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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 09 October 2018 45 10
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 9th October, 2018
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
STRUCTURAL AND ECONOMIC CHALLENGES FACING
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: I move the motion standing in my
name that this House;
NOTING the structural economic challenges affecting Zimbabwe which among others include –
- the crippling liquidity crisis;
- the existence of a recession that is now fast approaching an economic depression;
- huge unemployment levels currently estimated at 95%;
- extreme poverty with 79% of the population surviving on less than US$1.25 a day and a per capita income of less than
CONCERNED by Government’s economic mismanagement, an
expansionary fiscal policy and gross abuse of public resources:
NOW THEREFORE, resolves that Government; must immediately
bring sanity to the financial and liquidity situation by:
- scrapping the bond note and strengthening the regime of multiple currencies;
- returning to fiscal consolidation and the pursuit of a fiscal balance;
- resolving of the sovereign debt crisis;
- attending to ghost workers and a crippling wage bill;
- accelerating State Enterprises Reform.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Let me
start by congratulating my hon. colleagues for making it into Parliament and also congratulate you on your re-election as Speaker of the House. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - Before I proceed, please kindly allow me to thank my party and people of Hatfield for once again choosing me to represent them in the august House. I pledge to work for the betterment of Hatfield Constituency and also for the promotion of good governance in Zimbabwe. I thought I should register my gratitude to the people of Hatfield and the party.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I wish to give you a copy of my motion so that you can follow my debate.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have it in the Order Paper.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I have just
asked your staff to upload one of my files which I want to refer to. I hope that is taking place. This is a very important motion which binds all of us regardless of our political affiliation. It is a motion that will demonstrate that we represent people who are suffering – people who elected us to speak on their behalf. I think we must approach this motion on the economy from that basis.
My point of entry on this motion is that …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, the two Hon. Members
along the corridor there, you need to clear the way totally. No more chairs should come inside. You can come this side Hon. Members there is some space here. Bring the chairs – [Laughter.]-
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I hope the
graphics that I want to refer to are being uploaded.
Mr. Speaker Sir, our country needs to move forward as a united country - however, in my opinion, I think we squandered the opportunity in November, 2017, to galvernise the country, to move the country forward. We all know what happened in November and in my respectful view, this country should not have rushed into elections. We were supposed to build confidence to make sure that the economy is stabilised at that stage and not just to stampede into an election.
Some people had suggested that perhaps a national transitional authority would have helped to carry on Economic Reforms, Political Reforms and Electoral Reforms – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- I am addressing the issue of confidence in the economy, but we squandered this opportunity. Yes, we marched together but after marching together, I still think we should have put in place some transitional mechanism to bridge the gap between the old dispensation and the new dispensation and effect the critical economic reforms which I will refer to in the body of my presentation.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is my democratic right to air my views, any Hon. Member who has got a contrary view should take the floor if they have got the facts. We then went to the elections and it is common cause that the outcome of the election was highly contested, up to now the jury is still out regarding the outcome of these elections.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I am referring to confidence because after an election there should be euphoria, happiness, excitement, celebration – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – So that is the context in which I am referring to the contested elections and the post election period. As I said, it is all about confidence and the legitimate expectations that will make an economy respond to the policy measures or the policy statements that are made by leaders. You can pronounce so many policy statements, if the people do not believe in what you are saying, those will be blunted, they will not work. I will demonstrate that in the body of my presentation.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I just want to run you through the pictures for us to understand the state of the economy. I shall ask...
HON. CHINOTIMBA: On a point of order! – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Now, I am a bit concerned
about your pictures here in terms of their source and authenticity.
HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I think it is important when we are having our proceedings for us to have an understanding of where a ruling is coming from. So, the point of clarification where I am seeking clarification from the Chair is what Standing Order upon which the ruling by the Chair has been made, so that we can have an understanding and an appreciation of where we are going. I was of the view that the Hon. Member could then be asked to clarify what the source - so that in the course of the debate, the Hon. Member can then explain to the House and to the nation at large as to how and where those pictures have come from so that we are all on the same wavelength.
However, the point of clarification; I want to be educated as to what rule the Chair has used in making the ruling that it has made.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! The Chair is using the principle of reasonableness – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- I have agreed with the Hon. Member in terms of creating perceptions that may not be easily authenticated. But he can move on to discuss the prices in terms of what is currently happening now.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Thank you for your indulgence Mr.
Speaker Sir. I now want to talk about the economic crisis or the economic hardships and the suffering that each and every one of us is experiencing. My characterisation is that our economy is broken and I will give you the matrix of a broken economy. As if that is not enough, our Government is broke. We have a combination of a broken economy and a broke Government. The state of the economy is almost like a depression. The economy is not growing. The prices are increasing; there are no jobs and so on and so forth. We are almost in a state of depression.
In order to give you the matrix of a broken economy, I want to paint an economic dashboard for you and for the benefit of this House, I will paint an economic dashboard so that I can jog you through all the indicators in the economy which I think point towards a bad economic dashboard.
My point of entry is inflation which is now 5%. In a dollarised economy, an inflation rate of 5% is something that we should worry about because it shows that prices are increasing. We are almost in a hyper inflationary state because we are a dollarised economy. Five percentage inflation rate is not sustainable. If I might ask the Clerks to show me the products that I want to demonstrate, just for you to see how inflation has jumped. One example is cooking oil - I know some of you send your domestic servants and gardeners, you do not go to the shops but if you go to the shops, you will see that a 2 litre bottle of cooking oil used to cost $2.90 but now it is anything between $10 and $13. Bread has jumped from a $1 to $1.55.
In the neighbourhood which I stay I took those pictures. Mr. Speaker Sir, during the induction workshop you encouraged us to research and come up with facts and empirical evidence. So, I tried to take some snaps of the prices.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Hon. Dr. Mashakada gave us a picture
without anything in the shops. So, now we do not understand where these pictures are coming from. The Hon. Member is lying to this House because he showed us a picture without anything and now he is showing us a picture of shelves that are fully stocked.
The first pictures were those of 2008. So, he should be truthful as a Hon. Member and not to lie to us to say that there is nothing in the shops and then he produces a picture with shelves that are full.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Order! Hon. Members, do not
force the Chair to remove one or two Members out of the Chamber. Do not force the Chair.
Hon. Chinotimba, let the Hon. Member state the case and if there is anything contrary to that, you can rise and debate to the contrary –
[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In recent
weeks, in our economy we have witnessed sharp increases in prices and one such commodity is cooking oil. You know that nobody can do without cooking oil. It affects everybody across the board. In the rural areas, like in Hon. Chinotimba’s Constituency, people are buying this for $12 to $ 13 up to $15. These are the prices which we are concerned of and as legislators, we must say let us address inflation and control hyperinflation.
Mr. Speaker Sir, what is happening is that, because there is arbitrage between the US$ and the bond note, some unscrupulous dealers are buying commodities from our shelves and selling them in neighbouring countries to get foreign currency. They come back with the foreign currency and buy bond notes from the black market and go to the shops again to hoard commodities to sell outside and obtain foreign currency. That is why there is a crippling shortage in our economy.
The other problem that is pushing prices is the three-tier pricing system. In this country, there are prices for RTGS transactions, bond note, ecocash and the US$ which is causing market distortions. Where a product is priced using a three tier system, there is bound to be arbitrage and some people benefit from such. We have raised this problem time in and time out, why can we not have one particular price of our products in the shops? This is something which this Parliament should enforce.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the rate of unemployment is very worrying to me and to most of us. Economists put that figure at 95%, that is formal employment those people on the labour market seeking active employment. That is worrying and most of our graduates are selling air time or selling fuel at the service stations. Unemployment rate of 95% is something that we have to tackle. As I said, I am just running through the economic dashboard and then I will proffer solutions or alternatives.
Mr. Speaker Sir, our national debt – I did not know that it had jumped from $11 billion to 16.9 billion over a period of 12 months, what we owe to the outside world. Juxtapose that against our GDP, which is officially pegged at $15 billion. Now, if our debt is $16.9 billion and our GDP is $15 billion, where are we going as a country? It means we are mortgaging our future generations and our children.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I am worried about the budget deficit. When he was the Minister of Finance, he was popular by his adage…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, when the Hon. Member…
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: When the Hon. Member for Harare
East, Dr. Tendai Biti was the Minister of Finance, he used to say, ‘let us eat what we kill.’ When he departed, the budget deficit was $275 million, just under 300 million.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Are you sure he departed or he is still alive: - [Laughter.] –
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: I am talking about the position, he left the public accounts books with a deficit of $300 million and now we are sitting on $2.2 billion. Out of a national budget of $4 billion, we have created a hole of $2.2 billion. To me, that is worrisome. Mr. Speaker Sir, unbeknown to us and to Parliament - by the way, you told us that Parliament has got powers, we must have teeth, how is it that the Government borrowed from the Reserve Bank to the tune of $2.3 billion as at August, 2018 yet the RBZ Act provides that the Government can only borrow amounts equal to 20% of the previous revenue and 20% of the previous revenue will equate to $762.8 million? However, the Government borrowed $2.3 billion from the Reserve Bank without the authority of this House or seeking condonation or coming back to this
House for a supplementary budget. I urge you to censure the Executive on that note as head of this institution – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - Mr. Speaker Sir…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. The Legislature is not composed of the Speaker, it is composed of Parliament. So, it is Parliament that must censure, not the Speaker. Thank you.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for your
guidance. Be that as it may, my point is that this House must censure the Executive for unauthorised borrowing. Across the board, we are all Hon. Members, let us censure the Executive. One worrying statistic is on the Treasury bills, which have risen from $2.1 billion as at 2016, just two years ago, now it stands at $7.6 billion Treasury bills which were issued. In terms of percentage growth, this is a growth from 4.4% of GDP to 36.5% of GDP, which is only on Treasury bills.
I must explain what Treasury bills are for the benefit of this House. Mr. Speaker Sir, when the Government creates a deficit, it can borrow from three sources, maybe four. It can borrow from us as individual people, the private sector and institutional investors like pension funds and so on. I have already said it can also borrow from the Reserve Bank. In order to do that, it issues a paper which is almost like a promissory note, an ‘I owe you, I promise to pay.’ It floats that paper which we call Treasury bill, it is a short term instrument whose tenure is 12 months. It floats that on the market then people hold that paper and give the Government money. After 12 months, that Treasury has a coupon rate at which it will be redeemed. However, what has been happening is that, because the Government does not have enough money, it has rolled over these Treasury bills and has not been redeeming most of them when their maturity date comes.
