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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 06 AUGUST 2019 45-77
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 6th August, 2019
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE ACTING SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA) in the Chair)
LEAVE TO MOVE SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS
NUMBER 51, 62 (2), 135, 136 AND 139
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir,
I seek leave of the House to move that the provisions of Standing Orders Nos. 51, 62 (2), 135, 136 and 139 regarding the automatic adjournment of the House at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. on sitting days other than a Friday and at Twenty-Five Minutes past One o’clock p.m. on a
Friday, private Members’ motions taking precedence on Wednesdays after Question Time and that Question Time shall be on Wednesday, the referral of Bills to Portfolio Committees, procedures in connection with the Parliamentary Legal Committee and Stages of Bills respectively, be suspended for today and for the remaining series of sittings in respect of the following:
- Business relating to the Budget and the Committee of Supply,
- The Finance Bill,
- The Appropriation Bill (2019) and 4) The Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill.
Motion put and agreed to.
SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS NUMBER 51, 62 (2), 135,
136 AND 139
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir,
I move that the provisions of Standing Orders Number, 51, 62 (2), 135,
136 and 139 regarding the automatic adjournment of the House at Five
Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. on sitting days other than a Friday and at Twenty-Five Minutes past One o’clock p.m. on a Friday, private
Members’ motions taking precedence on Wednesdays after Question
Time, and that Question Time shall be on Wednesday, the referral of
Bills to Portfolio Committees, procedures in connection with the Parliamentary Legal Committee and Stages of Bills respectively, be suspended for today and for the remaining series of sittings in respect of the following:-
- Business relating to the Budget and the Committee of Supply,
- The Finance Bill,
- The Appropriation Bill (2019) and 4) The Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill.
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I rise on a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to refer you to Order of the Day, No 11 which speaks to resumption on the consideration of the adverse report by the
Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill [H. B. 3, 2019]. On that order, Hon. Mataranyika seconded by Hon. Chinotimba moved that the adverse report be withdrawn. My point of order is that I am failing to locate the Standing Rule which allows an adverse report to be withdrawn from Parliament before debate. Can I be guided accordingly as to which order was used for these Hon. Members to be able to withdraw an adverse report which I thought was supposed to be debated first and a resolution made for it to be referred back to the PLC. I thank you.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: I have heard the point of order. I will study the matter then make a ruling tomorrow – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjection.] – Order in the House.
HON. T. KHUMALO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you
for restoring electricity. I am standing on a point of privilege which emanates from Order No. 3 on the Order Paper and I quote, ‘Hon. Chinotimba raised a point of privilege regarding boycotting of day sitting in Parliament by all Members of the MDC-A Party.” First and foremost Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Chinotimba is not the MDC-A Chief Whip. Secondly, he is neither the Leader of the House for the opposition. A resolution was made by the Speaker which is stated here.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we all know that on the 1st of August, six innocent civilians were gunned down in cold blood and as the MDC, we attended a church service where we were remembering these gallant soldiers that were killed innocently. Having said that Mr. Speaker Sir, we were in Highfield attending a church service and when we came here, I am sure all of you know that we have been fasting as the MDC-A in respect of these six innocent victims. So when one fasts, you have a right to congregate, pray and break the fasting. There is no rule in this
Parliament that states that when you are late, you are barred from this House. So what we want to understand, is why did you bar us? We came here quite late, we went to the Government Caucus when we broke our fast and we came down here but we found police officers who told us that the Speaker, Hon. Jacob Mudenda gave a directive that we should not come in here. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Jacob Mudenda raised a pertinent issue that the main opposition party in this Parliament is
barred. I want you to underline the word main opposition. Our role is to oppose any issues that violate the rights of the people of Zimbabwe – be it social, economic, political, cultural and so on.
To add salt to injury, on this same Order Paper, you barred us all but Hon. Mutseyami has appeared on the Order Paper. What are you telling us? Mr. Speaker, there is no rule that says as the ruling party you have to control how we operate as the main opposition. So, where is your source of law that gave rise for you to bar us to come to this House? We were only 20 minutes late and we had the right to remember our comrades. Some ZANU PF Members came, they were late and they came through but we could not. You went further Mr. Speaker Sir, and instructed the ZRP to remove us from the Parliament. Where is that source of law? You are removing us for committing what crime? So Mr. Speaker Sir, as the main opposition, we need you to give us a ruling now.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Khumalo
and I do understand that you have underlined the main opposition.
Unfortunately Honourable, Mr. Speaker is the one who gave a ruling on Friday and he was actually in the Chair. Unfortunately, I cannot overrule the decision that was made by Mr. Speaker but I have taken note of your point of order, if it is a point of privilege.
HON. SIKHALA: On a point of clarity Mr. Speaker. The clarity that I am seeking from the Chair is whether the Chair understands how to distinguish a Chair as a persona and a Chair on his official role and duty. The ruling that was made was not made by Jacob Mudenda the person, but was made by the Hon. Speaker. The decision by Hon. Mudenda was not made by Hon. Mudenda the person but was made by Hon. Mudenda the Chair and the Speaker of the House.
So Mr. Speaker Sir, you must be able to distinguish decisions that are made on official capacity and on individual capacity. The decision as per the ruling of the Speaker, as mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition was made by the Speaker as the Chair. So, there is nowhere you can recuse yourself from giving determination over the ruling that was made by the Chair in your official capacity. So, that is a point of clarity that I wanted to get from you Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank you.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Sikhala.
I have heard you loud and clear but my decision is still standing, that there is no way I can come on this Chair and then undo the decision that was made by the Speaker on that particular day unfortunately. I have ruled; no more points of privilege.
HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: I have made a ruling on that one.
HON. HAMAUSWA: It is a national crisis and it is an issue of national interest that has to do with maize. We heard in this House that there was a Statutory Instrument barring people to sell maize. Given this SI 145, we are getting reports that Grain Marketing Board is currently selling maize to Delta and other companies that manufacture stock feeds. My point of privilege is, if the wisdom of the Hon. Minister in coming up with SI 145 was based on the shortage of maize, why are we then allowing GMB to sell maize to make stock feeds instead of instructing those companies to import maize using their own resources because the priority was given to maize since it is a staple food? It is a staple food of this nation; why we are allowing those companies to buy maize from GMB? So, we see there is injustice on what is happening in this country. Mr. Speaker Sir, my request is that the responsible Minister should look into the issues of GMB whether this is true or not but from what we gathered, it is very true.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Member
for raising that point of privilege. We will make sure that the point of privilege is actually delivered to the responsible Minister such that he can actually look into the issue that you have raised.
HON. PHULU: Mr. Speaker Sir, it is in order for the business to be suspended. However, the contents of some of the debates that Hon. Members are debating on is irrelevant because today we were supposed to be discussing the finances of the country. I think maybe if the Minister may adjust and actually remove the MOPO Bill so that we proceed with the business of the House in a smooth fashion. Let us deal with the budget and the finance then we can deal with serious questions that have been posed regarding how the adverse certificate was withdrawn. If we throw that into the mix, I think we will waste a lot of time because I think we have got a lot of business to cover before Friday. That is my proposal. I think that if the Minister could accept those suggestions, we will move forward in a rather quick manner. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir. While I appreciate what he is saying, Tuesday is
Government business day. So, if it is Government business day – [AN
HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, Government - the Executive determines the order of the business that they want to present. If it is a Wednesday, we do not dictate what the Hon. Members do on Wednesdays. – [AN HON. MEMBER: He comes
and dictate here..] – Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Member is lost. On
Tuesday we deal with Government business in the House and I never spoke about controlling the House. So, the Hon. Member is totally lost in what he is saying. I never said the Executive controls, I said the Executive business is done on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Wednesdays is for private members business; we cannot interfere with that. While I appreciate, we will proceed with the Finance Bill until you rule on the Maintenance of Peace Bill. I do not see any problems in us proceeding with my leave.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, first of all, it is important for Hon. Members to respect you as the Chair. I think there is so much noise which is going on. The Chief Whip for the ruling party is not here, he is a member of the Pan African Parliament and he is away for two weeks. I think it is important that the ruling party does consider whether they want a Chief Whip who is away for two weeks. There is no Deputy Chief Whip because he is late. So, I think it is important not to grab more than you can eat because you can see what is happening here; it is a result of disorder because the Chief Whip is away for two weeks and the Deputy Chief Whip is not there. It is important Mr. Speaker Sir, that as you can see Hon. Mutseyami is here if he chooses to be at PAP, it causes so much commotion. They are given enough resources, and a better welfare than us for them to be there full time. So what else is he doing at Pan-African Parliament? It is destroying the ruling party’s mandate of doing the job. The ruling party has got a lot of capable intelligent people who can be going to Pan-African Parliament. He cannot be the only one who is able to do that.
Secondly, it is very clear that the ruling party and the main opposition are not talking before they come here because these issues were supposed to be discussed and agreed upon. We have spent at least an hour talking about issues which were supposed to be discussed outside this House. It is the practice of this Parliament that before they come here, they agree on issues. An hour has gone talking about issues that would have been spoken about earlier on. The Minister, who is also the head of Government business, is not the Chief Whip. I would want to ask why the Chief Whip who is well remunerated still goes outside the country and he is not only the Chief Whip for the ruling party but for Government and for everyone. This now affects the way this Parliament is being run, ZANU PF has got a number of capable people who can go to PAP, not only Togarepi. As such, this issue must be revisited. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order! There is no water in the toilets. How can we stay up to Seven o’clock p.m. without water? There is a big gathering of people here, Members of Parliament have collapsed, some have died, and there is no water in this Parliament building.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: I have understood you Hon.
Madzimure, I am taking measures for people to go and check. I am being told that there are water bowsers that are coming to rectify the problem.
HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Speaker, water bowsers will not
address the flushing system in the toilets.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. This has to do with the business of the day. The Speaker ruled that we had adjourned so that whatever documentation could be put in the pigeon holes. None of the members has anything which was supposed to be put in there. Mr. Speaker had ruled that we needed to read. We have not received that. So what are we going to debate on?
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Members, yes there are
complaints from other Members that some Members are stealing documents from pigeon holes. You need to sign for that document in the Journals Office.
HON. T. MLISWA: I hear what you are saying that the documents might be stolen but there was never an announcement to notify the members that in view of documents being stolen, you now have to go and sign at the Papers Office. There was no such communication.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Mliswa
for raising that issue. Now, I have actually announced that Members must go and sign – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – HON. S. BANDA: Mr. Speaker Sir, how do we debate something that we do not have and have never seen? – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] – It cannot be debated. – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Can you give me time to respond to what you are saying? The Papers Office is now bringing those books in this House – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. S. BANDA: On a point of order. On a point of order.....
THE ACTING SPEAKER: The debate is not finishing today. You can still debate tomorrow – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
HON. S. BANDA: Mr. Speaker Sir...
THE ACTING SPEAKER: The book is coming. I have not recognised you.
HON. S. BANDA: Mr. Speaker Sir! Mr. Speaker Sir!
THE ACTING SPEAKER: I have not recognised you. I will send you out Hon. Member.
HON. S. BANDA: You can send me out! You can send me out!
THE ACTING SPEAKER: I have not recognised you.
HON. S. BANDA: You can send me out, I cannot debate on something that I have never read. I was chased away on Thursday and after that you are now refusing me my right to read. We cannot debate something that we have not read – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE ACTING SPEAKER: The books are coming Hon. Member. If you do not debate today, there is time to debate tomorrow after you have read.
HON. S. BANDA: No. No. No – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member!
HON. S. BANDA: The Hon. Minister Sekesai Nzenza asked for time to read the NSSA report. Why are you saying. – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE ACTING SPEAKER: I said the books are coming. The debate is not closing today. You can still debate tomorrow and Thursday.
HON. S. BANDA: We need time to read – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
FINANCE BILL: BUDGET DEBATE
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion that leave be granted to bring in a Finance Bill.
Question again proposed.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording us the opportunity as your Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic
*HON. DINAR: On a point of order ....
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I cannot recognise
you. Please resume your seat.
*HON. DINAR: On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, you said you cannot change the decision that was made by Hon. Mudenda that we should read the report, why are you now saying that we should go and collect the report – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. MHONA: Once again, thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for affording your Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee to present its report of the 2019 Mid-Year Budget Review and Supplementary Budget.
Hon. Speaker Sir,
Finance and Economic Development Hon. Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, on Thursday 1 August 2019 unveiled a ZW$10,85 billion supplementary budget when he presented the Mid-Year Budget Review (MYBR) and Supplementary Budget. The Mid-Year budget review statement was meant to highlight progress made with regards to implementation of the National Budget and provides a synopsis of macroeconomic developments during the first half of the fiscal year. This allows Honourable Members, guided by indications of current performance and projected economic statistics, to consider proposals for necessary fiscal policy interventions to realign the policy thrust towards the broader macroeconomic objectives. The statement also sets the tone of the 2020 budget. It accords an evaluation of the efficacy of the existing policy and an opportunity to modify macroeconomic parameters and adjust government expenditure and revenue along more suitable lines for accelerating service delivery to the citizens.
