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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 04 NOVEMBER 2021 VOL 48 NO 7

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 4th November, 2021

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

MOTION

RATIFICATION OF THE LOAN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE AND THE INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT (IFAD) FOR THE SMALLHOLDER AGRICULTURE CLUSTER PROJECT (SACP)

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA):  I move the motion standing in my name

THAT WHEREAS, subsection (3) of Section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an agreement which is not an international treaty but which has been concluded or executed by the President under the President’s authority with one or more foreign organisations or entities and imposes fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament.

AND WHEREAS, the loan agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and the International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD) for the Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project (SACP) concluded on 7th May 2021 with the following terms:

Introduction

  1. According to Zimbabwe’s Economic Development Blueprint, the National Development Strategy I (NDS) 2021 to 2025, Government prioritises the recovery of the agricultural sector which is a key enabler to the country’s economic growth.
  2. The Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project (SACP) increases agriculture production and productivity, especially by smallholder farmers which enhances food and nutrition security, income, increased opportunities for value addition and the development of agro-business value chains. To this end, Government secured a US$35.7 million loan from IFAD to enhance smallholder famers’ production and productivity.

The Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project

  1. The project shall benefit poor smallholder farmers in value chains selected through stakeholder business planning and competitive matching grant mechanism. The project will be implemented in the following five, out of Zimbabwe’s ten provinces: Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Midlands and Matabeleland North (the “Project Area”).
  2. The goal of the project is to increase equitable smallholder participation in market-oriented and climate-smart value chains.
  3. The objective of the project is to realise increased household incomes and improved nutrition, through sustainable transformation of the smallholder farming sector.

Project Financing and Loan Repayment

  1. To support the programme, Government negotiated and signed a US$35.7 million Loan with IFAD on 17 May 2021 for the Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project.
  2. The loan will be utilised for sustainable smallholder irrigation development, climate-smart agriculture and market access, promotion of COVID-sensitive production and productivity enhancement, increasing the availability of diverse and nutritious foods for household consumption, improvement of knowledge, attitudes and practices on healthy eating habits and care giving practices and improvement of performance of selected nutrition sensitive IFAD’s investments.
  3. The IFAD loan has the following terms and conditions:-

Loan Amount            : US$35 700 000.00;

Purpose of the Loan : To finance poor smallholder farmers in value chains selected through stakeholder business planning and competitive matching grant mechanism and will be implemented in five out of Zimbabwe’s ten provinces: Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Midlands and Matabeleland North (the “Project Area”).

The project will support the following components:

  • Inclusive Value Chain Development;
  • Climate Proofed Value Chain Infrastructure;
  • Policy and Institutional Support and Project Coordination; and
  • Contingency Emergency Response.

Conditions Precedent        : Loan ratification by Parliament

Interest Rate              :  zero percent (0%)

Service charge           : 1.5% per annum;

Tenure                        : 40 Years;

Grace Period             : 10 Years;

Repayment Modalities      : Repayment of principal and interest shall be made from the budget;

Repayment Frequency      : Principal and interest payments shall be made twice a year on 15 June and 15 December of each year.

Expected Benefits of the Project 

  1. Agriculture is one of the economic pillars for Zimbabwe and the support for smallholder farming will go a long way in achieving the thrust of the National Development Strategy I of food security. The implementation of the project will result in the following benefits:-
  • Sustainable smallholder irrigation development;
  • Employment creation for the local communities;
  • Capacity building for the local communities;
  • Climate-smart agriculture and easy market access;
  • Improved food nutrition and security;
  • Increased household incomes;
  • Improved resilience to climate change effects and economic shocks, and
  • Increased production and productivity.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Madam Speaker, it is indeed a welcome move in terms of the small holder farmer.  The only thing that I think the Minister needs to clarify is that there are also places which do not really venture into the activities mentioned.  Matabeleland is a good example.  They do cattle rearing, goats - more or less livestock at the end of the day and the provinces that you mentioned - from climatic conditions, are well resourced.  I did not really get which bank would be used for this.

Madam Speaker, you know we have got the Women’s Bank and we have got the Youth Bank. I would like to see the money going to those two institutions because already, women are good in terms of small holder.  So there was no clarity from the Minister pertaining to which banks specifically this money will go to.  For me, women have always been organised and we have just come from a Pre-budget Seminar where we have basically said that the Women’s Bank must get capital for it to start its activities.  Usually when you loan women money, they always pay back.  We all know how good they are at accounting and managing resources better than men.  The youth as well must also be given a chance, and because of unemployment this gives them an opportunity.

Also whatever they are growing, is there a ready market because we do not want to come up with agricultural activities which have no ready market and it is important to know the off take of the produce which will be grown.  Otherwise, it is a welcome move just coming from Pre-budget; let that find itself to the Women’s Bank and to the Youth Bank.  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.

HON. TOGAREPI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to say thank you to the Government of Zimbabwe for securing such a facility.  It is a critical facility directed at developing agriculture which is a very critical sector for the people of Zimbabwe.  The majority of our people are in agriculture and this facility, from what the Minister has read, is targeted at improving the capacity of our smallholder farmers where we get the majority of our people, as well the biggest quantity of our production in Zimbabwe comes from the smallholder farmers and capacitating them will really go a long way in improving agricultural knowledge for these people, also giving them enough capital to venture and for training.  I saw that they also look at the health issues, like COVID because we are in a new environment where COVID is wreaking havoc throughout the world and this facility is looking at these things holistically.  We are definitely going to benefit as a people of Zimbabwe.  I therefore Madam Speaker, recommend that this House approves this facility.  It is an important facility.

If you look at the regions that are going to benefit from this facility - they have a real need.  If you look at the Mashonaland region, this is the breadbasket of Zimbabwe.  That is where you get the biggest percentage in terms of production.  If you go to Matabeleland North, they do a lot of cattle rearing but they also need the skills to look after their agricultural production because of low rainfall patterns there and this scheme is designed in such a way that it is going to help these farmers to be able to utilise their farming land and maybe their livestock.  So definitely irrigation schemes are needed in those arid regions that have low rainfall patterns.

I hope this facility will leave us with a lot of experience, a lot of learning.  After these five provinces have gone through this, the whole country will benefit by learning from whatever will have been learnt by our people in the five provinces, maybe then we can take that to other provinces that are not part of this facility.  I really encourage Government to continue to look for such type of facilities that are very friendly, that have low interest rates.

The challenge that we have in Zimbabwe today is our financial institutions.  They are blinkered.  They will charge an arm and a leg for anyone who would want to borrow money and produce.  They do not know that if you allow farmers to produce more, they will have more money coming into their account.  They will impose service charges and so forth.  They will make more money and loan out whatever excess money that is going to be put by the farmer in the bank, but if you just go there, you have already sacrificed the whole of your assets and income.  They will destroy you.

Our banks today are not user friendly.  They are not responsive to the needs and circumstances of our people, our farmers who would want to produce.  We do not get facilities today in our banks that are as friendly as what we are seeing.  I think they have learnt from this and try to design products that can be used by our farmers.  So Madam Speaker, I really recommend that this facility be approved by this House for the good of our people, our farmers and I do not have any doubt that this is going to help on production.  Like I said, I encourage that we look for more facilities like this, have the whole country included and then promote production in the agricultural sector.

HON. BRG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME:  I would like to add my voice on this very important issue about the loan facility for capacitating small scale agriculture.  It is really coming at the right time for the country that is accelerating investment in agriculture and capacitating those farmers, but I just want to add a small twist to this debate Madam Speaker, in that I want to remind this House that Israel gets less rainfall than Matabeleland South and it has even less fertile soils than Matabeleland South.

I was actually shocked over the weekend during the people’s conference when I learnt that Mashonaland West delivers to GMB over 366 000 tonnes of maize. Matabeleland South delivered less than 2 000 tonnes and this is the poorest region in this country.  So my appeal to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement when such facilities come, let us bring everybody on board.  Let us not give to the rich always, those who have the means and the facilities, who are already high up there.  Let us remember that Matabeleland South has vast tracts of land in Beitbridge, Matopo, Insiza and Bulilima; maybe there is not much land in Umzingwane but there are farmers there and they need to be capacitated.  When we hear of smart agriculture, to us in Matabeleland South, it is a pipe dream. There is no farm without a center pivot in Mashonaland Province. Center pivots are things that they see everyday havachazivi kuti chii chavangaise because it is something that is so common now.

In our part of the world, we need drip irrigation, boreholes, dams and we need those farmers to be given capacity to construct dams. Just yesterday, there was an article circulating that those A2 farmers who are not providing infrastructure on their farms will have their farms being taken away but how do they produce when they were not given the facilities, when they were not given developmental loans?  Farmers are being told now that they must construct infrastructure, dams and so forth but with what?  I am saying Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, let us follow what the President is saying, no place should be left behind and no one should be left behind, consider Matabeleland South in future allocations.  Let us bring Matabeleland South to the level of Mashonaland West.  Otherwise I support this loan that it will bring a change and a breath of fresh air to the investment in this country.  I rest my case Madam Speaker Ma’am.

HON. RAIDZA:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Good afternoon.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Good afternoon.

HON. RAIDZA:  I rise to add my voice to the motion moved by the Hon. Deputy Minister regarding the loan with IFAD.  I have some few issues that I also want to shed light on and to applaud our Government for this particular loan especially when we look at the objectives of that loan.  We are seeing that these are some of the areas that are very critical and have been lacking in our rural areas and in our small holder irrigation schemes.

The first one is the mechanisation of these gardens in our rural areas.  At times we call them nutrition gardens where we find old people struggling to fetch water from the dams or from other water sources to irrigate their gardens. I think with this loan and the area that they have targeted it to achieve, it is going to help.  We have seen some of the works that have been done in some of our gardens in our constituencies.  We have realised that mechanising these gardens helps our poor people a lot because they have the desire and energy to work but the means for them to work becomes so difficult especially with their age groups.  When it comes to access to markets, it is another challenge.  These people work so hard and at times they spend the whole day from morning until evening still working in their gardens but after they have done everything that they can, still they cannot get the markets to sell their produce.  So I think if this loan is properly deployed as indicated on the terms of the loan, I think it is going to help a lot of our people in terms of them accessing the markets because if they get proper markets, we will find that they will increase production.  They are willing to work hard but where to sell their produce now becomes a challenge.

Recently, we saw in Mutoko, our President His Excellency Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa opening an industry that is going to do some value addition to the produce.  We like such industries to be set across even in some of these provinces that were mentioned, particularly in the Midlands where I come from.  If we see such industries, we know that is another way of making sure that the farmers will have somewhere to sell their produce.

When it comes to Covid issues, the way our poor people are irrigating their gardens in the rural areas, at times you pity them to say, really if Covid comes, how are these people going to survive?  At times there are no observations of the Covid regulations.  Why?  Because the water source leaves people to be congested and at times it is not possible for them to observe Covid regulations.  So I think this loan is really coming at the opportune time to support our poor communities in some of the rural areas to make sure that at least their desire to work and produce for their country is achieved through the support of loans such as this one.

I believe with a loan like this one, we are going to meet our target for food security for this country and will achieve the expectation of NDS1.  I thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am and that was my contribution.

HON. T. MOYO: Madam Speaker Ma’am, good afternoon.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Good afternoon.

HON. T. MOYO:  I wish to add my voice to the motion that has been raised by the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development concerning a loan of USD$35 700 000.00.  My contribution is that agriculture is a business and it affects livelihoods of the people of Zimbabwe.  We need to applaud the Government being led by our Commander Dr. Mnangagwa, for such a very good loan which attracts zero percent interest rate.  What else would you need?  Zero percent interest rate and the loan would be paid over a period of 40 years.  I think we need to grab this opportunity and ensure that our farmers throughout Zimbabwe have benefited.

I want to subscribe to the notion that there must not be selective application of the loan – it should be spread to all the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe.  Whoever is able to benefit should be allowed to do so because it will affect sustainable livelihoods of our people.  Agriculture is very important in economic development; we have seen Britain industrialise on the basis of the agriculture revolution.  This is another revolution that will lead to increased industrial activity, production and productivity in Zimbabwe.  It is going to bring about boom in agriculture which will influence industry according to Hostos theory, that agriculture will act as a prelude to industrialisation.  There will be food security in line with National Development Strategy 1.

This is very important because we also noticed in 1912 during the colonial era, where the British South Africa Company introduced the Land Bank Act – Land and Agricultural Bank which was established in 1912, where people were given zero percent interest rates.  This is another way to boost our agriculture in independent Zimbabwe and that will also contribute to employment creation and food sustenance in Zimbabwe.  That is my appeal and also I support the idea that we embrace this loan; it should not be selective in terms of its application.  Thank you.

