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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 05 April 2016 42-48
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 5th March, 2016
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
DEATH OF A MEMBER
THE HON. SPEAKER: It is with profound sorrow that I have to inform the House of the death on Thursday, 17th of March 2016, of the Member of Parliament for Mazowe North Constituency, Hon. Edgar Chidavaenzi. I invite Hon. Members to rise and observe a minute of silence in respect of the late Hon. Member.
INVITATION TO THE ZITF OFFICIAL OPENING
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Company is inviting all Hon.
Members to attend the ZITF official opening ceremony on Friday, 29th
April 2016. Hon. Members should collect their invitation cards from the
Public Relations Department, Office Number 2, PAX House, Third Floor. Alternatively, Hon. Members can collect their cards from officials at the Members Dining Hall between 1400 hours and 1600 hours during the course of this week.
NON ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE
PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE HON SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that I have received a Non-Adverse Report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Special Economic Zones Bill, [H.B. 15, 2015].
INVITATION TO A TRAINING WORKSHOP ON THE NATIONAL
PEACE AND RECONCILIATION BILL
THE HON. SPEAKER: I further have to inform the House that the National Transitional Working Group in Zimbabwe in collaboration with the Centre for Applied Legal Research and the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust are inviting the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to a one day training workshop on the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill to be held on Wednesday,
6th April 2016, at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Harare from 0800 hours to 1300 hours.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: On a point of order. The respect that we accord to each other in this House is valued and I think we should also do the same when we pass on. When Hon. Chidavaenzi passed away, as Hon. Members, we were unable to attend the funeral or even know about the funeral arrangements for his burial. We only saw condolence messages in the press. I am pleading with you Mr. Speaker, that we be provided with transport to attend our colleague’s funeral -[HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
Parliament did not give us anything. We need the institute’s assistance to this effect. I do not think I will say much because the support that I have received from this House shows that this matter affects all of us. As Members of Parliament, we are supposed to do something when one of our colleagues passes away. I hope this will not fall on deaf ears. I thank you Hon. Speaker -[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
HON. ZINDI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, I have not recognised you.
HON. ZINDI: I saw you looking at me and I thought that was recognition -[Laughter]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, order. Normally, a point of order raised by an Hon. Member does not raise a debate. It is incumbent upon the Chair to then make a ruling unless Hon. Zindi has something different –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
Hon. Chinotimba having stood up to debate.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. I recognised Hon. Zindi and there is only one Hon. Zindi.
HON. ZINDI: I am afraid you may also make a ruling and ask me to sit down. Thank you for having recognised me and also to just add that this issue raised by Hon. Munengami was once raised on the passing on of Hon. Tsogorani. It is receiving overwhelming support from Members of Parliament who are making reference to Hon. Members who have passed on. That is what I wanted to make note of.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Mr. Speaker, on the issue of making a ruling, I do not know when a ruling is going to be made. I once raised this point of order and I thought that by now, you would have made the ruling. All of us are going to die and you continue telling us that you are going to make a ruling without ruling. My request is that the ruling be made now.
THE HON. SPEAKER: As head of Parliament, I take full responsibility for whatever arrangements that ought to have been put in place. I will discuss this issue with the Clerk of Parliament so that in future, arrangements are made and Hon. Members are advised accordingly so that we can make a befitting send-off to our colleagues who would have passed on. Not only is it correct, but it is also humane and very African to do so. I take responsibility and I assure you that this will not happen again in future.-[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- MOTION
RATIFICATION OF THE LOAN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE
GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE AND EXPORT-IMPORT BANK
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I move the motion
standing in my name that whereas, Subsection (3) of Section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an Agreement which is not an international treaty but which has been concluded or executed by the
President or under the President’s authority with one or more foreign organisations or entities and imposes fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe, does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;
AND WHEREAS, the Loan Agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and Export-Import Bank of China, relating to Tel-One Backbone Network and Broadband Access Project being implemented by Tel-One (Private) Ltd. was concluded on the 1st day of December,
2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe; and
NOW THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327(3) of the
Constitution, this House resolves that the aforesaid Agreement be and is hereby approved.
- Tel-One Private Limited (Tel-One) is implementing a US$116.8 million backbone fibre optic transmission and broadband access project aimed at replacing, upgrading and transforming its transmission backbone, core and access network into a modern telecommunication infrastructure providing a wide range of voice, data and video services.
- To date, Tel-One has completed the Phase 1 of the project (20102013) at a cost of US$18.2 million, of which Government contributed US$6.2 million and Tel-One US$12 million of its own resources.
- Phase 1 comprising of the following routes:- Harare – Mutare fibre optic transmission;
- Harare – Bulawayo fibre optic transmission; and
- Installation of the Bulawayo – Victoria Falls internet protocol microwave radio link.
- Phase II of Tel*One backbone fibre optic transmission and broadband access project, will focus on the following components:-
- Capacity upgrade in the northen parts of the country
(Mashonaland Central and West Provinces);
- Bulawayo – Beitbridge fibre optic transmission route;
- Bulawayo – Victoria Falls fibre optic transmission route;
- Gweru – Masvingo fibre optic transmission route; and
- Supply, installation and commissioning of Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) access and converged billing system.
Project Financing and Loan Repayment
- On 1 December 2015 Government and the Export-Import Bank
of China (China Exim Bank) signed a Preferential Buyer Credit Loan
Agreement amounting to US$98.6 million for Tel-One Backbone and Broadband Access Phase II Project. The loan represents 85% of the contract amount.
- The balance of 15% of the contract has already been implemented and works completed under Phase I as I alluded earlier.
- The US$98.6 million loan facility had the following terms:-
- Interest rate 2% per annum
- Grace period 5 years
- Tenor (including grace period) 20 years
- Management fees 25%
- Commitment fees 25%
- Counterpart fund 15% (implemented under
Phase I resourced from Treasury as well as from own resources of Tel One)
- Pursuant to signature of the Loan Agreement, an On-lending
Agreement will be signed between Government and Tel-One with the above terms.
- The proceeds due to Tel-One under the project will be ring fenced in an escrow account that will be jointly monitored by Government and China Exim Bank. The interest payment will be the first charge, with the balance left for Tel-One to carry out its activities.
The interest repayment will be based on the loan amount drawn down.
- In the event that the proceeds in the escrow account are not sufficient to repay the interest and the principal of the loan, the Loan Agreement indicates that the extra revenues from the Net*One Escrow Account will be used to settle the Tel-One loan facility.
- The project is expected to yield the following results:- Presents a platform where organisations can easily and readily access information across sectors;
- Provides cheaper accessible marketing places, as well as ease business transacting;
- Offer modern telecommunication services whereby clients can access data, voice, video services and information;
- Telecommunication gadgets will be used interchangeably with ease by the market whereby a single number to use across either landline or mobile devices;
- Savings on calls made between landlines and mobile devices by providing alternative cheaper forms of communications like Viber, Skype;
- Local subcontractors will be involved in the installation of equipment for the project;
- Contribution to Gross Domestic Product with the downstream effects that comes with the growth in the ICT.
(10% growth in ICTs will result in 1.4% contribution to
- Enhance access to online services in sectors of the economy, such as education and health;
- Transform Tel-One to become the preferred one stop telecommunication services provider offering a variety of
Value Added Services;
- Enhance Tel-One’s competitiveness and visibility in the
- Enhance Tel-One’s capability to collect revenues through
prepaid converged billing; and
- Improve the cash flow of TelOne.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR TELONE BACKBONE
AND BROADBAND ACCESS PROJECT
|Export – Import Bank of China (China Exim Bank)
|Government of Zimbabwe (To on-lend to Tel-One)
|US$98.6 million representing 85% of the contract price.
|US$18.2 million (15% of the contract already paid to the contractor)
|Preferential Buyer Credit
|Tel-One Private Limited
|Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
|2% per annum
|0.25% on loan amount (Once-off payment)[US$246 500]
|0.25% on undrawn drawn loan amount
|20 years (including grace period) [principal and interest]
|5 years [interest repayment only)
|Project implementation period
I therefore plead with the august House to approve the Loan
Agreement that I entered into with China Exim Bank last year for US$98.6 million. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. MARIDADI: Mr. Speaker, thank you for this opportunity; US$98.6 million is a lot of money and I am actually surprised that the Minister would come here to talk about this amount of money whose terms are fantastic, grace period of five years, interest rate of 2% and management fees of 0.25%, that is very cheap money. The tenure is 20 years and all the other ancillaries that are to do with this loan. What worries me Mr. Speaker though is that you talk of Tel-One and Net-One, the level of corruption at Net-One is shocking. The Minister cannot come to this House with a straight face and talk about money that should be injected into Tel-One and expect Net-One to be assisting in paying that loan in the event that Tel-One is not able to pay that loan.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we have a Minister of this Government who has the arrogance and audacity to sent a text message to a supplier of goods and services to say, ‘I facilitated this and that tender for you and you are yet to give me my kickback of US$700 000’, in an economy like this. The Minister of Finance comes to this Parliament with a straight face to say please approve this loan so that we can put money into Tel-One knowing very well that becomes feeding trough for his colleague Ministers. Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance should first of all come to this House and say how they have cleaned up the mess at Tel-One, how they have cleaned up corruption at Net-One, only then can a reasonable House that is representing the people of Harare, approve the loan. The tenure and everything else to do with the loan is fantastic but the corruption in this Government and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development will be the first to vouch for me.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, this House does not
represent Harare, it represents Zimbabwe.