Treasury bills are different from bonds; bonds are long term instruments, but these are short term borrowing instruments. I am saying, in the short term they have borrowed from $2.3 billion in 2016 to $7.6 billion as at August 2018. It is a worrying trend. Domestic debt on its own, out of the total debt, which I talked about of $16.9 billion, domestic debt on its own is $9.5 billion from $275.8 billion in 2012. It has jumped significantly.
I talk of external debt. We have two types of external debts. The first type of debt is what we call multilateral debt that we owe to the
IMF, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and European Investment Bank; that is a multilateral debt which is in arrears to the tune of $2.5 billion. It is a combination of the Word bank, the IMF,
African Development Bank. The other arm of the debt which constitutes $2.8 billion, we owe it to the Paris Club. This is a group of creditor countries, bilateral creditors for example, if we have a debt with France, German, Italy et cetera. These kind of creditors have come together to protect their interests to chess debtors like Zimbabwe. They have called themselves the Paris Club and we owe them $2.8 billion. We need to service the Paris Club debt and the Multilateral Institution debt. What is very important is the multilateral debt because without addressing that, it can cause problems for you to unlock commercial loans and any other loans. This gives a cue to creditors. I will explain what the alternatives could be in this regard.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not have to talk about the humanitarian crisis. We are in the middle of a devastating cholera outbreak which has taken a toll on lives. That is a social crisis on top of the economic crisis that I have talked about. The fuel queues are becoming longer and longer. In fact, there is a colloquial joke, I must just relax the atmosphere, people say, ndati pfee muqueue yefuel – [Laughter.] - [HON. MEMBERS: Pfee, pfee!] – Mr. Speaker Sir, another joke on the fuel is that most men are now pretending they are now going to the fuel queues to get visas from their houses. Mr. Speaker Sir, on a serious note, the parallel market exchange rate between the Dollar and a Bond Note, today’s rate is 1:380. You almost need $400 bond notes to get US$100. That is distorting the prices and is creating what we call cost-pushing inflation because whoever importers, they source their forex. If they cannot get it from their Nostro applications, they source it from the parallel market and they just put on the cost on the final retailer. The existence of a weaker currency in a basket where there is a stronger currency, the US dollar is problematic. That only requires a policy decision or a policy choice to deal with that.
If you look at the bank queues, they are not easing. They are growing by the day and people have not yet gotten access to their hardearned money. In my respective view Mr. Speaker, a person must have choice to use electronic ....
Hon. Chikwinya having passed between the Chair and the Member on the floor.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Please, return. Please continue.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: A person must have a choice to use electronic means of payment or to use own cash. In the United States of America, if they see you holding a US$100 note, they wonder what are you up to. It is now a culture that has evolved but it is all about choice. You do not have to carry large sums of money but as a matter of choice, not to say, go to the bank, you want money for kombi or to buy tomatoes or onions on the streets or to buy fruits at Mbare and you cannot get that money. You are forced to use electronic. That is not how a normal economy operates. I have painted this dashboard as I have advised you Mr. Speaker Sir, but in spite of this bad picture, economic dashboard, the Minister of Finance and the Reserve Bank Governor believe that the economy is showing signs of recovering. Are we living in the same Zimbabwe or some have their own Zimbabwe where they are staying? I respectfully submit that the situation is not showing signs of recovery, rather the situation is deteriorating by the day. The economy is not yet on the rebound.
What is the real problem Mr. Speaker Sir? I think, at times policy bankruptcy can be a liability. If you have policy inertia, if you dither on policy, these problems will become unabated. I will give you a good example, removing a Bond Note does not require money, it requires a bold policy choice, a bold policy decision. I thought when the new Minister was sworn in, he had stuck the right code when he said, he was going to remove the Bond Note. Along the way, I do not know what had happened, he has stopped that. Joining the Rand monetary area, I will explain in detail on the alternatives, it requires a policy decision.
Stopping Government borrowing from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe requires an immediate policy decision to stop the budget deficit. The stopping issuance of Treasury Bills is a policy decision. Revenue collection, right now, do you know Mr. Speaker that, uncollected revenue is now $4 billion in the market, almost equal to the Budget. We need policies to revamp revenue collection measures, tighten your border ports so that there is no smuggling and there is no corruption.
I have talked about policy, but you also need leadership or political will. We have examples in African countries. The example of Rwanda – economic leadership, Kenya – economic leadership and Mauritius – economic leadership. These countries are in the pack of States in Africa, among failed States but they have emerged winners among failed states and they are growing at about 7% per annum. So we need leadership, we need economic and political leadership.
Now, I go to the alternatives because it is one thing criticising but another proffering alternatives. We, on this side, also offer alternatives. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - The first alternative is that the new
Minister of Finance and Economic Development is holding the wrong end of the stick. He is missing the woods for the forest because his assessment of the problem is that we need a two year stabilisation programme. Our diagnosis is different and what we need is structural transformation. We need real transformation of the economy because with stabilisation, all you are doing is to balance the books and you are not talking about growth, development or addressing structural bottlenecks, the supply side of the economy and production. You are not dealing with those things but just want to balance books for the purpose of having a good balance sheet. Those are what we call austerity measures.
This stabilisation is a school of thought which is outdated just like structural adjustment. It is neo-liberal. The father of market forces which is the basis of stabilisation is Adam Smith who said that in order to correct imbalances, you have to use market forces, reduce taxation and reduce or cut on expenditure. That is a neo-liberal view or what we call the Washington consensus which says cut this and that even where it affects society. That is what we call neo-liberal economics or free market economics which is an ideological issue. In an African country like Zimbabwe, you need a developmental state, strategic purposive and targeted intervention to create an enabling environment for growth to take place and not stabilisation.
I will now refer to the stabilisation measures which were announced by the Minister and tell you what could be our approach. The first stabilisation measure is servicing the debts. The Minister is saying let Zimbabwe re-engage and service the debts. Fair and fine, we ought to service the debts but do we have the capacity to service the debts at this juncture. How can we put five billion to service the debts when our roads are not right, when we have sewage flowing in the streets and we have no drugs in the hospitals? How do you then pump out all that money with the hope that they might give you new money? These multilateral institutions are very clever. They are debt collectors and they will dangle a carrot to a point when you pay all your debts then they tell you to reform this and that. Meanwhile you have paid them everything that you had. What could be our alternative approach? Our alternative approach is HIPC, the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Strategy. If you look at all the statistcs in terms of debt service ratio, ratio of exports to GDP and all those things, we qualify to be a HIPIC case. What do they do under HIPC? You apply to the creditors then they give you a holiday and say, instead of paying us $5 billion, take a proportion of that money which you were supposed to give us and build schools, hospitals and clinics. So, you retain some of the money that you were supposed to pay to the creditors. However, they will supervise you to make sure that that money is ring-fenced and is going towards what you are supposed to spend it on especially on social economic infrastructure. So, instead of going head-long full throttle debt servicing we would say let us apply for the HIPC status so that we can service the debts at a slower rate but retain some of the money to build our own institutions and infrastructure.
On Government deficit and borrowing, what is the solution? The solution is not to tax the poor to cover the mistakes of the rich. The people who have caused the deficit – the Government, has to bear the brand. How does it do that? It has to cut Government Executive expenditure. You cannot just pass on the burden to the poor people. The poor cannot keep on tightening their belt. That is a neo-classical approach.
On taxation, Mr Speaker Sir, we would not bother adding any cent or extra burden on the poor people. In fact, Zimbabwe’s tax rate is one of the highest in the world. So, instead of increasing we would reduce it and target property tax where the rich people are. We would also target taxation of luxury trinkets, fuel, farms and increase taxation for holding unproductive land. That is where you get the rich.
The other problem – I am still talking about stabilisation and the alternatives to stabilisation. I am running down elements in the stabilisation baskets and proffering the solution. Under stabilisation they talk of flexible labour markets and I am now talking as a trade unionist. They are talking about flexible labour markets or soft labour markets. One issue which features on stabilisation measures is the adoption of flexible labour markets to create soft labour markets where you reduce the cost of labour and you lay off workers as opposed to giving living wages. That is one approach where we think you have to invite a social contract or dialogue. You cannot just introduce flexible labour market measures without consulting the trade unions and the employers’ associations. We need a social contract and social dialogue to move the country forward.
Mr. Speaker Sir, there is also need to create social safety nets for those people who are going to bear the brand of stabilisation. You need these social safety nets to protect the vulnerable groups that are going to be affected by these austerity measures which have been introduced by the Minister. So, my point is that, in tightening the belt, everyone must the bear the cost, not just the poor people. I respectfully submit that the 2% tax hurts the poor more than the rich people. That is why it has to be revised or scratched.
The other point is that this 2% did not come through a Finance Bill. You may recall that we need a Finance Act or a Finance Bill to effect all revenue proposals. This 2% has not gone through a Finance Bill. I am aware that this matter is now under litigation – the Minister has been taken to court by a number of affected people.
Now, I move away from the transformation agenda after having picked the basket of those measures, analysed them and proffered what I believe are alternatives. I now go on to what our transformation agenda would be or is. We are not into stabilisation but we are into real socioeconomic structrural transformation to eradicate poverty and initiate economic development. Mr. Speaker Sir, the first thing which we need is inclusive growth or shared growth. This economy must go back on a growth path/pedestal. We want growth rates of 7%, 8% or 9% per annum.
An Hon. Member having walked into the House without acknowledging the Chair.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. The Hon. Member who
has just come in here, the rule says you have to acknowledge the Chair.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
Another Hon. Member having walked into the House again without acknowledging the Chair.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Members, during the induction workshop, you were taught that each time you enter, you must make obeisance to the Chair – and not the Chair Hon. Mudenda but to this Chair of Parliament which shall be occupied by other people in as much as other people occupy this Chair. So, you make obeisance to the Chair and not to an individual. Now, if I will notice a Member just walking in, I will ask that Member to walk out zvachose.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I will ask you a rhetorical question. I am talking about our transformation agenda and I am now sharing with you what I call transformation markers – what should happen to change the path of this economy. Mr. Speaker Sir, I will ask you a rhetorical question. Mr. Speaker with a GDP of $15 billion, why should we have a budget of $4 billion? What is happening to the rest of the wealth? It shows that we have the capacity to leap-frog from a $4 billion budget to a $20 billion budget. We have a capacity to leap-frog from a $15 billion economy to $100 billion economy if we introduce the right policies.
