the office of the President.  Thank you.         HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Hon Minister, in view of your response to question number one, is it Government policy that funds that are set aside for Government activities be utilized for political activities.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I do not see the question here relating to

political activities.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  The question by Hon Cross was whether the recent tours by the First Lady were funded by the State.  Everyone who knows the First Lady’s tours knows that they were political tours. The fact that Hon Cross did not specifically state - the First Lady’s political tours does not mean that we cannot find out; like the Hon Minister has responded that indeed the tours were funded from State coffers.  My question then is, if it is Government policy to utilise State coffers to fund political activities?

HON. CHINAMASA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon Member is just

trying to split hairs.  When the First Lady travels, sometimes they travel together with the President and I do not know whether for that event he would want me to separate the cost for the First Lady flying in the helicopter with the President.  Sometimes the President will delegate her to do his work and at times charity work and so on.  Clearly, I do not see any rationale for trying to split hairs.  The point is that the First Lady sometimes helps the President in discharging his Government duties.  You cannot separate the political from the official.  In the same way that the President, when he travels, he is travelling as the President of the country but also as leader of ZANU PF. I have never been asked at any time why he has travelled in a helicopter as leader of ZANU PF because he cannot separate his leadership of ZANU PF from his leadership of the country.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker.  I think my question is very simple and straightforward and is not splitting any hairs.  If it is the feeling of …

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, you do not raise a point order.  You should have raised a supplementary question.  I think the answer has been quite clear.

PROGRESS ON SETTLING OF REGIONAL AND

INTERNATIONAL DEBTS

  1.     2. NDUNA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic

Development to update the House on the progress Government has made to settle regional and international debts with particular reference to:

  1. The US$111 million owed to the International Monetary Fund;
  2. US$601 million owed to the African Development Bank; and
  3. US$1.1 billion owed to the World Bank.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank

the Hon. Member for his question.  My response is as follows:

  1. With respect to the US$111 million owed to the International

Monetary Fund (IMF), as of today, our arrears to the IMF amount

to about US$109 million.  The figure has been declining because of the token payments we have been paying since 2013.  The exact figure also fluctuates depending on the US$, the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) exchange rate.  At the same time, our reserves with the IMF amount to US$130million.  This means our reserves with the IMF are more than enough to pay-off the arrears.

  1. US$601million owed to the African Development Bank (AFDB); Let me inform Hon. Members that the AFDB set aside resources to write-off arrears with Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe and these resources were to be accessed on a first come first saved basis. The dead-line for use of these resources is December 2016.  This is why we are accelerating the re-engagement process, ahead of the other countries so that 100% of these resources are used to writeoff Zimbabwe’s arrears, which would be debt forgiveness. The mechanics of the write-off is being facilitated by the Afreximbank.

We need therefore to acknowledge with appreciation, that the

AFDB will write-off our debt and that Afreximbank will facilitate that write-off.

  1. US$1.1 billion owed to the World Bank. The World Bank Group did not set aside resources to write off debts to Zimbabwe.  We are therefore, having to raise our resources or borrow these resources.  Discussions are underway, spearheaded by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, with friendly countries and some financial institutions to raise the money.  I will update members when we reach an agreement.  We are aiming at getting a soft loan with a long grace period and more time for repayment.

MEASURES ON REDUCING TRADE DEFICIT

  1. HON. NDUNA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to explain the measures that Government has taken to reduce the trade deficit which has gone up in the last two years from US$2.7billion in 2014 to US$2.9 billion in 2015.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the Hon. Member for his question.  The country’s trade balance has remained negative since 2014.  A trade deficit of about US$3.3 billion was recorded in both 2014 and 2015 as a result of both exogenous and endogenous factors.

Exogenous factors primarily related to a drop in international commodity prices, particularly of minerals, which comprise the bulk of our exports.  The appreciation of the US dollar against a number of our trading partners’ currencies also stimulated imports demand by most Zimbabwean entities.

On the other hand, endogenous factors evolved around low productivity in most of our productive sectors against a background of high production costs, utility bottlenecks among a host of other factors constraining production.

As a result, growth in exports have lagged behind that of imports translating into consecutive trade deficits.

The table below shows exports and imports for 2013 to 2015

  2013 2014 2015
Imports 4,139 500 000 6,379 758 000 6,002 596 000
Exports 8,005 300 000 3,063 736 000 2,704 095 000
Trade Deficit 3,865 800 000 3,316 021 000 3,298 500 000

Source: ZimStat

In addition, the huge errors and omissions also reflect leakages or unrecorded exports and other inflows which affect the trade balance.

Measures to Reduce the Trade Deficit

Government has always prioritised a sustainable trade deficit in order to contain unsustainable outflows.  This is more important under an environment which relies on the use of external currencies for liquidity and day to day transactions.

Accordingly, the following measures are under implementation to manage the trade gap with the objective of stimulating exports while containing non-essential imports.

Import Duties

Over the years, since 2013, Government has been reviewing import duties for goods and services with a view to containing imports.  The objective was to ensure a level playing field which also protect and promote the local industry while observing the SADC Trade Protocol and Industrialisation Strategy.  The affected sub-sectors include, foodstuffs, furniture, electrical, clothing and footwear among others.  The rationale for the respective tariff adjustments were also meant to fight dumping.