1.1 The statement came amid a background of economic headwinds, characterised by spiking inflation, lack of liquidity, dwindling disposable incomes and a crippling shortage of electricity which has seen households and industry go for up to 18 hours a day without power.
- COMPLIANCE TO LEGISLATION
- The legal requirements underpinning the preparation and presentation of this statement to the august House are provided for in Section 7 (2) (a) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) which requires the Minister responsible for finance to “provide full and transparent accounts, from time to time and not less than annually to Parliament, indicating the current and projected State of the Economy, the Public Resources of Zimbabwe and the Fiscal Policy of the
- COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS AND
- Credibility of projections in the Budget Review
- The Committee feels vindicated after raising concerns with the initial 2019 budget overall growth projection of 3.1 % amid glaring challenges the economy was facing such as foreign currency supply and allocation inefficiencies, exchange rate misalignment, inflationary pressures, Elnino forecast and reduced aggregate demand. The revised growth projection of -2.1 % is a drift closer to reality although it is worrisome in the context of Sub Saharan Africa’s revised growth projection of 3.4%.
- The Committee is concerned with inflation projections in the absence of a robust production stimulus. As the Committee rightfully pointed out in its 2019 budget report, foreign currency shortages, revision of excise duty on fuel and payment of duty in forex for selected goods are also expected to drive inflationary pressures. The Committee is also of the view that while it is very noble to rebase inflation, economic agents between now and February 2020 will resort to unofficial Year on Year (YOY) inflation figures from the likes of the Old Mutual Implied Rate and Prof Hanke which may cause alarm and despondency just like what the black market did to the USD in the absence of a transparent market. The Committee recommends ZIMSTAT to continue publishing YOY inflation using the 2009 base and switch to the new base in February 2020 in order to manage inflation perceptions.
- Currency issues
- The Committee commends the Minister for providing clarity on the currency framework in light of Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019 and after promulgation of new exemptions to the policy which sent wrong signals in the market. There is however need for clarity on the fees and charges on services provided to foreign registered businesses especially haulage trucks transiting through Zimbabwe.
- Budget Information
- The Committee calls upon Treasury to work towards improving budget information. The debt information provided on paragraphs 26 to 36 and on Annex 11 is not as detailed as provided for in Section 300 (4) of the Constitution which mandates the Minister to: (a) at least twice a year, report to Parliament on the performance of—
- loans raised by the State; and
- loans guaranteed by the State;
(b) at the same time as the estimates of revenue and expenditure are laid before the National Assembly in terms of section 305, table in Parliament a comprehensive statement of the public debt of Zimbabwe.
In view of this, the Committee requests the Minister to bring a detailed statement on debt to the House.
3.3.2 The Committee is concerned on how the budget will be financed, the efficacy of the revenue projections of $14.06 billion and the effects of a domestic financing of $5,8 billion of the gap. The concern arises from the realisation that companies are severely affected by the operating environment especially power which has the bearing on the corporate tax and ability to pay salaries on time. Depressed aggregate demand also has a bearing on VAT, PAYE and Customs Duty.
3.3.3 The Committee is of the opinion that it is immoral for the Minister to claim a budget surplus in the first half of the year when service delivery is not as envisaged in TSP under social protection cluster and when Government departments are accumulating huge arrears due to non-release of funds.
3.3.4 The Committee is concerned with the comparisons made to $US and ZWD figures which have an impression of an impressive performance of the financial sector (Paragraph 57). It is for the same reasons of incomparability of ZWD and USD that the Ministry has rebased inflation.
3.3.5 The 2019 Budget provided for ZWL$1.017 billion for goods and services. Taking into account inflation and exchange rate developments in the economy, a supplementary budget of ZWL$2.8 billion is being proposed, covering requirements for all ministries through their respective Votes. Of concern however is the uneven distribution of the resources as shown on Annex 1.
3.3.6 The Committee commends the Minister for setting aside funds to support agriculture well in time before the season starts. With regards to extension of Command Agriculture, it is important for Government to abide by its undertaking that selection of beneficiary farmers and suppliers will be done in a transparent manner and targets farmers with a good track record of honouring obligations.
3.3.7 The Committee commends Government for finally allowing royalty to be deductible as a tax expense in line with best practice, taking into account that royalties are a direct and significant cost of production and the need to maintain the viability of the mining sector which has become the “goose that lay the golden egg”. This issue has been raised since 2014. According to Ernest and Young Study (2015), countries such as Mozambique, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Tanzania have more than doubled their Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the mining sector after adopting low and stable mining royalty regimes.
3.3.8 The Committee commends Government for introducing public auction of TBs which the Committee has been advocating. Private placements where Government directly engaged private investors to take up Treasury Bills to raise funds has got disadvantages of being inflationary, increases bank debt and that system does not guarantee a defined yield gap.
3.4 Parliament Allocation
3.4.1The Committee is concerned with the inadequate supplementary allocations of goods and services under the Parliament Vote as indicated in the Annex 1.
3.4.2 The Committee recommends that Parliament administers and manages its own budget with resources released at least quarterly rather than the current situation where Parliament is made to queue for funds together with all other Government departments. Untimely release of funds has made Parliament to accumulate huge outstanding payment arrears to service providers who are now shunning Parliament. This has put a serious dent on the dignity of Parliamentarians who are now shunned by hotels and other service providers. As a custodian of constitutional democracy, Parliament needs adequate resources to carry out its mandate consistent with Section 325 (b) of the Constitution and there should be no negotiation on that regard. Moreover, the concept of separation of powers entails that funding of Parliament should be a separate process to the main budget and Parliament, and as one of the three arms of the State must manage its own funds.
3.4.3 The Committee feels that by allowing Parliament to manage its own budget, a win-win situation will be created as this will enable
Administration of Parliament to implement a wholesome package where Members are given a monthly stipend and allowed to manage their own affairs. This will be in contrast to the current situation where millions are blown every week in accommodation and related expenses during
Parliament sitting days. Expenditure on salaries and allowances on MPs compared to expenditure on accommodation casts a dark cloud on austerity intention.
3.5 Allocation to the Ministry of Finance and Economic
3.5.1 The Committee is concerned with the 7291% increase in allocation to the unallocated reserve of the Ministry of Finance from ZW$12.6 m to ZW$929 m. This is on the back of overruns in the unallocated reserve in the first quarter (ZW$210.4 million against a budget of ZW$12.6 m) and this was the case in 2018. Ideally, the Unallocated Reserve should meet unexpected expenditure by ministries and departments like Cyclone Idai. Otherwise under normal situation, ministries should budget all their financial requirements and make draw downs on their budget lines.
3.6 Other recommendations
3.6.1 The Ministry should provide clarity on the allocation of import permits for the ring-fenced importation of 100 000 commercial tyres at a lower duty rate of 15% for a period of twelve months, else it becomes a conduit of corruption. The Committee is of the view that importation should just be open while Government makes strides to support the local manufacturer to resume production. Reduction of duty of commercial tyres and reduction of customs duty on the raw materials used in the manufacture of motor vehicle filters will have negligible impact on the cost to consumers and vehicle owners.
3.6.2 The Committee recommends reduction of excise duty on fuel so as to push transport costs down. The effect will be felt by all consumers and produces including commuters.
3.6.3 The Committee is recommending that the Minister makes specific pronouncement around streamlining of mining fees and charges. This has been recommended over the years with no action on the ground. Merely calling upon the Mining Sector Cluster on the Ease of Doing Business Initiative to finalise and implement agreed positions relating to streamlining fees and charges levied on mining operations is not good enough without strict deadlines.
3.6.4 The Committee recommends that Government reviews fees, levies and charges for its services including Government housing, registration of mining claims and motor vehicles, acquisition of driving licence, import licences and passport fees, among others be expedited as and when necessary rather than wait for the budget or budget review. This is also the case with power tariff. In an inflationary environment, delayed review of these charges results in suboptimal fees, charges and tariffs whose cost is borne by the taxpayer. Section 78 of the PFMA empowers Treasury to prescribe or issue instructions or directions to ministries, whether individually or collectively on such matters.
3.6.5 The Committee recommends a further upward review of the tax free threshold to ZW$1000 given the need to stimulate demand. This is also consistent with the justification given in paragraphs 340-343 on the need to revise charges in line with market developments and exchange rate. All the charges, levies and fees were increased by at least
500%, hence the need to adjust tax free threshold by at least 185% to
ZW$1000. This is justifiable by looking at the Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) for an average of five persons per household which stood at $873.00 in March 2019, according to ZIMSTAT. Taxing the already below poverty line income of ZW$700 is pushing the worker further into poverty.
3.6.6 In the same vein, the Committee feels the ZW$1.506 billion additional funds set aside for employment costs is grossly inadequate to compensate the loyal Government employees. This represents a mere 37.19% increase from ZW$4.050 billion to ZW$5.556 billion. This is a sharp contrast to inflation which was last reported at 175.66% in June
2019 and service charges which went up by 500%.
3.6.7 The Ministry should provide an update on how it is implementing Auditor General recommendations relating to direct payments and inconsistencies between the Public Finance Management System (PFMS) and sub Paymaster General (SubPMG) account.
3.6.8 Government must prioritise establishment of a Commodities Exchange for marketing of agricultural goods which has been on the cards since 2010. As such, Parliament should get quarterly reports on the matter. The Committee recommends building on efforts that have already been done in this regard including several study visits, registration of a private company Commodity Exchange in Zimbabwe (COMEZ) on 8 June 2010 which culminated in the release of seed capital of US$1million in 2013.
Zimbabwe has never been short of good economic policies but the only set back has been the lack of implementation and policy inconsistencies. Implementation, compliance and unity of purpose are key to achieving the budget objectives. The Committee therefore recommends the House to approve this supplementary budget subject to incorporation of these and other recommendations from Parliament.
I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to seek clarity from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development on Vote 2 – Parliament on 1C, on page 10. Hon. Members pay attention to this one because it talks to you.
If you go to 1C on capital transfers and you go to the column revised estimate right at the bottom, if you look at the vehicle loan scheme, original estimate was $21 000 and the revised estimate for 2019 is $81 million. If you then divide that with the interbank, you get $9 million and if you divide 350 into $9 million, it means that each Member of Parliament will get US$25 000 for a car. This is what the Blue Book says and you must now understand why they were keeping it away. Do your Mathematics.
So, does it mean that we are going to get cars worth $25 000, which is a pick-up truck? So, clarity is sought in that regard. This is the Blue Book. Members do your figures with your calculator and if you pass this budget, you are getting $25 000 for a car. I am done. Thank you and clarity is sought.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, your point of order
has been noted. The Minister will respond to it later.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for affording me this opportunity to ventilate my ideas on the Supplementary Budget.
May I want to applaud the Minister for the Supplementary Budget – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – [AN HON. MEMBER:
Ash, butsu dzakabooka] -
Mr. Speaker Sir, may I ask the Hon. Member who said bhutsu dzakabooka to apologise. I think it is Hon. Dorcas Sibanda. She should withdraw her statement. Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Dorcas Sibanda said bhutsu dzakabooka and can she withdraw that statement?
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Sibanda can you withdraw that
statement if you have said so. May you withdraw please for the sake of progress?
HON. D. SIBANDA: Mr. Speaker Sir, did you hear me saying
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Please can you withdraw? Can you do the honourable thing? May you just do the honourable thing and withdraw? Do you want to be guided? Hon. Members, do not mislead – we have Hansard here who are actually recording. Now, if you are saying that she did not say so and if we check with the Hansard and it is actually seen, that will be contempt of Parliament. Why would you want to do that – why? Hon. Sibanda, please withdraw.
HON. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker Sir, with all due respect, I really do not feel comfortable with the Hon. Member demanding me to apologise to him – for what Mr. Speaker? If I say bhutsu dzakabooka ndakagara kuno, ndiri kutaura bhutsu yake here? Why did he quickly feel that I am talking about his shoe? Bhutsu dzakabooka dzakawanda. Why did he quickly think that I am talking of his shoes? Why should he bring shoes dzakabooka kuParliament?
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Okay Hon. Sibanda, you are saying
you did not say that statement. Are you saying so?
HON. D. SIBANDA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I am standing up because you have given me the space. Can you ask him to sit down – sit down?
I withdraw my statement Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you very much.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for protecting me,
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Agreed. May you resume your
HON. T. MOYO: First and foremost Hon. Speaker, may I take this opportunity to applaud the Hon. Minister for the supplementary budget. Of particular importance and something that is very indispensable is the issue of vulnerable households in our society. I want to applaud the Hon. Minister for coming up with a proper supplementary budget to cushion rural household families who are so impoverished. It is important to commend the Minister for putting in place RTGS$447m which is going to target vulnerable households. Of particular importance are the peasants who are staying or living in our rural areas, RTGS$437 million will go a long way in the purchase of grain especially maize, sorghum, pearl millet, sugar, soya beans, Compound D and Ammonium Nitrate.