         *HON. SHAMU: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate. I would like to thank the Government for borrowing a loan that we will repay in forty years; this will help us a long way.  This money is supposed to support small holder farmers. I want the Minister of Finance to work with the Ministry of Agriculture to see to it that all protocols are observed and that genuine small scale farmers are catered for.

I am saying this because we have other Government programmes that are aimed at benefiting the poor or disadvantage but when you investigate, you find that these programmes are not benefiting the intended beneficiaries.  There must be transparency; all stakeholders must be involved from councillor to cooperatives and irrigation schemes so that we support small scale farmers who are failing to produce more yet are on fertile and irrigable land.

Secondly, there must not be any delays in implementation of this programme because our money is losing value daily due to inflation.   There are many areas where farmers would have irrigation facilities for agriculture production. The former white commercial farmers had irrigation. On being settled, people failed to continue with the irrigation programmes because of lack of knowledge and capital. If they are allocated US$5000, they will resuscitate the irrigation infrastructure.  Let us use the US$35 million productively.

I call upon the Government to ensure that Hon. Dr. J. Gumbo, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in Charge of Implementation and Monitoring is involved.  He must work together with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of SMEs and the Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture.

His Excellency the President Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, in delivering the SONA said that he was pleased to note that a lot of young people are engaging in farming activities.  These young farmers need to be supported.  We have a lot of irrigation facilities that need rehabilitation. Many examples are in Chegutu East, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Matabeleland North and Masvingo to mention but a few. There are small holder farmers needing financial assistance.

For the sake of transparency, the beneficiaries must be published in the media.   We must use this money wisely because agriculture is the backbone of this country.  This intervention was long overdue.  I thank you.

 (v) *HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank you for allowing me to debate on the issue of money for assisting our small scale farmers. I want to thank Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa for sourcing funds for us. In Uzumba Constituency which stretches Mumhe River to Rhodes Katiyo River, we do not have any irrigation scheme. We do not have sprinklers and when our young ones see a sprinkler, they will run away thinking its a mhakure. This issue must be looked at very carefully in the rural areas, people should be involved in agriculture, especially irrigation.  This will help us very much to achieve Vision 2030.  If our farmers use mechanisation and work in agriculture, sometimes when people quarrel over water it will come to an end if we have these irrigation schemes.  We should also move with times and mordenise our agricultural activities.

Our area is well known for growing tomatoes but we only use a small area.  I thank the Government for putting that factory in Mutoko that processes tomatoes, it should indeed bring in a lot of benefits to us.  Sometimes we hear a lot of projects being implemented but most of the times they are only done in provincial capitals, they do not go all the way to our areas.  Recently, Government embarked on an audit of tractors, we realised that our area only has 10 and out of those 10, only three are operating.  So it means only three people have tractors. We expect that our water problems will be done away with after getting access to such funding.

Most of the countries that are developed, it is because of agriculture but that type of agriculture involves machinery and mechanisation in order for it to be lucrative.  So I would like to thank the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for sourcing such funds, keep on bringing such funds; debts do not kill, most of us here are beneficiaries of debts.  The most important thing is, people should get access to funding as well as information because some of the people do not have adequate information and machinery to practice agriculture.

This vision shows that our agriculture is taking a very positive step. I think the Ministry of Finance should facilitate funding loans to rural areas so that we use on our livestock’s vaccinations because sometimes money only circulates amongst those people with money already.  Those people in the rural areas need funding as well, we can only uplift the livelihoods of our people if we give them access to funding.  I would like to applaud the President for this funding, indeed we have seen this funding, so it should be accessed by people.

We realise that sometimes we are not able to use facilities around us properly and in the environment, we are not able to exploit our resources.  I thank you.        

HON. NDUNA: Allow me to give my input in English. I want to thank the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for bringing for ratification this loan facility, that the loan facility alone is a 14 year tenure on 0% interest and it is quite applaudable.

Small scale farmers in particular often have levels of attachment to the local landscape and to the ecosystems.  The sustainable nature of their practices is based on such practices as organic agriculture which is admired by a lot of European countries; they want the organic manure and the output from our agricultural practices.

The other issue is the rotation that is expeditiously done by small scale miners because they are managing small pieces of land, I have given an example of the Pfumvudza, the Presidential Input Support Scheme by His Excellency, which grew from 400 000 households to a 1, 800 000.  This is applaudable; it increases subsistence and reduces the dependency on OK, TM supermarkets and such other places and once we have a lot of people that have subsistence amongst one another, we certainly can reduce dependency and we can increase the issue of good subsistence.

I have also spoken about the integrated pests management system, it is also well managed; the permaculture, it relies on the wealth of the localities and their knowledge of the environment.  So, this is a time where we should be supporting our small scale farmers.  As a person who has always proposed and never has been a cry baby, I propose to augment and complement the efforts of the Minister of Finance and compliment the ratification of this loan agreement in two ways. We used to have what was called Community Share Ownership Trust, in some instances the mining houses only gave what was called seed capital, in particular ZIMPLATS gave US$10 million. If they had to pay a dividend of US$10 million per annum from where they started operating in 2011, they would pay about US$100 million by this day towards the local communities from where they are extracting that platinum. I ask that the Minister of Finance also looks into Community Share Ownership Trust that used to be around, whether we can still get the dividend.

The second issue which is a low hanging fruit is called gateway solutions or gateway systems. Gateway systems are meant to audit the incoming international calls where after they have been terminated, Zimbabwe benefits in terms of taxes. Government benefits in terms of the infrastructure that is used by ICT operators in the country, the taxes benefit from the gateways systems solutions. This platform can be used for accounting, auditing and for billing. Once we have a gateway solution or a termination place, we can now apply the auditing of the monies that Zimbabwe was supposed to get from the telecommunication sector in retrospect, assuming for 15 years in the International Telecommunication Union, they have the data of how much Zimbabwe was supposed to get but that money we are currently not getting because we do not have such a system. It takes about 65 million dollars to establish and it does not need Government capital outlay. It can be included in the PPPs. Once an agreement is set up, it takes about six months for it to start running. I ask that the Minister of Finance goes into agreement with such service providers and come to establish such a gateway in Chegutu West Constituency. It takes about 150 people employed and has a lot of downstream industry benefits and Zimbabwe stands to benefit nothing less than a US$ billion annually. That is nearly a quarter of our national GDP.

It is my clarion call and fervent hope that the Minister of Finance can take seriously these two proposals so that we can get what we want from what we have. If we include and involve ICT, we go away from “bbc”, archaic, moribund, antiquated, rudimentary, medieval and we start coordinating and cooperating and using the gateway solution to get what we want.

I thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice and also to applaud the Minister for bringing in this loan and applauding His Excellency the President, Cde E. D. Mnangagwa for availing Pfumvudza to our people. On Saturday, 6th November 2021, I am going with the Arex Officer Mr. Sengayi in Chegutu at Chestgate which is our first port of call, to go and distribute inputs to the small scale farmers in the urban sector. At 12 noon, we go to Chegutu Hall in the location and from there we go to Ward 12 in Kaguvi Phase 4 at 2 p.m.; to distribute inputs from His Excellency Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa. I applaud him for that and now small scale agriculture goes urban. I thank you.

(v)HON MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Thank you Madam Speaker for the opportunity to debate this proposed loan which has been presented to Parliament. That is my starting point to say that we applaud the Ministry for presenting the loan agreement to Parliament. We know that from previous experience, there have been instances where some loans were implemented without parliamentary processes. So, this is a step in the right direction and that is something that we continue to see.

My first point is that agriculture is one of the pillars of our economy and as such, whenever there is an opportunity to expand agriculture, we need to take that opportunity seriously. I want to encourage those who are in the agricultural sector to really maximise this opportunity. I am happy that it is targeting small scale farming and we hope that a lot of people will have access to this loan facility and have an opportunity to move away from poverty and go in a commercial and industrialised way.

I am happy to see that one of the traditionally marginalised provinces, Matabeleland North is actually listed as one of the five provinces. My concern is that it should have been better if Matabeleland South was included because historically and presently, both Matabeleland North and South are very marginalised especially from an agriculture point of view. I would like to encourage the Ministry to consider including Matabeleland South. Beyond the issues of Matabeleland, I want to encourage them that in future when they are coming up with such loans, it is always prudent and advisable to ensure that all the ten provinces are included and benefit in one way or the other. The only difference should be the level of access to the loan for each province but to exclude five of the ten provinces, I do not think it is a wise move. I would like to discourage the Ministry from such an approach in the future. We must include all the provinces. We must just differ on the type of access to the loan facility that each province has. We must include all the ten provinces.

I also want to hear whether the Ministry has a plan to link with other relevant issues because if you have to look at the value chain – before you go into agriculture, you need to consider the value composition and say that beyond the products that are expected from the farmers, where is their market, how are they going to benefit the rest of the economy especially when you look at it from a manufacturing industry - where is the link between this proposed outcome for this loan process? For example, Bulawayo has a manufacturing industry that has died over the years. Is there any way we can link the products from this small scale farmers with the revival of our industry, especially in such cities as Bulawayo where we know that historically, we used to have a productive manufacturing industry and it is lying idle?

There is need to have a bigger plan that feeds into this plan. Related to that, I would like to ask the Ministry to also consider working on existing plans. I know that in Matabeleland North, we have plans that are in place around the Gwayi-Shangani Dam and I will link again to this loan facility from an irrigation point of view with the Gwayi-Shangani Dam. Related to that, we also have the Zambezi Water Project which is a very historical project that has been forgotten over the years. When you read the document around the Zambezi Water Project, it talks about Matabeleland becoming a green belt through irrigation from piped water from the mighty Zambezi River. The project has not been on the forefront of late, but I would like to encourage the Ministry to find ways to harmonise this new small scale agricultural loan facility with the vision promoted by the Zambezi Water Project to have Matabeleland turned into a green belt to the hub of irrigation in terms of agriculture.  So we need to see that linkage or symmetry between the existing proposal or projects and the proposed one.  That then allows us to build on something rather than starting from zero.

I think it is important that we do that because it will help to address issues around poverty and make sure that our people benefit.  We want to end the rural to urban migration and the best way to end the rural to urban migration challenge that we have in Zimbabwe today is to ensure that rural areas have their own economy and agriculture through small scale farming.  Small scale farming is going to help to ensure that rural areas also have their own economy that they can rely on without necessarily going to big cities to look for new sources of life.  So we need to encourage this investment to promote or to stop rural to urban migration.

I also wanted to talk about accountability.  I think as Parliament, we need to improve and Government Ministries need to improve in terms of accountability when it comes to the implementation of these loans in terms of regular reports, regular updates.  Even the relevant Portfolio Committees, I think we need to monitor.  Once a loan agreement is done, we need to monitor whether we are paying the loan on time.  Like this particular loan has got regular payments every December of the year.  We need to make sure that the payments are done on time and with the adequate numbers or amounts and also in terms of the project implementation, we need to monitor and track and ensure that the project is able to achieve its intended goal.  It will take about 40 years but during those 40 years, we need to see a significant impact that is going to change millions of lives, that is going to stop people from being reliant on subsistence farming and improve their lives.  So I look forward to the implementation process and I want to encourage Parliament and the relevant Ministry to be more accountable when it comes to implementation.  Thank you Madam Speaker for the opportunity to debate.

(v)*HON. NYABANI:  Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to also contribute briefly on this loan facility.  You know that a lot of people’s livelihoods depend on agriculture, so this loan will contribute a lot to agriculture.  This will contribute to development because now they are able to do agriculture on business lines.  Agriculture is business for people and the people are supposed to benefit from that.

I would like to say briefly the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is sourcing funds for the farmers.  Since these farmers who are supposed to benefit are supposed to do that as a business, they are supposed to ensure that they have a market for their crops for them to be able to repay these loans.  For them to be able to be productive, all the facilities and the conditions should be looked into.

In the rural areas where they grow crops like tobacco, maize or groundnuts, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement should also consider the market for the crops like groundnuts.  They should also consider the whole value chain of their crops because if we only consider the primary production of the value chain, it does not give much benefit.  There should be change now.  People should get training.  They should also be able to conserve the environment instead of deforestation.

We should consider the methods of agriculture being practiced here that are encouraged.  We should also look into all those things.  If they are going to be availing funds, they should ensure that funding is availed to the rightful places, for example areas like Bulawayo.  Those areas are for livestock, so they should be able to grow stock feeds.  In areas like Rushinga, there are no dams, but if funding is put into dams, yes it is okay, but if you were going to pore in funding when there are no dams, it means that money will not come back.   In order for them to repay, they should be able to grow crops all year round and the crops should be processed before they are taken to the market.