Duties on Capital Goods and Raw Materials

In addition, Government has also been taking a deliberate move to reduce duties on capital goods and raw materials in support of our industry in order to reduce their production costs and hence improve their competitiveness.

Mobilisation of External Lines of Credits

  1. Mobilisation of external affordable lines of credit aimed at improving productivity and competitiveness has been prioritised in support of our industry. These include the Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund, Zimbabwe Economic and Trade Revival Facility, PTA and Afrexim Bank Facilities among others.  This is ongoing and the impact has been positive on benefiting industries.

Investment Attraction

  1. Creation of conductive business environment that attract the much needed investment of our ailing industry is also a priority. Hence, Government through coordination of the OPC has been spearheading the implementation of the Ease of Doing Business Reforms.  These relate to:
    • Starting a Business;
    • Paying taxes and trading across borders;
    • Getting credit, and resolving insolvency;
    • Enforcing contracts and protecting minority investors; and - Registering property and getting construction permits.

Other Measures

  1. Other measures in support of the above include;
    • Promoting local procurement, so as to support local industry and hence reduce imports for those goods and services which can be availed

locally.

-Buy Zimbabwe Campaigns – encouraging and requiring all

Government to buy goods and services locally so as to promote local industries.

-Promotion of Special Economic Zones and already a Bill is before this august House, to attract investments particularly for exporting industries.

  • Lastly, support for SMEs through various facilities because

SMEs are going to be the engine for growth and exports.  I thank you.

IMPORTATION OF GOODS PRODUCED LOCALLY

  1. HON. NDUNA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to explain the legislative measures that the Ministry has put in place to ensure that the country does not continue to import goods which can be produced locally, namely; grain, chemical and pharmaceutical products.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker

Sir.  I outline below in summery some of the measures that were undertaken by the Ministry for the sectors in question.

The issue of pharmaceutical products, strengthening and promoting the local production of pharmaceutical products is one of the strategies under the Social Services and Poverty Eradication Cluster of  ZIMASSET.  Cognisant of the fact that the pharmaceutical  industry was facing unfair competition from imported cheaper products, the

Government, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, provides a rebate of duty to approved pharmaceutical companies on essential imported raw materials and packaging materials used in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products.

Currently, nine approved pharmaceutical manufacturers are benefiting under the facility whereby essential raw materials and packaging materials are imported duty free.  For more information with regards to the facility, Hon. Members are requested to refer to Statutory Instrument 179 of 2014, which became effective on 1st January, 2015.

This rebate reduces the cost of production, thereby enhancing competitiveness of locally manufactured pharmaceutical products.  The improved competitiveness of locally manufactured products eased importation of pharmaceutical products by about 10.4% between 2014 and 2015.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, on the issue of grain and chemicals, customs duty, a fiscal tool that can be used by the Ministry, remains low, ranging between 0% and 15% on the bulk of products in view of the fact that the products are of a strategic nature and are also used as inputs in the production process.

However, grain and chemicals require import permits to be imported into the country as a way of minimising importation of such goods.  For instance, with respect to grain, permits are not issued when the country has a good harvest.

In conclusion, the control of importation of goods in order to curb trade deficit requires collective effort from various Government

Departments.  It is also important to note that policy intervention by the

Government in general and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, in particular, is guided by representations from affected industry.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development continues to implement policies that support local production.  To this end, the Hon. Member of Parliament in conjunction with the stakeholders concerned, should take advantage of the budget and submit comprehensive list of the affected locally produced products for possible policy interventions.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  In terms of Standing Orders Number 64

(7), the Hon. Member is allowed to ask not more than four questions.  So, can the Hon. Minister submit at the Clerks Table answers to questions Numbers, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Thank you very much for

that clarification of the Standing Order -[Laughter]-.  

         THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you.

MEASURES TO REDUCE GOVERNMENT’S CURRENT

ACCOUNT DEFICIT

  1. HON. K. SIBANDA asked the Minister of Finance and

Economic Development to explain to the House the measures that the

Ministry has in place to reduce Government’s current account deficit that constraints economic growth potential as caused by illicit financial flows.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir.

  1. Firstly I thank Hon. Sibanda for the question. Let me clarify that it is the country which can incur a current account deficit and not the

Government.

  1. The country’s current account balance has remained in negative territory. A current account deficit is about US$2.1 billion and US$1.5 billion was recorded in 2014 and 2015, respectively, emanating from both exogenous and endogenous factors.
  2. Exogenous factors primarily relate to a drop in international commodity prices particularly minerals which comprise the bulk of our exports, namely chrome, platinum, gold and nickel. The appreciation of the US dollar against a number of our trading partners’ currencies also stimulated domestic demand for imports over local products.
  3. On the other hand, endogenous factors evolved around low productivity in most of our productive sectors on the back of high production costs, utility bottlenecks among a host of other factors constraining local production.

5.The situation is worsened by illicit financial flows such understating of exports, overpricing of imports and tax evasion, among others.  This results in a huge import bill being financed by externalized funds vis-à-vis understated exports causing a huge current account balance.