It is very important and crucial at this particular point given the time of the year. We are now in August and we are left with about two months before the onset of the rain season. So, this amount is very important and invaluable as it is going to eradicate poverty in our communities. On the aspect of the supplementary budget – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Please lower your voices.
HON. T. MOYO: Another aspect of the budget which is also very important is the allocation of RTGS$230million which is targeted towards cotton producers. The area which is envisaged, where cotton will be cultivated, is about 200 thousand hectares. This RTGS$230 million will alleviate particularly those small scale farmers, those who are in rural areas like in my constituency, Gokwe. Chireya where you find out that there are hard working farmers there. What they need are Presidential inputs; in this case, the farmers are going to be availed with seed, fertilisers, pesticides and so forth. That will going to go a long way in trying to capacitate those farmers so that they produce enough for their sustenance.
Another aspect of the supplementary budget which I also want to comment on is the RTGS$630 million which has been budgeted for in terms of importation of grain. I am sure it is very important that the GMB is going to be the sole buyer of grain. So, in this case, we are saying if we allocate RTGS$630 million, it means no one in Zimbabwe is going to die of hunger. These are mitigatory measures to counter the effects and scourge of drought which is also very important, particularly the issue of importation.
Another important point which I need also to highlight is the fact that the Government has also availed enough money to buy grain from local farmers; it is not every one who did not get adequate grain. We have some farmers who managed to produce grain and we have realised that the Government has gone a step further to increase the producer price of grain from RTGS$700 to RTGS$2100 and we need to applaud the Government for a job well done.
Other aspects which I also need to note include the welfare of civil servants. This is a very crucial matter which we also need to applaud and to critique the supplementary budget. I need to recognise the fact that RTGS$63 million was paid to employees in the month of April, RTGS$400 million was also budgeted for the payment of civil servants and also once off cushioning allowance in July which translated to RTGS$400 per individual.
Hon. Speaker Sir, if the truth is to be said, we need to invite the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development to revise and to allow salaries of the workers so that the workers’ salaries should be in line with the interbank rate. It should be above the rate of inflation. Most of the civil servants are police officers, teachers, some of the teachers are highly qualified and if we are going to calculate what they are earning per month, it is equivalent to US$100. In this regard, I want to call upon the Minister of Finance to address this issue because it is an issue which needs urgent attention.
I heard there is going to be bonus in November but bonus of nothing is nothing – [HON. MEMBERS: Ndopawagonawo ipapa.] - In our universities, lecturers are earning around RTGS$3000, a salary which they used to earn in 2015/16. If we are going to calculate how much they are earning per month, it is equivalent to US$300, something that does not give dignity to our Government employees. Finally Mr. Speaker, there are many aspects of the supplementary budget which can be commendable and others that can be criticised. I want to thank you for the opportunity that you have afforded me.
HON. BITI: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir, for allowing me to contribute to the supplementary budget brought by the esteemed Minister of Finance on 1st August 2019, a very significant date in the country’s history. Hon. Speaker Sir, the country is reeling under the weight of crippling multiple challenges that include the challenge of macro-economic instability, that include interest rates that are so high but still below the rate of inflation; challenges that include the ugly return of hyper-inflation. Inflation now as I am talking to you Hon. Speaker, stands around 560 percent and challenges that include crippling power shortages, shortages that are lasting 18 hours a day, in some cases 24 hour power shortages, something that is unprecedented in the 100 or so history of modern Zimbabwe from 1888.
The majority of our people Hon. Speaker Sir, are wallowing in poverty, 79% of our people are living below the poverty datum line surviving on less than US$0.35. Hon. Speaker Sir, the supplementary budget therefore has an obligation to provide a campus to provide leadership, to provide direction in the face of the existence of these multiple challenges. I want to say Hon. Speaker, that one of the key challenges that is now facing Zimbabwe more than ever is the challenge of corruption. Corruption has become so accentuate – [AN HON.
MEMBER: Hear, hear.] – corruption has become so accelerated. Billions and billions of dollars Hon. Speaker Sir, are being lost unlike in the past where the chief infrastructures of corruption were found in the private sector in multi-national corporations, illicit financial flows. The recent character and the recent face of corruption is corruption that is taking place through Central Government itself, corruption that is being channeled through the Ministry of Finance itself and this is a huge challenge that is affecting our country.
Now, when you measure the Supplementary Budget that was read out by the esteemed Minister of Finance on the 1st of August, 2019, visa-vis these challenges, with great respect you find the budget falling short being dwarfed not being equal to the challenges that we are facing. Not only that, the budget itself is a big fraud, it is an entire statement of misrepresentation of the true state of the economic affairs of our country.
I will start by the claim that we are in fact increasing the budget by ZWL$10 billion. Infact, the budget speaks of anticipated revenue of 14 billion dollars, expenditure of ZWL18 billion. Many of us will sit here and think that we are actually increasing the budget; I actually submit that we are contracting the budget. Our budget in 2019 that we
approved in this august House on the 21st of December, 2019 in the early hours was a budget expressed in USD$6 billion. Now, when you now approve a budget that is now ZWL$14 billion and when the black market rate is 1:10, it means you have reduced USD6 billion to 1,4 billion dollars. So, we are in fact shrinking the cake which is regrettable.
When you pronounce a budget, you are providing economic indicators for planners and one of the key figures you must give is the figure for GDP, is the figure for growth rate. This is the first budget in the history of budgets that actually skirts the issue of GDP growth rate. I want to refer to paragraph 68, page 25 of the Budget Statement. On that point, I also want to place on record our complaint that when the Budget Statement was read out on the 1st August, 2019, it was not made available to Members on 2nd August, 2019 and we have only been given this budget a few minutes ago in this august Chamber. The practice is that once it is laid before the table, it must be available in our pigeon holes or at least in the Papers Office in the first floor – it was not available. That is not good governance and that is not good hygiene.
However, paragraph 68, page 25, it says, “in view of headwinds, the revised 2019 GDP growth is expected to be negative and even below the -2% projected under the SMP. Treasury will, therefore, keep tracking key developments in the economy with a view of making appropriate adjustments to sectoral growth profiles”.
Hon. Speaker Sir, it is not good enough to say ah! It will be below -2%. This statement must define the figure - what is the figure of the growth rate for 2019 because every planner wants it. The reason why the esteemed Minister did not pin this figure is because it is frightening. In its April Regional Economic Outlook, the IMF projected that our growth rate in 2019 will be -5, 5%. I would like to submit with great respect that our growth rate will be at least -8,5% due to a number of issues including Cyclone Idai, the crippling drought that has affected our country when it is in fact an agricultural based economy. So, you cannot produce and present a Mid Year Statement without the growth rate, without also the growth rate of the half year ending January to June 2019. If you are not going to present the growth rate for the half year ending, there is no point in coming to this august House because the growth rate is the fundamental figure in economic planning.
Another myth is the much hyped myth about the surplus. The Minister speaks of a surplus of 800 million. Hon. Speaker Sir, with great respect it is a misnoma, an error, a wrong, an omission to speak of a surplus and to boost of a surplus when you are using cash account in the context of expenses and expenditure that accrues. So, unless we graduate to accrual accounting, it is not possible in the middle of a year or in the quarter of a year to speak about a surplus when you are using cash account.
Hon. Speaker, when you are repressing allocations and disbursements to ministries and ministries are starving; there are no drugs in hospitals, there are no textbooks in schools and there are massive deficits in virtually every Ministry, you cannot boost of a surplus when you have kept the tap closed and you are not distributing even the Statutory allocations that you pronounced in your budget.
However, more importantly Hon. Speaker, we know that the surplus is a myth because the Supplementary Budget itself provides for anticipated revenue of ZWL$14 billion and expenditure of 18 billion dollars. So, the budget itself is budgeting for a deficit of 4 billion dollars which is at least 4% of the total budget. So, there is in fact no surplus to talk about.
I want to go even to expenditure. You will see that in the half year ending June 2018, the total expenditure was 4,2 billion dollars but if you go to the original budget as of June 2019, the actual expenditure should have been 3.8. So the Minister who is talking about a surplus and austerity in fact exceeded his expenditure limit by at least 15% being the difference between 3,8 billion and 4,2 billion dollars. So it is as smokescreen budget marinated in this language but obfuscating and hiding the serious flows in the Budget Statement as a technical document but more importantly hiding the structural flows that are affecting our economy.
The third issue I want to speak about which is very disconcerting is the unlawful and unconstitutional devaluation that the Minister has impacted on this economy. You know Hon. Speaker, that in the last five years, this economy has been sustained by Treasury Bills. These Treasury Bills were issued in USD currency and are therefore USD paper. They constitute the bulk of our country’s domestic debt. In one sweep, the Minister has converted the USD9 billion Treasury Bills to ZWL$9 billion. This is a breach of Section 71 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Section 71 protects the right to protect the right to property and the right against appropriation. I want to make reference in particular to paragraph 34, page 14 of the Budget Statement where the
Minister or officials write as follows; “Consequently, adherence to sound fiscal and monetary policy reforms allowed containment of domestic debt stock which stood at ZWL$8.8 billion as at the end of
June 2019 down from ZWL $9.5 billion as at 3 December 2018.”
The Treasury Bills were never indexed in Zimbabwean dollar. The
Zimbabwean dollar did not exist until the 20th of February 2019 when
the Statutory Instrument 33 of 2019 was enacted. You cannot devalue the entire stock of domestic debt and suddenly index it in the Zimbabwean dollar. It is illegal, unconstitutional and it will have serious ramifications to the economy.
Another myth is the myth by the Minister contained on page 15 paragraphs 37 to 41 of the Budget Statement. The Minister says; “the current account for the first time since the adoption of the multi-currency regime in 2009 registered a surplus in the first quarter of 2019.
A surplus of US$196 million was registered in the first quarter of
2019 compared to a deficit of US$491 million for the same period in 2018 constituting a major improvement in the current account.”
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, may I remind you that you are remaining with five minutes.
HON. BITI: I will be very quick Mr. Speaker. It is not possible to talk of a current account surplus in Zimbabwe when our GDP has shrunk by more than minus 8%. It is not possible to talk of a current account surplus when the economy is not producing; when you go to every supermarket in Zimbabwe whether it is TM or OK Bazaar and find that 60-80% of the goods are imported. It is not possible to speak of a current account surplus when we spend over US$1.5 billion of real money importing fuel when we require at least US$40 million per month to import electricity. You cannot speak of a tiny surplus created by demand suppression methods and difficulties in getting foreign currency and you boast of foreign currency.
I want to say to the Hon. Minister of Finance, do not be concerned with lipstick, mascara and foundation. Do not be concerned about figures. Let the economy itself speak truthfully – what is the proper GDP growth rate? Another lip stick issue is; it is unprecedented in the history of economics and I am not an economist – I am just a poor lawyer but it is unprecedented in the history of economics that a Minister of Finance, a whole educated Professor can suppress inflation figures. It is not possible.
The Minister does not have power to issue a directive in terms of the Statistical Act of directing the Zimbabwe Statistical Offices (ZIMSTATS) to suspend inflation figures but more importantly from a good governance point of view, it is improper for the Minister to suspend inflation figures. What are you trying to hide? Let the economic figures speak. Disclose GDP, inflation rates and proper debt figures.
On the issue of debt, only last week this august House adopted a report by the Public Accounts Committee on serious non compliance issues at the Ministry of Finance. One of the issues we raised was that the Minister of Finance was not bringing before this august House consolidated figures of overall debt twice a year as is required by Section 300 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. We note with regret that practice is continuing. I associate myself with the remarks of the esteemed Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, Hon. Mhona that it is not good enough. The Minister of Finance must comply with Section 300 of the Constitution and supply a proper schedule of all the debt that is contracted in the name of Zimbabwe.
This is a big issue because we know that the Reserve Bank is busy contracting debt. Two years ago, this august House was forced to pass an RBZ Debt Assumption Bill of US$1.5 billion. I want to assure Hon.
Members that unless we stamp our feet and our ground, the next Debt
Assumption Bill from the RBZ will be bigger than US$1.5 billion. Hon.
Minister Sir, please comply with Section 300 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, your time is up.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Hon. Biti’s
time be extended.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: I second.
HON. BITI: I want to move to solutions but there is one governance issue that concerns me. The Ministry of Finance seeks to allocate to itself in an unallocated reserve the sum of $1 192 384 000. Hon. Speaker, this is bad governance. The House must approve every cent in the Blue Book. When the Ministry of Finance becomes at the fore front of mafia and bad governance – it is not acceptable. The Minister must disaggregate this $1.9 billion and then distribute it to the respective ministries and not to hide zvikwambo nezvisenga imo mu $1.9
I want to move to solutions. I want to say to the esteemed Minister of Finance that this economy will not move without attending to structural reforms both political and economics. We are wasting our time Hon. Speaker, if we ignore the challenge of legitimacy and the fundamental fact that there has to be dialogue in this country.