HON. MARIDADI: I am sorry about that. The House represents the people of Zimbabwe, Mr. Speaker, I think the Minister needs to engage us further because I want to bring evidence of the corruption at Net-One and ask the Minister what the Government, the Executive is doing to clean up the mess at Net-One. If that has not been made clear to this House, if it has not been clear to this nation, then I think the Hon.
Minister, you cannot come into this House and honestly ask us to approve a loan so that you put money into parastatals so that your colleagues can feed on that money. We cannot allow that Minister.
HON. CHASI: I want to start by congratulating the Hon. Minister for entering into this loan arrangement. I think that the loan is in a very important area of our economy which will ensure that we meet world standards when we carry out trade. I am certain that it will create employment as is required by this country.
Mr. Speaker I share the concerns by Hon. Maridadi – [HON. MUTSEYAMI: Wakaregererwa wani] -….
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order please, if you want to
speak, you will stand up at the appropriate time.
HON. CHASI: Mr. Speaker, I was saying that I share the concerns that have been raised by Hon. Maridadi concerning what we hear to be happening at Net-One. It is completely unpalatable and it is ironic that the loan that has been abused at Net-One is very similar to what the Minister has brought to us. However, I think we need to separate issues. I believe that some work is being done at Net-One which is how we have come to know about what has been going on there. What I would suggest to the Minister is that, definitely, I support that the implementation of this loan but I do think that we need to sharpen our monitoring tools to ensure that what has happened at NetOne does not happen in this case. I thank you.
HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me start by thanking the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for securing a loan with low interest rates for the benefit of communication in Zimbabwe. Let me raise a concern, my constituency Uzumba, and our District Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe Zvataida Rural District Council is not benefiting from activities of Net-One and Tel-One in as far as this fiber optic is concerned. We want to join the ICT revolution but it is very difficult for us to do so because we seem to be sidelined. Can we just remind Tel-One that UMP is also part of Zimbabwe? Their activities are very welcome in our constituencies so that we can develop together as a nation.
The issue that has been raised about corruption by Hon. Maridadi, it is the responsibility of this House to deal with corruption, not to ask the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to deal with corruption. We have different Committees, Sub Committees,
Parliamentary Committees that have the responsibility of oversight of
Tel-One, they are not doing their job, they must go there to Tel-One,
Net-One and wherever there is corruption. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development is a hunter, he has given you food, you cannot start saying you must put salt, garlic and so forth, it is the responsibility of this House to make sure that the meat has enough salt and garlic.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we must not fail in our responsibilities as Parliament. The problems this country is facing all rest in this House because we think we have been elected to get new vehicles. We have been elected to run the economy of this country. When the economy is not performing well, there is corruption, when the economy is not performing we then do not get our sitting allowances. So, every Committee must wake up and take the responsibility to deal with corruption. Thank you Mr. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-
HON. CHAKONA: First of all I want to thank the Minister of
Finance and Economic Development for bringing this motion before this
House of the loan that was facilitated through the Chinese Exim Bank.
Mr. Speaker, Tel-One is a company that came out of the Posts and Telecommunications Corporation and it is a standalone company. In that regard, it has got a number of legacy issues that are associated with the organisation that have caused the company not to expand its network, let alone also to renew the equipment.
Mr. Speaker, there is desperation for Tel-One to reequip and to progress beyond what it is today. Mr. Speaker, since Tel-One was disbanded from the PTC it has never had any financial injection since then. This is the first loan facility that is going towards infrastructure development of the organisation. Mr. Speaker, when we look at the terms of this loan facility, I can support the Minister that these are very attractive terms which no normal business person can turn down, let alone this august House.
Mr. Speaker, a loan of US$98.6 million at an interest rate of 2% cannot be found anywhere and also tenure of twenty years. The issue of number portability is an important integral part of the development of the ICT sector in this country. The equipment that is going to come into this country or implemented after this loan facility will allow number portability. In that regard, it will reduce the cost of doing business of communication as alluded to, as one of the major key benefits of this loan facility.
Mr. Speaker, the transformation of Tel-One is critical in so far as the financial benefits that will accrue to this loan facility are concerned. Members of Parliament will recall that Tel-One is one of the parastatals that posted a profit in 2015, if I am not mistaken, they reported a $400
000.00 profit in the period ending 2015. In that regard, this US$98.6million loan facility will enable Tel-One to increase its profitability going forward.
This economy is desperate for anything that will drive the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increase in this country. The loan facility as has been reported, will contribute in excess of 10% to the GDP. In that regard, I think we need to embrace this innovation that has come from the management, our Government, combined to try and ensure that TelOne is re-equipped and retooled.
The roll-out of fibre network is not critical to Zimbabwe alone. Most countries in the region have already finished the roll-out of fibre internet and Zimbabwe is lagging behind, as can be testified by the quality of our calls and data connection that are sub-standard as a result of lack of proper infrastructure.
I can draw you to what is happening in the sub-Saharan region. As we speak, the ICT sector in the sub-Sahara is growing at more than 7% per annum. Unfortunately, in Zimbabwe our ICT sector is in retraction. I can safely say that according to the Econet financial report of 31st August, 2015 their revenue went down by 23% and overall profitability by 17.7%. That actually shows that the ICT sector is in retraction instead of progressing. I, therefore, call upon this House to understand the importance of infrastructure development in the ICT sector particularly Tel-One which is building the backbone that will drive the ICT sector going forward.
The issue of competitiveness of Tel-One is something that we cannot down-play in this House as Tel-One has to be competitive in this highly competitive industry where there are serious competitors and TelOne has to be found on the right side of the competition. I therefore, call upon this House to embrace this loan facility …
HON. MARIDADI: On a point of order, the Hon. Member is reading yet it is not his maiden speech. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! The Chair has four eyes and I have been looking at the Hon. Member presenting, he was referring to some notes and not reading.
HON. CHAKONA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker for that
protection. I was saying that the issue that is at stake right now is to build the backbone that allows the ICT sector to develop and the roll-out of fibre network is a critical infrastructure development that we need to embrace with both our hands and feet.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Minister for bringing this loan facility for ratification by this House and call upon members to embrace it. I thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I heard the Minister
saying that the implementation of phase one took about three years. I just want to raise some issues that I feel the Minister, as they negotiate or implement the loan agreement, must be wary of. There are certain things that are very critical.
In telecommunication technology, the rate of change of technology is very fast. If you are going to take three years to just implement phase one, by the time you get to phase two, all that you have implemented will be obsolete. I am raising this because in 1982, Binga and other districts received telephone exchanges, brown buildings with a lot of analogue equipment that was donated by the United Kingdom. I remember Mr. Speaker, that you officiated at the opening of that function.
All that equipment only worked for two years, third year it was giving problems. Fourth and fifth years as we speak, there is nothing worth talking about – there are just buildings standing there. Fortunately, we are advised that the equipment was just a donation, so we may not have lost much as a country. As we speak, the equipment is obsolete.
The other issue that I wish the Minister to consider is the issue of upgrading, in line with what I just said. I think that within that agreement, there must be a clause because definitely these people are not going to allow us to source equipment. They will supply the equipment - that is the nature of these loans when you have no money, they also provide the equipment. As they provide the equipment, I think we must agree with them that they must upgrade the equipment as they supply because if we do not do that, they will put what they no longer need in their countries and two years down the line, the equipment is no longer working.
The third thing, I did not hear the scope of works involved and the areas of operation of that phase one. Chances are that the fibre optic is being put in areas where Net-One, Econet, Telecel, Power-Tel are already putting fibre optics and there is a lot of duplication. If it is possible, I would wish and persuade the Government to concentrate on those areas where the private sector is not already involved. If you travel along Bulawayo-Harare road, I think there are about three fibre optics running parallel to that road and the worst thing Hon. Minister, is the fact that we are doing road expansion. The fibre optics are just dug a metre or two from the road and one wonders what is going to happen when we expand our roads. Are we going to uproot those things because we cannot have them under our tarred roads?
I wish the Minister could relook at this together with the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. The way these fibre optics are laid, there is no thinking of future expansion of the roads as they are so close to the road and very duplicated. It is something that I wish the Minister would seriously consider.
The last thing, currently Tel-One is suffering from lack of skilled manpower - why? The people that will be trained together with the new equipment, unless the loan caters for the retention of that staff, chances are that soon after installation of the new equipment, all the workers will disappear to South Africa or are taken by Econet and other private companies. So, in the end we will have the equipment but no staff to run the equipment.
I think some of these things must be incorporated into the loan. If it means the suppliers running with the equipment for some years until the hand over and we have a programme of making sure the artisans who will be manning these things are not able to leave the organisations until that equipment becomes obsolete. Unless we do that, we are likely to find ourselves with brand new equipment but no people to man them, they would have left. So, I just wish the Minister could consider those few things. Thank you.
*HON. SHAMU: I want to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for the opportunity that you have given me to add my voice in congratulating and thanking the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon.
Patrick Chinamasa, for successfully negotiating the Loan Agreement. What the Minister has done, bringing the Loan Agreement for ratification by Parliament reflects his character, brutally frank and diligent. He is someone who does not come with false promises. He is honest in his dealings whether you agree with him or not. I say this Mr. Speaker, because of the fact that he has come to this august House to apprise the Hon. Members on the Loan Agreement that we have made as a country with China in supporting Tel One. So as Legislators who are for the development of this country hear about it and approve or not approve. Personally, I whole heartedly approve of this Loan Agreement.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as Hon. Chinamasa was tabling the motion, I could not help but conclude that we are implementing the ZIM ASSET economic blue print. ZIM ASSET calls for the expansion of
Information Communication Technology in an effort to improve our economy. Hon. Chinamasa, we applaud your efforts. We will be able to deploy better information communication technology services. The backbone fibre to Beitbridge programme will be fulfilled and lead to reduction of costs of internet as well as better access of telecom services throughout Zimbabwe, leading to a better life for everyone.