  1. The Governor of the Reserve Bank in his 2016 Monetary Statement, reported that US$684 million was remitted outside Zimbabwe or externalized by individuals in 2015 under the auspices of free funds for various dubious and unwarranted purposes.
  2. The externalisation was done through remittance of donations to oneself, offshore investments, externalisation of export sales proceeds by corporates through individual accounts, leading to pervasive tax evasion and externalisation.
  3. Consequently, the Central Bank has put in place measures to improve transparency in the utilisation of scarce financial resources, to close the gaps and loopholes arising from inconsistencies and inadequate enforcement of rules on financial transparency and accountability.
  4. These are summarized as follows (full detail of the measures is in the

2016 Monetary Policy Statement):

  • Getting rid of free funds pseudo foreign exchange classification;
  • All suspicious transactions as generally reported by financial institutions under the Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) will now be reported to RBZ before processing of the outgoing transactions by financial institutions;
  • Promotion of plastic money and bank transfers to minimise the unnecessary burden on consumers of carrying and paying in cash;
  • Financial institutions are encouraged to observe strict customer due diligence, know your customer principle and high level consciousness to ensure that all local and cross border transactions are monitored;
  • Monitoring the operations of offshore related companies;
  • Registration of service agreements by state-owned enterprises;
  • Penalties for non-compliance to financial institutions found to be in complicity by systematically turning a blind eye to any suspicious transactions or any of the prudential measures.
  1. These measures are in addition to fiscal measures in place such as import duties to reduce imports bill. Low duties on capital goods and raw materials to boost local production to stimulate exports, among others, in order to reduce the huge current account deficit.

INVOLVEMENT OF CHINESE NATIONALS IN DUTY FREE

IMPORT SCAM

  1.         HON. MARUMAHOKO asked the Minister of Finance and

Economic Development

  1. Whether he is aware of a duty free import scam involving Chinese Nationals Duan Denghong and Peiming Yang who have both been sentenced to ten months in prison.
  2. To explain how the two ended up importing vehicle spares using the Ministry of Defence’s name and obtained duty free certificates used to clear the spares while they had visitors’ permits.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank you very much for this question.  The case that has been brought to my attention relates to some Chinese nationals who were apprehended by police due to breach of immigration laws.  I am further advised by ZIMRA that they were sentenced to ten months in prison.

With respect to the second part of the question, ZIMRA has advised that it was involved in the investigations of allegations of abuse of duty free certificates.  After verification, it was established that proper clearance of the spare parts was done, hence there was no abuse of duty free certificates in this case.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. P.D. SIBANDA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Hon. Minister, you are indicating that there was no abuse of duty free certificates.  Can you explain how two Chinese nationals managed to import duty free on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, if in your own investigations or investigations by ZIMRA, there was nothing wrong with that?  Does that not compromise the institution of Defence?  Thank you.

HON. CHINAMASA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I am not aware of the allegations that the Hon. Member is making against the Ministry of Defence.  What I am reporting is the information that has been given to me by ZIMRA.  There was an allegation of importation of spare parts duty free and abuse of duty free certificates.  ZIMRA informed me that they investigated and we were satisfied that there was no abuse.  If the Hon. Member has information to the contrary, I will be very much happy if that information can be given to me so that I can do my own independent investigations.  If ZIMRA is lying to me, it is a serious matter. It means obviously that they may be covering corruption.  So, I would want to establish whether there has been corruption or not.  I am open to any information that will establish that there was corruption.

HON. P.D. SIBANDA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I think when the Hon. Minister is saying that there was no abuse, he needs to explain further.  By ‘no abuse’ are you saying the investigations proved that the two Chinese nationals did not use the Ministry of Defence as a cover for them to import the car parts duty free?

HON. CHINAMASA:  Due to the fact that I did not have the information that you have, I had no reason to probe further beyond the answer that I was given by ZIMRA.  So, if there is any information that is outside the brief that I was given by ZIMRA, please make that information available to me so that I can follow it up.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): 

Thank you Hon. Minister.  I think Hon. Sibanda, you can put the questions that were not answered by the Minister in writing.

HON. P.D. SIBANDA:  Mr. Speaker, I think what is needed here is simple clarification.  Question 13 is quite clear.  Let me go through it again.  Part (b) says ‘to explain how the two ended up importing vehicle spares using the Ministry of Defence’s name and obtained duty free certificates used to clear the spares while they had visitors’ permits.’  I think it is very clear.  What is only required Mr. Speaker is to explain what he was told by ZIMRA.  Did ZIMRA tell him that the two Chinese did not use the Ministry of Defence’s name or they did not import the car parts, rather than to simply say there was no abuse?  I think the

Minister should come out clear.

HON. CHINAMASA:  Do not misinterpret what I said.  I said the information I have from ZIMRA is that there was no abuse of the duty free certificates.  However, if you have information which shows that there was abuse, please let me have that information.  I do not think I can be clearer than what I have just said.  I am giving you the clearest answer that anyone can give to anybody.  Give me the information and I promise I will follow it up.