Secondly, the Hon. Minister must attend to the structural issue of ghost workers. The wage bill is – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Hon. Speaker Sir, the wage bill is – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - The wage bill is consuming about 85% of the resources. The Government must have the courage and decency of addressing the wage bill.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Biti. There is a point of
*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. When
discussing issues to do with legality and legitimacy of a Government, like the Hon. Member rightly said, the budget of a Government that he does not support – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order.
HON. BITI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Hon. Speaker Sir, I want to say to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development that the move to dedollarise the economy was a disaster, a tsunami and I want to submit, Hon. Speaker, that the Hon. Minister must repeal Statutory
Instrument 142 of 2019 and immediately redollarise the country. Without redollarising the country, Hon. Speaker, we are going nowhere in the short term, so I submit.
The fourth thing, Hon. Speaker, we need an urgent resolution on the Zimbabwe debt crisis. The country cannot move with a crippling debt of US$17 billion or US$18 billion. Since October 2015, the Government has been doddering with the Lima process. Lima is dead, it must be buried at Warren Hills. The IMF is wasting time with us. We need to carry out serious structural reforms so that this country can move forward, but as I said at the beginning, without political reforms we are wasting our time. I thank you very much Hon. Speaker.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I have a few things that I have in support of the supplementary budget before us. Firstly, I want to dwell on the issue that the Minister mentioned. It is the issue on people with disability. I want to thank the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for reinstating the duty free for those people with disability in terms of availing duty free cars for them. In the event of death, the person who takes it over used to pay duty, but now they have said that if such an event occurs, the person cannot pay duty.
What I want to say, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, is that people with disabilities are varied. There are people who are blind, there are some who are physically handicapped, but we also have war veterans. The war veterans themselves are not able to walk, whether they have two legs. They are people with disability because when they used to move during the war, they never used to use vehicles.
For you to be there, Hon. Minister, it is because of the sacrifice by the liberation war veterans. Some of us lost our sense of hearing, some are blind and some do not have legs at all. We should take a leaf from America which has the War Veterans Association for World War II. In Namibia they have the War Veteran’s Social Service.
The war veterans should be allowed to buy vehicles. Nothing has been done to improve the lives of the war veterans. It would be good if they could be enabled to buy cars duty free. As Members of Parliament, we represent people and we have been told that we should get vehicles that are duty free for five years.
HON. MAYIHLOME: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker Sir. The Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services just conducted public hearings on the same issue that the Hon. Member is talking about and it is covered in the report that we are yet to present – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- He is a member of the Committee.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, order please.
HON. MAYIHLOME: He is a member of that Committee and he cannot preempt our report here. Yes, Hon. Chinotimba is a member of the Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services. He cannot preempt our Committee report; no we cannot allow it – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members please.
May I ask Hon. Chinotimba to approach ddress the Chair.
Hon.Chinotimba approached the Chair.
I want to make a ruling. May the Hon. Member, the Chairperson, allow the Hon. Member – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
Order please! – [AN HON. MEMBER: Ngavabvumidzwe kutaura.]- Order please! Hon. Members order! May the Hon. Member allow Hon.
Chinotimba to proceed because this is a budgetary issue – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am debating the budget. I am not debating the report of which if we do not debate the budget on the war veterans now, we will only be able to see the budget next year. So I am debating the budget that should be implemented in the mid-year plan. Mr. Speaker, the Budget that is talking of people with disability, I am saying all the war veterans are living with disability, no matter who. They are all disabled. They used to walk on foot but some of them no longer have limbs and are having challenges with their joints. I want the Minister of Finance to include it in his Mid-Year Budget that the war veterans should be allowed to buy vehicles duty free. All Members in this august House will be getting duty free vehicles but war veterans are not allowed to get duty free vehicles. I think even ten years for a duty free vehicle is okay. War veterans in America, Namibia, South Africa, when the Minister of
Finance in those countries are presenting the Budget, they advocate that war veterans should get certain priorities. I want to say that on the section of people with disability, the Minister should include war veterans so that they are able to buy vehicles of their choice duty free for ten years or more once in a blue moon because the war veterans are suffering.
On the issue of command agriculture, Mr. Speaker Sir, the Minister allocated a figure – let me tell you Mr. Speaker, there is no diesel. You have allocated maybe $10 billion but there is no diesel. We do not know where the diesel will come from for people to engage in agriculture. For all of us to be here in this House, it is because of food but if we do not have diesel and without specific filling stations for farmers, we are not going anywhere. If you are to go to PUMA, there is no diesel. The MPs have their coupons in their pockets because the diesel is not available. What we are saying is, yes, you increased the Budget allocation towards command agriculture or farming but where will this be drawn from. The Government and the Ministry of Finance should set aside filling stations for farmers.
Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, we want to talk about civil servants.
Minister, we have an event that happened when we removed the United States Dollar converting to the mono currency system that we have. We did not address the issue of salaries of our workers. The workers’ salaries were left at the rate of 1:1 yet the money was from US$1 to Z$3.50. We did not convert it to the equivalent of the $3.50 that was at the interbank rate. Mr. Speaker, I am saying this because we are also representatives of the workers. The workers are not getting any money. It is not sufficient for them. It should have been equated to the interbank rate. The issue at hand Mr. Speaker is that diesel prices are going up, the bus fares are also going up and the worker is still on US$1 to
Z$1when he is now paying a fare of $5 from Glen View to come here. To come from my home area Birchenough to Harare, they are now paying $70 and the worker who is earning $300 cannot visit his home area.
We are saying, in this Supplementary Budget, the Minister should have cushioned the civil servants and increased the salaries. In fact, the money that was increased by the Ministry of Finance should have gone to the Ministry of Public Service so that the workers could get adequate salaries. As I speak here Mr. Speaker, I am saying the money that was put towards Ministry of Public Service should be increased because that is where the civil servants are and that is where everyone is represented.
For the Government to get money, the civil servants look for the money. The moment we do not pay them adequate salaries, it means there is going to be an increase in corruption. What are they going to do at the end of the day in order to fend for themselves? I want to thank the Minister of Finance for increasing the Budget for people living with disability by $700 thousand; those whom you said will be availed food in both the rural and urban areas. The $700 thousand is a bit low. I think the figure should increase because Zimbabwe has about 14 million to 16 million people right now. There are more than 700 thousand people living in poverty in rural areas. I think that figure should be increased to more than $1 million to ensure that people in rural areas gets food and are secure. I thank you.
The Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development having left the Chamber.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to debate on this – [HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order please. The Minister has had an engagement of just 40 minutes right now. He has left his officials. He is coming back. Can we proceed?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. I am of the view that why can we not suspend the debate for the 40 minutes that the Hon. Minister is out of the House and we resume when the Hon. Minister returns. I think an issue like the Supplementary Budget debate is critical, important and it is important that the Minister be hearing viva voce as members deliberate on it. We cannot say that the Minister should rely on a record. Remember, the record we do not get time to correct it before it gets published. As a result, I propose that the debate be adjourned until the Minister comes back.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Can I make a ruling on that. I
am satisfied that the Ministry officials that he has left here and the report that is going to come out is sufficient for the Minister. He is coming back – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. SIKHALA: The way our Ministers are handling business in this House leaves a lot to be desired. When Members are trying to give their input especially on an important subject like this Supplementary Budget, the Minister himself who will be answerable to many issues which the Hon. Members will raise must be present for him to record those details. You cannot tell us about the availability of his technical staff as if they would be able to come and answer us here. The person who will answer the concerns raised by the Hon. Members of Parliament is the Minister himself. Why for the first time; I have seen the attitude of this same Minister. That is why Hon. Chinotimba told him that
‘Minister, we fought this war, you do not respect war veterans and why are you not putting them’. He was trying to educate his thick head that he must respect Members of Parliament here. We cannot continue with the debate in his absence so that the things we want to raise here we will get an answer from him not from his technical staff. So as suggested by Hon. P.D. Sibanda, we move for the adjournment of this debate until the
Minister has come. This is the motion that we have moved here Hon.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I want to proceed to say there
is no need for the Minister to be always here when you are debating. Those who want to debate, may you continue to debate. Those who want to listen to the Minister, you can wait but I am sure the Minister is coming – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Can we proceed. Order please! The Chair is appraised that the Minister is coming back. Those who want to debate when the Minister is here cant wait and those who want to debate can debate – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] – Can we proceed, Hon. Mliswa.
HON. CHIKWINYA: A motion without motion has been moved and seconded and you have not yet called for any objections and therefore, that motion must sustain or else if you want any objections you must seek for objections. If there are objections, then you divide the House because a motion without notice has been moved. We are only being procedural. There are no objections and therefore, the motion as seconded must sustain.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members. May I respond to the purported motion – [HON. SIKHALA: Withdraw
‘purported’] – Hon. Sikhala, because I did not hear it myself, this is why I am saying it is purported because I did not respond to it. Right, this is the Minister’s motion and no one according to the statutes can propose that this motion be suspended unless if the Minister does so. So, we cannot wait for the Minister to come and if you want to debate in the presence of the Minister, please reserve your debate.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for affording me this opportunity. Mr. Speaker Sir, let me begin by talking about the economic problems of this country. The economic problems of this country emanate from a liquidity problem and I want to further explain so that this House can appreciate what I am talking about. Liquidity is like blood in somebody’s body and when your body does not have enough blood you become anaemic. When you become anaemic, it affects the lungs, liver and many organs of the body because there is no blood. So, the problem is liquidity. There is no cash in the country.
There is no money in the country.
Second Mr. Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe is a country which is so rich but has no cash and let me explain this. You have Mr. White who has got shares in the Stock Exchange which are worth $20 million. They are in the form of cheques, they are in his pocket. You also have Mr. Brown who has $10 cash and you have a scenario where they both want to jump onto a tax and the tax driver requires $5. Mr. White has got $20 billion worth of cheques in his pocket and Mr. Brown has got $10 cash. Who will get that tax? Is it Mr. White with $20 billion cheques in his pocket or Mr. Brown with $10 in his pocket? It is Mr. Brown with $10 in his pocket because the tax is $5.
I want to further qualify this by saying, we talk about a deficit but then with that deficit you also talk about a surplus. Before you even factor in that deficit, how can you talk about a surplus. You owe the bank $50 million and you are overdrawn. Then you do not take the money to the bank but you keep telling people I have $20 million. You owe $50 million which is overdrawn and you have $20 million which you have not taken to the bank because you know if it goes to the bank it will be $30 million. But you then say you have a surplus because of the $20 million. That is basically what this surplus is about without considering the money that is owed. We are constantly sugar coating the deficit and because of that, the Minister with due respect had been given an opportunity to take cognisance of his predecessors who had problems and say clearly to the country that; I am taking this office on a background of so many things which were not a result of my doing but I will correct these things first before we move forward?
We talk about the IMF and when Dr Gono was still in office we dealt with IMF and he paid them money but nothing happened. Hon. Biti mentioned the IMF issue that we are constantly being played around with. IMF said reforms – cut down the workers and cut down everything. We are on a mission to do that but there is no money that comes in. There are delegations that are coming into Zimbabwe all the time and when they finish their work they go to Victoria Falls and then they go. How can you have one organisation giving you the same conditions yet they do not take into consideration the IMF money which was paid before. New money must be paid. So, for as long as we are constantly voting for the budget in this House where first of all it is 1:1 and we all know that the budget that we passed was in US dollars and suddenly we then have a surplus.
Let me move to Vote No 2, which is the welfare of
Parliamentarians. I want to talk about what I know best. We passed a budget but only 17% of what we passed has been given to Parliament. So, he needs more money. This is Parliament which is supposed to be one of the three arms of the State which is responsible for legislation, oversight and representation. These issues must be dealt with and we must be seen to be working hard. We have been accused of many things by so many people because of lack of understanding of our remuneration. I said that it is about time that the people of Zimbabwe know how much a Member of Parliament is paid, his/her medical aid, the coupons that they get, is there money, fuel or no fuel. We talk about staying in these hotels.
This Government is the most hypocritical government where it allows us to stay in hotels but it is not prepared to give us the money it pays to hotels to find ourselves somewhere to stay. If we talk of austerity measures, we must move out of those hotels and be given an allowance a month of three thousand dollars for accommodation and food. These Members would be having mortgages and houses as a result of that. But this government is spending so much money staying in hotels but none of these Members want to stay in hotels. If you calculate the amount of money you spend in hotels, a day is US$200. The Meikles is paid in US dollars and he is paying in US dollars. He is prepared to pay Meikles in US dollars. I am not saying Meikles is bad because it is their line of doing business. You now have a situation where US$200 per week is one thousand bond. The next week another thousand and in a month that is four thousand dollars. You can rent a one bedroom apartment for $500 and spend $500 on food and the rest goes into other issues.