Again Mr. Speaker Sir, I also want to say that once we take this route. We will have strengthened our farmers. The backbone of our economy is agriculture. The farmers also want to do e-farming; they would want to be informed on climate change. They need to communicate with financial institutions using modern technologies. We have new farmers who were resettled following our land reform programme. Our farmers will be able to expand their farming initiatives through ICT.
I also want to thank the Minister, for proving to the world that
Zimbabwe is credit worthy. The loan from China if proof that Zimbabweans, through their parastatals are on the road to economic recovery. Tel One is a parastatal that was burdened with a huge debt when Posts and Telecommunications were unbundled. Today, Tel
One’s balance sheet is indicative of positive results. We applaud the efforts of Hon. Chinamasa, the Minister who is responsible for ICT, Hon. Supa Mandiwanziwa, and Mrs. Chipo Mutasa who has provided excellent leadership to Tel One.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the loan to Tel One will positively impact on education through VISAT. This will assist in networking schools both in rural and urban areas and it enables them to access the internet. VISAT, which used to cost US$1 500 to install will be accessible for only US$15. This reflects the cost reduction needed for economic recovery. This therefore justifies for funding of companies such as Tel One. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Loan Agreement will enable Tel One to operate an efficient single gateway that will bring sanity in inflow and outflow of traffic, monitor charges and contribute to national security. POTRAZ will be able to perform its regulatory duties and engage all telecommunication companies should there be need and thus avoid conflicts amongst players.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank Hon Chinamasa for supporting TelOne companies such as NetOne, Telecel and Econet will be provided with a firm foundation for infrastructure sharing. Why do I say so? We had installed the Mazowe Satellite station during the period of the late
Dr. Nathan Shamuyarira. The technology was only for voice. Now with TelOne, we are moving on to data and video. We should progress from the Mazowe Satellite era and embrace modern technology so that
Zimbabwe moves with the times, acknowledging that we live in a Global Village. We cannot exist as an island. We need to communicate with all other countries in the world. Let us develop our country and not be retrogressive. I thank you. –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! I am recognising some Home Hon. Members who are busy with their cellphones, hiding them behind some papers and I believe sending some messages. In terms of Standing
Order Number 82 (2) we are prohibited from doing that. So do not invite the Chair to name you and ask you to leave the House by so violating Standing Number 82 (2).
HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I appreciate your
indulgence upon the request. I want to appreciate again the presentation made by Hon. Chinamasa, once again coming to seek the approval of Parliament on this very important player in our country. I have already raised this point Mr. Speaker Sir with the Hon. Minister, that Government must learn to follow the Constitution, Section 300 (3) is very clear.
We are supposed to have been favoured with the gazzetting of the terms exactly, 60 days after the signing of the agreement. That was not done and that leaves MPs in a very invidious position Hon. Speaker Sir, because we come here without the full understanding and knowledge of the terms, dictates, parameters and province of the loan. It makes life difficult for us because what we want to do in our exercising of the oversight role is to know what to approve and what not to approve. So that is a worrisome element. Government takes Parliament for granted, and also takes Parliamentarians for granted by choosing to ignore the
Constitution –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- So the appeal is, let the Constitution be respected. Let all Ministers be guided by the statutes and the laws of our country.
You would find that most the loans that have been approved in terms of Section 300 (4) (a) are supposed to come to Parliament at least twice a year to give us an update on how the loans are performing. You would find that most of the loans are not coming here. What comes here is the noise of consumption of those loans by certain actors. What comes here is the noise of abuse and raiding of coffers in the parastatals and that is a worrisome development. Inasmuch as I would want to support the expanding and capitalisation of TelOne, there are challenges we have and we have confront them. That is the first point.
The second point Mr. Speaker Sir, we to deal with the capacity of TelOne. Government departments owe TelOne to the tune of $80 million, $40 million by Government departments within government then $40 million by parastatals or State enterprises, so there is a debt there. Government departments are in the habit of just using the phone as if they are expending confetti and no, we cannot just come and approve when there is no capacity within Government to exercise discipline.
Even if we are going to put this loan, we are simply going to abuse the loan because Government is in the habit of abusing the resources that they have. They are refusing to pay their debts, and what they have used and that is a problem Hon Speaker Sir. There is $80 million and the loan that he requires is $98 million; linked with that we have $350 million - the legacy debt on the books of TelOne. So now what we are now having is a debt upon debt. Now why should we continue to pile debt upon debt when there is no understanding of how we are going to resuscitate this ailing institution? It does not make sense. You cannot be on a frolic of borrowing. You cannot become a professional borrower, particularly when you are borrowing- and that is what we have become.
We have developed an industry of borrowing.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Address the Chair! [Laughter]
HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. So this aspect Hon, Minister is very difficult inasmuch as we would want to support you, these are some of the nagging factors that you have to correct [HON. CHINAMASA: You said you will support me.]- we have to support you when you have corrected certain things. We have a Minister who is in charge of the Ministry. If this Parliament was progressive, we would agree across the political party divide to say until the Minister has been brought to account on certain shady deals and dirty hands, we cannot proceed to approve this loan –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- the Minister has to account for the resources that have disappeared and he has to account for resources that have problems. – [HON.
CHINAMASA: I am not the one.] You know the line Minister in charge Hon. Minister and you are aware of the circumstances around certain resources that have been abused. If you are not aware we may need to help you. This matter has to investigated and until it has been investigated it becomes very difficult to continue approving loans under these circumstances. I must say Hon. Speaker Sir, fully aware that we have a problem of a policy mix that is rickety and that is perforated. It is as it is, there is duplication….
Hon. Chamisa having debated facing Hon. Members.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Please address the Chair.
HON. CHAMISA: Alright Mr. Speaker. I realise that you are so fond of my attention and I will gladly give it to you. It is appreciated.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are the author of Standing Orders.
HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. In terms of the point I was making; the convergence of infrastructure is a very important element. Why should we continue borrowing just to have duplication of infrastructure? It is a waste of resources. We need to deploy our resources strategically and economically and we are not doing that. That is an area that requires and merits real investigation. We need to have one comprehensive ICT master plan and then we fund it as Government without unnecessary duplication.
That said and done, it is clear that the horse has already bolted. I mentioned this because we want to put our Government to check on things that they are doing that are unconstitutional and untoward and they need to correct this. It is very important for us to invest in ICT. We need to invest in ICT particularly in having these things sorted out, there is Tel One having a national footprint particularly in the rural areas. Our people are lagging behind.
We need e-Government services in the rural areas and make sure that people in the rural areas have access to ICT services. That can only be done once we have rationalized infrastructure and once we have dealt with all this duplication issues and all the issues I have cited for Minister Chinamasa to deal with.
We also need to make sure that we ride on the legacy infrastructure that we have. I looked at the problem that Tel One has. They are being cheated by other operators in terms of interconnection because they do not have machinery and equipment to know how much they are entitled to in terms of termination of calls. That has to be dealt with though the Minister did not include this. This is why I would go out of my way to appreciate where the Minister is coming from but with the understanding that they will correct the issues that we have raised.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir and thank you for acknowledging that the other gender needs to speak on this particular issue.
I will not repeat the issues that have been raised by others except to just raise two issues. The first one is to agree with Hon. Chasi in saying that there is need for us to separate the two issues that we are dealing with. In separating those two issues, I think it is important for us to raise the other issues that are in tandem with this particular issue. We notice that the loan clearly like what others have said has very good terms and makes business sense.
However, that the terms make good sense does not necessarily translate to the fact that everybody in Zimbabwe will benefit in this process. I think that is the point I want to raise more seriously. Let me just give you an example of the Matabeleland South Constituency where I come from. Up to now, even with the amount of work that has been done around issues of telecommunications, this constituency does not have the level of penetration on issues around ICT like we have in other parts of the area. I raise that because it is unfair to be asking other people to contribute and pay for a service to which they do not benefit.
It links up very well with the issue that if this very issue, if it had come to the House in a proper manner, it would have allowed communities to be able to feed into this process and speak to it. There are so many things that other people who are not necessarily on this other side of the country have benefited from. We, who are coming from the other side have paid for those services. It is unfair and it is not right.
If we are going to bring a loan such as this, I think Hon. Chamisa spoke to it; what we want to hear and what we need to understand is that given the penetration levels that have happened before – what is going to be happening with the movement around ICT in those areas that have not benefited before. That would persuade myself but also the constituency to believe that this is going to be something that they are going into; which is why the issue of consultation is important.
I would proffer that in the circumstance such as this, you would then hear the kind of voices that are coming from Matabeleland and people will think that these people are being cessationists. That is when they come back and say if you have a loan such as this and this loan is going to benefit a particular part of the country, let those that are in that part of the country bear the cost of paying back that loan and do not give it to us and our generations because it makes no sense.
I am a bit disappointed because I have a soft spot for Hon. Chinamasa and I have problems fighting against some of the proposals that he brings to the House. This is why I am a bit split around this particular issue and not quite clear on where to go.
However, I would still insist that if we do agree as a House and approve this loan, firstly, it should be the last time that we are asked to approve something without letting the Portfolio Committee go the consultations that are necessary.
Secondly, we should only approve a loan such as this under circumstances where we know where the money is going to go to and who is going to benefit. This second point is critical and important even when we have signed. It is important that he understands that we have approved this one on good faith and on the understanding that it is going to be distributed in a fair and just manner.
Therefore, he has an obligation as the Minister to come back to this House and say that the amount of money that we have borrowed is so much and this is where it is going to go to. That, in my opinion will give me some safety net in going back to a Constituency and say this is what we have approved.