GROWTH POINTS AND SERVICE CENTRES

  1.         HON. MAWERE asked the Minister of Finance and

Economic Development to explain to the House when the Ministry would declare more growth points and service centres, in terms of the Sales Tax (Deliration of Growth Point Areas, Service Centre) Notice 1987, so that interested persons may apply for title deeds in areas like Chivamba and Vesa.

         THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not have answers for question 14 and 15, the questions came very late.  If those questions could be stood down and deferred to next week.

REVIVAL OF KAMALALA DAM IN HWANGE EAST

CONSTITUENCY

  1. 16. HON. MKANDLA asked the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate to inform the House the Ministry’s plans to revive Kamalala Dam in Hwange East Constituency which dried in 2013 due to siltation.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): I want to thank Hon. Mkandla

for the question.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the drying up of dams, mainly small dams that are dotted across the country due to siltation is an issue which the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate Change is seized with.  The Ministry, through ZINWA has identified 5 dams in each catchment which have silted to start the desilting of these dams.  I am glad to say that Gwayi Catchment have included Kamalala dam for the programme.

As the Hon. Member might recall, the desilting programme was launched some time last year and as I speak, we are working on Chimhanda dam, which too has silted.  In order to speed up the desilting process, we are calling upon our Hon. Members to mobilise communities to support our limited machinery (draglines) to provide manual labour in the desilting programme.  This can be part of the public works programme or food for work programme.

Government is further expecting more equipment from the Belarus facility - which equipment, I am sure ,will accelerate the speed of implementation of the disilting programme.

Finally, Mr. Speaker Sir, the Ministry together with other relevant department like EMA, AREX, and other Local Authorities are carrying out awareness campaigns to educate communities on the need to protect our dams from siltation through:-

  • Good agricultural practices which, among other things include avoidance of stream bank cultivation.
  • Rampant deforestation, especially in the dam basins.

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER

ADJOURNMENT OF THE HOUSE

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that

the House will adjourn today until Tuesday 10th of May, 2016 to enable relevant Committees to attend to the Ease of Doing Business Seminar in

Bulawayo.

THURSDAY COMMITTEE MEETINGS

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: All Committee meetings

scheduled for tomorrow Thursday 5th May 2016 will meet as scheduled.

 

ASSISTANCE TO VILLAGERS OF SIALWINDI IN SILEWU

WARD

  1. HON. M. MKANDLA asked the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate to explain why government was not helping villagers of Sialwindi in Silewu Ward by providing required equipment/machinery to construct a dam because villagers are using shovels to dig.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): I want to thank Hon. Mkandla

for the question.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Government, through the Ministry of

Environment Water and Climate and its departments has plans to build a dam in each district, including Sialwindi in Silewu Ward.  Due to the current financial challenges being experiences in the country, this has not been fully achieved.

While Government is awaiting the delivery of earthmoving equipment procured from Belarus which is being facilitated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, It is common cause that we have to use available resources.  As soon as delivery of the construction equipment is done, plans are in place to ensure that communities such as Sialwindi are immediately supported.

While this is on-going, I wish to submit to Hon. Members here, Mr. Speaker Sir, to also take the initiative to mobilise funds from friendly development partners to carry out these projects to complement Government efforts.  ZINWA our parastatal and the department of Water resources, planning and Management under the Ministry can complement by providing the technical designs, the surveys and supervision of construction of such dams.  I thank you.

CONSTRUCTION OF DAMS IN BULILIMA WEST

CONSTITUENCY

  1. HON NLEYA asked the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate to state when the Ministry would construct irrigation dams in Bulilima West Constituency.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND

CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): I want to thank Hon. Nleya for

the question which is not very different from earlier submissions.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Bulilima West Constituency is in natural region IV, which receives minimal rainfall.  Due to climate change, the rainfall pattern has worsened.  It is therefore necessary to have irrigation schemes to supplement Summer rains and also to enable Winter cropping.

Government through the Ministry of Environment Water and

Climate and its departments has plans to build a medium to large dam in the Bulilima West area.  This will serve several constituencies by putting in place conveyance systems.  However, I wish to add that due the topography of Matabeleland South in general, sites for dam construction are limited.

Government has procured construction equipment from Belarus and is awaiting delivery.  As soon as we take delivery of the equipment priority will be given to drought prone regions to make sure dams are constructed.  Needless to say, climate change is here to stay and the need to secure water in order to ensure food security is obvious; the food water nexus will need to be respected.  I thank you.

HON. PHIRI: On a point of order! Can I ask the Minister a supplementary question where the initial questioner is not present, that is question 19?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: No, you may not.

DETERIORATION OF LIVING CONDITIONS AT THE

GENERAL BARRACKS AND SINGLE QUARTER HOUSES IN

KADOMA CENTRAL CONSTITUENCY

HON. PHIRI asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to state the measures Government is taking to stop the deterioration of living conditions at the General Barracks and Single Quarter houses in Kadoma Central Constituency.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON.

CHINGOSHO): Thank you Hon. Speaker. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking the question.  However, the General Barracks and Single Quarters in Kadoma were constructed around 1940 and were meant for single people but due to homelessness and high demand for accommodation in Kadoma, these General Barracks are now being occupied by families and the living conditions have gone bad.