We have not been offered that as Members of Parliament. We have a situation where those staying in hotels are spending $200 per day and those who are not staying in hotels are getting $60 which is equivalent to US$6. So, what I am urging all Members of Parliament to do is to stay in hotels even if you stay in Harare because you will be getting US$6 per day. What is the point? He is talking about austerity measures and we are all telling him that here we do not want to stay in hotels but give us at least $3000 per month which is less by $1000. We are helping him because we are not a Parliament which is selfish. We are the first Parliament to offer the Government an avenue for austerity measures by saying the $4000 that you spend per month on us, give us
$3000. Hon. Members, are you not prepared for that? – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear] -
So, here people say to us the government expenditure has not decreased. The Ministers are still driving the VX that he is so bent on us not having. They are driving Mercedes Benz and they are still travelling around the world. What is the point of having those ambassadors in those countries? What is the role of the Minister of Foreign Affairs? The office of the Ambassador has an Economic Affairs person whose job is to lobby on behalf of government any business. So, they are there to do that. The Minister at that point signs the paperwork and they go back. The Minister of Foreign Affairs is there to move around with the President to do what they have to do. But we have these embassies which are not working.
Let us talk about this Blue Book budget here. We go to the Members of Parliament – we cannot continue to be treated like kids and to have issues. We are denied this Blue Book because they think we are going to see what he is talking about. We want to discuss this Blue book before us not any other Blue Book. For him to tell us that he has the other 20% in the Blue Book, we do not know it. We are discussing this one which is the reviewed book. The other Blue Book has no review because I know what he will say to the issues raised. The officials are here whom you said are representing him. Do not take us back to the old Blue Book because it is nothing. We want to talk about this one that he has revised. You are the ones who came up with the interbank rate as
Ministry of Finance but you apply it as and when you think you should. You collect duty at interbank rate but you pay people at your own rate that you want. How can you be a government that cheats so openly?
Who brought the interbank rate? It is not Members of Parliament but the Government. The only thing I am asking which is fair and square is, may everything be pro-rated to the interbank rate, that is it. It is up to them where they are going to get the money. We had 1:1 and people’s monies were stolen.
On RTGs, did we not have RTGs two years ago? So how can this one be so different from the other one? Maybe I am mistaken but six months ago we had an RTGs multicurrency. It was part of it. So, why is it so different from this one? It is because they play games with people’s nostro accounts. When they want to raise foreign currency immediately they now come up with a different thing. He talked about
‘like to like’. In what terms? There has been so much inconsistency in the money policies. There is no one, whoever put in this money for as long as there is inconsistency in the money policies – no one. They will tell you, how can I put in US dollars because I do not know what else you will do. They are even scared to put money even in bonds because they do not know what the next currency will be.
We are the only country that has destroyed every currency. We are only left with the pound. Which currency have we not traded in this country? The reason of going into multicurrency was to give us a leeway to recover. When resources are being mined there is production. There is no production happening and there are no resources. The Minister of Mines and Mining Development – I do not know when he was last here. His Ministry is critical in terms of the GDP. It is the quickest way to make money as these are the lower hanging fruits. The deals that have been signed by the Ministry of Mines and Mining
Development amount to $3.4 billion but this country cannot even take $10 million for ZESA yet we boasted on having investors who have signed a billion dollars. Where are we going, are we stupid? We cannot even get $10 million to pay for electricity.
You go to Vote 2 on the Constituency Development Fund, it is reviewed to 21 at interbank just that the officials cannot answer, I would have asked what is the rate at interbank so that they tell us. He introduced interbank sitting right there. You are the technocrats who are busy lying to the Minister too and he comes here. What is it that you are advising the Minister? What are these technocrats in the Ministry advising the Minister? We have technocrats who do not know what they are doing Mr. Speaker Sir, all that they are good in doing is travelling with the Minister and get allowances.
We need to have a situation where the interbank is effected. Talking about the Constituency Development Fund, it was US$50 000 for a term of five years. That $50 000, if you multiply with this, it is now $11 000.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Member, on a point of order
please – you have no right to address them.
HON. T. MLISWA: I am not addressing them. – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, order please. Can I proceed please? Hon. Members, order please, order please! What I am saying is that the rules do not allow you to address anybody besides the Chair.
So, even if there was a Minister, there was no right to address the Minister. Address the Chair!
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I am a professional and at no point would I address them. I am talking about technocrats. At no point, unless I am not allowed to use the word ‘technocrat’, then I withdraw. They are technocrats who advise the Minister and I do not even know their names – I am just looking at them but you are following my eyes and not listening to what I am saying.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Member, that is my job to make
sure that you address the Chair. If you address anybody else, I will rule you out of order please. Can you address me?
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I come to the CDF – it has now gone down.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: You have five minutes to go please.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, it has now gone down to $11 000 and all we are saying here on the Blue Book is that, can this figure be matched with the interbank rate – that is all. We are asking the Minister to deal with a currency that he has and not that he does not have. It is up to us and the suppliers to see what they will do with the interbank money. That is not his problem, let him give us at interbank because we are buying everything at interbank. So, we must equally be given that at interbank.
You have the cars which are talked about - $81 million. We did the Maths - at 9 it is US$25 000. Stories have been mentioned; we started at $80, we passed a budget at $80 because we are stupid, and because others are whipped and so forth, they take advantage of that and say no it is down. There is a tendency of using the name of the
President. The President, if he wants anything to be changed in Parliament deals with the Speaker. Let Ministers not use the name of the President where they want to advance their agendas. Some of us are allowed to go and see the President and ask because anybody has access to them to verify. He understands and respects this institution. He has never interfered in this institution but you have people saying no, we have been told this by the President. The Constitution is very clear. If the President wants to communicate to Parliament, he will reduce it in black and white. He will equally tell the Speaker. The Members of ZANU PF of which you are at the caucus, you heard what the President said about the cars while you might not have been happy but he said once Parliament decides, it decides. But then we hear the President having said this and that. We want to stick to what we agreed in this budget. That is all we want.
This $80 million must go at interbank. Let us give these car companies money at interbank and it is up to them to look for the foreign currency. This is all we are demanding at the end of the day. This is not only for us but I talk about every Zimbabwean civil servant that their moneys must go to interbank. You talk about a cushioning allowance – what is a cushioning allowance after seven months of not being paid and you are given a cushioning allowance for a week. We want their salaries to go by the interbank. That is all we are asking for – nothing less, nothing more - fair play because they introduced the interbank and said this is the currency of the day. No head was put to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to choose the RTGS but he brought it up himself.
What are austerity measures? Zimbabwe’s meaning of austerity measures means that you must suffer. A good doctor is the one that heals a patient who is in the ICU. I will repeat - a good doctor is the one that will cure a patient in ICU and not when they die. Austerity measures in this country means that everyone must die. All are in ICU – the civil servants, the war veterans, the Members of Parliament except the Executive which is not in ICU. So austerity measures about buying drugs too to get these people to survive. Obama did it in America when he had austerity measures on him, he pumped more money into industry and then industry started producing money and that money was used to revive everything. Who says austerity measures means that you must punish?
You need to pump money into industry so that we get more money at the end of the day and those are also austerity measures but we cannot have a situation where we talk about austerity measures which are not working. The TSP, Vision 2010 - does it not need to be reviewed? We had ZIM ASSET, 10-Point plan and we now have TSP and we move quietly without review What was the problem with ZIM ASSET? No one ever sat down to see what the problem was but we all knew it was implementation. It is a good model and the cake must grow big. I was foolish in that I also decided not to get a car because I wanted
Willowvale Motor Industry to do it in 2013. Not that I do not want a car but I believed in ZIM ASSET because it was going to now get cars manufactured here. I went to Willowvale Motor Industry to put an order and I never got the car. I lost a car because I believed in ZIM ASSET.
Then we went to the 10-Point plan, what came about it? Now, we have the TSP and we are talking about us being on course for the 2030
Vision instead of the Minister saying ...
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member, your time is
HON. MUSHORIWA: I move that the time be extended.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I second.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Hon. Members. I am indebted to you, as such I will move the agenda so that your welfare is taken care of.
Mr. Speaker Sir, you talk about TSP 2030, are we on course in 2030? We had Cyclone Idai and with like Cyclone Idai, it is an opportunity for you to say what we had budgeted for we can no longer meet because with had this accident; it was an opportune time. Because of that, we have to move back. We had a drought and if we have a drought again in 2019/2020 season, we are finished.
What am I saying? Hon. Chinotimba mentioned the point that we sit on coupons and there is no fuel. Hon. Chinotimba, that is better. We want to talk about agriculture and there is no energy. So lack of energy, the 18 ours we talk about, how much does that affect production? The technocrats in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development have done nothing to advise the Minister that as a result of the power shortages, the economy comes down and there can never be a surplus. The technocrats are misleading the Minister, they go to meetings noting down nothing. How can we say that the economy will grow when we have got Cyclone Idai, when we have a drought, when we have 18 hours of no power? The miners are not mining; gold production has gone down unless we are the only country which has some miracle whereby without electricity, we can still perform. Just this weekend, if you followed, I was with some spirit mediums that had come to Norton to do some rituals there which I respect because if in Rome I do what the Romans do.
They asked for the Member of Parliament to come and I took a video and they said this country, as long as you do not respect us, you recognised war veterans in the Constitution but who fought the war with the war veterans? You talk about Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi but you do not talk about us in your Constitution. They said tirikuvhara zvinhu – [Laughter.] – tirikuvhara zvinhu because the Constitution does not recognise spirit mediums but we talk about Mbuya Nehanda. I have no answer and they said here is the Constitution, show us in the Constitution where it talks about spirit mediums. You have won the struggle and you have forgotten about the role that we played. You are being given Chiefs’ cars but who are the people who give the Chiefs their power? So, there is any issue of tradition and culture. You might laugh about it but this is the truth. For as long as you are talking about graves of people that died that have not been exhumed and taken to where they should be buried; the spirits of the country are not happy, when they are not happy they say even this Cyclone Idai, we could have controlled it but we allowed it to come so that you learn.
They say now you want us to be reporting to you as Government, so it is an issue whether you believe it or not it is up to you. They told me go and tell your colleagues that as long as the spirit mediums are not respected in the country, they will be problems.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to move to command agriculture.
Command agriculture being a noble cause that it is, I totally agree with Hon. Chinotimba that it means nothing. The amount of foreign currency that will be spend without us having an answer to the rainfall pattern, we are wasting time. The Minister did not talk about how much money we spend on cloud seeding..
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Your time is up Hon. Member.
HON. T. MLISWA: You should have reminded me five minutes
before. Let me just wind up Mr. Speaker.
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I ask that the Hon. Members
time, this is from unlikely source but I ask his time to be extended – [Laughter.]– by 10 minutes.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I will not allow the Hon.
Member to proceed, your time is up - [AN HON. MEMBER:
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, on the situation where if we
do not know the rainfall pattern, there is no point to do agriculture, we might as well use that money to import maize until we put the right systems. Put irrigation and cloud seeding, there was no money for cloud seeding in the budget and there was no money to pay off electricity that we owe. In summary, for as long as we do not have money for cloud seeding, let us forget about agriculture and put all the necessary frameworks in place and if we do not offset the electricity money that we owe, I did not see the Ministry of Energy getting any money to pay off that. So, as a result, these are the fundamentals which must come first before the economy takes off. I thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity. I am hoping that the technocrats, wherever they are, they have listened and they will advise the Minister wisely.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for allowing me
to add my voice in terms of the budget review that was given by the Hon. Minister of Finance on the 1st of August 2019. Mr. Speaker, I want to start by pointing out that when the Budget and Finance Committee did submit its report last year in the original budget, everybody said no the report was not correct. In reality Mr. Speaker, all the things that were said by the Budget and Finance Portfolio Committee of this House were proved to be true. All the indicators that were raised, some of them remained up to date. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Minister in his budget just as mentioned by others has got a proposition to say that they want to rebase inflation, they want a situation where Zimbabwe statistics does not produce year on year inflation.
Mr. Speaker, we are faced with a bleak future if we allow the
Minister to do such a thing primarily because if people do not get the ZIMSTATS official rates, then people will be forced to listen to other sources just like Hon. Mhona said. We have to do the Old Mutual employed rate or we have to listen, proffer and others and that is actually not right for this economy. The other aspect Mr. Speaker that I believe is very crucial is that there have been a lot of monies that have been poured and there is a proposal of the table rights in this budget review to put quite a huge chunk of money to command agriculture.
Now the Minister said they have to come up with a transparency manner. It is known that we have actually put more than 3 billion into command agriculture. The worst part of it, I know small scale farmers who have applied to benefit under the command agriculture. They are given fertiliser today and the next lot they are not given or they will be given after harvest time. Why does the Minister of Finance not do the honourable thing and what is the honourable thing? When we got independent, we had AFC which we then turned into Agribank a bank that is owned 100% by the Government of Zimbabwe. This is a bank that is supposed to fund agricultural activities. There is no other better and transparent manner than putting resources to Agribank so that those farmers that are straight, want to do farming, to repay back the money should be given the money through Agribank rather than to allow a system which people do not know how it operates.