So the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should consider the value chain of ensuring that the farmers get maximum benefits.  They should consider all the stages of value addition, the whole value chain from primary to secondary should be considered.  Availing funds to the farmers themselves  yet there will not be funding for the processing plants or processors means we will not be able to realise enough value.  If there are plantations, some people will be able to venture into other agricultural businesses or ventures such as bee keeping or honey processing.  We should also ensure that a particular area practices appropriate agriculture and according to the needs of that region or crops suitable to that region.

Let us use methods that will be beneficial, that will be lucrative to the people instead of just practicing agriculture that does not bring benefits or money.  People should be able to get profits from agriculture.  They should be able to work comfortably if you are in agriculture instead of making people struggle.  So those loans should be facilitated and they should consider the whole value chain and the appropriate environment for the farmers to realise the benefits.  I thank you.

 (v)*HON. PETER MOYO:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I

would like to applaud the idea of availing funding by Government to farmers but the problem that we have is that of implementation.  So I would like to know what measures has Government put in place to guard against people who may want to steal this money?  What measures have been put in place to audit, for us to be able to see the funds that are allocated to Mberengwa and how many people have benefited?

We realised that sometimes Government programmes are hijacked by a political party, people who are perceived to belong to MDC or NDU may not benefit but only members of ZANU PF end up benefiting …

HON. TOGAREPI:  On a point of order Madam Speaker!  Madam Speaker, I think the good Hon. Member is misdirecting himself.  We are not talking about political parties, we are talking about a loan to Government and the Government will deal with this loan.  So bringing in the name of a political party, in particular ZANU PF, I think he is misdirecting himself, if he can revert to the real debate and focus on that.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:   Thank you.  Hon. Moyo, you may proceed but stick to the motion at hand.

(v)*HON. PETER MOYO:  Madam Speaker, let me continue and say let us not run away from the truth or from facts.  We should not eat poison because we are ashamed.  When something is bad, I would like to say that these are public funds and the DCC chairmen are responsible for distributing …

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Moyo, I had allowed you to continue but now that you are saying that DCC chairmen are the ones who distribute these inputs, have you seen them distributing?  Do you have evidence to that effect?  Let us not continue with such lies.

(v)*HON. PETER MOYO:  I will not run away from the truth or facts, if you want me to bring a video to play here, I will do so.  I do not want to diverge from the truth…

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Moyo, you are losing focus of the motion.  If you want to bring that issue then you should bring it as a separate motion.

(V)*HON. PETER MOYO:  I am saying, what measures are in place?  These are facts that I am stating.  When Government is sourcing funds, it is not sourcing for thieves.  We should ensure that these funds do not end up in the wrong hands, be it the Pfumvudza Programme, it is not going well …

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Moyo, since you know where there are thieves, do you not know where the police are?  Go and report the thieves to the police.  Debate what is in accordance with the motion, if you do not know then you should stop debating.

(v)*HON. PETER MOYO:  I am focusing on that loan and also to condemn any corruption that might take place.  Recently, war veterans were demonstrating, was it not out of poverty?  They are not getting the planned benefits…

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  It looks like you have your own motion that is different from what is being debated here.

(v)*HON. PETER MOYO:  I am talking about corruption on that loan; my debate is relevant to that loan.  Those are public funds and they are supposed to benefit everyone.  We want security, what measures have been put in place to curb corruption?

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  You are misguided.  Order, order Hon. Moyo! - [(v)HON. PETER MOYO: Inaudible interjection.] –

HON. TOGAREPI:  Madam Speaker, since he is on virtual, we do not know what he is eating because of the confusion that he is displaying – it may be that he has taken weed or something.  I think you should allow him to rest and maybe bring in another motion on a particular day.  Today, I think he has taken weed.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I think he is no longer there.

HON. DR. KHUPE:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I would also like to add my voice to what the Minister brought before us and would like to support what Hon. Molokela stated, that loans have been taken but in the majority of cases, they do not come through Parliament.  So I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for at least coming to Parliament so that he tells us that we have got this loan that we want to borrow, how should we use it?  We are here today debating and giving our input on what we think the loan will be useful if it is taken.

Madame Speaker Ma’am, half of the food consumed in this country comes from a woman’s hand but women are suffering out there.  They wake up early in the morning to till the land using primitive tools and they spend most of their time tilling that land, worse more if we do not have good rains, all their efforts go down the drain.  I am raising this issue so that part of this loan is used to make sure that at least women are assisted through drip irrigation equipment because drip irrigation is one of the measures to climate proof the agricultural sector.  So that even if we do not have rains, we know that we are going to get something out of it.  I would propose that out of the 35 million, if ten million can be set aside for drip irrigation.  What I know is that one drip irrigation will cost about US$10 thousand, 1 hectare, 100m by 100m by 100m, four thousand will buy the drip irrigation equipment. The other five thousand will be used to dig a borehole and buy a Jojo tank so that it becomes complete.  That one hectare, if you grow maize, you will get between 7 to 10 tonnes of maize but if women till that land there, when rains are not good, they will only get about half a tonne or one tonne; not only women but everybody else who farms.

With drip irrigation, you are guaranteed of getting between 7 to 10 tonnes.  The issue of hunger and poverty will be a thing of the past in this country once we do drip irrigation. With drip irrigation, we can do more than three crops per year.  Whilst you harvest maize you can do cabbages, and tomatoes.  So we will be able to deal with so many issues.  You will deal with the issue of nutrition because you will be able to grow nutritious food to make sure that everyone has got food. So drip irrigation is very important. This is why I am proposing that at least 10 million be set aside and you will do 1000 drip irrigation.  Let us try it Hon. Minister because trying is very good.  If you fail, you fail and you will try again, but let us give it a trial because we have been saying this for a long time and no one wants to listen.  Do like a pilot project and you will see it will do wonders because you will get a lot of food. People will get money at the end of the day, particularly women, they will get money to pay school fees for their children. They will be able to pay for their medicals, be able to build houses, put solar system on their own.  The issue of hand-outs is going to be a thing of the past because they will be able to sustain a living on their own, hence while I am emphasising the point that part of this money honestly should be put towards drip irrigation because it is going to assist women, particularly in regards the time that they spend tilling the land.  They will have time to do other things.

There are issues to do with cancers; the reason why women are dying in rural areas is because they do not go for check-ups, they will be busy tiling the land and doing other things. So with drip irrigation they will find time to go to a medical institution once they feel something unusual. It is going to deal with so many issues but so important, the issue to do with poverty and hunger, nutrition will be a thing of the past because drip irrigation does wonders.   In drip irrigation, we use a small piece of land, little water but the yield is very high.  I would like to plead with you so that you give it a thought and give it a trial but I know it will work.

+HON. M. KHUMALO: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I also want to add my voice on the loan facility scheme offered by the Government and would like to thank the Minister of Finance and all the other departments that they are working with. Hon. Speaker, there are three issues that I want to touch on.  The first one is that each time a budget is passed, there is a last column that indicates loans taken that time. If you take a close look at that column you will realise that there are certain loans that would have been offered by Government but they will not have been paid by those that will have taken those loans.

Going to different provinces, you realise that those loans do not get to these provinces.  All am saying is that the US$35 million offered under this facility should go to these beneficiary provinces, looking at places like Mashonaland East, West and Central; these are areas that receive good rains and they have good irrigation facilities.  Therefore, if you take a loan combining these areas with places from Matabeleland, you will realise that you are not doing justice to these provinces.

If a loan is meant to facilitate irrigation purposes, it should be clear with regard to what it is meant for, whether livestock or for cropping.  There is need for such loan facilities to be specific.  Hon. Speaker, there is need for consultation from our leaders each time such monies come through because a loan is a loan, there is need for it to generate interest and to be retained.

I was asking myself when the Minister was saying, for example this loan is being given to Matabeleland South - he should be clear as to where exactly, there are so many districts.  In farming activities, we carry out different activities.  If it is given to Matabeleland North, there is need to indicate clearly which districts are supposed to be getting that money and what form of irrigation is going to be taking place in those districts. For the past 20 years as Matabeleland, they have not received yields that will be taken to Grain Marketing Board. Areas around Karoi and Bulawayo have full silos of Grain Marketing Board. If you look at that, you will realise that those areas like Karoi are maize producing areas, not areas like Lupane. So what I am saying is that our plea to the administration is that if this money is to be distributed to provinces, there is need to clearly indicate what this money is going to be used for.

So if we are to remove administration fee and workshop money from this figure, you will get less than US$800 000 and you share that amongst the seven districts, it has no impact but if you identify one district or two, that is why I do not agree with those who say it should have been distributed throughout the country because $35 million throughout the country does not make an impact.  So, our plea to the Government is that before this money is distributed to the provinces, it should be clearly indicated what it is for.

The third issue is that when the distribution of the money comes, it normally starts here in Harare and you see Members of Parliament and other officials engaged on the loan targeted at farmers.  There would be managers, directors and supervisors who are from Harare where the money would be coming from.  So these people would be managing that fund in the districts yet they are not even aware of what the people want.  Before it gets to the provinces, divide it into the 5 provinces so that when we are in Matabeleland North, and Mashonaland Central, we know how much is our share into that fund so that we plan accordingly.          We should also know which category of people qualify for the fund because in most cases it ends up benefiting the wealthy when the intended beneficiaries are not benefiting anything yet we know that cheap loans are meant to benefit the less priviledged which are the disadvantaged farmers.

Lastly, I am worried about Government neglecting peri-urban farmers like here in Harare and Bulawayo, there are some farmers who are doing peri-urban agriculture, surely, can we also give them these cheap loans so that they can rear chickens and do small projects around towns.

Hon. Speaker, I would like to thank the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for giving us this loan fund so that it gives us positive impact.  I am glad that Parliament has said in the CDF we must have impact projects and not just spread the funds.  If I were the one distributing it, I would give it to one or two provinces so that it has an impact and we develop as a country.  Thank you very much so that it has an impact and we develop as a country.  I thank you.

HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  I want to thank the Minister of Finance for the issue that he has brought into the House where he is going to source funds to assist the events that are supposed to happen in the country.  When I look at the money, I think this is money that can make a difference in different provinces for example, Masvingo Province, there is a lot of water but it is not being harnessed, it is just going into the seas.  Irrigation schemes are there but they are not operational.  I think this money should be used to rehabilitate irrigation schemes and this can contribute towards food security.

On the Pfumvudza project, if possible funds permitting, when rehabilitation of irrigations is done, we need input to ensure that there is adequate production for food security of the nation.  I want to agree with the last speaker that this money should be availed to provinces with districts who can utilise this money and deliverables that are evident with few districts. If this money is given to all areas, we will not achieve any results, it is just like Constituency Development Fund, we are given but we cannot really tell or see the progress because the money is very little.  So my request is that this money should be availed to a few districts so that at the end of the day we have deliverables.

On the issue of drip irrigation, I believe if women are given one hectare and with the assistance of the agricultural extension officers, I see us increasing our yield in terms of production.  If we look at the previous year, we got a lot of rainfall and for a place like Masvingo, we never used to harvest much but we experienced bumper harvest.  However, we also experienced challenges. In other areas, the crops were affected by the locust and worms so because of this, they were unable to harvest.  So, I think this money should be given to farmers so that they can source pesticides to avoid such disasters.

We also have areas in Masvingo that are into livestock production, we lost a lot of cattle and I think this money should also be availed to these farmers so that they can embark on re-stocking and in that way we will be able to have more meat on the market.   I thank you.

(v) *HON. MAKONYA: Thank you for giving me this opportunity.  I want to thank the Minister for brining this issue into the House to assist the farmers in the rural areas.  This is a very good project to enable them to get funds for farming.

Furthermore, subsistence farmers in the rural areas, most of them are women and they engage in farming and do not have the relevant inputs and implements to engage in productive farming.  So, I want to thank the Minister for this project that it should focus more on women especially female headed households so that after accessing those funds, they can also assist with food security in the nation.

Most importantly, I would want to say that because of this   money that was sourced, we should be wary of corruption.  The intended beneficiaries should benefit not the priviledged.  We hope that it will go to the disadvantaged groups.  We would want this money to be distributed to the vulnerable group.