Mr. Speaker Sir, changing the structure of the economy is a structural issue which we must address in order to develop Zimbabwe and not simply stablise the situation. Mr. Speaker Sir, sorry I see that there are a lot of interruptions. I want to draw your attention to my presentation.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Sorry about that.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Mr. Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe is a great
country and it has a potential. We must be a giant in terms of the economy. So, let us go back to addressing the structural fundamentals that we grow our economy from $15 billion, to $20 billion to $30 billion and create jobs along the way.
Mr. Speaker Sir, if you look at our GDP, across the 54 African countries, ours is only now higher - in the southern region than Malawi. We were the second largest economy after South Africa but now our
GDP is just only higher than Malawi. Our GDP is only higher than the island economies like your Comoros, Seychelles, Madascar and so on. So, in the pecking order, we must reclaim our position – we need inclusive growth and that must benefit everybody and not just the elite.
HON. KASHIRI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. The Hon.
Member is giving us figures which are fictitious.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Please, read your Standing Orders. When you have what you think is the correct situation, you will stand up and be recognised and debate and dispute what has been said.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Mr. Speaker Sir, when we were
doing the induction, you told us to research and I am only speaking out of the research that I have done. Also Mr. Speaker, my PHD is on comparative GDP and fiscal policy. So I am at home in this case, if you want to go through my thesis, it is there under Stellenbosch University and you will see some of these figures that I am quoting. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I was talking about growing the economy. Why do we need the growth of the economy? We need to grow jobs. If the economy is not growing, is stabilised, we cannot create employment. We cannot absorb the sea or army of school leavers. So, we need jobs to be created. How do we create these jobs? We need to reindustrialise to create the supply response, to increase productivity, increase investment in the manufacturing sector and create jobs. Open all the clothing industries, the textile industries, your ZISCO Steel and all former economic units that were closed to create employment. That goes beyond stabilisation. It is a structural matter.
Let us address our infrastructure, Mr. Speaker Sir. We need to spruce up our infrastructure whether it is roads, energy, water and sanitation or housing. One of the areas that can create jobs is the construction industry. It has got the potential to create millions of jobs. If you look at the skies of Harare, you do not see single crane. If you go to Bulawayo, you do not see a single crane and you cannot talk of stabilisation. You need an intervention to make sure that construction starts.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I now touch on investment or FDI to generate more foreign currency. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand that we do not print the United States dollar. The United States dollar can only be obtained through ratcheting up our exports through diaspora remittances, through funding by international organisations and embassies, through private sector loans and so on. So, we need to address the investment climate. It is one thing saying we are open for business, but it is another addressing those barriers to investment and there are many, they are too many.
I have not seen an investment promotion and protection Bill tabled here since we talked about ease of doing business. You need the law, you need the legislation to back investment reforms so that you can attract investors because if an investors googles investment law in Zimbabwe, you do not get any law that protects and promotes your investment. So, we need to do that and we need to address the capital account to make sure that the movement of forex inside and outside the country is liberalised so that a person does not hesitate to put money in
I read one news clip which said there was an investor who complained to the President that he had invested US$500 million and his money is now in bond notes. Those are the things that we need to address to make sure that investment is increased and we need an EGovernment, E- Commerce so that an investor does not physically need to come to Zimbabwe, they can just do their paper work wherever they are and we should also look at investment facilitation. It is very important. We must make sure that those people who invest also bank in Zimbabwe. So, there must be an annual report on how many investors have opened their banking accounts, because some of these investors are just externalising the money like the Chinese in particular, our friends.
Mr. Speaker, talking about foreign currency generation, we have got a problem. I can tell you five areas where we are getting foreign currency and I will put a caveat. We get foreign currency from tobacco, gold, platinum, coal and diamonds. What does that say to you? These are primary commodities. We are exporting value and we are not benefiting anything because there is no value chain there. That is why even though we have got the mineral wealth, we still have got what economists call a resource case because we are still rich in abundant resources but we are exporting them as raw materials.
Imagine chrome coming all the way from the Great Dyke as ore, going to Beira as ore. Imagine platinum. We export our platinum to South Africa for processing and in South Africa there will be five minerals that are going to come out of that platinum which we are losing. So, there is no point. Our export is being generated by primary commodities which are not processed and we are losing value. Our industry is down so we do not have manufactured products to export.
I also talk about socio-economic development, Mr. Speaker Sir. Do you know that our health sector is under severe stress. Drugs are running out of supply and their prices are beyond the reach of many. Pharmacies are now demanding cash or United States dollars. They are now disowning medical aid societies. That is how difficult the situation is and what is happening? People are now buying counterfeit drugs from the streets because they cannot afford the conventional brands or as he says are going to n’angas or prophets. So, we must address the health sector as a critical sector.
The other thing is to create entrepreneurship. In our policies we have talked about indigenisation, empowerment and so on, but I think we are paying lip service to entrepreneurship. Let us create our own black middle class - black business people who are successful who invest in the country like Strive Masiiwa. We need more of those people who we can support, as a country, to create employment - our own black driven entrepreneurship. So, we must have an incubation period to grow our own entrepreneurs, to create wealth for society.
The other thing is currency reforms. Mr. Speaker Sir, I still believe that the exchange rate is still 1:1. The Minister, when he was at
Chatham House in London, said that no, the bond note is not equal to the United States dollar. What is it? We all know that it is 1:1. What we need in this country are currency reforms. You need to choose a currency in the basket which is commonly available and in this case I propose that we adopt the Rand as our current. I will give reasons for that. Sixty percent of our imports come from South Africa. Whether it is fuel, food, medicines, capital or intermediary goods, they all come from South Africa. We go to South Africa and we buy in Rands and what people are now doing, if they buy something for R20 the price here is $20. I buy something for R100; I sell it for $100 here. That is causing a lot of inflation, yet we are buying these things in Rands.
So, I propose that why not price our products in the shops in Rands because it is in wider circulation, so you will not waste a lot of foreign currency buying things from South Africa. You would use your United States dollars to buy products that are denominated in foreign currency for imports, for example machinery from Germany, you have to buy in foreign currency, chemicals from America, you use foreign currency, but basic commodities that you buy using the Rand, price them using the Rand. There will not be any opportunity for price arbitration as I have told you; marking your product price from R100 to US$100 is usurious. I therefore propose that we adopt the Rand as an anchor in our currencies basket. Its supply is cheap. Instead of using the few American Dollars that we have to import United States Dollars, let us use that money to import the Rand. At the end of the day, maybe three million Zimbabweans in the diaspora - may be two million in South Africa – imagine if they send the Rand home since that will be the dominant currency in the basket instead of the United States Dollar which is a difficult currency dominating our currency basket.
As the opposition, we are demanding that we join the Rand Monetary Union area. Of course, there are some obligations linked to that move. The first obligation is that we are required to have macroeconomic convergence and second, we have to address our microeconomic fundamentals. They further want to know the amount of reserves we have and in our case, our reserves are only US$200 million – [HON. BITI: Which I left.] - reserves and that is enough for two months fuel supplies only yet it must provide six to seven months import cover. In fact, our ideal reserves should be at least US$1 billion for us to be able to cover our critical imports. Therefore, they will consider our macro-economic conversions in terms of how many we have and what is the level of budget deficit. They also look at our balance of payments (BOP) position. If you look at our balance of payments, we have got a trade deficit of US$3 billion. We are exporting under US$3 billion and importing over US$6 billion. Therefore, we have a trade gap of over
US$3 billion and they also look at that. They also look at steps we are taking to introduce our own strong currency. In this, there are fundamentals which have to be attended to before that local currency can come. So in the mean time, let us use the Rand because it is awash in the region and its supply is not as complicated as the United States Dollar.
Mr. Speaker Sir, using the Rand should also not be an accident but that is the future of Africa when we talk of economic integration. In January 2018, the Heads of State and Government signed the continetal free trade area agreement in Kigali. The continental free trade area seeks to create one common African market with a potential demand of one billion people and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$2, 4 trillion. It is huge market which we must capitalize on. We must go through the continental free trade area and get into regional integration. What a way other than joining the Rand Union to start being integrated into the subregion.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in the transformation agenda, we need to leverage our natural resources to unlock new capital. What are we doing at the present moment? I will give you an example of platinum. What has happened Mr. Speaker Sir? Are you aware that Government has parceled all the platinum claims and concessions – [HON. BITI: To the Russians.] - These claims are not developed and they are being held on speculative basis instead of leveraging them to build our economy, to anchor our debt and so on. We are just sitting on idle resources instead of using those resources to borrow and entering into what we call forward contracts or securitisation of our natural resources. That is one way of raising revenue and they have done that in Angola. Look at where Angola is now? Uganda has just done that and they have also done the same in Ghana. They have securitised their natural resources such as your gold, copper, chrome, diamonds and so forth.
These are transformational issues which have got a long term bearing on the development of the country. Mr. Speaker Sir, the vision of an upper middle class by 2030 is very hard to achieve considering where we are especially if we continue to pursue the stabilisation policy path and politics. We need to pursue growth politics, development politics and transformational politics.
I now come to the Monetary Policy Statement which was unveiled. The Monetary Policy Statement did two things. It created nostro-foreign currency accounts and real time gross settlement (RTGS) foreign currency accounts (FCAs) and said they were at parity one as to one. Mr. Speaker Sir, we have problems with the nostro-accounts because we are not sure whether importers will get this money on demand. In the past, FCA accounts have been raided and people woke up having Zimbabwean Dollar balances. Therefore, people are not sure and they may not have confidence about these nostro FCAs.
The other problem is that, there is a US$500 million facility from the African Export and Import Bank which should be an anchor or a guarantee fund for those nostro accounts. There is however one problem there; we have not seen the term sheet of the US$500 million that was borrowed from the Africa Export Import Bank if it was borrowed. We do not know where that money is. The second thing is that, it is too little too late. The arrears on FCA nostro applications amount to US$6 billion, that is the queue and quantum of people waiting for foreign currency to import something or to make foreign payments. When you tell us that you have got US$500 from the African Export and Import Bank, it is chicken change and a drop in the ocean. It will not help and Mr. Speaker Sir, that is why we have got problems with the FCAs. The other problem is that, what RTGS FCAs? These are our normal transactional accounts and we have just given them the name RTGS FCAs because we are a dollarised economy but those are the normal accounts that we have always been using.