Mr. Speaker, I then want to go on one of the things that I find very difficult to understand. If you look at all these allocations that are there, the Office of the President and Cabinet were awarded an increment of 169%, Parliament of Zimbabwe was awarded 68%. Now if you check the Blue Book, the Office of the President will now have 794 million dollars, Parliament of Zimbabwe will have 243 million dollars.
However, if you then go into the details under the Office of the President and Cabinet budget, 210 million is allocated to special projects; it is just said special activities, just 30 million short of the entire Parliamentary budget. You then start to wonder, even if you then check which other Votes were given very little money. The Auditor General was only awarded a mere 91% Vote. In a country where a lot of corruption, a lot of misdemeanors are being committed - just look at the Auditor
General’s report, be it in the appropriations accounts, be it in the State enterprises, in the local authorities, a lot of corruption is happening.
Now, what type of a budget is this where the entities that are supposed to do oversight are not given sufficient resources to do the work? Hon. Mliswa talked about the Parliamentary Vote, what about the Auditor-General’s Office? At one point, we wanted forensic reports in each and every entity including some of the ministries to be done. The Auditor General needs to employ other staff members competent for that matter for her office to do the work but there is little that has been given. If you then compare, look at what they did in the Ministry of Transport; the Ministry has been given a huge amount of money and in a normal situation we would not have a problem with it. We have got ZINARA under Ministry of Transport; ZINARA has got resources that are meant to cater for most of the roads but 23% of the money collected by ZINARA goes to roads and the rest just evaporates in thin air.
The Minister of Finance in his wisdom decides to be the one that announces that we are now going to increase toll gates from ZWL$2 to 10 dollars for a small vehicle. It is so disappointing because we know that 20% of the toll gates that we will be paying is going to go to a company called UNIVEN. In fact, out of the 10 dollars that we are being asked to approve, 2 dollars is going to a company called UNIVEN and the other money we do not know where it goes to. It is even worse when you know that the amount that is the increase, even on motor vehicle licences; the people who are going to celebrate is a company called UNIVEN because they get 40% of that money. What type of a country are we that allow those things to happen? Also, the other problem that we now have is the creation of a super Minister. Why should the Minister of Finance be the one that comes to announce the increase of ZESA tariffs. Why not allow ZESA and the Ministry of Energy, Hon. Chasi to do that?
I represent a high density constituency; do you know the effect of non-availability of electricity in Dzivarasekwa? Instead of ZESA and Ministry of Finance, to progressively increase tariffs so that we will be in a position to import some electricity - right now, people in Dzivarasekwa are forced to buy gas at high prices. They are forced to buy charcoal at high prices. If you go to the peri-urban areas, people are now cutting all the trees to make fire food to an extent of even cutting fruit trees like mangoes and the like so that they can cook food for their families because we do not have electricity for more than 18 hours per day. We get electricity around 2300 hrs and goes around 0400 hrs. Mr. Speaker Sir, this is not right and we should not allow this thing to go on like that.
If you look at the budget for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the bulk of the money goes for hiring and renting. More than $200 million is channeled to that issue. I believe that where we are at the moment, we are faced with a dilemma as a country; we are going deeper into trouble.
The GDP growth, the Minister said it is going to be below -2% and Hon.
Biti said it is likely to be around -8, 5%. There is no justification for the
Minister of Finance to boast that ‘I am the first Minister to record a surplus’ when we all know that there is a lot of money that is owed. We know for instance that here at Parliament there are certain bills that we have not yet paid. We have not paid hotels, other suppliers and a lot of things and then somebody boasts and say we have got a surplus. If you are a Minister of Finance, your people are the ones who are supposed to actually boast, the people on the ground. There used to be an advert when Cold Storage was still functional that nyama inonaka inotaura yega. When an economy is functioning, you do not need to be told because people will actually say it. Where we are; we have a huge challenge which I think needs to be looked into.
Finally, on positive things that I realised is probably the allocation of additional funding to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission; my only hope is that the money will be released urgently rather than to have a budget where we give a lot of money which in real terms does not arrive at the intended destination. If we were to give the money then hopefully we maybe in a position to arrest this animal called corruption that has taken Zimbabwe by storm.
I also then want to end by commenting in terms of the salaries of the civil servants. You cannot have an economy where everything is going up and then you want us to approve a budget with less than 40% salary increment for civil servants. You cannot then accuse them if they just go there, put their jackets on chairs and do other personal things. If you do not pay your workers, if you pretend to be taking care of your workers they will also pretend to be working. – [HON. MRMBERS: Hear, hear.] - When that happens it shows that we are regressing and not going forward. The first and foremost thing that you need to do is to pay your workers adequately. If we need to rationalize, to simply say we need 20 people instead of 30 people in a department, let it be so. Pay those ones their retrenchment packages and make sure that those that remain are paid adequately so that this country can move.
Mr. Speaker, Zimbabwe is in a sorry state. If you go to other countries that were behind Zimbabwe in terms of development, you will be shocked. Countries that were way back behind Zimbabwe have now overtaken us. To that extend, it is my hope that the Minister of Finance will be in a position to adjust when we go to Committee Stage. I thank you.
*HON. CHIKWAMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me an opportunity to debate on the budget. On agriculture and Command Agriculture, they have been given enough money. I wish they would have separated the budget and allocated to women in farming. As women, we are affected because men are taking a big chunk on the budget given for Command Agriculture.
On irrigation, a lot of money was given to various irrigation schemes including the Bubi irrigation which is the area that I come from.
This scheme was allocated $350 000 which is not enough. We want this money to be increased. If money is put into irrigation, we must see a difference. The $350 000 is not enough even to repair anything. The budget for irrigation must be increased and the irrigation allocation for my area should also be increased.
On CDF, the amount has been increased to $183 000. The figure looks as it is enough but if we convert it to the US$, it is US$23 000.
This is very difficult. It was US$50 000 before and now it is very little.
For progress to be evident in our constituencies, we need more money as Members of Parliament. This money is not enough to make changes in our constituencies. We want this money to be increased.
War veterans have been complaining since 1980. The problem is that they are not getting significant increments. If they are paid enough money, they will not keep on complaining. I thank you.
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate.
Firstly, I would like to talk about electricity – taking a look at the budget before us, it is talking about increasing the electricity rate by
273%. Over and above that, the Government has increased toll gates by 500%. Vehicle licensing has been increased by 420%. This is unfair on the people. Civil servants who are rendering service have not been looked after very well because their salaries do not match this. In terms of their salaries, the increase is roughly 30-40%.
Looking at the different services such as electricity, diesel, transport costs and looking at the salaries that civil servants are getting; it does not tally at all. If you interrogate this further, the Minister has to address this. We are wasting money advocating for an increase in civil servants salaries but the Government itself is aware of the fact that on the things that they are doing in terms of service delivery, they are raising the cost by 10 times yet the salaries of civil servants are not being considered by that 100%. I am of the view that before this budget is passed, we need to address the issue of the salaries of civil servants.
Looking at the Members of Parliament, they are still getting the same salary they were getting in 2008 – the only difference is that it was in US$ and now it is in RTGs. In 2010, the rate was 1:1 to the US$ but now it is converted using the interbank rate which is accepted by the Government that for every US$, it is RTGS$9.4.
An Hon. Member having passed between the Chair and the Hon.
HON. PHULU: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir, when a member crosses and blocks your view and that of the Member debating, the rules are clear. The Member should go round and all of us do. We think that this is something that you should address.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon Speaker. I
thought he would go behind him. I am sorry, I did not see him. You can proceed Hon. Member.
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. The interbank
rate now stands at 9.4 and the black market rate is on 13.5 but this is money that is being given to MPs in Parliament – the same amount which they were given in 2010. This has no dignity in line with the interbank rate. That is what is availed to all civil servants without the interbank rate. This should be considered by our Minister that we address issues to do with salaries.
We also have an issue of free duty, especially looking at people with disabilities. One of the MPs debated saying that the money for war veterans who fought the liberation war, including my father though he passed away; he fought the liberation struggle. The money that they are getting has lost value and it is not assisting them in any way. Hon. Speaker; Hon. Minister, the issue of them accessing medical services is a challenge. The war veterans, considering the sacrifice that they made during the war, the way they lived and what they went through- they now have certain ailments that are now permanent but the hospitals that they go to access medical attention are poor. They should be accessing medical care from specialised hospitals in order to address the challenges they faced during the war. You find that they are taken to hospitals that are ill-equipped and cannot access the level of injury.
Some of the hospitals do not even have doctors, yet they are war veterans.
The war veterans cannot even afford bus fare to go and access medical services. We come here and we want to talk about Supplementary Budget yet we are not taking into consideration the liberation war veterans. Hon. Speaker; Hon. Minister, war veterans as we speak in this House, have challenges in accessing funds to fend for themselves and their families. They are assisted by the community with handouts and yet they are war veterans. They cannot afford to go and collect their pensions. The pension is inadequate and if they get money to go to the bank, they are told the money is not available. They live in queues and sleep at banks yet they are our war veterans. We are not considering the war veterans at all. They are just like me, my father was a liberation war veteran and I was at home. For a person who is a war veteran, there should be a difference because they are in a different grade; they liberated this country. For us to be where we are today is because of them. The Minister does not acknowledge this sacrifice.
On the issue of bread, the way we are living in this country, we have got to a point whereby bread is now a luxury. Bread is a need, people should be able to get bread to eat; sadza in the afternoon and in the evening with good relish but in Zimbabwe, the average person cannot afford bread. Yes, we are talking about the civil servants, the war veterans cannot even afford a proper diet although they faced challenges in accessing good food during war, now they are in a liberated country but still they cannot get good food. A war veteran lives his life and died without even the provision of good funeral services. This should be addressed in the Supplementary Budget. This should not wait for next year. Before the budget is passed, this issue needs to be incorporated so that next month we can be at peace knowing that the war veterans’ welfare is taken care of without any challenges.
We have also the issue of Constituency Development Fund (CDF). The reason why CDF was introduced was to improve the services of our constituencies. We started the CDF project in 2008; in South Africa,
Zambia and Kenya, they did not have CDF. They pluck a leaf from the Government of Zimbabwe but they improved on that CDF project and it is now more attractive. Currently we are talking of CDF and we are given RTGS$50 000 and we got RTGS$80 000 in the Supplementary Budget. What is RTGS$80 000, with the current inter-bank rate known by the Hon. Minister and the Speaker and all of us here, a person is getting US$9 000 in order to develop the constituency.
In Kenya if I am correct, an MP with a constituency is given US$1 million to develop his/her constituency. In Zambia an MP with a constituency is getting more than US$250 000 in order to develop the constituency and we are talking about RTGS$80 000, which is actually a challenge to even access it. We are talking of this money being in bond. Before a Supplementary Budget is passed, we should set the RTGS$80
000 and with the difficulties that we are facing that I see, we change the
RTGS$80 000 to inter-bank rate and we passed a budget at the
RTGS$80 000 using the inter-bank rate. So, RTGS$80 000 times 10, we are looking at about RTGS$1 million that MPs should be given for CDF so that constituencies can progress. That is not a lot of money.
I am concluding my debate; the Hon. Minister of Finance should seriously consider the salaries of civil servants as well as the employees of Parliament. The Parliament staff, the money that they are being given in terms of salaries is embarrassing. Sometimes they leave this place at night. Right now they are here, the Hansard Reporters are here, the
Security team is here, ZUPCO will have gone and they end up using Parliament vehicles which do not even leave them at their gates. The money that they are getting is not even worth anything. They cannot even buy sweets to sell in order to increase their salaries because their salary is next to nothing.
Parliament employees should be considered. Our duty in terms of oversight, representation and legislation, the Parliament employees should get a salary increase. Here at Parliament, it is not by choice that they are here. They end up selling sweets, having societies; they have different small projects because they are living in poverty. They cannot even afford lunch, although it is subsidised, they still cannot afford it. They come with lunch boxes with bread that is made at home which is sub-standard. Some of our Parliament employees bring rice with tomato soup and that is their lunch.
Imagine bringing rice that was cooked yesterday; put in a plastic container with tomato soup and have it as your food. For you to wait for Parliament to do research and even report, that is food poisoning that is slowly taking place and slowly killing our Parliament employees. This issue needs to be addressed. The Parliament employees’ remuneration should be attended to. So, we cannot just pass the budget, we need to first amend the supplementary budget and ensure that our employees get salaries that restore their dignity.
Let us not say Parliament has been given $20 million or $80 million, we should talk about Parliament employees getting $2000,
$3000 or $4000, let us not look at percentages that are confusing people. We want to talk of figures. If we are saying that Members of Parliament should get a salary increment, let us not look at 30% or 40%. You must say that Hon. Saruwaka, Hon. Musabayana or the Speaker of Parliament is getting so much. Percentages are not working because everything is
in shambles. The Government employee, the civil servants – we should talk of the inter-bank rate and not the percentages because that is not a fair game. We want fair play.