My request Mr. Speaker is that Agritex officers should be on the ground and should monitor and assist to ensure that the money that the money that was availed is adequate enough for the hectares that the farmers wants to plough.  Others are availed this money and instead of engaging in productive activities, they use the money for something else. Agritex Officers should do their work and ensure that the farmers use it as per the prescribed purpose. We do not want any corruption in Jesus Name. People should learn that the money that they are given should be paid back and it should be a revolving fund so that other people can benefit. People should move away from this dependence syndrome of thinking that the Government will just give us all the time.

If we look at the white farmers, when they were engaged in farming in Zimbabwe, for them to be productive and sustainable, they took loans from the banks which they repaid and they would not continue getting loans. Once you continue getting loans year-in year-out, it means there is no profit. Once you get a loan it should provide an escape route for you not to continue borrowing.

The young people that we have should also be availed with these funds. They should also engage in farming as a source of their livelihoods. What we do not want is that those who already have and are privileged should continue getting those loans. The money will only be availed to few people who are privileged - that we do not want Mr. Speaker Sir.

(v)HON. MUSHORIWA:  I want to join in the discussion pertaining to this loan agreement, the US$35.7 million that was signed in May 2021. I want to start by saying that Parliament as an institution of this country, is being taken for granted by the Ministry of Finance. Firstly, this loan agreement was done almost six months ago. It was gazetted in August when Parliament was not in session and today this is the day that in our emails as Members of Parliament we then manage to get the loan agreement which I believe is not right and good for the country.

Secondly, it is my view that scrutiny of loan agreements should be channeled through the relevant Portfolio Committees so that the House will be advised accordingly because one of the things that we know is that when you want to hide information from people, you put it in writing and it is the details that are there in the loan agreement that many people may not necessarily go through. There is nothing wrong in terms of wanting to get a loan. The problem is the conditions that are attached to the loan.

First and foremost, you get a feeling and looking at the loan agreement, it says that we are getting US$35.7 million for 40 years and we are being told that it is going to be on a concessional basis. We are being told that there will not be any interest but service charge which will be charged twice annually. What is lacking is that the service charge is not indicated in the loan agreement. We do not know how much money will be paid as a country twice annually. How much is the service charge because that information is important. Worse still if you go through this loan agreement, it then tells you that part of the loan agreement is governed by the fund’s general conditions. As we debate this loan agreement today, the fund general conditions have not been made public to Members of Parliament to actually understand and see whether we are getting into a deal which is beneficial to Zimbabwe or we are tying ourselves with a debt trap that we may also be in a very difficult position to move away from.

The other issue is that the Minister has not been forthcoming in terms of his articulation of this agreement. We understand that as Government, we are supposed to contribute US$5 million towards this amount. The Minister has not explained to us how this is going to be done and from which funds are we going to get this amount. To me, the most critical component is how this money is going to be managed. We are being told that the lead player is the Ministry of Agriculture but we know from the agreement that the people who signed for this agreement were the Minister of Finance and the Debt Office, to be precise. What we need is that when we get loans, no matter the intended reasons for getting the loans, it does not matter whether it is noble or otherwise, we always lack when it comes to implementation.

What the Minister was supposed to present in addition to bringing this loan agreement was then to come before this august House with a proper and clear statement on how the methodology upon this money is going to be utilised - if the money is going to be given to a bank or is it going to be given to organisations. I also realised that as Zimbabweans, we are very quick to put our signatures on a piece of paper. If you go through this loan agreement it tells you that the suppliers of this fund can actually withdraw this facility. For instance, if we as Zimbabwe decide to remove someone that has been managing this fund, and because we do not know who is going to be managing this fund, we do not know the mechanism, we do not know the structure that is going to be put in place but the lenders of the money are then saying if they are not happy with a position where an employee of the fund is removed, they can withdraw this offer. What does it mean? It means we are being put and given conditions which I believe are not good for this nation. You do not want to get a situation where you get a loan and you are then told that you cannot remove your accountant even if the accountant has been stealing.  You have to seek approval from the person that has given you the loan.  I think it is wrong Mr. Speaker Sir.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to emphasise that the Hon. Minister should do more to this Parliament.  Let the Minister lay here before Parliament, the full terms and how Government intends to implement and bring this mechanism into play.  The issue of the money, the $35.7 million is not a huge amount and more-so, if we listen to what the Hon. Speaker stated when you contributed.  Trying to cover 10 provinces, we need to make sure that there is a clear paper that is presented before this august House.  We do not want to hear a situation in five years, ten years from now that Zimbabwe owes $35.7 million or now that it is forty something million because service charges had not been paid over these years and yet we will not have a track record of saying where the money went to, which communal farmers in which district, in which constituency, in which province, who benefited from these funds.

Without that information Mr. Speaker Sir, then I will tell you we are getting into a serious debt trap and what we then want to do is to give the Minister of Finance and Economic Development a benefit of the doubt to then say Minister, can you supply Parliament with a paper so that we will appreciate and have the checks and balances so that we will then know when the money has arrived, how much money has been disbursed, who has been given and the loan repayment period so that we monitor this fund so that it becomes a revolving fund.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity.

HON. N. MGUNI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me this opportunity.  I would want to thank the Minister for bringing this loan agreement to Parliament which is very constitutional.  I stand here to urge the Minister; as I listened to Members of Parliament, I heard very positive contributions.  So I stand here to ask the Minister to consider and take these very positive contributions.  It is important for the Hon. Members of Parliament to contribute because they represent the people and I would want to believe that what they contribute here in Parliament is representative of the people that they represent.  So I stand here to urge the Minister to take seriously the contributions and implement them and ask him as well, to then come back to Parliament and report to us as to what he has done so that the Parliamentarians can see that their contributions are worth, they are not just a talk show.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I think this was a very vibrant and healthy debate where we are looking at the loan agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and IFAD.  So I will try to go over all the submissions that have been done by the Hon. Members of Parliament and also try to provide the responses that are in line with the loan agreement.  I think one of the areas that has been highlighted is maybe the short time that was given to the Hon. Members to go over the loan agreement because I think quite a number of issues that  have been raised are actually contained in the loan agreement.

So let me start with the submission that has been provided by Hon. Mliswa.  Hon. Mliswa welcomed the loan agreement and said the loan agreement is in line with Government policy and he applauded Treasury for coming to Parliament so that Parliament can play its oversight role and we are saying as Treasury, this is what we would want to do and also to lead by example, but he was concerned that why are we just looking at those few areas, the five provinces.

We have got a programme that is currently running under the Open Fund for International Development (OFID) and OFID is covering Matabeleland North, Masvingo and Manicaland.  The fund is specifically looking at more or less the same areas.  What we do is, as we get these facilities, we distribute and allocate the funds according to the needs that are already established in our policy blue prints.  So there is no deliberate effort to marginalise areas but we allocate the resources as we get them.  I would also like to applaud the Hon. Members, those who brought out the point that the $35.7 million may not be enough to spread in all the 10 provinces, so we were guided by that and also by the fact that we already have got funding facilities that are on the ground, especially for the three provinces that I have mentioned.  OFID is also on the ground in those areas.

Then the disbursement modalities – the disbursement modalities are contained in the loan agreement.  Most of the beneficiaries are not going to be individuals.  Most of the beneficiaries are going to be in groups and this is contained in the loan agreement.

Then the deliberate effort to ensure that the women and youths benefit, this is something that is at the heart of His Excellency and even in terms of our policy trajectory, there is a deliberate effort to ensure that women and the youths are empowered.  You have already made submissions towards the 2022 National Budget and there are provisions to ensure that all that is being submitted is going to be taken on board, especially when it comes to clear evidence based empowerment of women and youths.  This loan is also going to take that deliberate effort to make sure that those who are defined in the criteria that they are poor, are women, the youth, the marginalised, they are going to be given the chance to benefit from the law.

Then Hon. Mliswa also mentioned the issue of the market to say, but we can have this facility.  The women and the youth are going to be very productive, but we may not have the market.  Looking at current activities that are on the ground, we have a deliberate effort to ensure that we have the markets.  We are working with the Zimbabwe Agriculture Growth Development Programme, a programme that is providing markets for the rural produce.  We are also having the IPVC which is the internal poultry value chain system and this is in addition to what is existing on the ground in terms of the markets.   I am sure the marketing hubs that we are sponsoring; we have an ongoing programme that we have just started with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development which is again looking at the setting up of marketing hubs in all the provinces.  So I am sure the outputs that are going to come from this programme will have a ready market.           We are also looking at to what extent can we take the produce and export it.  This again is something that we are working on together with ZIMTRADE and I can assure you that the market will be there.

Then I transition to the submissions by Hon. Togarepi.  Hon. Togarepi applauded the facility and said that it is good for our farmers.  It is very important that it is going to provide our farmers with a platform to improve their knowledge and get training and also shock proofing our agriculture towards pandemics like the COVID-19. He recommended this so there is not much of a question except for us as Treasury to say, we accept the positive comments that came from the Hon. Member.  We will continue to look at those concessionary loans that we think are not going to burden the fiscus.  The issue with these loans, as a country, we are already indebted.  We have a debt that is up to $10.5billion and we are having challenges in repaying the debt.  So whenever we go out to look for these facilities, we also look at our ability to pay.  We also look at  what extent are we mortgaging the future generations?  So it is not a matter of just taking these loans, we would want to thank Hon. Togarepi for the submissions.

You also mentioned the issue of our banks not being responsive to the development agenda of the country.  I think that is an issue that we have been discussing since last year.  When we do discussions, banks are also saying that the operating environment is not conducive but at the same time when the Government is intervening, they then say, the Government is crowding out private investment but as a Government, we cannot just sit.  We have said, in terms of the policy trajectory of the country, the National Development Strategy One, Vision 2030 is private sector alert but we also follow our principles as a country and as a Government to say, when you see that the market is going to fail, we are going to have intervention by the Government.  This is why we have the Social Protection programmes but on this score, it is true, our banks need serious radical orientation in terms of contributing to the national agenda of the country.

Even now, if you check, you mention the issues of what banks are we going to use?  We may end up with the whole fund being taken by banks and this is an issue that we have also deliberated on and I am sure we are going to make use of banks that are development friendly to our agenda.  We are looking at the Land Bank, Women’s Bank and the Empower Bank; we will obviously be guided by our Reserve Bank.  So in terms of the recommendation, you said that you recommend that we take on the loan because it is going to enhance production and aid to the development aspirations of the country in line with the National Development Strategy One.

Then the submissions by Hon. Mayihlome; he said that the loan agreement is coming at the right time – coming at a time when we are coming from Victoria Falls where we deliberated on issues to deal with the 2022 national budget.  He also said that when it comes to facilities like this, let us try to ensure that there is equity.  I am sure in terms of equity, as a Government, there is clarity in terms of where we are going – the issue of inclusivity.  There is no deliberate effort to marginalise anyone or any geographic regions – all the regions are considered and I alluded to this point to say, we already have IFAD and programmes that are sponsored under OFID.  I specifically mentioned Matabeleland North, Manicaland and Masvingo – they are already benefiting.

In terms of the responsibility that we have as Treasury, having consulted we also said, we have these three that are already benefiting.  Why can we not include the other five?  As we get the national resources, we allocate them like that but there is a point that was mentioned that why does it appear like we left out Matabeleland South?  I mentioned that we have quite a number of programmes that are coming  in terms of what we are currently doing in Matabeleland South.  I would like to give you an example of what we are doing with regards to the greening of Matabeleland South.

There is Zhovhe Dam, we already have plans and we start rolling out that plan from next year - the pipeline from Zhovhe Dam up to Beitbridge.  Along the pipeline, we are saying; as we take the pipeline and take water from Zhovhe Dam up to Beitbridge, there should be agricultural activities and there is that plan to ensure that we are going to create a green belt.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - We have also made a presentation here regarding the construction of Thuli-Manyange Dam.  Thuli-Manyange Dam, we classified it as an emotional project, a project that is supposed to get priority funding.  It is unfortunate that in terms of the development aspirations that we were assigned by His Excellency, we were assigned by His Excellency and he said, “By December, 2021, I would want to see Gwayi-Shangani Dam completed”- [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

This is a project that we have worked on and by December, Gwayi-Shangani Dam will be completed.  This is a project that we started hearing about when we were still children.  He also directed us that by December, 2022, he would want to open a tap of water from Gwayi-Shangani Dam which is the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project.  So by December, 2022 in terms of the resource allocation, His Excellency should commission the completion of the whole project and opening water in Bulawayo next year.  So this is where we are and in terms of the implementation, already we have selected six contractors who are already dealing with the pipeline as we complete the dam.  So this is running concurrently but the end is not in water.  The end is in economic activities along the pipeline.