I have already talked about the 2% retrogressive tax and I will not belabor on that. I have also talked about the surrogate currency which is the bond-note and the reason why it is not performing any useful purpose apart from distorting the market. What is happening is that you have got some importers who are getting foreign currency from the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe nostro accounts at US$1:1 bond note. Others who are not connected and unlucky are getting the same foreign currency at US$1: 380 bond notes. It does not make sense and there is that differentiation which is not healthy. Mr. Speaker Sir, if we have a shortage of foreign currency in this country, why do we buy gold in foreign currenc?. We need to export that inorder to get the foreign currency but we are using the same foreign currency to buy gold locally. The people who now have foreign currency in the pockets are makorokoza or what we call the artisanal miners. They have got the cash and who are the barons behind these artisanal miners? So, as of the alternative monetary policy, I will just summarise our alternative monetary policy; let us decommission the bond note, let us adopt pricing of good in rands, let us address the liquidity crisis in all dimensions from the point of view of foreign currency and from the point of view of the domestic currency for transacting.
On Fiscal Policy, as I have said Mr. Speaker Sir, this Government has been borrowing amounts without parliamentary approval. I have talked about the $500 million AFREXIM Bank facility; that is one thing. They have recently borrowed from the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) of London – $100 million without parliamentary approval; they have borrowed from GemCorp – $250 million. GemCorp is a private capital fund in London which lends to governments. We have not seen the term sheets. We only know that it is five years tenure but the details of the term sheet are not available. They borrowed from AFREXIM Bank for essential imports – all these borrowings must come through this House. We must have a full session on Government borrowings. What is this money intended to, what are the full terms?
So we need the term sheets.
The other factual issue is of parastatals. If we do not transform parastatals, they are doing business as usual. I have a quotation just to illustrate to you the attitude of parastatals. I read the annual report of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB). By the way, it was put in our pigeon holes. On page 62, I just want to demonstrate the attitude of parastatals; there is an auditor’s item – those who are accountants here, there is an item of ‘Going Concern’. The auditor said this parastatal is not a ‘going concern’ which means that its liabilities cannot cover its assets. It cannot continue to operate, it is insolvent.
When the auditor gives you such a qualification, the management has to put a response to the auditor’s remark. This is what the board; said “The GMB Board made a loss of $32 million in 2016 and an accumulated loss of $209 million as at 31 March 2017. The Directors have assessed the ability of the board to continue operating as a going concern and believe that the preparation of these financial statements on a going concern basis is appropriate hence they agree.” They go on to say, “The board does not believe that the losses will have a significant impact on its ability to continue operating as a going concern because of the continued funding it receives from the Government” – [HON. MEMBERS: Aaah!] - That is the attitude of the parastatals. They said never mind, Government will continue to fund us. It is Father Christmas.
If we do not address the issue of parastatals, we are going to dig deeper holes because these are loss making entities whose excuse is that
‘Government will give us the money.’
To wind up, there is the issue of corruption. I do not need to belabour on the issue of corruption and how it affects the economy. It is a big issue.
I have talked about the issue of productivity – at the end of the day, this economy belongs to us as Zimbabweans. We have got a duty as legislators to make sure that we hold the Executive accountable. We do not want this economy to go back to neo-classical, pro-liberal programmes. We want a developmental approach and a transformative agenda for this country so that we can increase the welfare of our people. I so move. Thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
ORAL CHOLERA VACCINATION PROCESS
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, order! Before we proceed with our debate, I have got a very important health announcement. I have to inform the House that Hon. Members are invited to participate in the on-going oral cholera vaccination on Wednesday and Thursday – 10th and 11th October 2018 at Parliament Clinic. The programme will be preceded by a presentation at 0900 hours in the National Assembly Chamber on both days. Any members who fail to be present for the vaccination process on these days can also access any other designated vaccination points at the City of Harare Clinics.
HON. BITI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I rise to second the motion by Hon. Dr. Mashakada on the state of the economy. I would like to thank him for a very comprehensive submission before this honourable House.
Hon. Speaker Sir, the economy is in a serious state of malaise. Our economy has been battered by years and years of self induced policy distortions. The economy reflects the state of Zimbabwe. The State is broken, vulnerable and fragile. There are structural challenges – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Madam Speaker Sir – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Madam Speaker…. THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is alright.
HON. BITI: Although I will speak on the economy…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Go ahead.
HON. BITI: Madam Speaker, although I will speak on the economy, I need to make it very clear that the challenges that we are facing in the economy are inextricably linked to our politics – [HON. MEMBERS: Yes!] – and that the economy is just a mirror or reflection of the challenges of legitimacy, the challenges which we are facing – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – in the body politics.
Madam Speaker, you can rig an election but you cannot rig an economy – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – [AN HON. MEMBER:
Gara pasi!] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Member –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – [HON. WADYAJENA:
Aka riga election ndiani?] –
HON. KARIKOGA: On a point of order Madam Speaker, - [AN
HON. MEMBER: Taura section!] - We are well aware that the Hon.
Member who just sat down is suffering from post – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] – On a section of common sense … – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members!
HON. KARIKOGA: On a section of common sense, Hon. Tendai Biti is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and the things that he is mentioning do not make sense. I thank you. – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Member,
you can proceed with your debate but stick to the motion.
HON. BITI: Thank you Madam Speaker, we have structural challenges in our economy. One of the structural challenges that we have is the accumulation model. 100 years after colonialism, it is regrettable that our economy is still extractive. We extract raw materials and sell them outside the country. Our biggest cash crop is tobacco but we sell it in its raw form. So if you were to wake Cecil Rhodes from his grave in Matobo, he would not be confused by the accumulation model because it is still extraction – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
We have a problem Madam Speaker, our country is in a recession. A recession is a situation in economics where the economy recedes, grows in negative terms in two successive quotas. Since 2012, our economy has been in a recession so that effectively means that we are now in an economic depression. It is very difficult to get into a recession, a recession is characterised by absent aggregate demand; the absence of output and excess capacity - if you go to the industries, they are not being utilised. Excess capacity in the form of 95% of our people who are unemployed and so this is a grave situation that needs to be addressed. A recession is a crisis of under-accumulation which is why until recently, our shops have been full of goods but Zimbabweans have been unable to afford those goods. A recession is the opposite of what we had in 2007/08 – a crisis of hyper inflation.
What we had in 2007/08 was a crisis of over-accumulation of a situation whereby the economy had overheated and too much money was chasing few goods. Now, Madam Speaker, to move from a crisis of over-accumulation to a recession – a crisis of under-accumulation in less than eight years is impossible as these are two extreme positions of failure. To actually transit from a crisis of over-accumulation 2007/08 to a crisis of under-accumulation 2013 to 2018 is almost impossible. There is only one country that has gone through those extreme phases and that is Germany in between two world wars. Zimbabwe has achieved this without any war – it is extreme Madam Speaker – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Madam Speaker, the second man made challenge that we have in this country is that of a huge budget deficit that is now in excess of 25% of Gross Domestic Product [GDP]. We spend money as if it grows on trees and I always argue that there is a disease in this country called, fiscalitis. Fiscalitis is the disease when you just spend and spend and spend and like we say at rallies, ‘tinodya mari semushonga wemusana’, and this is the scourge of the budget deficit.
Madam Speaker, most countries, including the United States of
America run budget deficits, so the challenge is not budget deficit but is twofold. First, what are you putting the resources to? The challenge with our deficit is that we have been implementing deficit economics for consumption. So we have been creating budget deficits to hire luxury jets, buy cars, bribe the population in elections and have not been building schools, dams, roads and power stations. So when you have a budget deficit – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Chinotimba having stood up.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order!
HON. BITI: Chinotimba chimbondisiya ndidhibhete shamwari, handiti ucha dhibheta. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – So that is the challenge Madam Speaker, we have been running a budget deficit to finance consumption and not to finance developmental projects and the social agenda.
The second challenge of our deficit is how we have sought to monetize it and cover the gap. We have sought to monetize the budget deficit through creative illegal means. The first means has been to borrow from the central bank. As I am talking to you right now, the
Government is running an overdraft facility at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) that is standing at US$2.4 billion. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Madam Speaker, the central bank is not a commercial bank. However, the central bank is broke and under capitalised. So when the Government borrows from the central bank, in fact it is not borrowing from the central bank. It is in fact raiding peoples’ deposits that are put in peoples’ accounts that are then kept at the central bank. This is why there is a cash shortage and why you cannot get your money. So the problem is now manifesting itself as a monetary problem yet it is a fiscal problem rising from a Government that is monetizing its budget deficit creatively and illegally through raiding peoples’ RTGs balances and peoples’ nostro accounts.
So the shortage of cash and the currency crisis that we have must fall squarely on the shoulders of the Ministry of Finance and Economic
Development that has been raiding the central bank and fortiori deposits kept by persons in their accounts. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - So that is problem number one.
The second problem that is associated with the huge fingerprint of Government in the economy is that of the broad money supply. What economists call, M3. Since 2013 money supply has grown up to $5bn due to Government borrowing. On Friday last week, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development launched what they called the Transitional Stabilisaton Programme and that document actually discloses that as of that Friday, broad money supply was in excess of $11bn. Of that $11bn, $8bn is just Government activity. The problem of a huge Government fingerprint in the economy is that you are crowding out the private sector from participating in the economy. The Government which is a non-productive entity becomes the biggest and dominant player in the economy.
When money grows faster than production as is the case in Zimbabwe, then you have inflation. So, you are back to 2008, a situation where there is too much money chasing too few goods because of an over grown broad money supply, M3. We need to curtail the growth of money supply.
Thirdly, is Government borrowing. It is shocking Madam Speaker that for the first time in the history of Zimbabwe, domestic debt which is around $10bn is now exceeding external sovereign debt. It is basically unheard of. It means that the Government among other things is running a parallel quasi fiscal economy. When you have a situation which we have now that domestic debt plus external debt is now $21bn, it is criminal. It means that every child who is being born right now – a baby that is being born at Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Ward even before she has put on diapers she owes money which she does not know to the tune of $200 000 – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
The dangerous thing about that debt is that you are eating into future generations. That $20bn has to be paid by future generations. That means the present generation, through economic mismanagement, is imposing a tax on future generations, a tax in the form of interest repayments that has to be made. That Madam Speaker is absolutely unacceptable.