I want to thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity. I want to thank the Members of Parliament from both political parties in this House for listening to me and respecting me as I spoke. I want to thank the Hon. Member of Parliament Hon. Mliswa for listening to me as I was debating. Hon. Members, the budget is not in line with the expectations of the nation. When you look at the civil servants, Parliament staff and also Members of Parliament and other services of this country, this budget is not addressing the challenges in Zimbabwe. The budget should not be passed until we have reached a consensus that we are now addressing the challenges in this country.
In conclusion Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of the defence forces and the security sector; let us not talk of a soldier or a police officer being given a cushion above other civil servants, we do not want to be giving them cushioning allowance in order to get their respect. Cushioning allowance is a term that is used to exploit others. The soldier and police officer should be given adequate salaries with dignity so that when holding the gun, they do it with dignity.
You should do away with cushioning allowances. When something is being given a cushion – if a patient becomes too sick, they make a cushion to assist that person. So, that cushioning allowance is a way of assisting a person who is ailing, we are not sick, what cushion do we need in this case? I thank you Mr. Speak.
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker. You had ruled that the Minister was going to be back in 40 minutes. I am not seeing the Minister here despite the fact that we are now an hour after that. I am simply following up on the pronouncement which you made. Is there going to be a new pronouncement and what time should we give the Minister for him to be in the House?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Member. I
trust that the Minister is coming and the officials and Hansard are recording.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for awarding me the chance to contribute to the Mid-Term Budget presented by the –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjection.] - THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order!
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for awarding me a chance to contribute to the Mid-Term Budget presented by the Hon.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development. I take a special look at Section 62 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which provides for the right to access information and it reads; “Every Zimbabwean citizen or permanent resident, including juristic persons and the Zimbabwean media, has the right of access to any information held by the State or by any institution or agency of Government at every level, in so far as the information is required in the interests of public accountability.” However, in his Statement, the Minister announced that the publishing of the year on year inflation figures will be deferred until February, 2020 as measures of inflation rebasing.
If you look at page 20, paragraph 54, it reads, “the change in the currency regime for multicurrency to Zimbabwean dollar has definitely impacted on the base for calculation of CPI indices and hence, inflation, while building up data of prices in mono-currency for a period of 12 months to February 2020. This will ensure that we compare like with like in terms of currency regimes.” We take that paragraph and go back to the Constitution to the free access of information for every citizen of
Zimbabwe. By so doing, is that not a violation of the provisions of the Constitution and the general principles of public accountability necessary for various sectors to adjust accountability?
We go to the tariffs increased for ZESA; you try to understand what the rationale was of increasing the prices from 300% to 500%. We do not produce most of the power that we use. If you look at the domestic consumption, they are going to be charged about 3 cents and the companies which do not produce are going to be charged about 5 cents. The cost of electricity in the region is about 14 cents, this means that we are still going to subsidise. The perception out there in the corridors – every citizen looks at the increase that was done on electricity, it has got to go hand in hand with the lowering of load shedding. Right now we are trying to improve our economy in production, without power cuts, 18 hours and now ZESA has increased by about 500% and we are agro-based. All the wheat right now that the farmers had put on the ground is drying, that means next season we are not going to have bread, there is going to be nothing but we have increased all the prices. What was the rationale of increasing the prices when we are still going to subsidise them?
The smelting companies’ cost was not increased and it is said they are going to be charged in hard currency which is going to be ringfenced. Who is going to monitor those kinds of resources. We have had incidents whereby resources that have been reinfenced have been abused and yet these reinfenced resources are said to be only there to buy electricity. What measures has the Minister put in place to make sure that the resources that are going to be reinfenced are going to be solely used to import electricity?
In his mid-term budget, he said he has been able to balance the current account. We applaud him for that, but does it show on the ground? It does not show. We are talking of bread and butter issues. We are not just talking that okay, a father is claiming that in the bank there is so much money, our current account has so much money and yet the children are suffering on the ground. What is the use of being able to balance the current account when the Zimbabwe masses are suffering, when the industry is dying?
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order. I think it is important for people to be quiet. There is too much noise, Mr. Speaker Sir. It is quite disappointing that if it is Hon. Mutomba, yourself or any other Chair other than the Speaker, there seems to be some sort of disrespect which is not good. I think we must respect the Chair when they are there. It is important. I think especially members from the ruling party, it is important for us to respect the Chair when they are in Chair and you do that by speaking quietly and whispering to each other, not making noise like you are at a rally.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa, I felt
comfortable with the little noise that was coming out. Sorry if it affected you otherwise, I thought everything was okay. That is why I thanked Hon. Members for listening to one another, but please can you lower your voices.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. All that I am just trying to highlight is that the Minister has to be sensitive and address the basic bread and butter issues that the common person on the street is going through as was said by the Hon. Member of Parliament about the civil servants, the war veterans and the Parliamentarians so that we can be able to curb corruption. You can see corruption here also in Parliament because we are also starving. Everyone here is driving on empty. So, we are just saying the Minister must just address the bread and butter issues. That is what any Zimbabwean person is looking up to the Minister.
If you look at the budgets that you allocated, even what Hon.
Chikwama said, the amounts that were allocated to rehabilitation of roads leaves a lot to be desired. We are not saying they did not put much thought into it, but the budget really falls short of what the common man on the street was expecting. We really expect the Minister to listen to what the Parliamentarians are saying and make sure that he amends before we can pass the budget. Thank you.
HON. MAYIHLOME: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. May I add my voice to this budget as presented by the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
We applaud the Minister, Mr. Speaker Sir, for bringing the midterm fiscal policy review and attempting, all be it very optimistically, trying to address the challenges bedeviling this country. I will just comment on a few areas of concern some of which have already been touched on. I will just try and be brief.
The issue of giving the nation the impression that there is a surplus when there is a deficit tends to mislead not only the nation, but ourselves as well because we give ourselves a false sense of hope. I give practical examples - in the constituencies where we come from daily, we are bombarded with requests for assistance by Government institutions because their funds have not been released. So actually, it is constrained expenditure. I think the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development must admit that expenditure has been extremely constrained in this country, so there is no surplus really to talk about.
The second point that I want to emphasise, Hon. Speaker Sir, is the issue of very casual attention to the issue of drought bedeviling the southern parts of the country. Not only was he silent about providing stock feed for livestock and water provision in the drought prone areas, it is so conspicuous by its absence. Livestock farmers are losing cattle already and some are actually parting with their cattle for as little as $200 all because there is no stock feed.
Earlier in the session we requested the Hon. Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement to explain what measures he was taking to mitigate the drought situation and we were assured that they were going to be cutting hay. When we followed up we were told that there is no money for this programme, but on the ground, on this budget, there is nothing that has been said about livestock, let alone water for humans and livestock in the southern drought prone regions.
Thirdly, the issue of irrigation schemes - some irrigation schemes that were appearing in the original Blue Book in the southern part of the country are missing in this review. We do not know what has happened to that money and we do not know why those irrigation schemes are actually now being neglected and yet that is where they are needed most. We require irrigation schemes virtually everywhere in the country and meaningful allocations to be made for irrigation schemes. Allocating $250 000 or thereabouts is peanuts because if you read, that amount is less than US$30 000 and for irrigation schemes that is too little.
The fourth issue is roads infrastructure. ZINARA is making a lot of money from toll gates but that money is not visible on the ground and that money if it were visible, we would be seeing more roads being covered in this budget. Maybe the figures are shown elsewhere, but in this book nothing is shown in constituencies in the southern part of the country save for a few – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] -
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. Hon. Mliswa
you spoke and people listened to you. May you also listen to others. Thank you.
HON. MAYIHLOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The next
very important area of concern is the issue about travelling and subsistence allowances for the Zimbabwe Republic Police when they are on border patrol or other patrols. We know that failure to provide for the police when they are doing their patrol duty fuels corruption yet nothing significant has been allocated to the police for their travelling and subsistence expenses. We request that this issue be addressed as a matter of urgency.
The next one is war veterans. This issue has been touched on by Hon. Chinotimba and Hon. Mutseyami. Unfortunately, they have all scratched the surface. We have just been conducting public hearings on the plight of war veterans. They earn an equivalent of maybe just less than two coupons per month in terms of their salaries. Medical bills are going unpaid, funeral expenses are going unpaid two or three years after the death of the spouses. Children’s fees are not being paid and their health or medical bills are not being paid. They just do not have housing. If you compare war veterans in South Africa and Namibia - we have also seen the statistics, Zimbabwe war veterans are earning about 10% of what their counterparts get, if not less. So we shall be presenting a full report.
So Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, better be prepared to have a massive grand plan when the full Budget for 2020 is presented. I touched on this issue briefly because other Hon.
Members have already talked about it. Money is required there. On CDF, what Hon. Members did not mention is the issue about constituency offices. Hon. MPs require funding to run constituency offices. They need constituency staff, they require research facilities, they produce and send documents and even the airtime. They are using their personal airtime for these facilities. We believe that constituencies we run cannot depend on our meagre salaries as Members of Parliament. We therefore think that the Hon. Minister of Finance needs to pay particular attention to the areas we have touched upon. I thank you Mr.
HON. MATEWU: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me start by commending the Minister for bringing the Supplementary Budget to Parliament, something which is a break from the past. It has to be noted Mr. Speaker Sir, that last year, the Government spent US$3.2 billion without coming to Parliament for condonation. I want to first, touch on the TSP...
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order. Maybe people did not see that the Minister of Finance is now in the House. We thank the Minister of Finance for coming back. In case people did not see him coming in, he is now in the House because people were saying where is he. The Minister of Finance is back. I am just acknowledging that people were looking for you but it is good to see you that you are back.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. Speaker Sir, with
your permission, thank you for allowing me. Yes, I am back. I had gone out for an hour because we were launching the Humanitarian
Appeal Programme today with the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, Mr David Beasley. I had to walk out to come back here. The United States has already pledged US$45 million today – [HON. T. MLISWA: That was a very good break.] – A very good break indeed. Within an hour, US$45 million from the United States and an additional 11 million Euros from the European Union and more from the Chinese Government and additional from the UK Government, in cash and kind. I thank you – [HON. T. MLISWA: It was a good break. We give you another break for an hour.] –
HON. MATEWU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. First, I would like to touch on the transitional stabilisation programme. The Hon.
Minister reports that in the first two quarters, there was an estimated
$5.5 billion in terms of revenue into the Government coffers. He goes
on to say that the surplus was $800 million. Mr. Speaker Sir, my problem with this is it does not take into context the fact that when we passed the first Budget, when these projections were made – because the initial projection in October was, we were going to have $4.1 billion in terms of revenue in the first six months. The truth was this money was quoted in US dollars as some other speakers have said. This is a gross misinterpretation of the revenues that we were receiving as a country. If you calculate this, it means we have received something like US$400 million in the first six months of the year.
I want to go on Mr. Speaker Sir to agriculture. There has been $3.3 billion appropriated to agriculture for the remainder of the year. It has to be noted Mr. Speaker Sir that since the inception of command agriculture in 2016, the Government has been spending about $1.1 billion a year on command agriculture without putting it in the books of the Government. It has to be noted Mr. Speaker Sir, that over a billion was spent last year on command agriculture outside of the Ministry of
Agriculture’s Budget. This $1 billion was not approved by Parliament.
Mr. Speaker Sir, if this $1 billion was transparently used, we would be able to import the necessities that we need like maize, wheat, soya beans and all the essential grains that we need to feed this country. My hope Mr. Speaker Sir, is that the money be given directly to the Ministry of
Agriculture because what has happened in the past was the Ministry of Finance has a habit of directly paying to the people owed the money without informing the Ministry of Agriculture. We do not know whether they correctly appropriated, correctly spent or directed the money to the people who are supposed to be receiving it. The Supplementary of $3.3 billion must be given to the Ministry of Agriculture and they must pay their suppliers by themselves.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I just want to touch again on the plight of the civil servants. I know many people have talked about the plight of civil servants. The truth Mr. Speaker Sir, the civil servants have now become second-class citizens in this country. First, you have to note how almost every service has been increased by 500%. You talk about the tollgates
– 500%, licence plate – 500% and if you want to get a licence, it is now 500%. I want to ask a very honest question to the Minister, whether this 500% is also going to be added and remunerated to civil servants and pensioners, which is extremely important if you are looking in terms of their welfare. We would expect that there would be a significant increment to civil servants, pensioners and as everyone in the House who spoke here has mentioned that there is need to look into the Budget of Parliament, which has paltry increase.
I just want to say, in closing Mr. Speaker Sir that it appears to me that the Hon. Minister takes this country to be some massive hub where he can try to experiment his college theoretical economics. That must stop. That will not work. It is time that we look at the welfare of this country, people who are suffering today with no electricity and no water.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to talk about water. Water is a basic human right in accordance to the UN General Assembly and I want to say Mr. Speaker, I have not seen anywhere in the Budget where it talks about improving the infrastructure of our water reticulation systems. I want to say, most of the water works in this country – I will use my constituency Marondera as an example, that was built in 1975 during the Smith regime and the population was 20 thousand. We are now in 2019 Mr. Speaker Sir and the population is now 100 thousand. The population has gone fivefold but we are still using the same infrastructure. This is not only in Marondera but also across the country. There is drastic need to ensure that we do and we must ensure that people get clean and safe water. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.