Already the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement is working on the plans to ensure that, for us what we want is what we are going to use the water for and not just the water.  We have an integrated system where, as we do these activities, completion of the dam and pipeline, we are also working on the grand plan of the activities that are going to take place along the pipeline.  This is where we are and I can assure you that by December, we have already checked the activities where we are now we will be done with the Gwai-Shangai Dam.  We are saying by November/December next year, we will also be done with the pipelines.  On these issues, it is very critical that Parliament will continue to play its oversight role.  We are very happy that you monitor us in terms of what we say here in Parliament and given the implementation that is on the ground, I can assure you that what we are saying here is what we will deliver.

Hon. Raidza mentioned the issue of mechanisation of small holder farmers; he alluded to the positivity of the loan agreement as it will add to production.  Of importance, is where he said there is need for us to ensure that there is access to the market.  I would want to give you an example of the Mutoko Rural Market that was really commissioned by His Excellency.  This is an example of what is going to follow in most of our districts.  So in terms of the access to markets, I have already mentioned ZIMTRADE, Zimbabwe ARDA Development Programme, IPVC, all these are going to assist us in terms of coming up with the markets.

Submissions by Hon. Moyo; very critical, this has been presented here in Parliament by the Hon. Minister of Agriculture where he said agriculture is a business and this is what has been submitted by Hon. Moyo, that we should take agriculture as an evolution. This is a revolution where this loan is going to promote production and when you promote production, this is going to assist us in terms of industrialisation.  He quoted some books, I did not follow the exact book that he referred to but what is very critical is for us to know that even the countries that are industrialised today, they lived from agriculture.  Agriculture is the backbone of our country in terms of growth, employment figures and in terms of where you are going as a country.  With regards to beneficiation, we benefit resources that are from agriculture.

The revolution that he was talking about, he mentioned the issue of food security. Surely, we would need a robust agricultural system to ensure that there is food security.

He mentioned the issue of employment, again if you check agriculture is the largest contributor.  Then the development of value chains, I have already mentioned this, that the development of value chains where the inputs will be coming from agriculture - so this is very commendable contribution from Hon. Moyo.  He said this will lead to food sustenance and he supports that we should ratify it as Parliament.

Contributions from Hon. Shamu, he said money will help us especially children and youths, but he wants us to make sure that what has been said here is put into practice.  I mentioned that Parliament will do its oversight roles.  What we have discussed here, I am sure the Portfolio Committee that oversees agriculture will make sure that they do follow ups.  On transparency, there is what we call Project Management Unit, the lead Ministry is the Ministry of Lands but there is also Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Youths and Ministry of Women.  This is at national level then we go down to districts. One of the conditions is that there must be no corruption, it is written as one of the loan agreements.  If there is corruption, IFAD will withdraw the loan. So I am sure that there are checks and balances.  There must be no delays. For those who read the loan agreement, it is written that upon signing within six months we will have started implementation. On monitoring and evaluation, he mentioned the involvement of the office that is responsible for implementation, this is obvious. They will be there to see that all Government programmes are implemented as agreed.

On Hon. Simbaneuta’s contribution, he mentioned that the loan agreement will buttress and enhance the President’s vision. We all know the vision of His Excellency the President is that as a country, we want to be prosperous and be an empowered upper middle income economy by 2030.  He always says that the country is built by its own people.  However in doing so, no one must remain behind.  This is the policy of inclusivity where we live no one and no place behind.

Our farmers must have tractors, we want factories, and if we use the Mutoko prototype when we finish there, we will go to other districts. Some funds that we released we utilized them in provincial capitals, I think the criterion is there in the loan agreement.  We are going to the rural poor and the marginalised.  This criterion is the one that is going to be used and will be guided by the Project Management Unit that I have alluded to.  It will be monitoring if we are considering disadvantaged groups like women and youths because they are the intended beneficiaries. I hope that this will not end in provincial capitals.

If you read the loan agreement, it is saying that implementation is going to be done at ward level, so we are going down to the wards.  This loan means that our project will prosper.  I want Hon. Members to remember the policy that is there now of rural industrialisation. The thrust of the Government is to take development to the rural areas.   Taking development to the rural areas where the policy of decentralisation and devolution is taking centre stage using what we have, he said that this is what we call Zimbabwe and we agree with him.

On the submission by Hon. Nduna, obviously for Hon. Nduna, he will be speaking of his people from Chegutu. He said small holder farmers have an attachment to their places but the important point that he wanted to bring is the importance of organic farming.  He said if we provide resources to our farmers, the farmers that have got this emotional attachment to their places and they have got an emotional attachment to their farming methods wherein now he mentioned the issue of organic farming.  This organic farming can actually be a game changer in terms of exportation where we export agricultural produce that are organically produced.  Obviously again, it is something that is supposed to come out in terms of loan plan.

He mentioned the issue of reducing dependency; again it is something which has been mentioned by the Hon. Members that if we are going to empower our people, this is going to reduce dependency.

The other issues, I do not know if they were in line with our debates here; he mentioned the issue of gateway in communication in order for us to be able to finance our operations.  He also mentioned the issue of the community share ownership schemes where he said they started in 2011. If we are to take 10 million from each of those community share ownership schemes over the number of years, we are going to get quite some money.  Maybe he wanted to mention the issue of alternative sources of funding but I am acknowledging what he submitted.

Hon. Molokela, he made very important contributions.  He started off by applauding the Ministry for presenting the loan agreement to Parliament especially in terms of what is expected of us as Treasury not to just come up with these agreements, sign in our offices and then later on come here for condonation.   Now, we are saying we should lead by example. We came here to Parliament so that you can play your role.

He mentioned that agriculture is one of the important pillars of the economy and we should take it seriously.  Out of the 14 pillars of the National Development Strategy 1, the pillar on food security and nutrition is the one that is covering agriculture and it is an important pillar in our development agenda.  So, I totally agree with Hon. Molokela on that point.  However, he went on to say that we were supposed to include Matabeleland North and I have already mentioned that in terms of coverage, we look at quite a number of factors. There are some areas that are already lagging behind in terms of development, they get first priority.  Matabeleland South, as I have mentioned already, we have got a programme that is running. I also have mentioned that in terms of the greening of Matabeleland South, I mentioned the programme that we have for Zhove Dam and the construction of Thuli-Manyange.  In addition to these, we are also having other programmes that are coming on board.

He also mentioned the point that we should have plans for value chains. If you check under the loan agreement, we have got four components and we have got a component for value chains so that one is already taken care of. The links which he also said - to what extent are we going to link the new production hubs that are coming from the rural areas to the already existing markets and he gave an example of Bulawayo.  Obviously, as we develop our value chains, these are value chains that are supposed to be all inclusive and all the places where there is a market are going to be considered.

He mentioned that let us work on what currently exists and this is where I said we have got Gwayi-Shangani and Thuli-Manyange.  Find ways to link existing projects and let us build on what is there and let us try to use this to stop rural urban migration.  Again, this is in line with the rural industrialisation strategy where if development is taking place in the rural areas, there may not be need for people to migrate from rural areas to urban centres.

He mentioned the issue of accountability which is very important. We need to deal with the problem of corruption and it is provided for in the loan agreement.  Where there are any tendencies for corruption, it is one condition that will lead to the withdrawal of the loan.  So, I think this is a very important point that we are taking on board to ensure that there is accountability.  I have mentioned that we are going to set up what is called the Programme Management Unit at national level which will cascade up to the district level.  In terms of accountability, again we need to ensure that the portfolio committee is going to play its part of oversight.

He mentioned the issue of being in a position to monitor impact, obviously for us, we should be able to at the rural communities before the project implementation and after.  From there, we should be able to see if there are any changes.

Hon. Nyabani said we should grow crops that have a market. That is what I have said that we are following the prototype that was done by His Excellency in Mutoko. We have markets that are being done by ZimTrade.  It was also said that as we engaged in farming, let us remember that there are machines that are needed for value addition and beneficiation.  It is a component that is within the loan agreement that we will also engage in value addition. As we engage in farming, we need to conserve our environment. This is one of the pillars of NDS1 on environmental management and planet management.

Hon. Peter Moyo requested to know what measures the Government has put in place to ensure that no corruption takes place and whether we are looking into the issues of gender.  I think these are issues that I have already addressed.  I said there is a Project Management Unit and in the loan agreement, it is stated that if there is any evidence of corruption or fraud, the programme will be terminated.  So that is included from the Joint Monitoring and the Project Implementation Unit right down to district level.   So those measures are in place at district level. So that programme is there.

I transition to a submission made by Hon. Khupe. Again this is a point that was made wherein the Ministry of Finance is being applauded for coming to Parliament. Thank you Hon. Khupe.  We might have missed this in the past but as I have alluded to earlier, we would want to lead by example and ensure that Parliament plays its oversight role. We will continue to bring these agreements here so that you give us advice in terms of how we should move forward on resource allocation.

Taking into account the geo-weather conditions existing in different regions, Hon. Khupe mentioned that part of this loan should be focused towards the development of drip irrigation infrastructure. In line with that, she pleaded with Treasury to ensure we set aside specifically ten million dollars for drip irrigation. She suggested that we promote drip irrigation not only for the huge harvest that we are going to get but that it will also create time for women to look after themselves. I could not agree with hermore. This is a proposal that we are going to consider but I would also want to implore on you to check the loan agreement because there is a breakdown that is there. When I checked it as you were making your submission, yes it is not specific to say drip irrigation, but there is an amount which is actually more than the ten million which is targeted towards infrastructure. I think the test is going to be on implementation but the ten million is provided for under the items that are in the loan agreement.

Hon. Khumalo, I tried to pick what you were saying in siNdebele. You mentioned three issues where you said some loans are not passing through Parliament and this is the issue that I am talking about - in terms of the Public Finance Management Act, all the loans should pass through Parliament and this is why I am here. Already we have the plans that are coming from provinces and it was based on the needs assessment that were done. The allocations were based on the needs that were done and it was seen that for now, we allocate to those five provinces.

On the issue concerning how we are going to cover the seven districts in Matabeleland North and the districts are different; he also proposed that we come up with something that is targeted so that we have got maximum impact. He also wanted to know the amount for each province and what we are doing about the peri-urban farmers who should also benefit from this loan. It is true especially if you do the mathematics that he was doing here and where he came up with an average of US$800 000 for each district. On this one, I would need to consult further because as you have rightly mentioned, if we are going to spread it like that, then we may not have the desired impact. Obviously if we are going to check in the loan agreement, already the groups are set but what I would want to check is the distribution on whether they are covering all the districts. The groups are there and the number of beneficiaries per group are already there. I would need to find out if it is spread like that to cover every district. What we want from this loan is to ensure that there is maximum impact.

In terms of those in the peri-urban, as long as they meet the criteria, they are supposed to be coming from that targeted and then they meet the criteria of being poor, marginalised, the women, disabled and the youth. We are not going to say if you stay in an urban area or you are in a peri-urban, then you do not benefit. The target is for the specific provinces.

Hon. Moyo said that the fund should be used to rehabilitate the irrigation schemes and that we should support our women. He specifically mentioned Masvingo Province and I can tell you that Masvingo has other projects which are ongoing that are funded by IFAD. If you look at the components of the agreement, there is a section on climate proofing agriculture. That is what goes hand-in-hand with what you have said. We could have selected all the provinces but we did only five due to the minor details in the loan agreement.

I transition to Hon. Makonya. She said that money should cascade to grassroots level.  She also went to say an Agritex Officer should be on the ground and we should target the poor women and the disabled. I think this is what we have been saying the whole afternoon. It is true that Agritex Officers are part of the project management unit.

Hon. Mushoriwa said Parliament is being taken for granted. Specifically, he mentioned the issue of timing where the signing of the agreement was done in May and he is saying he only saw the loan agreement yesterday. I think this is an area where we can do better. There is need for scrutiny on all loan agreements so that we are able to read the finer details and he proposed the loan agreement was supposed to be channeled through the Portfolio Committee. I think this is for Hon Speaker to guide us in terms of the procedures.

He went further to mention the issues on accountability and ensuring that there is no corruption. How should we ensure that there is no corruption? We will manage the loan. How will the money be utilised? Accountability and there is also a provision that funders can withdraw the loan. We need to understand the full terms of the agreement and its implementation.  I think as he rightly mentioned that maybe he had no time to go through the finer details of the loan agreement, all these issues are covered in the loan agreement.  I would want to pick the point on accountability and corruption.  Corruption is explicitly mentioned that in the event that there is corruption, it will lead and result in the withdrawal of the agreement.  Then there is the issue of who is going to manage.  The lead institution is the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement and then we have got the Project Management Unit which I mentioned already and then we also have the Joint Monitoring Committee.  All these are part of ensuring that there is accountability.