The fourth thing which I want to talk about is inflation. Zimbabweans know the scourge of inflation. In June 2008, which was the last time that our Government gave figures before the Inclusive Government, inflation was 231 million percent. Month on month inflation was over a million percent. We had a situation where when you are in a queue, prices would change three times. I saw that yesterday personally. I went to Union Hardware in Workington, a man came in the morning to ask for a quotation of a door. He was given a quotation of $90. That same man went at lunch at Union Hardware and he was told that the door is $190. When I saw that man at four o’clock at Union
Hardware, it was now $290. We are back to the era of hyperinflation.
Let me tell you something about hyperinflation. High inflation - 12% or 18% is byproduct of economic mismanagement. High inflation is economic failure. Hyperinflation has nothing to do with economics. Hyperinflation reflects a total breakdown of confidence and trust – a total breakdown of the social contract. In other words, the citizen loses any confidence in a Government. It goes back to politics. It goes back to legitimacy which is why I submitted at the beginning that what we are facing in this country might appear to be an economic problem. It is not. It is in fact a political problem, a crisis of legitimacy.
Madam Speaker, I want to zero in on solutions. The first thing that we need to do is to bring fiscal consolidation. We have to eat what we kill. We have to pursue a fiscal balance and balance our books. If you kill a rat, you cannot have the part of an elephant. You cannot feast and call the whole village when you have killed a rat. If you kill a rat, you eat a rat. We have to go back to the issue of cash budgeting. We have to go back to the issue of a zero deficit balance. It is normal economics
Madam Speaker. The greatest economists in the world are not the Paul Volckers of this world, they are not the Allan Crispers of this world, they are our mothers in Chendambuya and in Binga who know that if my husband earns $10, I spend $10. Let me tell you something about economics. In economics, one minus two it cannot. Once you say one minus two is minus one, you have got a problem and that is the problem with these men on the left.
The second thing which we have to do is to make sure that the economy grows. We have to invest in the supply side of the economy. We need foreign direct investment in this country. We have to be truly open for business. We cannot say we are open for business when we are busy stealing elections – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Member, stick to the
HON. BITI: We cannot say we are open for business when we unleash the army on unarmed civilians as we did on the 1st of August
2018 – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: The truth is that what happened during
elections of 31st July 2018 is under investigation. There is a
Commission. Hon. Biti is also under investigation on the same matter.
So, he needs to withdraw.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, events of the
1st of August 2018 must not be debated. I have ruled.
HON. BITI: When we are open for business there must be harmony and dialogue in our country. I submit that President
HON. CHIKWINYA: I want to move that the Hon. Member’s
time be extended.
HON. CHINOTIMBA: I object.
Motion put and negative.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: He cannot continue, it is
objected. I will give you one minute to wind up.
HON. DR. BITI: So, the third solution which we are proposing is the total de-monetisation of the bond note. The bond note must be scrapped namhla kachana. It must go. Fourth, we must protect the balances of people which are in bank accounts right now. So, the major announce on the 1st of October in the Monetary Policy Statement, that we are now creating a FCA has got the effect of devaluing people’s
accounts at the present moment. We cannot lose value again.
Fifth, we must join the Rand Monetary Union as a matter of urgency. I thank you very much Hon. Madam Speaker – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to
thank Hon. Mashakada and the seconder of the motion. It is true that our economy is not performing well at all. What he has said is very true. However, if you were to look at the video or pictures which were shown during the debate by Hon. Mashakada when I wanted to raise a point of order, I was told that I would only be able to give my opinion as I debate. It is true that prices keep rising and cooking oil is now being sold at $13 to $15. I met some men yesterday who were moving in shops and were chanting party slogans like the MDC one, ‘chinja.’
There are people in this country who are corrupt, as alluded to by another Hon. Member. Some people want to lead this country through the poverty of other people by increasing prices so that it reflects negatively on the Government in power. This is done by the opposition, those who lost the elections. These are the people who are causing the rising of prices – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. May
the Hon. Member be heard in silence?
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Madam Speaker, this is an issue that is of deep concern that people like Hon. Biti would stand up to debate and say that elections were rigged and yet he won in his own Constituency. I do not know what he means by saying that elections were rigged…
*HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order Madam Speaker
Ma’am. The Hon. Member Hon. Chinotimba is no longer in line with the motion. I think he needs to go back and ensure that he debates within the confines of the motion that has been moved. If he has nothing to say, he should sit down.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Proceed Hon. Chinotimba
but ensure that you stick to the motion.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The issue
that I mentioned is that Hon. Biti said, what is happening is all politics. I am saying, those who lost the election are ones that are causing the rise in prices and that is the truth. Madam Speaker, we have a problem in our country whereby people take foreign currency outside the country to buy their goods and the goods do not attract foreign currency. As a result, our foreign currency – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, order. May the Hon.
Member be heard in silence?
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: I am within the confines of the motion. Madam Speaker. I am talking about foreign currency. We do not have enough foreign currency in our nation. The business people take the foreign currency – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
Madam Speaker, I need your protection, especially from the Hon.
Member with spectacles, Hon. Thabita Khumalo.
When the companies get foreign currency from the Reserve Bank to go and buy their goods outside the country, those companies are not bringing back foreign currency. They manufacture goods and sell those goods that attract foreign currency but they do not remit it. That is why we have a shortage of foreign currency. For that reason, our economy is not developing at all – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Did you have evidence at all when you showed us that clip in your presentation? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order. Hon. Chinotimba,
address the Chair. You may proceed.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Madam Speaker, the other issue that is causing economic challenges in our nation is the issue of people who just rise up in this nation and badmouth our country, requesting for sanctions and their behaviour affects the nation. The country cannot thrive under such a situation. Others are saying ‘open for business’ while the other party is saying ‘open for sanctions’. That is a challenge for our economy to grow. Madam Speaker, the issue of the Rand in Zimbabwe is a welcome proposal but there are measures that must be taken into consideration. We cannot use the Rand if our economy is not stable enough to use another country’s currency – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.
Please allow the Hon. Member to be heard in silence – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Madam Speaker, this motion was brought up by Hon. Mashakada but he does not want us to debate the motion. We are saying, we appreciate the motion and it is an important motion. We want to debate it and look at the positives and negatives of the motion. We are not in agreement with the rising prices or the shortages but at the same time, we will not support those who go into shops and take politics into the shops. Madam Speaker, this nation, if at all it has people who do not know where this country came from, who do not understand what makes people happy in this country will never be peaceful and worth living. People say the wrong things. They think that poverty and challenges being experienced is caused by certain individuals.
Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me an ear – [AN HON.
MEMBERS: Yes, you are vomiting.] – My request is that the Hon. Member should withdraw his words – [HON. CHIBAYA: You are not
the Speaker.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chibaya! Hon.
Chinotimba, you may proceed.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Madam Speaker, I want to thank you
for the opportunity and the words that I have said. I thank you.
HON. O. MGUNI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I must thank Hon. Dr. Mashakada and Hon. Biti for bringing up such an interesting and very touching debate. Madam Speaker, on the facts that they brought, I saw and I realise that they missed a lot from the Presidential Speech. The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe spoke about the Bill of Fiscal Balances. Fiscal Balances is exactly what Hon. Biti was hammering on to say, you cannot eat more than what you acquire, that is what the President demanded that, that Bill is coming to Parliament. We have to deliberate on it, correct it and have that Bill passed in this
Parliament. So, the President is on the right path to amend the economy.
Today when I looked at the first page of the Herald, I saw the notice of the privatisation of the parastatals and I said thumps up; Zimbabwe is now privatising the parastatals because parastatals have been doing what Hon. Mashakada referred to. Therefore, the
Government has already taken action to privatise them and you will see privatisation being done.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, I saw today that Pure Gold, the manufacturers of cooking oil said they have enough stocks and they are dispatching the cooking oil that is worth $2.71. Therefore, when it reached the end user, it is sold at $10. Now, I am an anti-corruption expert and I have to track it like this. If the manufacturers say they are manufacturing something for $2.71 and then the end users are selling to the public at $10, therefore, there are some business people who are corrupt, unscrupulous, and unpatriotic and are busy engaging on price fixing. Why do they do that price fixing? That is the next question that I will be asking myself. It is something that is purported to counter correct governance and create ungovernable systems through social medias whereby we need to bring a very strong Cyber Crime Bill in this Parliament to correct such matters. People are reacting on rumour mongering which is circulating on the media and there are some people who are escalating the prices.
HON. NDEBELE: On a point of order Madam Speaker. It is not
fiction that cooking oil is selling for more than $2.50. So, the Hon. Member needs to debate reality. If a mere businessman out there in the rural areas can raise cooking oil to $10 and Government is saying cooking oil is $2.50, who is governing then?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, your time will
come and you will debate.
HON. O. MGUNI: Madam Speaker Ma’am, I do not want to
reverse what I said because I punctuated it by saying that Pure Gold the manufacturers of cooking oil are declaring that the price today is $2.71.
So, those who are selling it at $14 are unscrupulous people who are criminals.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, there is something that Hon. Mashakada brought here which needs to be debated. The HIPC status that we must declare so that we are being helped and monitored to grow our economy – what it means is that you are declaring that you have failed to run the country and you cannot do anything. Therefore, you are hindering investment. There will be no investment into the country if we adopt that system. Therefore, I encourage the Government not to go that way because you would prevent investors – they will not come to a HIPC status declared country and the reason behind all this is corruption.
There are three key things that we are missing in fighting against corruption. We need a unity that is called forfeiture unity whereby if somebody is found to be corrupt, those proceeds must be taken and forfeited to the State. I have seen a lot of people getting away with murder Madam Speaker. They are found corrupt but what they acquired is left with them. They would serve three years and they go out of prison to enjoy their fruits. We have to take all those things and bring them back to the State because they are eating into the coffers of the State and we want the State to benefit so that we grow.
The State is servicing its debt and the Minister of Finance and
Economic Development is coming here to give a Ministerial
Statement which will address how he is going to service the debts. He is ready to come and present that statement. We are a free market economy and if you look at it, we should be by this time having inspectors who are inspecting and governing our prices in every consumer shop but now, the economy that we are running here is a freemarket economy. Therefore, we cannot adopt a Rand in such a market because such a market needs our own currency Madam Speaker Ma’am.