The last point is to do with the issue of debt. I was thinking that the Hon. Minister being the person who is dealing and is in the vortex of the debt issue-given all the Lima issues and so forth, he would at least have given us a briefing of what this means in terms of our debt. Are we continuing to increase our debt even when we have not yet come up with a proper solution of dealing with the debt that we already have? How is this going to help us in beginning to create the revenue that is necessary and that will allow us to be able to pay our debt? From a lay person’s point of view, I do not want to believe that if I have a problem with debt, I am continuously going to borrow so that I add it on the other debt that I have. I was thinking that this would have been an opportunity for him to speak a little bit more on this particular issue. I understand that given his many other pressures and the Politburo tomorrow, it may have been a bit difficult for him to go into the details that are coming in. I thank you.
HON. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for according me this opportunity to lend my voice to debate about this loan that our Government has concluded on our behalf with the China Export-Import Bank.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I wish to make two points. My first point being to carry on the thread of our responsibility as a nation, that we must have a conglomeration of infrastructure. Right now we have borrowed for NetOne, Power Tel, Zarnet and we may need to borrow for Transmedia. We are borrowing for TelOne, we need to streamline ICT services in this country so that we have one infrastructure hub where we are investing. Right now we are abusing resources, as Parliament, the Executive, other branches of Government and all citizens to comply with the Constitution as was said by Hon. Chamisa. Mr. Speaker Sir, while it is positive development for us to expand access to communication and internet services and so on; I want to specifically draw the august House’s attention to the very rules of the august House that we made in this House in order to bring our rules in line with the Constitution.
I want to speak in a very specific manner I want to remind the
Hon. Minister, through you Mr. Speaker, of Parliament’s right to actually seriously consider all those important matters of State, particularly in loans and agreements. In the debate of the new Standing Rules and Orders, this august House noted the very unfortunate missing link that was there between the business of entering into loan agreements and international agreements and Parliament’s role. In order to remedy that failure, we specifically amended Rule No. 20 and I remember it because I debated on this.
In Rule No. 20 of our Standing Rules and Orders that we ourselves in this House made for ourselves and actually amended in order for us to be more serious about issues that are coming before us and to save ourselves from being a rubber stamp, we amended Rule No. 20 and specifically added a very specific clause relating to how this august House should deal with treaties and agreements. Among the terms of reference of Portfolio Committees, it says that, ‘the Portfolio Committees must..’ and it is not an optional issue, it is a peremptory term. It says, “Portfolio Committees must in paragraph E, consider or deal with all, international treaties, conventions and agreements relevant to it, which are from time to time negotiated, entered into and agreed upon.”
Mr. Speaker Sir, I raise this in order to remind ourselves as the august House, even as we are placing possible motions on the Order
Paper, to go through those checks to see whether we are following our very own rules. If we as Parliament dispense with our own rules that we have made for ourselves; if we do not take ourselves seriously then nobody will do so. I can forgive the Executive for just doing it because they can see that maybe Parliament is not paying attention to its own rules. As Parliament, we have a duty to, not only respect our own rules but we do this for the sake of the people of Zimbabwe.
It would have been very good if there was a relevant Portfolio Committee because it has time to actually examine issues and go with them. I am saying this so that in future this august House seriously pays attention to the things that we do so that we do justice to the hard work that the Minister is doing to acquire funding on behalf of the
Government. If Parliament is to serve its purpose, then we must indeed act and behave seriously.
The second issue that I want to raise which also relates to the
Constitution is that; I note that clearly the money is coming from the China Export-Import Bank. I want to say that this loan is likely to be approved because Zimbabweans do require to be up to date with the rest of the world. I note with concern that this loan is coming from the Republic of China. I was listening to the media just a few days ago; I understand that His Excellency our President made remarks to the effect that is considering learning from China about how China monitors and looks at internet access and internet communications with a view to learning how possibly internet communication and electronic communication in Zimbabwe can be strictly monitored.
As I say this, I am hoping that while it is good for us to borrow money from China and it is good for us to borrow technology. While we do so, I stand here in trepidation worrying if I might indeed be supporting the borrowing of the loan that will result in the clamping down of fundamental freedoms that are expressed in our very own Constitution in terms of the right to freedom of expression, access to information that clearly spells out that every Zimbabwean has a right to freedom of information, expression and of the media particularly
Sections 61 and 62. As we debate this loan, my entreaty to the Hon.
Minister is that as we borrow this loan, let us borrow the money and indeed the technology but by no means, let us not borrow and import habits that are from a different society than ours. We must use this loan only for the purpose of increasing access and expanding access of information technology to our citizens and not then use this loan in order to stifle and unduly interfere with information and access to information and privacy. If we were to approve a loan that would then do that, we would also be breaching our own Constitution that is the substance of my contribution Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank you.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I thought I
would not manage to debate because I have a terrible headache. On my own behalf, I want to thank Hon. Gabbuza. If you listened to the way he debated, he does not speak as if he is opposition but he talked of facts that build this nation. If all of us could emulate the way he speaks then our country would develop. I only stood up to commend Hon. Gabbuza.
If you look at some of the telephones that we were given that had aerials like that of televisions, they did not stay for long and they are not working. My comment is, did you hear the way Hon. Gabbuza debated, a man amongst men and a Member of Parliament? I think he should move from being a member of the Opposition to come to the right side of the House. I stood up just to thank him for that and also from what Hon. Chinamasa is doing - if it is true that the interest is 2% then we implore him to go and look for some more money especially to fund agriculture. As war veterans, we need that money to purchase assets so that our war veterans can do their projects.
There is nowhere we can get an interest rate of 2%, I think China was just embarrassed to tell us that they are giving us a loan with no interest. So, I want to thank the Minister of Finance and implore that this money should not only be for ICT or Tel One or Ministry of Agriculture and other ministries but we should continue borrowing from there. What is needed is for us to use that money in a proper way. We always give these funds to places like Harare, Mutare, and Bulawayo but we also want this money to be used in rural areas. Those monies should be used in Buhera and they should be channeled to areas mentioned by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, not in Gwanda town but in the rural areas. That is where we want these monies to be channeled to so that they are also ICT compliant.
If we only talk of urban centres, that is when you end up taking us as laughing stock, us the Chinotimbas because we do not know about ICT as we reside in rural areas. You are busy developing and putting all technology in the urban centres where there are thieves and dealers but for the farmers in the rural areas, there is no ICT.
I want to agree with those who spoke before me – I think this money has been delayed. It should be expedited so that it assists people in Buhera South and other areas as pointed out by the previous speakers. So, I want to give my support to Hon. Chinamasa that he should acquire the loan with clear conscience. I also want to say that once we get a loan, yes, conflict is there and people misuse the funds. We do not want to take the criminal activities of other people and heap them on another person. There is the ZRP and the Anti-Corruption Commission, instead of taking those issues to the Anti-Corruption Commission; we bring them here in this House which is the wrong forum. That is failure to reason. So, if we think there is abuse of funds, let us report to the ZRP so that they take up the issues. That is my request and that should be done. Also my support for the loan – [AN HON MEMBER: Chigara
pasi!] – I will sit down yes, but my point is that I support this loan. For those who do not want to pass this loan, the majority is there and I am one of those in the majority, I thank you.
HON. MLILO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this opportunity to pencil in my thoughts. I am of the idea that Hon. Chinamasa deserves a round of applause because this loan came at such a critical time. If you appreciate and understand ICT and telecommunications, you will realise that the technologies that are currently in place at Tel-One have been fast overtaken by events and new technologies as well. So their asking for this loan and utilising it for infrastructure means a lot. I think the Hon. Minister has done a wonderful job and we concur with his thoughts. But of note there are issues that previous speakers did not obviously cover.
I remember Hon. Gabbuza was saying part of this technology is going to be overtaken. No, he is wrong in that aspect. What they are merely doing is laying what is called underlining network. When they are laying underlining network, they are not dealing with any termination on the network yet. So, they are creating a base for transporting data on the network. The previous base that was there was copper driven and was suffering from attenuation, signal laws and because of that, you realise that the quality of service was quite very poor and the charges were very high as well.
So, what has since happened is TelOne is fast spreading its veins of the network, not only intercity but also within the Metropolitan
Provinces of Zimbabwe that are there and as well as I believe small towns and rural areas. I do understand and appreciate that there are other players that have already laid their infrastructure down between cities, that is Harare to Bulawayo; for example Liquideep by Econet which people where complaining about that is dug underground but not everything is dug underground because even the Power-Tel infrastructure is actually overhead on the pillows that supply electricity between cities.
So, what we now need to understand and appreciate is this, whoever service provider will lay down a network, it is just creating veins like an ordinary man to cover each of their access points that are popularly known as points of presence. So, TelOne competitively, was going backwards because of the current networks that they were using but in the advent of the optic fibre they are using which I think I am at a better point to stress that optic fibre currently is the mother of all technologies, nothing is going to change very soon. It is here to stay, it cannot be overtaken by events.
Yes, you talk about mobile technology, you look at wireless technology but wireless technology has got a vast number of disadvantages. Some are affected by weather, when there is too much rains and winds, there is too much signal laws, it is almost like attenuation in signal laws in copper cables. There is something called backhauling, technically meaning there is a limit to amount of data that you can propagate in our wireless network but with regards to optic fibre networks, the sky is the limit, downloads and uploads are very high. So, this gives TelOne a competitive advantage because what will happen now at TelOne is, you realise that there is going to be an increase in quality of service. Gone are the days when the quality of ordinary phone calls in the TelOne network was very bad because of this advent of optic
What they have since done now is even in urban areas where they use to have their distribution boxes backbone by copper, that is no more. All those distribution boxes are now backbone by optic fibre meaning that there are now higher speeds. Higher speeds means there is higher bandwidth and higher bandwidth means this kind of network right now is actually a threshold, it is actually very small. So, the capabilities of this network are awesome, they are out of this world. They are not easily definable.