Then the full terms of the agreement and implementation plan.  All the full terms of the agreement are in the loan agreement, unless if Parliament would want us as Treasury to come up with an abridged version because he mentioned that you should supply us a paper on who benefits.  The beneficiaries are explicitly stated in the loan agreement.

Hon. Mguni then mentioned that - can you please consider the positive contributions that have been submitted by Hon. Members.  We are going to consider all the contributions and this is why we brought this motion to Parliament so that we will stand guided by Parliament because Parliament is the one which has got an oversight role.  It is the one that is going to authorise Treasury to take the loan on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe.  So, all the contributions are going to be considered.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I move that the motion be adopted.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO):  Mr Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 2 to 5 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 6 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

HON. DR. KHUPE:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not second because as you would know, the lockdown was extended by another two weeks and Parliament is supposed to adjourn at 4.55 p.m.  I am saying this not because of us, but because of staff members who stay far away.  We are supposed to knock off on time so that they are able to prepare and get to their homes before the curfew is there.  So we cannot be going on and on.  I think people can debate next week.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Members, I am advised that the curfew has been extended up to 9.00 p.m., so we can adjourn around 6.55 p.m., it is okay.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, FISHERIES AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT ON THE CASE OF THE ELUSIVE US28.2 MILLION DISTRIBUTED BY THE RBZ TO THE GRAIN MILLERS ASSOCIATION

 

         HON. WADYAJENA:  I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Portfolio Committee on  Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement on the Case of the Elusive US$28.2 million distributed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) for Wheat Imports.

HON. MPARIWA:  I second.

         HON. WADYAJENA:

Foreword

This report is presented against a background of high-profile corruption revelations in a number of sectors involving both senior members of the Government and eminent members of society, and asserts that Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, as one of the primary expressions of the people's will, also have a primary duty to fight corruption and table well investigated reports that help other arms of the State to secure outright convictions.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe sanctions the State to adopt and implement policies and legislation that develop efficiency, competence, accountability, transparency, personal integrity and financial probity in all institutions and agencies of Government at every level and in every public institution and, for its part, Parliament is assigned the role of oversight to ensure compliance therein. This assertion is emboldened by section 119 within the Constitution which provides that Parliament has power to ensure compliance with the Constitution of the land and for that purpose; ALL institutions and agencies of the State and Government at EVERY LEVEL are accountable to it.  Consequently, Parliament has a crucial role to play in promoting good governance by exposing, combating and eradicating all forms of corruption and abuse of power by public officials and political elite.

The fight against corruption presents a myriad of challenges as its beneficiaries and masterminds have an infinite base of resources to evade justice, be it politically or legally. Additionally, on account of the economic transformation the country is undergoing and the austerity this has entailed, opportunities open up even for Members of Parliament themselves to aid in the corruption by receiving bribes and inducements for favorable reports or to ‘see, hear and say nothing’.

The citizenry is not blind to these affairs and has an entrenched perception that grand corruption is perpetrated by the political elites who are themselves some of the biggest beneficiaries of this brazen corruption, with institutions now being perceived in bad light, known more for the ‘catch and release’ of perceived ‘big fish’, and their failure to adequately protect whistleblowers. This leaves the well-meaning and ethical participants of these processes exposed, demoralised and distrusting of national institutions and systems of justice. Under these conditions, it proves difficult to incentivise whistleblowers, who are instrumental in alerting authorities of corrupt activities in the public and private spheres. Their fear of exposure and subsequent victimisation arises from a perception that they will not be afforded the protections to which they are entitled. It is in this context that this Committee has diligently sought to investigate the mystery and suspected impropriety surrounding the US$28.2 million disbursement by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) for wheat imports.

The pursuit of truth is not without its costs. As Chairperson, members of my Portfolio Committee and myself have come to learn, directly, some of the consequences of seeking to advance justice. We have endured a campaign of cyber-bullying, intimidation, mudslinging and smearing in local broadsheets, digital and broadcast media, all intended to damage our credibility. These despicable efforts have been spearheaded by both GMAZ as a body and by one of the individuals at the center of this probe, Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara, following their highly contentious testimonies which commenced in 2019.

Notwithstanding, the Committee pursued its mission steadfastly, never backing down in the face of intimidation and threats. It is my most sincere hope, as Chairperson, that none of the persons who participated in this process will become victims or collateral damage of the rot we seek to uncover, as this report tackles and exposes well organized syndicates that bleed the economy of our country.

1.0    INTRODUCTION  

In recent years, Zimbabwe has been the unfortunate victim of adverse effects of climate change. In 2019, the eastern parts of the country were ravaged by Cyclone Idai, severely slowing down the national economy, and more broadly, we have experienced devastating successive droughts that have threatened national food security. The population has, at a number of points, been on the verge of starvation on this account, and had to rely heavily on imports for necessities such as maize, wheat and other crucial commodities.

In response to some of these events, the Government of His Excellency, Cde ED Mnangagwa, developed a dedicated facility under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development administered by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to allocate the scarce foreign currency at a rate of 1 United States of America Dollar To 1 Zimbabwe Dollar. This facility was meant to allow the importation of crucial commodities using the controlled bank rate, making products like bread affordable to the majority of the citizenry, particularly the economically disadvantaged while guaranteeing stability in the bread industry.

1.1 In spite of this Government intervention, the country went on to experience shortages of bread. This is one of the factors that motivated the necessity for this inquiry.  Other factors included the lack of clarity of the exact nature and extent of GMAZ participation in this facility.  Specifically, the question of whether GMAZ held a clear mandate in the administration and allocation of the US$28.2 million. Thirdly, disturbing reports of unfair and murky distribution of wheat allocations to a selected few millers and finally, the persistent well publicized demands by GMAZ, which bordered on threats, for more forex allocations brought to bear the question of the nexus between GMAZ and the Government.

These issues gave basis for the pursuit of an investigation by means of oral and written submissions of evidence by related stakeholders.

In accordance with its mandate to examine the administration and policies of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement, and matters falling under its jurisdiction, the Committee embarked on an enquiry to establish the extent of these claims. To this end, in launching its investigations, the Committee set out to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To determine if indeed GMAZ received forex allocations from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe between the years 2017 and 2019 at rate of 1ZWL:1US$
  2. To establish whether the forex allocations were used for the purposes for which they were disbursed; and
  • To ascertain if GMAZ itself imported any wheat into the country.

 

This Committee Report is a culmination of observations emanating from the investigation. It presents:

  1. Background on forex allocations for the wheat industry;
  2. An outline of issues linked to the failure by GMAZ to import wheat into the country;
  3. Disclosure of efforts by GMAZ, Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara, Drostky and Rubaya and Chatambudza Legal Practitioners to try and manipulate legal processes to derail investigations and to blackmail the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee;
  4. Summary and outcomes of Oral Evidence gathered;
  5. Committee findings;
  6. Recommendations and;

2.0    BACKGROUND

Zimbabwe's agricultural sector is critical in providing livelihoods to approximately 70% of the population, contributing between 10% and 15% of GDP and providing 40% of export earnings and supplying 63% of agro-industrial raw materials. (GoZ, 2011; Zimstat, 2012).

It is therefore a critical strategic cog in the design of strategies and policies around economic growth, poverty reduction, food security and overall national prosperity.

Wheat is the second most important food security crop in Zimbabwe after maize and has become a staple crop given the high demand for bread by the urban population. Wheat farming is a major cropping activity, contributing about 4% to the GDP of Zimbabwe (RBZ, 2009). The immediate wheat products are flour, the main ingredient for making bread and other confectionaries consumed daily by mostly urban Zimbabweans, and wheat bran which is mainly used in the stock-feeds manufacturing sector. Since domestic produced wheat has poor quality for bread making because it is too soft, hard wheat imports are required to improve the glistening of the local wheat product.

The wheat value chain is comprised of: - 1) input suppliers 2) farmers, 3) traders, 4) millers and 5) consumers and the structure varies from being dominated by monopolies selling to several farmers in the input markets, to many farmers selling to GMB and the major millers. Local production of wheat has been decreasing over years on account of the perception that it is simply not profitable enough and therefore traders also import wheat flour to satisfy domestic demand. At every level of the value chain, there is competition with imports creating a significant import bill for the national Government.

2.2 VISION 2030

The Constitution of the Government under the New Dispensation on 24 November, 2017 provided renewed hope for a better life for all Zimbabweans premised on a vision for realisation of rapid economic growth and development. The national development blueprint seeks to fundamentally transform Zimbabwe to an upper middle income economy, with a per capita Gross National Income of over US$5000 in real terms by 2030, from the current US$1 440. It also seeks to reduce the Poverty Rate to below 25 percent of the population from 62.5 percent (2012), consistent with upper middle income economies. Revitalisation of the agricultural sector through a number of interventions around land utilisation, farmer incubation, financing, agri-marketing and several others all work towards this end.

 

Ultimately, vision 2030 demands the creation of a self-sufficient and food surplus economy that will see the re-emergence of Zimbabwe as the ‘Bread Basket’ of Africa.

2.3 TSP

Vision 2030 will be realised through the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (2018-2020) and two successive Five-Year National Development Strategies; NDS1 (2021-2025) and NDS 2 (2026-2030). The main goal of TSP was stabilising the economy and creating a solid foundation for the Medium Term Plans, namely NDS1 and NDS2. To date, notable progress has been made in the implementation of the TSP, including fiscal consolidation, exchange rate stability and a number of achievements in various pillars.

         2.4 NDS1

Zimbabwe’s next step towards Vision 2030 is the Five-year National Development Strategy of 2021-2025 (NDS1). The NDS1 is the successor to the TSP and will be underpinned by five annual National Budgets. The NDS1 contains strategies, programmes & projects aimed at eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable livelihoods of the poor, women and youth empowerment and providing support to people living with disabilities, in line with Vision 2030. The emphasis of the NDS1 is on Bold Strategies that will change the status quo.

The NDS1 aims to build on the successes realised under the TSP, as well as addressing the TSP challenges and unfinished business, particularly consolidating macroeconomic stability. With respect to Food Security and Nutrition Security (a key thematic area), the major objectives under Food Security and Nutrition Security are to improve food self-sufficiency and to retain the regional breadbasket status; increase food self-sufficiency from the current level of 45% to 100%; reduce food insecurity from the high of 59% recorded in 2020 to less than 10% by 2025; increase maize production from 907 629 tonnes in 2020 to 3 million tonnes by 2025; and increase beef production from 49 115 tonnes in 2020 to 110 000 tonnes by 2025.

In light of the central place that agriculture occupies both traditionally and in the future of national development, transparency and accountability across this sector is vital, in particular in the implementation of all Government policy. This enquiry, then, is of strategic national importance, and outcomes drawing from it will have lasting national ramifications.

3.0    METHODOLOGY

In undertaking this enquiry, the Committee adopted traditionally used methodologies by Parliament that foster the highest levels of transparency and therefore contribute to the report’s overall credibility and reliability.

         3.1 Oral Evidence Sessions

The Committee held Oral Evidence sessions on the 19th March, 2019 with the following key stakeholders:-

Mr. T. Musarara -                Chairperson, Grain Millers Association

Mr. G. Murdock -                Grain and Oil Seed Traders Association

Mr. C. Nheta -                      National Foods, Vice Chairperson GMAZ

Mr. O. Zvamaunganira-       Managing Director, Manica Zimbabwe

Mr. M. Dzomba -                 Millers from Matabeleland Region

Mr. U. Khamal -                  General Manager, Blue Ribbon Foods

3.2 Written Submissions
The Committee received written submissions and communications from;

  1. The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe;
  2. The Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority;
  3. Metbank;
  4. Ecobank;
  5. Drostky Private Limited;
  6. Grain Miller’s Association of Zimbabwe;
  7. Wintertons Legal Practitioners; and
  8. Rubaya and Chatambudza Legal Practioners.

4.0    ORAL SUBMISSIONS TO THE COMMITTEE ON THE INITIAL MEETING

4.1    GMAZ Executive

The Executive and some members of GMAZ appeared before the Committee on 19 March, 2019. The Chairperson of GMAZ, Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara, informed the Committee that GMAZ was a fully constituted body, availed its constitution and further stated that GMAZ received from RBZ an amount of US$26.2 million (Twenty Six Million, Two Hundred Thousand United States Of America Dollars). He further informed the Committee that they had brought with them proof of how the funds were utilized and submitted what he termed ‘acquittal documents’ for the US$26.2m allocated to GMAZ by RBZ.