We have gold, platinum and we can support that to make our own currency. We need our own currency because now you cannot put the figure low and you cannot put the correct systems of monetary laws on a foreign currency. For example, we need to simplify this to a street person. You will find a person carrying US$1 million at Beitbridge and he is going to South Africa. If you stop him and say where did you get this money from, he would say from Zambia – how will you prove it is from Zimbabwe? You will not control any money which is not from your country and that is what some opportunists are now using to make Zimbabwe suffer. We have a lot of unpatriotic people in Zimbabwe who are trading and the money is in the hands of those people. So, they will sabotage the country.
We have saboteurs and people who are against the improvement of the country and the policy of saying Zimbabwe is open for business, and others are opposing. We need to be strict on the money and we need our own currency to stand on our own and develop our own things that will help us.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, let me agree with Hon. Mashakada on the
exportation of minerals like platinum because he never spoke bad things altogether. There were some good things that we must take and agree on - the exportation of minerals like platinum which contains seven other minerals and they are processed in South Africa. We would want to know how South Africa declares those other mineral products that they find inside platinum and bring them back. That is his point and he is correct to say that we need now to move in beneficiating our platinum in Zimbabwe so that we extract those minerals also and they must benefit us here. So, we must move towards industrialising our country, not relying on another country. That is why Botswana never bought into a story of using Rands. I know it because I worked for SADC. It is because they do not want to be colonised by another country. That is why I am standing to say we need our own currency.
Another thing that he mentioned that is interesting which we need to take note of - it was a picture where bread was written $1.55. We have got plenty of wheat, Madam Speaker. I saw that today it is beginning to be harvested. We need to support Command Agriculture where we produce our own things rather than relying on imported wheat. We need to teach our farmers to produce wheat in larger quantities so that we do not rely on other countries. We cannot be taking money or foreign currency to buy wheat somewhere else. We have got enough
land and we have got enough fields. We need to plough our wheat and have our own bread, even at a lesser price. I remember people were querying why our bread was already $1. It must go down because we have got land, wheat and farmers in Zimbabwe. We have got Command Agriculture.
Madam Speaker, there was someone who was claiming that this is a broken economy and a broken Government. This is a very sad moment for Zimbabweans whereby as leaders, when we have these things in front of us, we are failing to come and sit down together and have a way forward to develop our country. There are some people who have got their own selfish interests where they think if it is me who is in power, then I will fix this problem. No, we need to have something that is called constructive criticism. Madam Speaker, we promote something that we call constructive criticism.
For the first time, I will respect this man Hon. Dr. Mashakada. He brought some of the solutions to the problems that are here, although his solutions we will match or mismatch them with those by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development when he comes here to Parliament because we want to hear from both sides to say who has got the best for
Zimbabwe. He is allowed as an Honourable to bring his opinion, but the
Minister is also…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Honourable. Vehicle number AEV4932 Twin Cab Fiat is blocking other vehicles. Please, may the owner attend to it.
HON. O. MGUNI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Lastly, I will say this to indicate that if people are not pulling together what happens. Zimbabwe decided to revive certain factories in Bulawayo, and they were given $7 million to resuscitate their businesses. When we made a follow up as the Committee on Industry and Commerce last year, we found that those factories were not resuscitated. You know what happened instead. The owners took the money to South Africa and they left the factories. So now we have unpatriotic Zimbabweans here that are destroying our economy and we need to be on guard. Thank you
*HON. DUTIRO: Thank you Madam Speaker for this opportunity to add my voice to the motion that was moved by Hon. Dr.
Mashakada. Firstly, what impressed me from Hon. Dr. Mashakada is when he said, as a united country we shall move together and as a united country we shall progress, but after saying such beautiful words on debating issues to try and solve the challenges in this nation, he went further to say that we went into rushed elections. The rushed elections that he is talking about, the President was working within the confines of the Constitution and hence it was constitutional.
Hon. Dr. Mashakada mentioned two other issues. Firstly, he said that the outcome of the elections was being contested. What surprised me most was that I heard Hon. Chinotimba saying that he was moving around shops and he saw people running from shop to shop shouting the slogan Chinja, chinja, chinja. When he says that elections are contested, we feel that contesting of elections…
HON. GONESE: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. In terms of Standing Order 93, no Member shall whilst speaking use his or her right of speech for the purpose of obstructing the proceedings of the House or abusing the rules – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Madam Speaker, firstly my point is that what the Hon.
Member is saying is tantamount to abusing the rules and secondly, it is repetition of what some other Hon. Member had said earlier on. More importantly, it is tantamount to abusing your right of speech by saying things which did not happen when you know they did not happen, but simply to abuse the rules.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Your point of order is noted.
Hon. Dutiro, please may you address the motion.
*HON. DUTIRO: The issue under discussion is that here in Zimbabwe there is 95% unemployment, but we know that when we say it is employment or unemployment, 75% of our people reside in the rural areas. I do not know where the 95% is coming from because if we go to the rural areas – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- because in rural areas, children will be in school and the adults will be busy at work which means that the 70% population…
*HON. SIKHALA: Madam Speaker, the Hon. Speaker previously ruled before you assumed the Chair that whenever Hon. Members are debating, they should support their claims with facts. The 95% unemployment levels cited by the Hon. Member as existing in Zimbabwe is emanating from the United Nations Report.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Sikhala, your
time to debate the motion will come and Hon. Dutiro may you proceed please.
*HON. DUTIRO: I heard in this House when the motion was introduced and we acted as if this deterioration and accumulation of debt in this economy began in November when His Excellency President
Mnangagwa assumed the Office. This country’s economy however accumulated some of the debts long back even during the Rhodesian era. We inherited this economy from the Smith Regime in 1980 and we should not forget that this country also borrowed money when it had the liberation struggle.
HON. MATAMBANADZO: On a point of order Madam
Speaker. I just want to give advice to my colleagues on the side from which I was banned yesterday. As you are seated there, you are the chief advisors to His Excellency the President. Yesterday the President spoke at the Professional Women, Women Executives and Business Women Forum (Proweb) meeting and he did not even discuss about the issue of prices discussed here today. He did not do so because he knew we were going to be sitting here to discuss that today. He is now busy listening to what we are debating here as advice to him through this House. From how you are debating and conducting yourselves, he will not get proper advice. He should listen to your contributions during this debate here and take the advice from this House. Now with what you are doing, I do not think he will get proper advice. You should be seen to be active because – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Matambanadzo. There is no point of order Hon. Matambanadzo. Hon. Dutiro, please proceed.
*HON. DUTIRO: What I am saying is that, the challenges that we are talking about in this House started a long time ago. I said during the Rhodesian era we accumulated debts and in 1980 when we attained our independence, we inherited those debts. When we took over from the
Rhodesians, we also took some loans which helped us manage to build our schools and universities. Now we are saying we have diaspora that is bringing in money and no one denied that fact. What we are saying is those people who are bringing in money are doing so as a result of the education that we empowered them with in schools and universities that we built.
When we got to a point where our land had to be redistributed to the black Africans, our production plummeted and in particular tobacco production. If we retrospect, our production levels of tobacco and the manufacturing sector went down during the land reform programme implementation era. The major cause being that we could not agree amongst ourselves in terms of that policy direction. Some of us were calling for sanctions against the economy that time whilst others were implementing the land reform. Those sanctions are still standing today.
I have mentioned the various phases that the country went through. For Zimbabwe to be the country it is today, it got various supports from other countries until we got back our independence. After we got our independence however, we also had the challenge that, some of our erstwhile neighbours also went to war. We therefore ended up sending our troops to support Mozambique and we used money in that respect. We also used money and other resources as well when we further sent our troops to support the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during their struggle.
The support we gave to each other as Front Line States brought independence to the various countries in this region.
HON. NDEBELE: Madam Speaker, I think you have to intervene. With all due respect, your Chamber is being turned into a circus please intervene. The Hon. Member is not addressing the motion and he is turning this motion into a circus. Honestly, this is an important motion and we are running on taxpayers’ money. People are angry out there and please intervene.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Point of order noted. Hon. Dutiro, may you please stick to the motion.
HON. DUTIRO: All the challenges that we have mentioned need solutions …
HON. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order Hon.
HON. MLISWA: My point of order is on the basis that the motion
that has been moved is very critical to this country. In that respect, the Ruling Party must behave as the governing party and what I am trying to say is, they are in charge and they must not behave like the Opposition.
Equally the motion raised is of national interest and I also expect hon. members of the opposition to also allow the debate to flow. This issue is critical at this juncture and everybody wants to know what is happening to the pricing issue and people are following our behavior relative to what we are doing here. We are like kindergarten children and am wondering and saying to myself should I be here for the next five minutes because there is absolutely nothing that I am learning.
It is important Madam Speaker that you stamp authority when it comes to these issues. Madam Speaker, I say so because we do not want a situation where when the Speaker is in the Chair, we respect him and we respect the Speaker because he respects this House by ensuring that people adhere to the rules. As such Madam Speaker, while you are on that Chair you are equally as powerful as the Speaker and I think you must exercise your rights. If it means that 10 people remain in here who are contributing to national issues, so be it and I think you have to cut across and exercise the powers bestowed unto you. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Your point of order is noted. Hon. Member, may you proceed but stick to the motion and I am giving you five minutes to wind up.
HON. SIKHALA: On a point order Madam Speaker!
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please allow him to wind up
HON. SIKHALA: The Hon. Member’s twenty minutes has
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Dutiro may you
continue and I am giving you five minutes to wind up your debate. *HON. DUTIRO: What I was saying is that currently, if you look at our economic recovery, we agreed that our country is agro-based and also mineral based with gold, platinum and tobacco. If you look at our production of tobacco, it was 260 million kilograms and with gold we are currently at 25 tonnes, which means that our country is recovering well but the cash crisis is still on-going. We all know that the flow of the US$ in financing the industry was a challenge.
Our industry is not being honest to the Government. The Government has been honest by supporting them and giving them foreign currency to produce but industry itself is not producing things that are adequate for this nation. If you look at products that were shown on that picture; bread, cooking oil and others, those products are produced locally and during the GNU, we got to an extent of getting $500 million and we supported the very same industry.