So I would like to applaud the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development for going out and the President as well for facilitating that Tel-One gets this loan. My hope is that we are going to see even new jobs being created because what is happening now is that this is just infrastructure, the baseline network. There is going to be a transport layer. Transport layer, we are basically dealing with how we are going to be transporting data on that network, how is that data going to be terminated, what are the technologies that we are going to be using. So, with new technologies that are going to be used, obviously new skills are going to be created and new jobs are going to be created as well.
Mr. Speaker, of note, earlier today I went to Tele-Contract to visit an old friend, and they are currently right now in the process of creating an application that is going to be a VoIP application almost similar to the WhatsApp, Twitters, Skype but this one is going to be basically for VoIP, so meaning that application can only work in a three G or better network. Optic fibre creates that opportunity. So, this in turn is going to create a level playing field for both programmers in the country or outside the country. What we are going to see is people are going to come up with a lot of applications which is one thing that we need.
Currently, the applications that are being run on Zimbabwe networks and globally are from Europe which is popularly known as the ‘over the top services’. European companies are benefiting from that but with this, it is going to give birth to Zimbabwean brain child, innovating and benefiting the country as a whole.
I think it is a good move and it is actually going to benefit the ICT sector in the country. I short, I would like to say a round of applause to Hon. Chinamasa for a job well done and hopefully, Tel-One is going to properly run this and compete with other networks in a very high note and the technologies are going to improve our life.
One thing that we have to understand with ICT is that it is actually there to cut down on costs, increase quality and with that in mind, this is what Tel-One is doing. It is going to increase that quality of service and even the products that they have are going to increase. They are going to be European class and we need that in the country. Currently, things that are happening with ICT in Zimbabwe are in their threshold. We have not even begun, we are where Europe was ten years from today.
So, I think this is giving birth to creating innovations in the world of ICT and creating a competitive advantage for Tel-One and that is increasing obviously their share of the cake in ICT in the country. Thank you very much Hon. Chinamasa. Let us hope you will continue doing such a marvelous job. I thank you –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear].
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me
this opportunity. I am not going to say a lot as most of the issues have already been debated.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Minister for sourcing this loan. Hon. Minister, yes, you may have programmes for the development of the nation through sourcing of loans but when these loans are disbursed to the ministries, they will not go a long way as they end up being misused and a lot of money is lost through corruption. This loan will end up bringing up issues of factions and people awarding contracts to each other based on relationships with certain factions and nothing is done. At a rally, they are given first preference to take the floor yet they will have abused and misused these loans.
Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the Hon. Minister, last year you came to this august House and brought a loan proposal that you were requesting the House to approve to Net-One. We debated and stated that the Net-One that you were giving the loan to, I was one of the members who debated. We advised you that the employees at Net-One are corrupt. We looked at the mismanagement that was happening in Net-
One since the late 1990s yet today you are giving them more money. Hon. Minister, you promised us that this time the loan would be managed well but the same money that we approved in this House has reflected that the boosters that were put are now being removed, they initially cost US$19 000.00 and now cost US$42 000.00.
These are the monies that they are now talking about and sending text messages to each other that, ‘the loan has passed but you have not given me my kick-back of US$700 000.00’. We come to this House and debate, as a Government that represents the country, we clap our hands and approve such loans to an organisation where the previous loan was misused. Hon. Minister, why did you not interrogate them on the money that was availed to them before to see how it was used? If there was any misuse then it meant heads were going to roll and people should have been fired.
What do we do if we bankroll more money to them yet it is the same management? What guarantee is there that that they will not misuse and abuse the money as they did in the past? Hon. Speaker, my request to Hon. Minister Chinamasa is that, you came with a loan proposal for us to build infrastructure in our schools. We debated this issue and requested that the loan for infrastructural development of schools which was US$21million is allocated throughout the country and you come up with a programme of how the money was going to be disbursed without any loopholes for corruption. After that, bring it back to Parliament and advise the House on how the loan was allocated for example $200 000.00 to say, we have taken $70 000.00 to Checheche and $20 000.00 to Lupane but that is not happening.
Now we realise Minister Dokora is going into the provinces and says he has built a number of schools. If we are to look into the ways that this is being done in these areas, you will realise that it is all on the basis on factionalism at other times. Hon. Speaker, I do not have much to say but I am requesting Hon. Chinamasa to reflect and ask himself when he is sourcing for all this money. I understand and feel pity for him because he has too much pressure…
HON. HOLDER: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. The Hon. Member keeps referring to factions and I am beginning to wonder what he is talking about, may he please define that. – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, I thought you had finished.
HON. HOLDER: Can the Hon. Member define the meaning of factions, what is he trying to say? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – I am trying to understand because he keeps making reference to factions. May the Hon. Member please define what he means by factions because as far as I am concerned, there is ZANU PF and MDC, I do not know what he is talking about? – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Member may you be
clearer on your factions.
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Sorry Mr. Speaker, for me to explain the
factions, Hon. Member, I did not stand here to talk of factions. It is like you, Hon. Holder can you drive the same vehicle as Hon. Matangaidze?
That is what I am talking about.
I want to talk about the loan and I was about to finish. Hon. Minister, on the issue of the loan, through you Mr. Speaker, this money that is coming in will be a challenge for our descendants as they will struggle with these loans. Is it going to develop our nation when considering the fact that our descendants will repay the loan? We should do things that ensure that our decisions today will not be shot down in future.
Let us assist each other in sourcing funds. At the same time, we even have money as the President said that as Zimbabwe, we can actually lend money to other countries. We have US$15 billion so why should we borrow $15 to $20 million yet the President is aware of the fact that someone stole $15 billion? When that $15 billion is recovered, we should take over buildings and properties of the people that stole the money. If they have properties in Europe and Swiss bank accounts, we should recover those monies and fund outstanding projects. US$15 billion is a lot of money that should be in your office, yet you are now cracking your head with $20 million loan that you are acquiring from China.
I thank you Mr. Speaker for the opportunity that you have given me. Most of the issues have already been debated. I implore Hon. Chinamasa to look into how the loan that we approved in this House was used. It is there in the social media and in the text messages. I think you need to investigate these issues of kick backs that were mentioned. With these few words, I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I also want to add my
voice to the issue of the fibre optic roll-out loan of US$98, 6 million from the China Exim Bank. I ask the Minister of Finance to complement that effort of this cheap loan by decreasing the taxes on ICT gadgets. Mr. Speaker Sir, ICT has got the power to finance the whole budget of US$4, 2 million Zimbabwe annual budget, if it is optimally utilised.
Each household with more than five gadgets, talking about cell phones using Wi-Fi, which also is fibre optic, you can easily get a lot of money if each handset uses about $5 or $3 per day. This can only come about if we have a number of those gadgets embedded in those families.
However, that cannot happen if the tax on ICT gadgets, including cell phones is not reduced, so I ask the Minister of Finance to complement his efforts or the effort of the US$98, 6 million by reducing taxes on ICT gadgets.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of urban to rural migration in the term of supporting agriculture and the rural population utilising ICT, I am quite sure has been well ventilated. However, I will add my voice in the following manner; in Chegutu West Constituency in particular, and Zimbabwe in general, there are more than seven water bodies that can optimally utilise ICT for the betterment of food security in this nation.
These are John Binya, Becksly, Pool Dam, Mupfure river, Surisuri river and Surisuri Dam, just to mention the six out of the seven. if we make sure that we follow where the population has gone and optimally utilise water bodies to enhance our food and agricultural security, we will be doing ourselves a lot of good service utilising this ICT loan.
There are other Hon. Members who have stood up and spoken about a number of holes within our road servitude. As the Chairperson of the Transport and Infrastructure Development Portfolio Committee, the days are numbered for those who do not rehabilitate the road servitude diggings that they would have undertaken. We would want them to rehabilitate that road servitude and leave it in the same original state that it was. How can this be optimally done? By infrastructure sharing, as you dig and bury the fibre optic cables, they are digging way too deep just for a little number of cables to be embedded in that earth. I call-in the implementation of these projects, to ask the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to ask the network providers, including Tel One - to be embedded in the same whole with other
service providers so that we can rehabilitate our infrastructure on the road network. So, infrastructure sharing is very key. I heard he spoke to that as well and alludes to the fact that they could even be network sharing because of that infrastructure sharing.
The most important is the issue of utilising ICT to formalise our informal sector. Mr. Speaker, a lot has been said about making sure that we centralise our communication systems using fibre optic invention and ICT. Let us use what we have to get what we want. These loans are fine the way they come but it is not easy to get them as a country that is under debilitating sanctions. We would want to make sure that we optimally utilize what we have, chako ndechawadya chirimusango mutoro waMambo.
Let us make sure that we complement the efforts of the RBZ Governor. In his monetary statement, he alluded to the fact that the bulk of the money that is coming in terms of gold is coming in from the informal sector, the small scale miners and the artisanal miners. Let us have an opportunity that whilst the artisanal miners are underground, they are able to communicate to each other. Mr. Speaker Sir, some are of a thought that 80% of our population is not employed; I am of a different notion. I say 80% of our population is now employed in other means of employment. That 80% of our population, when we come here, we are not speaking about that population. We still leave them in the fringes and in the margins of our economic benefit of this nation. This is the time that we should now follow where the money is. We cannot continue to marginalize our small scale miners and our artisanal miners - including those programmes that are modern such as the programme that is being brought here before Parliament. They are still utilizing two way radio communications, sometimes if the battery goes out pamunzwa zvichinzi mugodhi wadonha, there will also be a shut down in the mugwavavas’ Mr. Speaker Sir, because there is lack of communication.