4.1.2 The Chairperson of GMAZ, Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara highlighted to the Committee that his Secretariat was in South Africa attending a Fortification Conference and could not avail some of the requested documentation to the Committee on time. The Committee rescheduled the meeting to the 2nd of April, 2019 to allow GMAZ the opportunity to compile and submit all requested information.

4.1.3 Parliament went on an unscheduled recess and GMAZ was accordingly notified of the postponement of the meeting to a later date which was to be announced. It must however be noted that despite prior warning of the postponement, GMAZ turned up on the 2nd of April without invitation and held a press conference addressed by Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara and their attorney, Advocate T. Magwaliba, on the precinct of Parliament, just outside the Senate Chamber. Several questions arose as to how they were able to access Parliamentary premises without requisite security clearances.

5.0 Meeting with GMAZ members

The Committee held Oral Evidence hearings with GMAZ Members to clarify what they received under the US$28.2 million allocation from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

WITNESSES

  1. Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ)

Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara – GMAZ Chairperson

Mr. M. Dzomba – Vice Chairman GMAZ and CEO Blue Ram Milling

Mr. G. Chaunza – PR GMAZ

Mrs. L. Vheremu – General Manager

  1. Blue Ribbon Foods

Mr. U. Khamal - General Manager

  1. National Foods

Mr. M. Lashbrook – CEO

  1. 4. Continental Millers

Mr. N. Kulumuzi - Managing Director

GMAZ presentation

The Chairperson commenced the meeting (excerpts as captured by Parliament’s Hansard Recording) by inquiring from Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara if they (Chairperson and Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara) shared any type of relationship to which Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara responded by saying;

  1. MUSARARA:  No, we do not have relationships outside this Committee.

THE CHAIRPERSON:  Have I ever sought a bribe from you?

  1. MUSARARA:  From me? No, you have not.

 

This was meant to address various media reports that emanated from Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara suggesting that the Chairperson had a personal gripe with Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara and that this placed him in conflict and compromised his ability to conduct his duties fairly.

GMAZ confirmed that they had imported all wheat in their name. They presented letters from five milling companies confirming receipt of wheat delivered by GMAZ.  Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara proceeded to present Bill of Entries, several letters on GMAZ letterhead and various bankers’ communications claiming that all acquittals were done in accordance with the law and all funds were accounted for.

The other five GMAZ members who attended the meeting confirmed that they received the wheat from GMAZ after paying funds into a local GMAZ account.

LETTER FROM GMAZ REQUESTING RECUSAL OF THE COMMITTEE CHAIRPERSON FROM PROCEEDINGS

GMAZ, through its lawyers, wrote a letter to the Clerk of Parliament making two requests, citing unfair treatment and bias;

  • The recusal of Hon. J.M. Wadyajena from Chairing the inquiry; and
  • Termination of Hon. J.M. Wadyajena’s membership of the Committee.

5.1 Letter from Parliament

The Clerk of Parliament responded to Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara seeking evidence and information on the unfair treatment and bias.

5.1.2 Clerk’s meeting with Mr. Musarara

The Clerk of Parliament, Counsel to Parliament and GMAZ and their lawyers held a round table meeting to discuss their request to have Hon. J.M. Wadyajena recused from the Committee and they were advised that since they had brought in fresh allegations of conflict of interest, it was incumbent upon them to furnish Parliament with proof of the said conflict of interest, or at least substantiate the allegations in order for Parliament to take action.

         5.1.3 Letter from Wintertons Legal Practioners (Wintertons)

GMAZ legal practitioners Wintertons wrote to Parliament stating that their client would not avail themselves before the Committee unless the Chairperson was recused.

5.1.4 Parliament Response

It must be noted the Committee spent almost a year in back and forth communication with GMAZ showing and expressing their unwillingness to appear before the Committee. Parliament wrote several letters of invitation to Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara who stated unequivocally that he would not appear before the Committee. The Committee resolved to invoke provisions of the Standing Orders which were duly approved by the Head of Parliament, Advocate J.F. Mudenda and dispatched officers from the Zimbabwe Republic Police to deliver summonses at Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara’s known places of location, stating that he was legally required to avail himself before the Committee.

7.0 HIGH COURT APPLICATION

After being served with summonses, Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara instructed Rubaya and Chatambudza Legal Practitioners to make an urgent High Court application seeking authority for their client to appear before the Committee in the company of a legal practitioner of their choice.

 

Clerk of Parliament and Counsel to Parliament held a round table meeting with his lawyers and a position was agreed that Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara would be able to attend to the Oral Evidence session in the company of any legal representation of his choice. The meeting resolved to the withdrawal of the High Court application as it no longer served any purpose.

21st May, 2020

Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara appeared before the Committee representing Drostky Private Limited, a company he had earlier advised the Committee that he both owned and that was responsible for importing the wheat on behalf of the GMAZ millers.

In attendance was Advocate Lewis Uriri instructed by a legal practitioner from Rubaya and Chatambudza Legal Practitioners. At the very beginning of the hearing, Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara indicated that he had held a meeting with the Clerk of Parliament who assured him that his lawyers would be able to respond to issues on his behalf.

 

Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara presented a letter from the Clerk of Parliament. After a careful perusal of the letter, Committee interpreted it differently from Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara and his legal team.

OBSERVATIONS

Counsel to Parliament attended the meeting of the 21st March, 2020 and interpreted the letter which clearly stated that Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara was permitted to bring with him any lawyer but stated clearly that “he will be responsible for responding to all issues raised by the Committee” while he was also at liberty to consult his legal team on any subject matter.

Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara and his legal team chose to abstain from the meeting and elected to proceed with the court application which they had misrepresented to the Clerk of Parliament being that it was agreed this application would be withdrawn before Committee meeting.

FINDINGS

  1. Throughout the enquiry, Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara demonstrated an unwillingness to assist the Committee in its investigations, obfuscating and out rightly refusing to produce documentation pertinent to this inquiry.
  2. Tafadzwa Musarara notified the Committee that GMAZ had imported wheat valued at US$26.2 million yet RBZ advised and availed documents to the Committee that the accessed funds totaled US$28.2 million.
  3. The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) wrote to the Committee and clearly stated that for a period between January 2018 and May 2020, GMAZ did not import any wheat into Zimbabwe “...Please be advised there are no wheat imports for GMAZ in our records for the mentioned period of January 2018 to August 2019...” (direct quote from ZIMRA letter.)
  4. After being provided with confirmation letters from ZIMRA, Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara later conceded to the Committee that in actual fact, GMAZ never imported any wheat but that it was a private company that he owns in his personal capacity called Drostky Private Limited that imported the wheat instead. His previous statements which were given under oath were then revealed to be perjurious which itself is contempt of parliament.
  5. ZIMRA further advised the Committee that for a period between January 2018 and May 2020, Drostky imported wheat totaling US$24.2 million into the country but it must be highlighted that Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara had advised the Committee that his private entity Drostky, was in the business of importing its own wheat like other Millers and when asked to provide evidence in any form that the US$24.2 million belonged to GMAZ’s RBZ funds, he failed to provide the evidence and also failed to provide evidence of the authority by regulatory authorities to use third parties.
  6. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe provided the Committee with proof that GMAZ authorized its local bankers Metbank and Ecobank to transfer US$28.2 million as advance payment to Holbud of United Kingdom for wheat purchase and there are no acquittals for any portion of those funds. This makes whole amount of US$28.2 million unaccounted for.
  7. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe further submitted acquittals totaling US$24.2million. The acquittals listed Drostky as the Consignee on the Bills of Entry not GMAZ whom they had given the funds to.
  8. There was no resolution of GMAZ authorizing Mr. Musarara to use his company Drostky as a vehicle to import wheat on behalf of Wheat Millers and additionally, the Committee noted invoices from Holbud clearly indicated GMAZ as the customer, not Drostky.
  9. The Committee noted that Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara drafted and wrote letters on behalf of all millers as evidenced by the letters which confirmed millers received their wheat allocations in full. When Committee inquired why all letters from the various companies bore an uncanny resemblance, the representatives advised the Committee that GMAZ called and simply gave them written letters for their signatures and letterheads.
  10. The Committee was left bewildered as to how GMAZ could successfully complete all international telegraphic transfers of US$28.2 million to Holbud, but then fail to receive the goods in their name. The Committee asked National Foods and other millers what they benefited in using Drostky (a competitor) instead of their own name but failed to get clear answers from all millers and none were able to confirm that they mandated Mr. Musarara to use his personal company.
  11. The violation of our tax laws (Tax evasion, Tax returns, income tax, VAT returns from January 2018-March 2020) cannot be ruled out given the inconsistencies in the account of the US$28.2 million.
  12. Despite changing his story and now insisting Drostky imported wheat for US$24.2million on behalf of GMAZ, Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara failed to provide the proof of a Ministerial waiver or instrument authorizing such transaction so it was not considered a sale to other millers.
  13. Asked to explain the difference in numbers, Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara attempted to claim part of the money was for previous debt yet RBZ released funds for advance payments and bank transfers completed by GMAZ clearly indicated the funds were advance payments against current invoices.
  14. The use of Drostky (Private) Limited to transact GMAZ business indicates a serious lack of corporate governance within the ranks of GMAZ. It appears, Mr. Musarara might have abused his position of Chair of the same to use his company without the relevant consent by all stakeholders. No resolutions were availed to prove otherwise.
  15. The Ministry of Finance entrusted with the national purse failed and/or neglected to bring GMAZ and its Chairperson to account. Why has it taken Parliament to unravel the misappropriation of funds yet they had all the information before them to take appropriate action against GMAZ. There is a real possibility of externalization of foreign currency here by the GMAZ Chairperson.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. The Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission must investigate the GMAZ transaction, and ascertain the whereabouts of the US$28.2 Million which was not accounted for by Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara and GMAZ.
  2. ZACC must investigate circumstances that led to Drotsky being the vehicle used to import wheat on behalf of Wheat Millers and additionally, when GMAZ processed Telegraphic Transfers to Holbud from its own accounts with the invoices from Holburd clearly indicating GMAZ as the customer, not Drostky.
  3. ZIMRA must investigate the tax affairs of Drostky and GMAZ including instituting a lifestyle audit on Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara for a period between January 2018 and March 2020 zeroing on the US$28.2 million availed by RBZ. ZIMRA must report to the Committee within 60 days of tabling this report;
  4. The ZRP must investigate, take appropriate action where there are anomalies and issue a statement within 30 days of this directive on progress regarding the externalization of funds meant for wheat purchases by GMAZ;
  5. The Law Society of Zimbabwe must investigate Rubaya and Chatambudza Legal Practitioners for unethical conduct in trying to deceive the High Court of Zimbabwe by purportedly withdrawing a matter (HC2407/20) that had already been dismissed by a High Court Judge; and
    1. Parliament must charge the GMAZ Chairperson for contempt in that he deliberately lied under oath to defeat the objective of the Committee’s inquiry. This is to ensure that the sacrosanct oversight role of Parliament is respected.

CONCLUSION

The promises that the Government makes to citizens of Zimbabwe, as well as the confidence the citizens hold in the Government cannot be taken for granted and must be honoured and safeguarded, always. This inquiry brought to light damning evidence of misrepresentation, manipulation, externalization, embezzlement, forgery, perjury, theft, contempt of Parliament, dishonesty among other serious crimes committed by Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara, the Executives of the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe, Drostky and their attorneys, Rubaya and Chatambudza against the people of Zimbabwe.

The institutions created to fight corruption must be seen to be transparent, honest and just but are themselves not doing nearly enough to protect the interests of the citizens and the nation. Furthermore, it is these very institutions that are accused by citizens of shielding suspected perpetrators of corruption by demanding an unreasonable threshold of proof from whistleblowers, while failing to perform their role as the investigators, and while it is a well-known fact that corruption is often a web of complexities and opaque machinations.

In conclusion, now that the Committee has done its work and laid bare irrefutable proof of misleadings by Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara and GMAZ, Zimbabweans expect the responsible authorities to take bold and decisive actions in response. In order to restore the confidence of the nation that the fight against corruption is real and not just a game of ‘catch and release’, related and consequent investigations and prosecutions must result in clear penalties to indicate that crime at the people’s expense is simply not to be tolerated and is not in keeping with values of the New Dispensation. The onus, therefore, now sits with these authorities to prove to the nation that our corruption fighting agencies are not captured by the very cartels we seek to root out.  I thank you.