Currently, foreign direct investment is being directed to the manufacturing sector but the same sector is not producing anything that is tangible and coming to the market which means that our industry is not being honest to the Government yet the Government is being honest in availing the foreign currency. The Government has said there is now an FCA and Bond account, and from the time the Government announced that we realise that the rate of the US dollar shot up, which means that those companies that had their monies in the accounts are the ones causing this speculation to make the US dollar rise. Industry is just not being honest with the Government yet the Government itself is honest.
This is not a lie of what was mentioned here that Surface Wilmar said that they have a lot of cooking oil in stock and they gave a price of cooking oil but we have unscrupulous business people who are not honest with the Government. So, I am saying that – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
*HON. CHINANZVAVANA: Thank you Madam Speaker for
giving me the opportunity to contribute on this important motion. I have been given the opportunity to thank Mashonaland West who voted overwhelmingly to elect me to represent them in this House.
Madam Speaker, I am deeply concerned by the issue that is under debate. If I look at my constituency, it is a constituency that has a lot of parents who have never worked at all and the few who have worked are getting very little pension from NSSA, basically $50 per month and they get this money through Ecocash. That is the pivot of my debate Madam Speaker that the challenges that we are experiencing are affecting those people in rural areas and even those in urban areas because there is no disposal income and nothing to guard their livelihood. For them to get money, the money that we knew of, that we used to touch and were actually able to count as we grew up is a thing of the past.
Now, our parents who do not understand Ecocash are facing challenges. We have elderly people who are pensioners in urban and rural areas. They are saying that the money that they get through Ecocash is giving them challenges. Their plea is that they be given their money as cash so that they can earn a living. When it is put on Ecocash, even if they want to get transport to get into town to withdraw their money, they are charged exorbitantly by the mushikashikas.
It was said that there is a 95% unemployment rate. If the children we sent to school would be working, they would be assisting these elderly people but we have people who have graduated who are selling airtime using Ecocash because there are no jobs and that does not in any way develop the economy. The economic situation has affected people.
If a child has a job, that child would be able to look after his/her parents. If that child was employed, he would be able to send his parents even cooking oil in the rural areas but the children have gone to school and are not getting jobs. That is what has affected the right to livelihood. A lot of people do not have anything to use, eat, drink and there is no money for school fees.
Madam Speaker, education itself for our children has become a challenge because there is now barter trade such that at one time the former Minister of Education said that parents could even pay school fees using goats. What kind of a nation is it that asks me to carry a goat to go and pay school fees? It means the economy of the country is dead. There is not even $5 to go and pay fees for a child in Grade Zero in the rural areas. That is where we are saying that if the economy has gone down to that extent, what more of securing the livelihoods of people. What are we going to use to buy? How are we going to live? We are now being told to do barter trade using goats and cattle. As we were growing up we knew there was money in banks but now we cannot get money because of these economic challenges. We are the only nation that if you want to go and buy you need to do electronic transactions through the phone. Why cannot we go back to the use of the basket of currencies that is used in the currencies of different nations? What is surprising is that you are telling us that we need to open FCA accounts there are no US dollars on market. If we go out on the black market we find it is there. This money is being sold and the speculation is taking place. This is done people in power. The Executive know where the money is coming from, the money that is circulating on black market.
The Executive has introduced the US dollar account which is different from the one we know. So, who has taken the US dollar from the bank which is now being sold on the black market? We want our Executive to explain to us why we are not getting any money. You know there are long queues at the banks but you are only getting US$5 in bond notes and yet US dollars are being sold on black market. Someone took that money from the Reserve Bank. That is why I am saying as an august House, we need to do our work so that we can see that the little that we have, how did it find its way out of the Reserve Bank to be sold on the black market and yet people are struggling.
We can make a lot of noise here but that will not address the issues of poverty that people are facing. We are saying that once that has been addressed, everyone should be able to get the little amount of money that can buy. What we are requesting is that you remove the papers that we call bond notes because we are not getting it. We have been troubled by the downward trend of the economy that is now dead because there is no money. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MATANGIRA: I thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this motion raised by Hon. Dr.
Mashakada second by Hon. Biti, the ‘rate eater’. I will have to debate in Shona, why, because; I want the people in my constituency to understand the language...
HON. TSUNGA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. TSUNGA: My point of order is – [AN HON. MEMBER:
Ko ndiwe Biti here?] –
HON. MATANGIRA: Ko ndiwe Biti here?
HON. TSUNGA: The Hon. Member is referring to another Hon.
Member as a ‘rate eater’ I am not too sure whether that is Parliamentary.
I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Who is that Hon. Member? – [Hon.
Members pointing fingers at Hon. Matangira: Iyeyu.] – Hon. Matangira, may you withdraw your statement.
HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Hon. Speaker I mean rate and not rat, it is the rate of the dollar – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. NDEBELE: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. NDEBELE: He said, he was the Minister, and it goes to the same issue that Hon. Mliswa was referring to. If you could put your foot down and ask him to withdraw that. He called Hon. Biti a ‘rate eater’ which is unparliamentary.
HON. MATANGIRA: RATE – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Matangira, please withdraw
*HON. MATANGIRA: Let me express – [HON. KHUMALO:
Withdraw hatidi kudherera vakadzi taramba.] – Thank you Madam
Speaker, let me withdraw, I have withdrawn and I will switch to vernacular – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Madam Speaker, let me speak in Shona because English seems to be twisted, I want to thank you Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Withdraw.] – *HON. MATANGIRA: Ko inga ndati ndazvomora wani.
HON. NDEBELE: That was said in English you have to retract it in English – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. MATANGIRA: We withdraw Madam Speaker – [AN
HON. MEMBER: We withdraw?] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: May you proceed.
*HON. MATANGIRA: Madam Speaker, I want to thank you for
the opportunity that you have given me to contribute to Hon. Dr.
Mashakada’s motion that was seconded by Hon. Biti who have said that the rates that were there in 2008, they were able to reduce them. We want to thank them for this motion that was brought before the House, an Hon. Member said that for the country to develop, the people of
Zimbabwe should be united.
The challenges that we are facing are not different from a person who has taken thorns and put them on the road and yet he is not putting on shoes so that tomorrow he can then mourn and say he has been pricked by the thorns. Surely, the difficulties that we have right now are as a result of elections from what Hon. Dr. Mashakada said. We should not have rushed to go for elections; money was taken from the economy because we were heading towards elections. After that money was used to fund elections that money was longer available. Those people who were opposing the ruling party were hoping to win but God said no, and he made it clear that he is the one who appoints the leaders.
Now that God has appointed leaders, what is the problem? The MDC mover won in his constituency and the councilor from ZANU PF won in his constituency and you then say there was rigging because the President of ZANU PF overwhelmingly won the election. Those who fear getting into a race should not enter the race because you will start saying I have been bewitched – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
Let me talk about the issue of the economy that is said to be on its knees. The issue of the economy which is said to be down on its knees is because you are chopping the branch that you are sitting on, then when you fall you then question why you have fallen. Those who went and sought that Zimbabwe should not develop in terms of economy and industries. Some borrowed money and went to Germany or America to beg that Zimbabwe and its people should experience a lot of poverty so that they can be in power. When they are able to govern, there will be democracy in Zimbabwe.
I was happy Madam Speaker that we have realised today, though very late that there is no medication in Zimbabwe. We do not have medication in Zimbabwe; there is cholera right now, how can we not have cholera yet we are the ones who went and begged for sanctions to be imposed on Zimbabwe; that the economy should go down on its knees. You are talking of the escalating of prices; yes that is what you wanted. You wanted the nation to suffer and for sure we are suffering, 13 years in the liberation struggle, now we are 12 months in power as the leaders of Zimbabwe that is not what will prevent us from moving forward.
What I want to tell you Madam Speaker is that the one who suffers because of hunger is because they did not work but the one that was ambushed will not suffer. What is being said is that the Government has failed. What would you have done, bring the ideas. Come, let us unite and be one people so that we can address the challenges. How can you talk about hunger in Zimbabwe, which country are you coming from? The alternative that this Hon. Member is talking about is that Zimbabwe should be a province of another State, no, if Jacob tricked his brother to get a blessing, we cannot do that as well. We are going to stand, let us unite and give each other ideas as leaders.
Madam Speaker, the issues that were debated here that we have graduates who are on the streets, the graduates who are on the streets selling airtime, it was caused by the Hon. Members in this august House who were at University, when they came to this House they did not give the Government as what happens in Cuba that students should be given life skills. From universities they should be employers not employees that sell airtime on the streets.
The three tier pricing system you talked about; the swipe, bond note and American Dollar, one with means of production is the White person and is the same person who formed the Opposition Party and he is the one with the United States Dollar (USD). On this side, we never had USD; we had no means of production before. Even if in the industries, you hear of Metro Peech; they all belong to the Opposition; Choppies is even yours too. So, means of production lies in their hands as the Opposition. They are the ones who want the economy to die.
They are the owners of the shops and they are raising the prices.
Come let us sit down and address our challenges as a nation. There is no one on the left side who was not allowed to bring a submission to the President to say I was thinking that we can address the challenges this way. That way, the country can then move forward because there will be no Opposition - because the opposite of right, no matter what happens, the opposing factor will always oppose. Madam Speaker, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity. The figure that were mentioned; yes they mentioned those figures that let us eat what we kill. What we have killed, are we going to be saying we are going to feed on mice only, when are we going to get kudus as well? We need to think big as a nation because our country is rich, we should not think small.
First and foremost important issue is that of unity; once we unite, our challenges are solved. If they scold and shout at us outside the durawall, we will not hear what they are saying. Let us face each other and work together so that we can prosper as a nation. With these few words I want to thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. GONESE: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this
opportunity to join others who have spoken before me on this very critical and important motion. I want to begin by thanking the mover of the motion for a very brilliant motion which was delivered in a very eloquent and comprehensive manner. I would also want to thank the seconder who also did a sterling job.
However, it is unfortunate that when we are in this august House some of the Hon. Members do not pay attention when motions are being debated. More importantly, they do not even read the contents of the motion in question. I want all Hon. Members to re-focus on the content of the motion. The motion is very clear. The people of Zimbabwe are looking to us to provide solutions for the problems that they are facing. It is very unfortunate, if they were to listen to some of the things that we are saying in this august House. This is the reason I want to begin by getting all of us to re-focus on the contents of the motion. The motion is very clear Madam Speaker. For the benefit of those who may not have read it, I just want go through it so that we are all very clear.