HON. MUSAKWA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to add my contribution to the Mid-Term Fiscal Review by the Minister of Finance. I need to take note of a few issues. The first one relates to production. You see that the Minister is projecting to raise a further $10. 3 billion as supplementary financing for the budget but there is no detail as to how that is going to be done vis-a-vis the serious challenges his main revenue streams are facing, mainly industry where you do not have electricity, fuel, you have people laying down staff and all that. There is no detail. We need more detail on how he is going to stimulate production.
If you look at it, I think now you need a combination of austerity and serious viability stimulants. Look at the Ministry of Industry which you think is going to drive that stimulus for industry. You look at the industrial growth and development budget allocation, there is only $18 million there and nothing much can be done with that budgetary heading. There is the economic empowerment headline under the same Ministry of Industry, there is only $3,87 million allocated there which is too small for stimulating production.
Then you have on the issue of the disaster caused by Cyclone Idai, you see it under Ministry of Agriculture, there is an allocation there for irrigation schemes. I come from a district where we lost five people, reported deaths and massive destruction of infrastructure, including schools and health institutions. You find that out of 14 budgeted for irrigation projects, Bikita only has one which is Chipendeke which has been allocated $0,5 million. I think there is need for revision because that district experienced a big chunk of destruction under the Cyclone
You look again at the repairs to the cyclone damaged infrastructure of primary schools. There is only $22 million allocated and when you come from a district such as Bikita where you have got over 30 schools which were ravaged, this can hardly repair five schools. I think there is need for revision on that. On the secondary schools budget, there is only $1,9 million provided to rehabilitate schools. I do not think that is enough. More needs to be done.
So, you look at most of the challenges that we are facing now, it is because of the international isolation we have as a result of sanctions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs which is supposed to drive that reengagement process has only been allocated $1,2 million for travel. I think there is need for revision for that amount. You need more money under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade as they are driving the re-engagement process. At the moment, I will end there because we do not need the sanctions so we need to allocate more money so that we re-engage. Thank you.
*HON. B. DUBE: My first issue is to highlight that the first budget which we did was in US$ and if now we are to do a supplementary budget in the new currency, there is a lot of stealing compared to the budgets which were given to the ministries and institutions in US$. I feel that the country has lost a lot of money through the Ministry of Finance. The issue of stealing people’s money needs to be investigated. I want to quickly highlight what is on page 12. There is an issue on people with disabilities. It is allocated money to a total amount of $8, 370 million. People who are disabled are 10% of our population and these are the people who are living a very difficult life. You need an extra person to push you on wheelchair. If you are visually impaired, you need an aide zvichingofamba zvakadaro. The Braille is more expensive than the actual bond. So, if we are saying of the 10% of the Zimbabwean population, we are talking on average about 1,3 – 1,5 people and the amount allocated to cater for their special needs cannot help much.
I also want to look at the budget that was allocated to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. I do not see where this allocation will get to, especially the amount on increments of pensions. Why it is important Mr. Speaker is that when pension was availed in small amounts, it was on the assumption that once a person gets to the pensionable age of 55 years, it was meant to be just money for pension to enjoy the years that he worked but because of unemployment of the people, the pension is now being used to pay for all the services. The pension was ranging at $70. If they want to revise the pension as has been said by the other Hon. Members that we should not just look at the increase of pensions in terms of pensions but they need to be reviewed in line with the Poverty Datum Line.
So Minister, we do not want the issue of pensions to be dealt with in the abstract, taking it as a pension for an old person to enjoy but this is primary money for an aged person. So, my request in terms of pensioners is that this pension should be increased in order to cater for the needs of our people who are looking after children. Most of them
yes, looked after their children but those who are finishing school are not getting jobs and end up being looked after by those on pension.
Furthermore, on page number 65 which looks at the Ministry of
Women’s Affairs. I will take you to page 67, on the first budget, the one that we intend to supplement now, we had availed US$10 million to the
Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank. That is the amount that we availed and the debate was that money was actually not adequate for the needs of the women. Initially there was $10 million. I talked about theft at first but I said that our first budget was a stolen one. The $10 million that we are talking about has been increased by $6 million to take it to $16 million. However, if you use the interbank rate, I think it is 1:10, it comes back to $1.6 million if we are to divide by ten. What it means is that the bank that we assumed would assist the women has lost over 8 million from the previous budget but what surprises me is that it is not the only point. You went further and looked at SMEs Development Corporation and availed $6 million and you have increased this by $12 million to make it $18 million. Still this is not a true reflection because that money will be divided by ten. My real issue Minister is that I do not know where you are getting your information because the Women Affairs, Small and Medium Enterprises Development came up with an agenda that if we capitalise our bank, it will be viable but it seems you are actually going contrary to what they want. In the earlier budget, people wanted the bank to spearhead financial inclusion but you are reversing the issue of availing more capital to the bank in order to formalise their sector. It seems you are reducing the amount required. You seem to be prioritising development agenda giving $18 million in bond to SMEDCO and yet we wanted more money towards the bank which was supposed to spearhead development. So, I want to say that the Minister should be in line with the priorities of the institutions which you deal with rather than just decide to draw us back as you please.
I am not going to reiterate the issue of war veterans except to support and concur with Hon. Chinotimba and Hon. Mutseyami. I want to go to page 90 which is looking at the Council of Chiefs. I am deeply concerned with the confirmation that we always get that the Ministry of Finance has no special consideration and respect for traditional leaders. Why we continue to advocate for empowerment of the traditional leaders is because they have an important role to play in the communities. They are being manipulated because they are financially crippled and for that reason, politicians do whatever they want with them. They are not able to take the Constitution and use it because they do not have money. If you look at page 90 of the Blue Book, council ofchiefs – what it means is that if you take a look, it was allocated a substantial amount. The original vote shows that it was better but working it out, I realised they have been prejudiced and are now running a loss. What that means is that the Minister of Finance, in line with page 90 is an accomplice in undermining the role of the chiefs and the abuse of chiefs because they are underfunding these chiefs. We want our chiefs to be independent but they can only be independent once funds are availed. So, on page 90, Minister, we do not have a challenge with you sourcing funds for our chiefs in order to get resources to run their communities.
On page 91, the Human Rights Commission has an important role to play in terms of the history of Zimbabwe if you look at why it was established in 2013. When I realised that the Minister of Finance and
Economic Development has deliberately not availed funds to that
Commission. If you look at the budget for the Human Rights
Commission, it does not show seriousness on his part. Initially we had $3, 335 m. He says he has increased $2 265 m for it to be $5, 900 m but what it will reflect if divided by 10, it only comes to US$59 000only. However, if you look at the decentralisation issue that the Commission has to do it also shows lack of seriousness on our part in terms of the
Commission carrying out its mandate. Even the allocation to the AntiCorruption Commission on the supplementary budget and that given to the Human Rights Commission shows that we are not prioritising the Human Rights Commission but I believe that the Commission has a very important mandate which can reduce some of the challenges that are in the various 12 Commissions. So what I am saying is that it is not possible for the Human Rights Commission to be just availed US$590 000 for it to execute its mandate. So, it is something that needs to be considered.
On page 93, on corruption, the National Prosecuting Authority has a huge role to play but currently the proposal that is being given by the Minister does not help us at all. If you are to go to various court offices, you will find the employees selling sweets as alluded to before. So, the challenge, is before you get to the judiciary offices, you should make sure you have bond notes to buy sweets. So, this issue of the welfare of prosecutors and increase of the budget should be seriously considered. Some of them are leaving work at 3.00 p.m. for them to go and join the queue for the ZUPCO buses because if they go at 5, they will not get transport. So on page 93, that allocation is not adequate.
In conclusion, I do not think that the Minister has looked at the importance of the institution before allocating money. Those should be reflected by the money that he allocates to the different institutions. This budget cannot pass in this manner. Lastly, I want to ask who actually broke that elephant horn behind the Speaker’s chair. There is something missing. I think that you had not seen it. Thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. In terms of
Section 141 of our Constitution, Parliament must include the public when it is considering Bills. I am not very sure with the level of departure which Members of Parliament are expressing to the Hon.
Minister that the Hon. Minister’s budget is in one direction, the MPs are facing the other direction. Did the Hon. Minister give the Members of Parliament an opportunity to consult or the Members consulted themselves because I see ourselves wasting time being able to debate a budget which is inconsistent with the aspirations of the people. I just want to see if this budget is consistent with Section 141 of the Constitution.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Member. If
you refer to the mid year budget review as I have done, on page 5 on
No. 3 where it says, “to the extent possible, contributions received from various stakeholders in Government, private sector and civic organisations”, I think he is expressing that unless MPs are not part of those mentioned. The Minister is going to answer that tomorrow but I am saying that page shows that.
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of clarification, Section 141 is
clear Hon. Speaker. It is the duty of Parliament before debating this budget to consult the public and not for the Minister to consult the public. The Minister may consult in crafting but Parliament must consult the public before debating in terms of Section 141. Thank you.
THE TEMPORATRY SPEAKER: I am saying the Minister I
think will respond tomorrow on that.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of privilege. Hon. Speaker, it is very clear from all the debate that has taken place around this
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Sibanda, can you sit
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: It is a point of privilege, I am not yet done Hon. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Sibanda, you did not
follow the debate please and you are referring to the debate when you went out throughout. Can you sit down? I am not accepting your point of order. I am not accepting that.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Let me take exception at your statement
that you are raising as if it is a matter of fact.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have ruled, I am not going to
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: No, that ruling is based on a fact Hon.
Speaker. The Hon. Speaker is insinuating.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order please, we are not
going to allow that. I recorded Hon. Sibanda to be one of the speakers and he went out. He just wants to use this opportunity to speak and he is now not going to debate because he went out. Please, there is this tendency of coming here registering then you go out. I am not going to allow you to debate. Why do you think I am here?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Prof. Mthuli went out. Is he not going to speak?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: He is going to speak tomorrow.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, I am not going to allow you to do that Hon. Speaker. You cannot make a ruling on the basis of a fact because it is not a fact that I went out. I am not going to do that – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - No, I have a right of audience. Leader of Government business, I have a right of audience in this House and there is no way the Speaker can simply say as a matter of fact – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - How many minutes did I go out? Did you record it down? On a point of privilege Mr.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I said order. Hon. Sibanda, I
am not accepting any point of privilege.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I am not debating but I am rising on a point of privilege.
*HON. MADIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. The issue that I want to present here is very important and that is why it is coming at the end. We are talking about the budget which has been brought by the Minister. People are talking about hunger and various problems that we are seeing. I have heard what has been said by another Hon. Member in wanting to give solutions to the problems which he says we are having. If I heard him correctly, as long as we are not given the importance, we are not going anywhere. By seeing a lot of noise which is happening and people who are refusing to get out of this House, if they respect the issues of women, they would not be doing what they are doing. This shows that our country is very behind; looking at the allocations given to women it is very low. I heard the Minister talking about supporting Government reforms; the least budget was given to the Gender
Commission. Looking at the Ministry of Women Affairs, this is the
Ministry which has been given the minimal increments. The money which has been allocated by the Minister, a lot of it is going to organisations which are supposed to be helping women. The Ministry does not have money for programming; the Ministry has no money for monitoring programmes.
We are experts in all other areas but we are failing to understand that women issues are very important. The issues I am talking about affect women. We are talking about ZESA and it affects women. The problem starts on resource allocation looking at how we view women as a country. I want to thank the Minister for the policy on sanitary wear, that it should be brought duty free into the country. As we speak people cannot afford to buy sanitary wear. Let me just read a letter received from a certain woman who is having problems. She says, “Dear Hon. Member, I am filled with sadness and sorrow in my heart as I write this letter to you. I am a woman trying to survive in the present day Zimbabwe. I have literally reached a breaking point; it is because of the current situation. The current economic hardship has made it unbearably expensive, not only for me but also the majority of citizens to even think of going on our monthly menstrual cycle. Sanitary wear has become expensive despite Government intervening on the removal of VAT and duty on all sanitary wear. The lowest one can buy sanitary pads as attached below is RTGS$11.25. In my case…” – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. MADIWA: “In my case and supposedly several other women experience heavy flows which on average demand the use of RTGS$33 per month. I am left at the verge of continuously drinking family planning pills to avert my monthly flow. If not, I have been encouraged by other women to use baby pampers which are low priced than proper sanitary wear. I have been using rugs and guava pages but in the process I experience extreme pain in the cervix”.
The letter is very long but it shows that a lot of women are not accessing sanitary wear. I am saying to the Hon. Minister, if you had brought a budget - the average of RTGS$33 is needed to buy sanitary wear a month. A lot of women cannot afford that money; this is the issue I wanted to bring to your attention. If we are doing the budget, let us also look at important issues affecting women.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir,
I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 7th August, 2019.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House
adjourned at Seven Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m.