I ask Mr. Speaker Sir that we also bring in our small scale miners in this form of communication. What does it do – where they were not engaged in modernizing our economy by buying state of the art WiFi oriented and Fibre oriented machinery.
We will witness have an increase in the purchases in that department, thereby increasing our economic capabilities of this nation. We cannot continue to receive from this constituency of people who 80% of the population criminalise them utilising the other hand. We cannot continue to receive for the betterment of this economy from that informal sector and continue to leave them unmodernised using moribund, archaic and historic equipment. We cannot continue that route Mr. Speaker.
As I wind up, let us develop an industry that speaks to the majority of this nation. This is the formally marginalised black majority. What we need to come here and speak to, is not only the urban to rural migration because of the agrarian reform programme. It is also the majority of this nation which is now in the agricultural sector which is because of such entities like David Whitehead Textiles which have now closed down, and have gone into the informal sector where they have not many overheads. They have gone and formed family units Mr. Speaker. We cannot continue to ignore this informal sector.
So, in distribution of this loan, it should be noted by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development that this is the modus operandi in terms of the distribution of this loan. It should not be skewed towards automobile purchases for the top heavy directors who are going to be presiding over this loan. That should be a thing of the past. It should be bottom heavy as opposed. This should be the apex where we get the loan and it should be broad based like a pyramid, and this I borrowed from the contribution from the motor industry that came into our committee yesterday. There should not be any usage of that money at the top. It should come down to where it should be utilised and where it is optimally utilised the majority of our population.
Mr. Speaker Sir, using this loan, let us formalise the informal sector. Let us get the opportunity to make sure that we are a Government for the people, with the people and by the people, utilising Section 117 of the Constitution which says, let us make laws for the good governance and order of the people of Zimbabwe. I thank you.
*HON. TSOMONDO: I want to join my colleagues who applauded the Minister for acquiring this loan between our Government and the Bank of China. This will assist us in achieving ZIM ASSET because when there is no money we cannot implement ZIM ASSET. It will help us in terms of infrastructural development. If we look at the Mazowe satellite, it is lying idle right now. If we get money, this satellite can be upgraded and become functional. Cyber crimes are a major problem world-wide these days. Zimbabwe is not an exception.
With the absence of machines and other equipment to detect crime, we cannot prevent cyber crimes. If we manage to get money to buy the machinery that we need, it will assist us in guarding against cyber crime. We might think that some of these things are issues that are happening in other countries and do not affect us but it will eventually affect us because we are in a global village. So such equipment should be acquired in order to secure our nation from such crime, which I think is a big issue that can be addressed by this machinery. I thank you.
*HON. CHIRISA: I want to add my voice by saying to Hon. Chinamasa, our Minister of Finance and Economic Development that when he comes to this august House with such motions on monetary issues, he should know that he is coming to another arm of the State. I am saying so because we have the power as the Legislature or Members of Parliament to agree or disagree. He should carefully analyse what is happening in these ministries because they can push you to come to Parliament and tell you it will pass and no one will say anything.
I feel that we need to be respected as the Legislature. I say that because we have not received any reports from those ministries on the loans that we approved in this House. Maybe the reports came and I was absent but from what I know, no report has come. What comes are just requests to acquire these loans and we are here to just rubber stamp. We are sick and tired of this Mr. Speaker. They should respect us and acknowledge that we are the third arm of the State. It is unfortunate we are not united in this House, otherwise as a House we could disapprove these loans and request for reports of the loans that we have approved before.
So, what I request Hon. Minister, is that next time you should come with a report on the use of this loan. I hope you will advise your counterparts that now we cannot just go with loans, but they want a report of how the money was used. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I would like to thank all the Honourable Members who have made their contribution on this debate. The support for the loan is overwhelming and I want to thank those who have contributed to that support. Let me say that the ICT sector in other countries is a cash cow. It is not yet so in Zimbabwe because we have not yet made the investments that we should make into this sector, which is why this contribution through a loan, is essentially to turn this sector into a cash cow for the fiscus. I hope that a time will come when these investments start bearing fruits that we can indeed look at it as a cash cow. I also want to admit right from the outset that there has been duplication of infrastructure especially of fibre optic network. We have three or four companies which are all doing fibre optic and some of the fibres they lay are parallel, going in the same direction where only one such fibre optic has the capacity to do the work of all four. This is a matter that the Minister responsible is attending to. In the first instances, he is seeking to consolidate and that decision has already been taken by Cabinet to consolidate all the fibre optic infrastructure belonging to parastatals. This includes NetOne and TelOne.
Let me now come to specific responses. Honourable Maridadi, I do not know why he is seeking to link this loan by Government and will onlend at no cost to TelOne. I do not know the Honourable Member is seeking to link this to any alleged corruption against NetOne. There is no nexus between the two and I would want to make that very clear. What is linked here is using the NetOne balance sheet as further collateral to the loan that is going to be on-lend to TelOne. This is arising from the US$220m loan that we also negotiated with China
Exim-Bank to beef up the network capacity of NetOne. We are merely using the balance sheet. Even then we have incorporated in this loan sufficient safeguards to ensure that the loan will be used for the purpose for which it is intended and any revenue accruing to the investment will go into an escrow account in order to service the loan.
I want also to emphasise from the outset that we are not borrowing from consumption. This borrowing is to establish infrastructure which will generate cash flows from which we can service the loan. As Government, we do not think that there is risk in the borrowing that we are doing and on-lending to TelOne. I need also to point out that TelOne over recent years has come into the hands of good sound management. I think that Honourable Members who have looked into the work of TelOne will confirm that the management there is now reasonably sound in order to deliver on the loan that we are handing over to them.
Honourable Chasi, I thank him for his contribution in support of the loan but importantly for the fact that he also saw clearly that there was no nexus between this loan and any alleged corruption against NetOne. In any event, as far as the public is concerned, the matter of alleged allegations of corruption are being investigated and I am sure in the course of time we should know the result.
Honourable Mudarikwa, you make a very good point and the point you make is of course that, who is benefiting from this investment? You mentioned of course that there is no benefit accruing to UzumbaMaramba-Pfungwe. Initially yes and not directly but this network is a backbone. We are putting a backbone and eventually, there will have to be networks coming from the backbone to supply the outlying areas and TelOne is better positioned to achieve the greater networking of the country.
By the way, TelOne is the only company that has investments or shareholding in an underground ocean network cable linking us to other continents. It is only TelOne that has got shareholding in such a company. The capacity of TelOne needs to be enhanced for the purpose that in fact we have already spoken.
With respect to where it is going, I have already outlined in my presentation. Phase 2, we are talking about upgrading the capacity in the northern parts of the country, that is, Mashonaland West and
Mashonaland Central provinces. We are talking about Bulawayo-
Beitbridge fibre optic transmission route. We are talking about Bulawayo-Victoria Falls, Gweru-Masvingo, and the supply installation and commissioning of internet protocol multimedia sub system.
Honourable Chakona, thank you very much and I did not know that you are a former PTC employee because your knowledge was very deep and you were very knowledgeable about the subject. I thank you for the education especially that if we make the right investments, the contributions from ICT are almost quick wins and immediate in terms of their contribution to GDP as well as to the revenue of the country. You are quite right that our fibre optic is lagging behind and we cannot afford to wait.
Honourable Gabbuza, about technology changing quickly - yes you are right but not in this situation, I think you got the reply from Honourable Mlilo. We are putting here fibre optic backbone which does not change overnight. In fact, from what I know this could be for generations. The only thing that will make it not obsolete but lag behind is the capacity. As I was mentioning the capacity of any one of this fibre optic whether laid by Econet, Africom, PowerTel, Telecel and TelOne - the capacity of each of those companies’ fibre is enough to cater for everybody. Similarly, this is also the situation with the masts that you see. You see three or so of those masts where only one mast is necessary and will carry the volume of traffic for all three. These are issues that are being attended to.
Honourable Shamu, I thank you for your support and in particular raising the issues which I am aware are also being attended to over time. The issue of the need for a single gateway to channel traffic in and out of the country as well as the issue of consolidation of the fibre optic infrastructure. What we are doing here is that with this investment, as I have pointed out Mr. Speaker Sir, it will help bring state-of-the-art infrastructure to enhance data, voice, video services and information at the speed that is much faster than we are currently accustomed to. Hon. Chamisa raised some procedural issues. I take note of those procedural issues and we will certainly take those into account in the future. On the whole, he was a reluctant supporter for political reasons. He raised the issue of the legacy debt. That is also being looked into with a view to sorting out that problem.
I responded to the issue that was raised by Hon. Misihairabwi-
Mushonga when we were outside Parliament and I will not take
Parliament’s time to repeat what I have already said. I liked the issue about you having a soft spot for me. –[HON. MEMBERS: Laughter]- Long live the soft spot. Hon. majome supports the loan agreement and also raised issues to do with constitutional requirements, monitoring and the need to make sure that we do not breach or violate the human rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. Let me say to you that all countries have laws which allow monitoring of Telecomms. The more sophisticated the countries are, the more comprehensive the monitoring and the more clamping down they do on the Telecomms.