         HON. JAMES SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me the opportunity to also add my voice in support of the report as given by the Chairperson of the Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development Hon. Wadyajena.  I am also a member of the Committee who also participated in this inquiry.  I must also highlight the issue of non-cooperation with the Committee by GMAZ Chairperson Mr. Musarara during the inquiry which contributed to a lengthy process and made the work of the Committee difficult.

His actions were a clear attempt to undermine the work of the Committee, a precedence that must not be allowed by Parliament.  However, Mr. Speaker Sir, let me not waste time and go straight to some of the findings as reported.  Finding number 1 shows that there is a US$2m which GMAZ could not account for.  Recommendation number 3, ZIMRA also confirmed to the Committee that there were no imports as claimed by GMAZ between the period January 2018 and May 2020.  Finding number 4, when RBZ allocated money to GMAZ for the import of wheat, it is so disturbing how and why would the Chairperson of GMAZ Mr. Musarara opt to use his personal company called Drostky Limited, this is clearly against good cooperate governance principles, in fact it is criminal.

Finding number 5, ZIMRA confirmed that it is Drostky that imported wheat at a value of $24.2 million during the same period leaving a variance of $4 million which could not be accounted for.  Primsey informed the Committee to the effect that the $24.2 million that Drostky used were his personal funds yet these are funds that were allocated by RBZ.  Finding number 6, the RBZ gave the Committee proof that GMAZ authorised its local (network failure debate inaudible.)...United Kingdom for wheat purchases yet they were no acquittals for any portion in those funds. This makes the whole amount of $28.2 million unaccounted for and this is US dollars.

Finding number 8, there was no resolution of GMAZ authorising Mr. Musarara to use his company Drostky as a vehicle to import wheat on behalf of wheat millers.  Finding number 11, there is a possibility of violating of tax laws, tax evasion, tax returns, income tax, VAT returns from January 2018 to March 2020, that cannot be ruled out as given even the inconsistence in the account of $28.2 million.  I wish to end up by seconding all the recommendations as given in the report from No. 1 to 6. This is an opportunity to show the world how serious or how likely the Government of Zimbabwe and its law institutions such as ZRP, Parliament and the courts considers the issue of corruption.  Taking corrective action will send a clear message that corruption is not tolerated in this country, while failure to act will send a message to the contrary.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the findings are very serious and therefore this matter must be given the serious attention that it deserves. I thank you.

         HON. KASHAMBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for allowing me to add my voice on this pertinent issue regarding GMAZ.  Unfortunately, I am asking that we go through this report so that we can debate it fully and with well informed information and details from the report.  We have just received this report 5 minutes ago from the Committee Clerk.

HON. PETER MOYO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. MPARIWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 9th November, 2021.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

Seventh order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

HON. MUSIKAVANHU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for according me this opportunity to debate on the State of the Nation Address given by His Excellency President E.D Mnangagwa on 7th October 2021, which date coincided with the Opening of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe.

Mr. Speaker Sir, it is encouraging to know that His Excellency, President E.D Mnangagwa gave credit to the resourcefulness of our people in combating the COVID 19 pandemic, notwithstanding the crippling illegal economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the Western countries.  Indeed, this is a testimony to the fact that as Zimbabweans we rally together in times of need, hence we were able to fight this unprecedented attach on our health status.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I am pleased to note that while Chiredzi District where I come from was one of the hotspots during the second and third COVID 19 waves, we have benefited immensely from the massive vaccine roll out by the Government and our COVID 19 statistics have subsequently reduced very significantly. This again bears testimony to the priorities that His Excellency put on the table when the COVID 19 pandemic broke, he said he would put the health of the people in front of everything else and this bears testimony to that.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the visionary leadership provided by His Excellency President E.D Mnangagwa enabled our action to effectively utillise the good rains in 2021 resulting in an excellent agriculture season which has underpinned the impressive projected economic growth of 7,8%.  It is encouraging that the agricultural sector which anchors our economy grew by 34% against a budget of 11%, subsequent to the good 2021 agricultural season.  All this was enabled by the way His Excellency President E. D. Mnangagwa is providing leadership to Government.  The good rains on their own without a proper management structure would not have resulted in the good season we have noticed agriculture wise.

Mr. Speaker Sir, introduction of the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme by the Government was a master stroke as it massively improved food, nutrition and livelihood security at household levels.  Smallholder farmers on Pfumvudza/Intwasa plots average 5,28 tonnes per hectare of maize against 1,16 tonnes per hectare on conventional tillage.  No further proof is required to show that indeed the programme introduced by President E. D. Mnangagwa’s Government has borne fruit

Mr. Speaker Sir in 2020, Zimbabwe was the largest importer of maize from South Africa at 20% of the 2, 6 million tonnes of maize exported by that country.  We as a country utilised 298 million USD on maize imports in 2020.  This year our maize production stands at 2,7 million tonnes which is 3 times higher than the 2020 production.  Our production gives us 1,5 times cover against our national annual consumption of 1,8 million tonnes for our population of 4,65 million and our livestock requirement of 0,35 million tonnes.

Mr. Speaker Sir, it is important to note that this is the first time in 3 years that our strategic grain reserve has exceeded 500 000 tonnes. Government has now set the reserve at 1,5 millions tonnes. In May 2021, Government banned maize imports, resulting in a saving of 300 million USD that can now be directed to developmental programmes.  Again this is testimony to the quality of leadership in Government provided by His Excellency President E.D Mnangagwa. Had we gone another year importing close to 300 million dollars worth of food, all the developmental projects that are on the table targeting 2030 would come to nothing.

I would like to thank the Government for putting in place the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme timeously coupled with subsidies on inputs such incentivized massive planting on two million hectares of maize.  It must however, be noted that our average yield is still very low at 1, 4 tonnes of maize per hectare compared to 5,9 tonnes per hectare in South Africa.  There is therefore, need for more effort to go into climate proofing initiative such as Intwasa which I have just shown as having performed much better than the conventional tillage. There is also need for major investment in precision farming techniques, including supplementary irrigation.  The session we had earlier on, ably demonstrated the importance of committing a lot more resources to irrigated agriculture as we battle climate change.  Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to thank Government for according sugarcane the strategic crop status.  This is a crop which underpins the economy of Chiredzi District where I come from and in fact, the economy of Masvingo Province as a whole.  In his former address, the President emphasised the importance of the redoubling of efforts to complete commissioning of Unit 7 and 8 at Hwange Power Station.  This is very important to sugarcane production because a lot of the movement of water is underpinned by dependents on irrigation which uses a lot of power.

We are encouraged by the vision shown by His Excellency that not only should we be using coal to generate power.  We just had the climate change conference in Glasgow and one of the initiatives that His Excellency has put across is the inclusive approach to solar power generation countrywide.  Where I come from – Chiredzi has plenty of sunshine throughout the year and there are opportunities for solar power investment in that area.

Another key crop which is important to our national economy is cotton.  It supports close to 400 000 households.  Production in 2021 has hit a five-year high output of 92 000 tonnes with the good rains we experienced in 2020.  It must however be stated that a lot of farmers have migrated from cotton production to other crops because of the poor pricing structure.  His Excellency President E.D Mnangagwa made reference to the fact and I quote that, “my guys are consistently availing adequate resources to expedite payment to our farmers for crop deliveries.  This strategy is envisaged to guarantee enhanced productivity and profitability of farm operations along the farming as a business philosophy”.  It is important that the Ministry of Finance, working in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, needs to do a lot more to ensure that our cotton farmers are paid timeously.  Earlier on we had Hon. Nyabani making reference to this issue.  As I am talking, we still have cotton farmers that have not been paid for last year’s production.  Cotton is one of those crops that have major potential to value add.  We should not be importing clothes in Zimbabwe, instead we should actually be exporting clothes and not raw lint.  If we do not pay our farmers properly, it is not going to be easy for us to maintain our status as a major cotton producer and yet our climate and soils lend themselves to us being a major cotton producer.

Let me conclude my contribution by thanking His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa for prioritising the need to do capital spending.  This last year, 34% of the total expenditure of the budget to date has been earmarked for infrastructure development.  Masvingo Province where I come from currently, has a GDP of only US$1.8 billion.  In the context of Vision 2030, the budget of Masvingo can grow to US$8 billion.  This is underpinned by the scope that there is capacity for us to do 77 000 ha or more irrigation.  This will entail massive infrastructure development and I am confident with the thrust that is shown by His Excellency to do 80% production and 20% politics, we will be able to deliver on this and in the process contribute as Masvingo Province towards attainment of Vision 2030.  Thank you for the time you have given to me.

          (v)*HON. R. R. NYATHI:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I also want to add my voice on this very important debate on the SONA presented on 7th October, 2021, by His Excellency Cde. Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa, the President of Zimbabwe.  He focused on the most important issues which were an eye opener to us.  His main call was on what it is that we need to do for our country to be progressive.  I will dwell on those few issues which other Members who debated did not speak on.

The President went on to speak about COVID-19 and thanked the whole populace for doing extremely well in terms of adhering to all COVID-19 protocols.  However, even though we were thanked as a country, the one who should be given all the credit is our President Cde. Mnangagwa, for doing an amazing job.  When COVID-19 started around November, it got to Zimbabwe in February/March but he was proactive and quickly started educating all the Zimbabweans on the dangers associated with COVID-19 through doctors, village health workers, radio and television.  That is why I think as a country we are indebted to the President; we did not lose many lives because of his visionary leadership.

He also touched on a man’s realistic state, that is our healthcare, education and infrastructure development.  He touched on Vision 2030 envisioning the future life he wishes for his people with everyone being employed and living a better life.  The President also spoke on road reconstruction and if this had started in 1980, we would have been one of the countries with a very good road infrastructure.  A lot has been done towards road reconstruction and rehabilitation during this Second Dispensation.  The President also thanked Zimbabweans for being peace loving and doing things in unity.  He said as a nation, we should maintain our ubuntu despite whatever might happen and continue to dialogue as one.

The other thing that he said which was of importance to me was the management of foreign currency or our financial sector pertaining to stability of our currency.  He also spoke about the financial sector, especially the foreign currency issue.  He explained measures of stabilising the currency, as well as the foreign currency auction system and how it performs or works.

He also explained the measures that are meant to reduce inflation and all the measures put in place by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to safeguard the currency, as well as ensuring that prices remain affordable.  One other important thing that he spoke of which I feel is very important to the citizenry is the issue of illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country by our enemies.  They are meant to stop any developments that we may think of.  Many countries have since realised that indeed these sanctions are not good for us; hence, they joined us in the call for the removal of sanctions because they are not justified.  We did not wrong anyone but they are fighting us and disturbing our sovereignty.

The other thing is our country’s development is underpinned by agriculture, so those efforts or measures that are put in place are meant for that, such as the conservation agriculture techniques that are being used.  They are meant to enhance productivity and improve the livelihoods of people so that we get food security, as well as, income to take our kids to school, pay fees for them and have enough food.  If anyone starves, it should be optional.  It should be out of fasting and not out of poverty.

The other thing that His Excellency spoke about is that we should be very much aware of climate change.  We should come to a point where we really talk about climate change and analyse how it affects us.  This is because it may give some problems to our people.  I thank the President very much for giving us such a warning.  We should open our eyes and be conscious of all those things.  To rural farmers, it is also important that for the Ministry of Agriculture, especially the department of Agritex, people should be taught how to preserve land.  I was looking at another clip whereby water flowed and swept away a field.  We should use the contour ridges to preserve the washing away of soil in our fields.

The President also spoke about the emergency needs of our society, the safety nets.  They also hinder development.  I was very much happy because the President spoke about a very important issue.  He spoke about the welfare of Parliamentarians.  He said there should be an amendment to the Parliamentary Pensions Act so that we consider how Parliamentarians can get pensions.  I would like to quote what he said, “With regards to the welfare of our Parliamentarians, the proposed amendments to the Parliamentary Pensions Act should address deficiencies identified in the present Act.” I realised that the President wants to ensure that the representatives of the people’s welfare is taken into account so that we also have a better life after retirement.

The final thing I would like to talk about is I realised that the President is very kind.  Amongst the laws that need to be worked on is to do with addressing the welfare of people living with disabilities.  It should address the issue of disability rights.  The rights of those people should be protected by the law, so the President is not discriminatory but looks at everyone in society to ensure that their welfare is well-looked after.  I am very happy Mr. Speaker and I would like to thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion on the State of the Nation Address.  I thank you very much.

HON. T. MOYO:  Hon. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. MPARIWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 9th November, 2021.

On the motion of HON. T. MOYO, seconded by HON. MPARIWA, the House adjourned at Five Minutes to Six o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 9th November, 2021. 

 

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