The structures belong to Kadoma Municipality and tenants are paying $24.00 per room per month as rental.  Maintenance of such is also being done by the local authority.

Following a survey that we conducted together with council in 2010, it was recommended that these families be relocated to alternative accommodation to pave way for demolitions and subsequent construction of entirely new structures.

The following are the measures being taken;

  • Government liaised with Council so that the General Barracks residents are given priority when allocating stands at Victory Park.
  • Under the Government urban renewal programme, the Ministry has entered into an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with a Chinese company (Chinese Huashi) for the construction of high rise buildings or vertical expansion with a total of 20 000 units as part of the urban renewal programme. Under this scheme Kadoma is also going to benefit and first priority on allocation will be given

to the tenants currently occupying the barracks.  This programme takes advantage of existing services such as sewer and roads to embark on densification although there is need for infrastructure upgrading.  I thank you.

HON. NDUNA: Would the Minister know if this facility also caters for Chegutu, Ward 5 in particular which also has similar structures such as those that are in Kadoma.  As he has alluded to the fact that this facility, in particular, takes care of sitting tenants in Kadoma.  Would he care to expound and tell this House if it also takes care of Chegutu?

However, if he is not aware of that, he can come and inform the

House in the future that it also encompasses Chegutu.

HON. CHINGOSHO:  I want to thank the Hon. Member for

asking that question.  First priority, as I indicated, is going to be given to the Kadoma residents.  If there is going to be extra space, those in Chegutu will be accommodated.  After the Kadoma programme, the

Ministry is also going to move into Chegutu.  I thank you.

PROGRESS ON ESTABLISHMENT OF A HOUSING FUND

FOR CIVIL SERVANTS

  1. HON. NDUNA asked the Minister of Local Government,

Public Works and National Housing to state the progress the Ministry has made in establishing the housing fund for civil servants which is expected to result in the construction of low-cost flats in Dzivarasekwa, Waterfalls and Tafara.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT,

PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON.

CHINGOSHO):  Mr. Speaker Sir, the Home Ownership Scheme launched in November 2015 is a housing delivery approach that augments other existing programmes and is meant to benefit the low income earners and civil servants alike.

The Home Ownership Scheme involves the construction of decent and affordable high rise, low income flats at Dzivarasekwa Extension and Tafara flats projects through the Public, Private Sector Partnership approach.  The Dzivarasekwa Extension site will avail a total of 464, two and three bedroom units while the Tafara site will avail 948, two and three bedroom units.

To date, all preliminary works have been concluded and the two financial institutions we are working with are finalising preparations to go onto the market to raise the requisite bond to finance the projects.

On their part, qualifying applicants will soon be advised to channel the requisite monthly payments through one of the partnering banks.

The success of the pilot projects will trigger replication throughout the country.  I thank you.

STEPS TO REDUCE HOUSING BACKLOG

  1. HON. NDUNA asked the Minister of Local Government,

Public Works and National Housing to inform the House on the steps the

Ministry is taking to reduce the housing backlog which stands at about

1.25 million units.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT,

PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (MR.

CHINGOSHO):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for affording me the opportunity to update the august House on progress to date in addressing the issue of the housing backlog.  As you may recall, last year I reported that in 2014, the Ministry facilitated the delivery of 56 766 residential stands/housing units by all actors, local authorities included, country wide which was well beyond the ZIM

ASSET target of 25 000 units annually, translating to 125 000 units by 2018.  I am happy to report that in 2015, the Ministry repeated the same feat by facilitating delivery of 141 217 residential stands/housing units.

The Ministry’s target goes beyond the ZIM ASSET and is attained through the following assigned provincial targets:

Harare                                   105 935

Bulawayo Metropolitan        15 100

Mashonaland Central            16 760

Mashonaland East                 11 776

Manicaland    21 830
Matabeleland South    12 500
Matabeleland North    28 772
Mashonaland West    23 819
Masvingo    20 269
Midlands    56 582
Total                      313 287      

The above targets will be attained through the adoption of the various tried and tested housing delivery modes by the various actors, chief among them being the Public/Private Partnerships and direct local authority and Ministry interventions through requisite construction units.

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

ADDITIONAL MEASURES INTENDED TO REDUCE

EMPLOYMENT COSTS

  1. HON. NDUNA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to inform the House on the measures that Government has in place, besides the Civil Service audit, to further reduce employment costs from the current 22.7% of our Gross Domestic Product.

  THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):

  1. The Civil Service audit undertaken by the Public Service Commission was out of concern by Government over the sustained disproportionate share of resources going towards costs (over 80% of total expenditures and around 20 – 22% of gross domestic product).
  2. In my 2016 National Budget Statement, I advised that the 2016 employment Costs budget of BUS$3.191 billion embraces annual savings of US$170.4 million will arise from the implementation of the Cabinet approved Public Service establishment rationalisation measures, which emphasise on:
    1. Eliminating duplication of functions within and across

Government Ministries and departments;

  1. Rationalising line Ministries’ structures for cost effective service delivery;
  2. Withdrawing financial support from non-core services.
  1. I am pleased to inform the August House that implementation of these Cabinet approved measures is progressing well and the majority of the targeted monthly savings of around US$14 million have already been realised.
  2. The above notwithstanding, the resultant projected employment costs outturn for 2016 at around US$3.15 billion, which embraces the afore-mentioned savings of US$170 million as well as payment of 2015 employment costs obligation, mainly related to 13th cheque payments, still accounts for a disproportionate share of resources.
  3. To complement the audit undertaken by the Public Service

Commission, Government, through the Health Service Board and the Judicial Service Commission, is currently undertaking similar audits in the health and judicial sectors.