I would like to thank Hon. Chinotimba. I want to say that eventually, we will get to Buhera but in the first instance, we are going to put in a backbone fibre optic and this backbone, there will be branches coming out of the backbone to schools and clinics, but that will in phases yet to come. Tel One being a public parastatal is best placed to do that outreach programme in terms of connectivity. Currently, most of the commercial entities are only interested in making money which is why the explanation that they only go to places which have concentrated population. This is to maximise their revenues and to enhance viability.
Hon. Mutseyami, there is no link between the allegations you are making whether against Net One or against any Minister; there is no link with this loan. The borrower of this loan is Government and will on lend to Tel One. Net One loan was approved last year by this Parliament and is already being implemented. The allegations you raised are being investigated. I do not think there is any problem but you make a valid point about over-pricing of Telecomm services. That is an issue which will come, but it is largely because of the duplication. All of them,
where it only one fibre optic should do, there are seven. So, it is not only costly to individual company, but also to the country as a whole because at the end of the day, all this investment is through loan financing. None from own resources whether we are talking about Econet or Telecel, it is all through loans externally etc. So, it is important as we go forward that we should not allow this duplication for ever to continue.
Hon. Nduna, thank you for supporting the loan and I want to say, but I could be wrong, I am not aware that there is tax on ICT products. You make the point that we should reduce the tax on ICT, but I will check for you and communicate that information. Not being a technologically minded person, I was not sure the relevance of water bodies to ICT, but I stand to be corrected. You make a valid point about servitudes that sometimes they are too close and they do not allow future expansion of the road which would also mean that those companies which put those cables near the road when it is expanded, they will have to incur the extra cost and it will be an additional cost which they could have avoided.
Thank you Hon. Tsomondo for the support of the loan agreement and I take note of the point you make about cyber crime and obvsiouly, these are matters that the technologists will look into to see how we can fight against it. Thank you Hon. Chirisa for supporting the loan and I also take note of the points that you have raised.
So, Mr. Speaker Sir, I conclude by thanking all Hon. Members for their contribution, but more importantly for the overwhelming support that they have given to this loan. I accordingly move that the motion be adopted and approved. I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
LEAVE TO MOVE RATIFICATION OF THE DOHA AMENDMENT
TO THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): Thank you Mr. Speaker. I seek
leave of the House to move that;
WHEREAS, Section 327(3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any International Treaty which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;
AND WHEREAS, on 8th December 2012, the 18th Conference of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol adopted the Doha Amendment to the
Kyoto Protocol, establishing the Second Amendment period from 1st
January, 2013 to 31st December, 2020;
AND WHEREAS Zimbabwe is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and is desirous of becoming a party to the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto
AND WHEREAS the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol has
not entered into force and shall enter into force on the nineteenth day after the date of receipt by the depository of an Instrument of
Acceptance, by at least three fourths of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol; NOW THEREFORE, In terms of Section 327(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, This House resolves that the Aforesaid Amendment be and is hereby approved. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE DOHA AMENDMENT TO THE
THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND
CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that
WHEREAS, Section 327(3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any International Treaty which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the authority of the President does not bind
Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament; AND WHEREAS, on 8th December, 2012, the 18th Conference of the parties to the Kyoto
Protocol adopted the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, establishing the second commitment period from 1st January, 2013 to
31st December, 2020;
AND WHEREAS, Zimbabwe is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and is desirous of becoming a party to the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto
AND WHEREAS, the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol
has not entered into force and shall enter into force on the nineteenth day after the date of receipt by the depository of an instrument of acceptance by at least three fourths of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol;
NOW THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid amendment be and is hereby approved.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change placed the obligation of reducing current greenhouse gas emissions that are responsible for climate change on developed countries on the understanding that they are historically responsible for the current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. A commitment period of 2008 to 2012 was agreed upon within which the developed countries were to meet their obligations by reducing their overall emissions of such gases by at least 5% and by supporting such initiatives in developing countries. However, most developed countries failed to meet their obligations in full within that first commitment period of 2008 to 2012 hence the agreement by State parties to give the developed countries more time by extending the period to 2020, thereby establishing the second commitment period of 1st January, 2013 to 31st December 2020.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe participated in the COP21 Paris Agreement negotiations and adoption in December, 2015. The Paris Agreement is the successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which seeks to take the climate change management agenda beyond 2020 when the lifespan of the
Kyoto Protocol comes to an end. The Agreement opens for signature on
22nd April, 2016 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. It is vital therefore that Zimbabwe accepts the Doha Amendment prior to the signing of the Paris Agreement. The Doha Amendment will go a long way in facilitating access to funds that will finance Zimbabwe’s efforts towards mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, which in fact include the current severe drought. Developed countries have an obligation to finance clean energy technologies in developing countries that target the combating of climate change and the second commitment period is a vehicle through which such finances will be channeled. Hence, the need to accept the Doha hence the need to accept the Doha Amendment before this House. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. CROSS: Mr. Speaker Sir, I will not take the House very long but I just wanted to say that Zimbabwe is going to be one of the countries in the world that is going to be worst affected by climate change. I think all the scientific evidence points to that and we have got to acknowledge that unless we take the lead on issues such as this issue today, we will do the international community an injustice. I am delighted that the Minister has brought this to us and I think it is vitally important for us to adopt this today. I am very pleased she has done so timeously.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I cannot think of another issue that is as vital as this for us as a nation. I think this absolutely overrides all other matters that are confronting us as a nation and it is time that we demand that the international community takes this absolutely serious because the future of our country depends on it.
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I wish to support
the Minister in that regard because these are international agreements, international arrangements and we cannot be seen to be left out. However, I am supporting with a heavy heart. I think as Africans, we are not doing ourselves a favour. Our scientists are letting us down. African scientists are letting us down and Zimbabwean scientists are letting us down Mr. Speaker. When our Ministers go to these conferences to sign these protocols, the scientific evidence is based not on the African scientist researches. In my view, I find it difficult to really believe if
Africa is contributing to this climate change because all the researches are not empirically evidenced in Africa or in Zimbabwe. It is things that we are told are happening.
Why I am raising this Mr. Speaker Sir? I think we have a tendency of getting carried away as Africans. If we go back to history; when we grew up we were told that if you eat one egg a day, one pint of milk, that is body building and it is healthy and is a balanced diet. Of late, we are being told if you eat eggs and a pint of milk, that is a lot of cholesterol and is unhealthy-do not eat that. Now, we are not sure. Where was this research? How are things suddenly turning around because we do not have our own through research?
Recently, we were running around with jatropha Mr. Speaker Sir, that there is a lot of diesel in jatropha, clean energy, a lot of farms changed into jatropha and I am sure at Mount Hampden, there was a refinery plant built by the RBZ to start working. I do not remember that thing working and right now nobody talks about jatropha. You wonder where were our scientists to tell us that these things do not work.
Currently, everybody is running around with what they call and it is a favourite with Hon. Eddie Cross-people are cultivating and we call it garichopo in the rural areas. People are not supposed to till, you put some pits and drop in things that they do not do in Europe.
We are told this has high harvest and it is for vulnerable groups but there is no evidence to that effect. Some of us in the rural areas have tried those things and they do not work. These are things that we are told, I researched by external scientists male circumcision reduces AIDS but we do not have our own research to prove that. They do not even do it their own countries and that is why I am a bit concerned Mr. Speaker
How do you, for example, agree that there is climate change in Zimbabwe when current serious records of weather only started in the late 19th Century, because to say there is climate change you must have a consistent long record of weather elements recordings. Our weather stations only started recording in the late 19th Century because we must not mistake climate change to climatic weather changes. Weather phenomenon change here and there but that is not necessarily climate change.
I am a bit concerned about that Mr. Speaker because if we are to look at our own weather stations, how many are they just in Harare? Every day the weather man report says-Harare 400 mm of rain fell but which Harare? It could have been at the airport and it did not rain in
Chitungwiza and in the city centre. Our weather station is just at Belvedere. If it rains in Belvedere it might not here. So which Harare are we recording? Our weather station densities are so terrible. I think during the regime in every farm there was a small weather station and records would be sent. At least if we have that high density of weather stations and then we record over a long period, then we will be able to say okay, there is climate change.
If you research on this climate change subject, the evidence which is there, they will tell you if you look at fossil trees, old trees that were buried; when you look at the rings it shows that some time ago there was heavy rainfall. If you look at the eyes age, the levels of the ocean, there was a record of the movement of the ocean. So that means in ancient times there was a lot of rainfall. So now there is little rainfall which means there is climate change.
Honestly Mr. Speaker Sir, well I do not want to say there is climate change but I do not want to say there is climate change because we do not have records for that. There could be a climate change in Europe, but in Zimbabwe here and in Africa records are simply not there. During the times of Lobengula, there were no weather stations. During the times until recently in the 60s, that is when we started recording the weather elements and the first weather elements were recorded in Chiredzi around Triangle in the late 40s. So as we talk about this climate change, I would implore the Minister of Environment to start thinking of having as many weather stations as possible and with consistent records so that after 40 to 50 years in the next few generations, we can now compare the recording that we have. Lastly, Mr. Speaker, why are we blamed for not having fulfilled our commitment as Africans yet our industry commitment for reducing carbon emissions, 90% are currently down.
What has happened to the carbon emission? There is a reduction. Why are we not given that credit? We have our forests all over which are carbon sinks, they are taking up all the carbon from industries because we are told plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Those are carbon sinks and those are areas where carbon emissions are being reduced by Africans, so it has the largest forest, why do we not get credit for those ventures?