Madam Speaker, the motion speaks about the structural economic challenges affecting our country – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am not reading the motion, I am simply drawing the attention of Hon. Members to the content of the motion so that we are on the same page.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.
HON. GONESE: It is very important Madam Speaker for us to be on the same wavelength; to have an appreciation of what we are supposed to be talking about. For me, what is critical is to appreciate that we have got crippling liquidity crisis and it is important for us to understand where it is coming from.
HON. T. MOYO: On a point of order. Madam Speaker I
appreciate the fact that everyone in this House is literate and we have read the motion, so there is no point to go over the motion again. He should concentrate on his debate. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Point of order overruled.
HON. GONESE: Thank you Madam Speaker for protecting me.
For me, it is very important to also look at another aspect. When we are talking about fiscal consolidation, the pursuit of fiscal balance is critical Madam Speaker, for us to appreciate why we are in the mess that we are in. There is the issue of fiscal indiscipline and it is very important for us to appreciate that point. The Hon. Minister of Finance admitted as much in his fiscal statement and this is in black and white. He said so in his statement that we have got that challenge.
I will not go over what Hon. Dr. Mashakada has already said because those were paying attention heard him when you are looking at the amount of indebtedness that we are in as a nation, we must all appreciate that this has arisen because we have been spending money that we do not have. We have been creating fictitious balances through the RTGS. We have been creating fake money through the printing of bond notes. When the bond notes were introduced, we were told that this was an export incentive. It is important for the fiscal authorities to tell us what benefit we have derived as a nation, whether there has actually been an increase in exports from the time that the bond notes were introduced. We actually need a full disclosure of that aspect.
We asked in this august House that we want the details regarding the so -alled facility of U$200 million from the African Export and Import Bank. Nothing was forth-coming and we have not received those details and to the ordinary person out there, this was a fiction. There was no such guarantee and the suspicion is that the bond notes have just been printed without any limit which is the reason why when you go to Road Port, to our borders, Beitbridge and Chirundu, you will see brand new bond notes which have not gone through anyone’s accounts, but which had just been released directly to those people who are engaged in that illicit trade of money changing.
As a result Madam Speaker, we now need full disclosure. I am going to make reference to the provisions of the Constitution which are very clear. We have got a scenario where the Government has actually admitted that they have borrowed. They have over borrowed, violated all the limits which are provided for in all the Acts of Parliament and so on.
It is now important for us as an institution to demand full disclosure. The Hon. Minister of Finance has already indicated that we have both an external and an internal debt. As Hon. Dr. Mashakada and Hon. Biti have said, we now have a very unusual scenario where the internal debt exceeds the external debt. How did that happen?
We now need the Executive to come before us as provided for in terms of our Constitution. When we refer to the provisions of Section 300 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, it is very clear when it talks about the limits of State borrowings, public debt and State guarantees. In particular, we already have that Act of Parliament, the Public Finance and Management Act which specifies what has got to be done, but that is anchored on the provisions of the Constitution which I will now allude to. It says precisely, those limits must not be exceeded without the authority of the National Assembly. What we know is that the current debt which has been incurred, we have been told that we have got a new dispensation, but the reality is that on the ground there is nothing new about the dispensation because it is the same old habits, the same old habits which occurred during the era of former President Mugabe. At least what I can say Mr. Speaker Sir, is that the former President was honest about it. He was very clear and honest that he wanted to spend money and he said that no country can go broke. He was on record saying that but we now have got a fiction from the “New Dispensation”, that we are now managing our resources, which is not the case. So it is my submission that as an institution, we must speak with one voice –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon.
Members, can the Hon. Member be heard in silence please!
HON. GONESE: The other point Mr. Speaker, is that we are an
institution and we are one of the three arms of the State. It is important for all Hon. Members in this august House to appreciate those who are not in the Executive, notwithstanding whether you are from the governing party or from the opposition, you are not part of the Executive. So where we are backbenchers and I am appealing to the backbenchers to appreciate that we are a separate arm of the State, and as a separate arm of the State, we must put our heads together and proceed as an institution to hold the Government and the Executive to account.
We must find out from them when the debt has risen from US$2 billion to US$7 billion, they must tell us where that US$5 billion went to. We have got to demand that from the Minister of Finance. It is unfortunate that as we are debating this motion, there is no one from the Ministry of Finance. I know that they have parliamentary liaison officers who should be keeping track of what is happening in Parliament. I know that the Minister of Finance is out of the country but someone from his Ministry should have been in this august House to take notes and to gauge the mood in this august House; and to appreciate what is happening out there and what is coming from the representatives of the people. So, that is my first point. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Less noise in the House Hon.
HON. GONESE: We need to know how exactly that debt was accumulated. We know that some of the members of the Executive have got a penchant for young wives, small houses and so on and so forth. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Yes, it is on record Mr. Speaker Sir, that some of the Members of the Executive have recently got married to younger wives and we know that some of them have got small houses. This is what has led to their propensity to spend. This propensity to spend is driven by some of those factors and we now need that full disclosure.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Can we
have less noise in the House please!
`HON. GONESE: We need a transparent Executive and the
reason is that...
HON. SIKHALA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. SIKHALA: The Hon. Member said munodya mishonga
yemisana musina vakadzi. That language is unparliamentary from this
Hon. Member. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Okay your point of order is
noted. Hon. Matangira please!
*HON. MATANGIRA: Mr. Speaker, I am seeking your
protection because we can both go and report the case at the police station. How can you point a finger at me?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Can you resume your debate.
HON. GONESE: Thank you very much. The other point that I
want to emphasise is that there is...
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Matangira, I would
expect you to behave like an Hon. Member.
HON. GONESE: The other point that I want to emphasie is that there is so much resistance about the 2 cents in the dollar tax because there is no indication whatsoever from the part of the Executive as to what pain you are going to go through. People want to know; they do not want to be subjected to pain when they were not responsible for the incurring of the debt. It is important Mr. Speaker Sir, for the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development to come before this august House and tell us exactly what the Executive is going to do in order to reduce Government expenditure.
We have been told Mr. Speaker Sir that there is a leaner Cabinet but when we look at the reality on the ground, in November we had two Deputy Ministers. When we have the Executive being set up this time around, there are 15 Deputy Ministers. We have got two Ministers of
State in the Vice President’s Office who may not be part of the Cabinet. At the end of the day, these are extra members of the Executive. Again, we have got the Ministers of State, which I believe is against the spirit of the Constitution because we are going to have Provincial Councils.
We have been told that some of the members of the governing party are going to be full time at the ZANU PF headquarters. We need to know as to how these are going to be funded – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] – It is on public record, it is part of the spending Mr. Speaker Sir. A lot of the spending which has been incurred in this country has been on the purchase of luxury cars. It will not be surprising if those full time members are going to get brand new cars when they are not part of the Executive. That is a further drain on the fiscus in so far as our foreign currency is concerned. Those are aspects where we need clarity. That is the reason why people out there are not willing to go through the pain which is being prescribed, to drink the bitter medicine which is being dispensed by the Minister of Finance without the Executive itself being the authors of the problems that we are in disclosing what pain they are going to go through themselves.
The next point I want to talk about Mr. Speaker Sir, is about the discord in Government. We thought that this was a thing of the past when former President Robert Mugabe left. We knew that at least under Robert Mugabe, that he was consistent in his inconsistencies. We now have the same problems surfacing. We have got this scenario where there is already discord in Government. It is clear Mr. Speaker Sir that on the issue of the tax, there is no consensus in Government. However, I will go to a more fundamental point and that is in regard to the RTGs balances. We have this fiction called RTG FCA account which in my respectful view is nonsensical. On one hand, you are saying foreign currency account. What is foreign currency account when you have got an RTGs balance which is not at par with the nostro balance? So it is a misnomer to begin with to talk of an FCA account under RTGs.
More importantly, the Governor of the Reserve Bank when he gave his Monetary Policy Statement gave the impression that they remain at par. Then, we have got the Minister of Finance and Economic Development saying specifically that they are not at par. So at the end of the day Mr. Speaker, we already have that discord in Government which sends mixed signals. There is no clarity. What is more important is that the Government must make up their minds. If they believe that the bond note experiment has failed, they should come before us and tell us that this experiment has actually failed. The Hon. Minister of Finance tells us when he came into office that the bond notes are going to go sooner rather than later. He was very clear that bad money drives out good money. However, we have got others who are part of the same Executive who have got this belief in voodoo economics. You continue saying it is 1:1 when the reality is that it is not. To illustrate the point, they have admitted as much. What have they done? They have now separated the two accounts.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are
reminded that your time is running out.
HON. GONESE: I am now winding up. As my colleagues have already indicated, we are now going to have a situation where these mixed signals are going to result in a situation where the situation simply gets worse. We have already been told about the rate which is obtaining at the moment. Believe you me, you do not even need to be a rocket scientist. It is clear that those rates of the bond note to the US dollar and the RTGs balances to the US dollar are going through the roof. It is going to worsen on each day. I believe that you must now have coherence in Government as to precisely where we are going.
The other point I want to make Mr. Speaker, is that the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development is out of touch with reality. I know that he was based in Switzerland. He is not alive to the actual situation on the ground. The point is that when you have got an overburdened taxpayer and when you have got an impoverished community, the last thing you want to do is to try to add more taxes on such a population. Our solution is very clear Mr. Speaker Sir. We need restoration of trust. The point is, no one trusts this Government, no one trusts this Executive. We need a restoration of that trust. For that trust to be restored, the Government must start to live within its own means.
What we need Mr. Speaker Sir, is to have the Magufuli approach. We need to be told what cuts are we going to have in Government expenditure. Are we going to have less travel on the part of Government Ministers? We do not want some of these useless trips where we are told about mega deals and nothing materialises in reality then we are back in the same situation that we were before the trip was undertaken. We must now restrict ourselves to those trips which are essential in order for us to get something beneficial to the country. We also need to be looking about the issue of foreign embassies and that will be my last point Mr. Speaker.
HON. SIKHALA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the Member’s
time be extended.
HON. ZHOU: I object.
HON. MGUNI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. KWARAMBA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 10th October, 2018.
On the motion of HON. O. MGUNI seconded by HON.
KWARAMBA, the House adjourned at Five Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.