  1. In this regard, material additional savings are envisaged.
  2. Members may need to recognise that additional structural and policy based measures, beyond the afore-mentioned audits are inescapable if we are to create additional fiscal space through further rationalisation of the Public Service wage bill.
  3. Accordingly, the Hon. Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and myself through the Service Commissions are continually engaging and will be submitting to Cabinet additional measures for its consideration and approval.

CLEARANCE OF DEBTS OWED TO WHEAT FARMERS

  1. HON. NDUNA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to state the period the Ministry intends to clear the debts owed to wheat farmers.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Mr. Speaker Sir, agriculture remains the anchor of our economy.  Government priority is therefore, aimed at ensuring that we incentivise our farmers to increase agricultural output and productivity through among other things, timeous payment for grain deliveries to GMB.

It is pleasing to note that Government has cleared all outstanding payments to farmers for wheat deliveries as at 31 March, 2016.

IMPROVEMENTS IN OUTPUT AND PERFORMANCE BY

COMPANIES THAT WERE RECAPITALISED BY GOVERNMENT

HON. NDUNA: asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to inform the House how his Ministry will ensure that companies that were recapitalised by Government such as, Hwange Colliery Company experience significant improvements on their output and performance.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, the

performance of our public enterprises remains a priority of the

Government. As Hon. Nduna rightly noted, my Ministry has a legal mandate through the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) to ensure that public enterprises perform to their optimal level thereby enhancing their contribution to GDP, reduce their dependence on the fiscas, and improve service delivery and accountability.  In particular, Section 46 of the PFMA requires that all the accounting authorities for every designated public enterprise submits to the accounting officer of the appropriate Ministry and to the Accountant-General, at least 30 days before the start of its financial year:-

  1. A projection of revenue , expenditure and borrowings for that financial year in the prescribed format; and
  2. an annual corporate plan in the prescribed format covering the affairs of that designated corporate body, including its subsidiaries, for the following three financial years, and such plan shall include targets, outputs and outcomes.

This provision allows my Ministry to evaluate and give recommendations regarding State Enterprises and Parastatals (SEPs) plans and budgets before they are implemented thereby improving on their performance and output.

Notwithstanding the budgetary constraints, Treasury will continue to prioritise the recapitalisation of public enterprises in order to turnaround their fortunes.  As you are aware, these recapitalisation initiatives should be monitored in order to achieve their intended objectives which are performance and output improvements.  As you will recall, in my 2016 National Budget Statement, I outlined some measures that I would put in place to enhance this performance monitoring mandate through capacitating the Accountant-General’s Department and the State Enterprises Restructuring Agency (SERA) under my Ministry.

In addition, my Ministry is spearheading the parastatal performance audits that will inform on the need to institute various intervention measures that include among others, turnaround strategies, rationalisation, reorganisation, restructuring as currently being considered on a case by case basis by the Cabinet Committee on State Enterprises Development chaired by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

Finally, Government has intensified its stance towards ensuring compliance to good corporate governance practices by all public entities.  The major focus on this being the signing of performance contracts between the Board and Chief Executive Officer and also between the Board and the line Minister to ensure that performance targets are set and achieved.

With Special regards to Hwange Colliery Company, I would recommend that further details could be provided by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon. W. Chidhakwa.

STATUS OF THE NATIONAL DIASPORA POLICY

  1. HON. NDUNA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to update the House on the status of the National Diaspora

Policy.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):

  1. Speaker Sir, this issue falls under the purview of the

Ministry of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion.

  1. I am informed that that the Ministry has concluded drafting the policy and has in January 2016, submitted it to Cabinet for approval through the appropriate channels.
  2. Once approved, structures will be put in place to engage the diasporians in a more formal manner to enhance their participation in the national development process through remittances, direct investment, philanthropy and skills transfer.
  3. As part of the process of cementing the engagement process, Government through the said Ministry, will undertake engagement workshops in South Africa and UK. This will be followed by similar workshops in the US, Australia and New Zealand where we have concentration of our nationals.

INTEREST RATES CHARGED BY THE RESERVE BANK IN

CONJUNCTION WITH LOCAL BANKS

  1.            HON. NDUNA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to inform the House whether the Ministry has ascertained the interest rates charged by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in conjunction with the local banks on the US$1 billion financing of crop and livestock production during the 2015/2016 agricultural season.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I would like to thank the

Hon. Member for his concerns regarding the financing for agriculture. It is true that in the 2016 National Budget Statement, I informed the nation that the banking sector had set aside about US$1 billion for financing of crop and livestock production during the 2015/2016 agricultural season.  In this regard, I advised farmers to approach their individual banks to access the financing.