I am looking at the issue of industries, the reduction, and the amount of emissions because we do not have industries. We have planted a lot of forests, we are agro-based and all the farms are reducing carbon emissions. Why not get carbon credits Hon. Minister, for that effort? Instead we are being told we have not yet done our commitment to reduce. I strongly believe that we have done excellently well because without measuring, maybe the Minister can also assist me. Who really does the measurement of carbon emissions? I have not seen a station or a scientist going around measuring - where are they measured these carbon emissions? Do we have equipment as Zimbabweans or as Africa or we are just told satellite images have just shown that there is a bit of carbon.
We have not seen those serious efforts to try and measure carbon emission, not even EMA itself. I do not know if there is enough equipment to measure industrial emissions. If the equipment is there, how about the general atmospheric measurements because there must be a balance. Whatever is emitted must be absorbed by the large forest that we have. So, Mr. Speaker, I really need to implore upon our Government officials to make these things through investigations, otherwise we will be continuously blamed for the things that we have not done. We do not have industries like they do in Europe. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Members, if you have nothing to say, allow those who want to debate to do so. I have been waiting on my right to see Hon. Members standing up to debate on this very important motion.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for your protection. I might not have had anything to say but after the last speaker has contributed, I felt motivated. I need for us as a nation to call upon the Hon. Minister, to say we need to stand on the shoulders of those that have in particular in the United Nations and in such fora where I know the United States is engaged in terms of litigation, prosecuting VW Golf as an automobile industry in terms of their carbon emission that they actually did not disclose.
They actually put in a machine to make sure that the reading in terms of the carbon emission on that automobile was falsified. They are taking that automobile industry to court; the benefit should not only accrue to those that have the power to take VW Automobile to court. It should also accrue to us as Zimbabwe in particular, and Africa and everybody else in general. So, we need to go to that fora and stand on the shoulders of those that have got the capacity to prosecute those that are currently falsifying information when it comes to carbon emission as has been alluded to by Hon. Gabbuza, that as a nation we have done
quite well if at all.
We have reduced carbon emission, we are about to remove from circulation those trays we use when we were buying take away and I hear also baby pampers are going to come out of circulation. So, we have done well as a nation of 14 million people in terms of our part, reducing carbon emission and to reduce the El Nino phenomenon and the skewed weather patterns. I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to also give my word and also to lend my support to signing of these agreements, however with those variations. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): Thank you Mr. Speaker. Let me
take this opportunity to thank the three Members of Parliament who have contributed to this debate before the House and indeed, supported the approval to amend the Doha Protocol. Let me turn to the issues that were raised by Hon. Cross regarding the significance that this Doha Amendment has to our situation here in Zimbabwe, given the current challenges of climate change that we are experiencing. The reason why we have brought this to this august House is because of the seriousness that Zimbabwe attaches to the issue of Kyoto Protocol Agreement.
I am sure you appreciate that it is important, the fact that the developed countries that were given the responsibility for all the problems that we are facing the world-over failed to meet their obligations and both ‘the group of 77 also Africa’ voiced on the need that they should have an extension from the five percent which was imposed. I am happy that the EU have even taken this important issue further and imposed a 30 percent to themselves. Island also imposed 20 percent and Norway imposed 40 percent. So we are very happy that they are taking this Doha Amendment seriously to say yes, we are responsible for damaging the climate and also the ozone layer. So, we are very happy that Zimbabwe is joining other countries to say these developed countries that were responsible must meet those obligations.
I want to thank you for supporting this amendment.
Let me also thank Hon. Gabbuza for supporting this amendment before the House, but let me emphasize that Zimbabwe has a record of having changed the illiteracy rate from 25 percent and our standing now is at 95 percent. We are number one in Africa. I want to say that in most of these international organisations, we do have Zimbabwean scientists who are at the helm, championing all these issues of climate change. I want to assure the Hon. Member that as we speak, the Hon. Minister Prof. Moyo is investing in science and mathematics courses to make sure that we continue and keep our very good record in Zimbabwe to ensure that at all levels, Zimbabwe remains the leader.
I am sure you will agree with me that even in SADC most of the developmental agencies are also being manned by Zimbabweans, if you go to South Africa or Botswana, that cannot be disputed. I want to say that we are in the process now of coming up with a climate policy. Prof. Murwira at the University of Zimbabwe is leading a team which has brought together all stakeholders that have an interest in the issues of
When you are talking about climate change it is real to Zimbabwe.
Lack of rainfall this year, Mr. Speaker Sir, EL Nino itself is a result of Climate Change. For my Hon. Member to say we do not have a problem in Zimbabwe is really underestimating the challenges. I want to refer to also to a situation that we had last year of Tokwe-Murkosi where we had floods that displaced a number of villagers in Masvingo province and that was a cost to Zimbabwe in terms of financial commitments which we had not planned for.
I want to point to the Hon. Member that as we cut more trees here in Zimbabwe, this also affects our rainfall patterns. That is why we are investing in cloud seeding because we cannot generate the moisture that is required. I agree with you that we need to grow as many trees as possible because as we breath out carbon dioxide and the old cars on our roads which emit a lot of fossil fuels, gas which is carbon monoxide- we need the trees to be able to absorb that whilst we get oxygen in return.
I agree with the Hon. Members that we need to plant as many trees as possible. One of our parastatals which is the Forestry Commission this year has plans to plant almost 15 million trees. I want to share with the Hon. Members that we have already presented our claim for those carbon credits. So, we do have other companies like Sable Chemicals who have also submitted their requirements from the Carbon Credits Funds. So, we have gone quite some strides to address and put in place all the measures to make sure that we meet the obligations as Third World and developing countries.
I want to share with the Hon. Member that Zimbabwe has already submitted its own nationally determined contributions before the United Nations. As Zimbabwe, we identified the area of agriculture because according to the research which was undertaken by Prof. Murwira that our yields for maize has gone down, he was tracing the yields that we were getting from 1962 and it is disappointing to say that that has been reduced to about 20%, the yields that we are getting now and this is a result of Climate Change.
So, we need to start thinking about taking seriously the issue of Climate
Change. As Government, we are putting together a policy which we hope that will be mainstreamed in all sectors of development. For example, in agriculture, we need to harness water as much as possible. All the green water, which is rainfall water, we need to harness that so that we use it for the future purposes. But we need to pat ourselves on the back because Zimbabwe has already invested in almost 10 000 dams. We hope that the relevant Ministries will be able to utilise that water to make sure that we address the issue of food security which comes with Climate Change. So, that is very critical for Zimbabwe.
I also want to mention that because we have tampered with the environment, we are seeing a lot of stream bank cultivation because people are now trying to get moisture from the streams. That has caused serious siltation problems to our rivers and that siltation ends up in our dams. As we speak, ZINWA is coming up with a programme to make sure that we avoid this siltation. So, it is expensive, people should take the issue of climate change seriously either by planting trees along the rivers and also ensuring that we plant not only gum trees because they
do draw a lot of underground water which is the blue water which is also depleting.
I want to assure the Hon. Member that we are engaging in research with UNESCO to make sure that we do not deplete underground reservoirs because we need it for drinking water and also to replenish some of our dams in areas where we have serious shortages of water.
So we are trying by all means to make sure we address these issues. On cutting down of trees, we are saying let us promote renewable energy. We were struggling last year with electricity shortages that we were experiencing as a result of Kariba dam whose water level has gone down. We cannot continue to rely on rainfall water, given the challenges of Climate Change. So, we need now to resort to other means of renewable energy which is solar and wind.
Apparently, in Zimbabwe, wind is a problem but we are saying let us introduce biogas for the tobacco farmers. We need now to introduce new strategies which are environmentally friendly. We have gone quite some length to make sure that we prepare ourselves for any eventuality because Climate Change is here to stay. We used to have ten-year’s drought cycles but now we are witnessing recurrences. I hope that this Parliament will take the issue of Climate Change seriously and start educating our own communities and constituents to make sure that this issue now becomes quite important on our agenda.
The issue of not recording the weather, yes, you are correct but now we have invested to ensure that we have more stations around the country. We received a donation from the Chinese Government and in two weeks we will be receiving engineers from China and hope that every ward in the country will be able to have a station because we are falling short … - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –
Yes, but he needs to also appreciate that we have a high performance computer that is placed at the University of Zimbabwe and we share information with other relevant meteorological organisations within the region. So, whilst it is important to put up stations, we have gone a step further in terms of technology to ensure that we have advanced technology. Just last week, the same Met Office which you are underestimating, was able to measure an earthquake that happened in the Kariba and Chipinge areas.
We should be celebrating some of these very important skills that are within Zimbabwe and we are called upon, from time to time, to even advise other countries in the region. So, let us not underestimate what our own Zimbabwean citizens are able to do.
Carbon credits, I have already addressed them but I want to also say that on measuring carbon emissions, we went into an arrangement with UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme). They extended us a facility to purchase the appropriate equipment which will measure the amount of carbon emissions that are emitted by our cars. So, this is just the first machine that we are testing and when we succeed after a period of time, we should be able to extend this to all our provinces.
This is being done by our parastatal EMA (Environmental Management Agency) so we need also to celebrate that we are quite advanced and trendy in terms of catching up on Kyoto Protocol requirements.
Hon. Nduna, the issue of VW, we celebrate that other people were able to take VW to court and they represent all of us. But we will also from our own side monitor what is happening. As I have already alluded to, we have already started measuring these emissions whether it is VW or any other car, we are going to continue monitoring.
We are pleased, although it is not part of climate change but it affects the ozone layer, we were able to ban the use of methal bromite in tobacco production. There are seven items that we have to observe and we will continue monitoring that as a Ministry but for us the DOHA Amendment is very critical. We need to benefit also from the finances that have been put together and unless we sign this DOHA Amendment, we will not be able to benefit. I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI), the House
adjourned at Twenty-six Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.