The interest rates charged by banks vary, depending on the cost of funds of the bank concerned and the risk profile of the farmer.

However, I wish to assure the Hon. Member that the interest rates  that are being charged by banks for agriculture fall within the interest rate guidelines that were agreed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (ZBZ) and the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) in July 2015 as follows;

Interest Rate Guidelines

Category Lending Rates %
Lending to Productive Sector /Agriculture
Prime Borrowers with Low Credit Risk 6 – 10 per annum
Borrowers with Moderate Credit Risk 10 – 12 per annum
Borrowers with High Risk 12 – 18 per annum

 

As stated in the RBZ Governor’s 2016 Monetary Policy Statement, the banking sector has largely adhered to the guidelines with banks having adjusted their lending rates for both existing and new customers by the 1st October 2015.  However, RBZ noted that the banking sector needs to reduce bank charges and default interest rates.

Information from the market supports the view that lending rates in the market have generally declined to levels that have been agreed upon by the RBZ and BAZ.  Whilst banks are being urged to align their default charges to the interest guidelines, farmers on their part are encouraged to honour their obligations to avoid the default charges.

Thank you.

ESTABLISHMENT OF A COMMODITY EXCHANGE

  1.    HON. NDUNA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to state the progress that has been made so far by the Ministry to establish the commodity exchange which will serve as a marketing hub for farmers.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, following

the disbursement of US$500 000 in May 2013 the ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development (MAMID) constituted and Interim Management Committee with representation from Ministries of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development; Finance and Economic Development, the Attorney-

General’s Office, the Agriculture Marketing Authority Office of the President and the Grain Marketing Board to spearhead the operationalisation of the Zimbabwe Agriculture Commodity Exchange.  The Committee undertook the following activities:

  • Conducted a study tour of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange in June 2013 with a view to learn and appreciate the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange Model.
  • Developed a detailed implementation of matrix for the Zimbabwe

Commodity Exchange facility in July 2013

  • Established the Secretariat to oversee the day to day running of the programme in August 2013
  • Registered the Zimbabwe Agriculture Commodity Exchange

(ZIMACE) with the Registrar of Companied and developed the

Memorandum of Principles for the Exchange for use by the Attorney-General’s Office in preparing the Bill and the Act for the establishment of ZIMACE in 2013.

  • Acquired a project vehicle, furniture, equipment and provided for operational expenses for the Secretariat to the tune of US$217 459 leaving a balance of US$282 541 in 2013.
  • The Secretariat attended a capacity building programme in Information Technology system for a commodity exchange in India in January 2014.
  • Developed and finalized in consultation with the key stakeholders in the private sector a model for the operationalisation of a Warehouse Receipt System, which is one of the critical components for the operationalisation of the commodity exchange in 2014. Work is already underway to develop the rules and regulations of the Warehouse Receipt System.
  • Indentified about 26 GMB depots as designated warehouse for the

Warehouse Receipt System in 2014.

  • The Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation

Development approved the Memorandum of Principles for the

Commodity Exchange for consideration by Cabinet in 2014

  • In his Maiden Budget Statement for2016, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development directed that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development oversee implementation of the

Commodity Exchange.

MANAGEMENT OF GONAREZHOU NATIONAL PARK BY THE

PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEVELOPMENT AND FRANKFORT

ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF GERMANY

  1. HON. MASIYA asked the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate to;
  • Apprise the House on the type of agreement in place enabling the joint venture of the management of Gonarezhou National Park by the

Parks and Wildlife Development and Frankfurt Zoological Society of

Germany, and to further state how long this agreement will last;

  • To state whether the Ministry has plans to form a Trust with the Frankfurt Zoological Society of Germany, if so, to explain the policy constraints that are delaying the signing of the contract;
  • To state whether the community is also involved in the forming of this Trust in view of the fact that Gonarezhou National Park is the community’s natural resource;
  • To state the benefits that would accrue to the community in the event that the Trust is operational.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND

CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): I want to thank Hon. Masiya for

the question in four parts, requiring me to explain the agreement between our Parks Authority and the Frankfurt Zoological Society of Germany.

Mr. Speaker Sir, in response to part of the question, on the 12th of

July, 2010, the Government through the Ministry of Environment and

Natural Resources entered into a 10-year Memorandum of

Understanding (MOU) with Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) for the management of Gonarezhou National Park (GNP).  The agreement therefore terminates in July, 2020.

FZS is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), registered in

Germany (Registration Number VR 5228), with its headquarters at Alfred Brehm Platz 16, D-60316 Frakfurt 1, Germany.  It is also registered in Zimbabwe in terms of the Private Voluntary Organisations Act [Chapter 17:05].  It is specifically dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and the natural environment, including the practical conservation of wild flora and fauna, landscapes, water, soils and other natural resources.

The objectives of the MOU were to, among other things, develop, implement and monitor natural resources conservation and protection programmes in the GNP and to jointly develop,  ratify, implement, monitor and periodically revise a General Management Plan for GNP which forms the basis of all conservation activities therein.  The General Management Plan was adopted by the Ministry in 2011.

The support of FZS included;

  • Logistical support to GNP, especially land, water and air transport, radio communication, supply of field equipment, supply of uniforms and office equipment;
  • Provision, where appropriate, of technical expertise, i.e. professional staff, technical advisors and consultants;
  • Applied research;
  • Conserving and protecting the natural resources, including wildlife of GNP and the Greater Limpopo Trans-Frontier Conservation

Area;

  • Infrastructure development and maintenance;
  • Natural resource assessment and monitoring, including animal numbers and vegetation change.

Mr. Speaker Sir, in response to part (b), before the expiration of the MOU, the parties decided that the money coming into GNP by means of the MOU was not enough to ensure self-sustainability of

GNP.  It was noted that the MOU did not provide for the real unlocking of the full potential of the park and there was need to come up with a system or model that would ensure that more money would come to the park through joint efforts by the parties and other funders.

After consultations and further negotiations, a new partnership model for GNP was agreed upon in the form of a Conservation Trust with Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (PWMA), with FZS being the founders.  The objectives of this partnership are;

  • Delivery of effective and efficient management of GNP
  • Building financial sustainability of GNP through the development of additional revenue streams and further investment, e.g tourism, which was not covered in the original

MOU.

The new partnership involves PWMA and FZS jointly setting up a Trust, the Gonarezhou Conservation Trust (GCT) and transferring the management mandate to the Trust.  The Trust is an independent entity, capable of suing and being sued in its own name.  The Board of Trustees consists of members seconded from both parties.  The GNP will be managed by a management committee which consists of employees seconded from the PWMA.  The Trust has a lifespan of 20years from date of signature.  On termination of the Trust, any assets left will remain for the use of GNP.

The Trust will raise more than US$40 million for the GNP during the period of its existence.  Conservation is an expensive undertaking that ordinarily requires Government funding due to the social nature of research and community service activities.  Parks therefore requires funding that is sustainable, hence the need to transform the nature of the agreement with FZS in order to attract commercial revenue.

There are no policy constraints delaying the signing of the Trust.

However, due diligence has to be undertaken to ensure that the Authority is not in any way short-changed so that the new model benefits the country.

Mr. Speaker Sir, in response to part (c), the communities are not involved in the forming of the Trust as G NP is administered by PWMA.

The communities are already benefitting through Malipati Safari Area, which PWMA has leased to them for hunting purposes through the

Community Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources

(CAMPFIRE)

Finally, in response to part (d), Mr. Speaker Sir, the communities will however benefit from the Trust.  It is envisaged that the development of the park will increase the participation and benefit surrounding communities as follows;

  • Communities will continue to receive revenue from hunting conducted in Malipati area and Sengwe, which are currently under the Chiredzi Rural District Council;
  • Increased employment opportunities;
  • Harvest of thatching grass projects
  • Reduced human-wildlife conflict;
  • Development of Private-Public-Community Partnerships with respect to key future tourism developments in the Park and adjacent communal lands, generating direct financial benefits to communities as well as stimulating job creation and skills development;
  • Improved natural resource management initiatives in adjacent communal lands and development of structured, sustainable resource use partnerships between the park and communities, resulting in enhanced food security and livelihoods options;
  • Implementation of targeted conservation education initiatives for schools, community groups and traditional leaders;
  • Reduction of human-wildlife conflict through implementation of cost-effective mitigation plan, making use of a range of mitigation measures and techniques;
  • Development of the GNP in order for it to fulfill its potential to become a significant economic driver in the South East

Lowveld.

Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE HON.

TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. GONESE:  I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 4 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 5 has been disposed of.

HON. MUKWANGWARIWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON THE REPORT OF THE

PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LANDS, AGRICULTURE,

MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT ON THE

ORDER PAPER

HON. CHITINDI:  Mr. Speaker, I move that the motion on the

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development on cotton production in Zimbabwe which was superseded by the end of the Second Session of the Eighth Parliament be restored on the Order Paper in terms of Standing Order No. 152 (1).

HON. MUKWANGWARIWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. MATUKE:  I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 6 to 27 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 28 has been disposed

HON. MUKWANGWARIWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE DELEGATION TO THE FIRST

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE AFRICAN

PARLIAMENTARIANS’ NETWORK ON DEVELOPMENT

EVALUATION (APNODE)

Twenty-Eighth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Delegation to the First Annual General Meeting at the African Parliamentarians’ Network on Development Evaluation (APNODE).

Question again proposed.

HON. CHAPFIKA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The APNODE

Report which I presented at the previous sitting, sought for the establishment of an APNODE Chapter.  This is an African

Parliamentary Network on Development Evaluation.  We are going to be hosting the Annual General Meeting and the Speaker supported the request from the APNODE executive or board when we went together to

Cote d’Ivoire last year.  Zimbabwe will be hosting the AGM last week of July this year or the first week of August this year.  Therefore, I rise to propose that the Report be adopted for the establishment of an APNODE Chapter in Harare and the hosting by this Parliament of the AGM.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

         I now move that the motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe

Delegation to the First Annual General Meeting at the African

Parliamentarians’ Network on Development Evaluation (APNODE) be adopted.

         HON. CHITINDI: I second.

         Motion put and adopted.   

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI), the House

adjourned at Four Minutes to Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 10th May, 2016.   

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