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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 10 DECEMBER 2020 VOL 47 NO 16
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 10th December, 2020
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
HON. CHIKWINYA: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of national interest. Madam Speaker, today is the 10th December and it is World International Human Rights Day, where nations world over celebrate the state of human rights, right to life and human dignity. Zimbabwe having enacted the new Constitution in 2013 enacted Section 44 of that Constitution that provides for the respect to fundamental human rights and freedoms. This Section is enforced through Section 78 of the same Constitution. Section 28 provides for the right to shelter under the Constitution of Zimbabwe. I am a legislator Madam Speaker and I am aligned to the provisions of laws that provide for legality and illegality of houses that are erected under our laws in Zimbabwe. However, in respect of Section 51 of our Constitution which provides for human dignity and Section 52 of the Constitution which provides for personal security, I implore the Government to properly consider its timing when demolishing illegal houses. Just yesterday Madam Speaker, illegal settlements in Budiriro were destroyed amidst rainfall and bad weather. My call today and my prayer is that yes, whilst the laws may provide that the houses are illegal, I implore the Executive to consider the timing of destroying such in respect of human dignity and personal security. I so pray. Thank you Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Hon. Mliswa, order. I hear you Hon. Chikwinya and you have raised a pertinent issue. We will ask the responsible Minister to come and give a ministerial statement so that you can ask him some questions after.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Most obliged Madam Speaker.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 10 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 11 has been disposed of.
HON. MLISWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
MANPOWER PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 2, 2020]
House in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 5 put and agreed to.
On clause 6:
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Hon. Speaker, I propose an amendment to this clause on Section 6(a) which is on mandatory posts in technical and vocational institutions and teachers colleges on page 5(2) to delete the paragraph (g) and substitute it with a new clause 6(b) as follows:
“Student representative council – Higher and Tertiary Education Institutions will have student representative councils elected by the students enrolled at that particular institution. Subsection 2, the establishment, composition manner of election, term of office functions, privileges of members of this council and any other matters incidental thereto must be determined by the institutional statute.
The basis of this amendment is that there was a placement error when it was drafted such that the student representative councils were made employees of the Ministry which was never the intention of the Ministry. So, the amendment seeks to place them appropriately in the Bill by insertion of the new clause which specifically provides for the student representative councils. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I am not comfortable with the use of ‘may’ in the paragraph because it gives discretion to other stakeholders to include them or not. It must read ‘shall’.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Speaker, the issue of ‘may’ is if the students opt not to choose their council, that should not stop the business of the college. That is the main reason not to say that they may or may not, but basically to say the students are given total freedom. I thank you.
HON. MUSHORIWA: I think the Hon. Minister’s explanation is not satisfactory. We need to make sure that when we legislate in this august House, it should be a law that will stay for some time. If the Minister is sincere and wants this Bill to become progressive, I think if you cannot put the word ‘shall’ and remove ‘may’ then we need a further amendment incorporating the word that we have highlighted because without that proviso, then the best thing is to just delete ‘may’ and put ‘shall’.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I wish to thank the Hon. Member for the contribution. Hon. Speaker, this was mainly for administrative convenience because sometimes when we make it very explicit and not giving students the capability to choose or not to choose at the time of their choosing we are not really be guaranteeing them the freedom to do what they want. However, if ‘shall’ makes it - because we are going to have students representative councils. There is no way - because the student representative council must be in the Senate, must be in the boards and it is known. So, the issue is that the students choose to have a council at a certain point – if there is no council at that particular point, the institution does not stop. That is the whole intention. So, if ‘shall’ is the word, we will put ‘shall’, it is not a big deal.
Amendment to Clause 6 put and agreed to.
Clause 6, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 7:
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF MURWIRA): I move the amendment standing in my name that on Section 14, amendment of Clause 7 (Grants and Loans to Institutions, Persons, etc). On page 5 in subsection (1) paragraph (c), we will substitute ‘lecturers’ with “staff” in line with the debate of Hon Members so that we are explicit that we mean all staff and not just lecturers. The basis of this amendment is to accommodate all staff members. The use of the word ‘lecturers’ left out other members of staff which is not the intention of the Ministry. I thank you.
Clause 7 put and agreed to.
Clause 7, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clauses 8 to 11 put and agreed to.
On Clause 12:
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF MURWIRA): I move the amendment standing in my name that in Section 48 on page 10, in subsection (2) insert paragraph (u) as follows––
“(u) make grants and rebates to such registered employers, teachers colleges and technical or vocational institutions for the promotion of such manpower development programmes, as the board may specify”.
This part is already in the principal Act and it was erroneously repealed, so we want to retain it. The basis for retaining it is that rebates act just like the Hon Member said on Tuesday as an incentive for companies to attach students and also to contribute levy and as such, we would not want to lose such kind of provision in our law. The companies are being encouraged by being given rebates. As Hon Members supported on Tuesday, we include that.
Amendment to Clause 12 put and agreed to.
Clause 12, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 13:
HON. CHIKWINYA: There is no inclusion of persons living with disabilities contrary to the majority of Members request during debate. I propose that there be an inclusion of persons living with disabilities.
HON. PROF MURWIRA: This clause is about the policy direction of the Minister. It is not about what the Hon member is talking about. But it is very important to know that all persons are to be trained under the Manpower Development Act. The Manpower Development Act is taking into consideration the existing Act such as the Disabilities Act but we have such an Act and there is no way at no point where this Act is violating that. I thank you.
HON CHIKWINYA: With all due respect to the Minister, in the amended clause in Section 48 (b) (2) (b) (v), insert a clause that accommodates an organisation representing churches. Does this mean that people living with disabilities cannot have the same status or same locus standi as an organisation representing churches?
If you found it wise to have an organisation representing churches, why can you not find it wise to have an organisation for people living with disabilities?
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Chair, I get what the Hon. Member is talking about – he is talking about the Board. I do not object to that if it was omitted by mistake. Thank you – [HON. CHIKWINYA: How will the amendment read!] –
HON. CHIKWINYA: I propose insertion of a paragraph that reads, ‘An organisation representing people with disabilities’.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order! There are many organisations but let us be specific. The organisation that represents people with disabilities is called, the National Council of the Disabled Persons of Zimbabwe – that is the one that also has Members of Parliament coming through it. So, we must be specific, the National Council of the Disabled Persons of Zimbabwe.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Chair, with the appropriate wording and reference to a legal body, I have no objections.
Amendment to Clause 13 put and agreed to.
Clause 13 as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 14:
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Chair, I think if we refer to the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), we now have timelines as to when accounts must be produced. As soon as possible is not good enough and I think that if it is a quarter, then it must be within the first quarter of the year and not as soon as possible – it is not good enough.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Chair, this is …
HON. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Chair. Look at those people, are they in Parliament or having a DCC meeting? This is not a Caucus, go outside there and discuss your private matters!
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES (HON. MUTOMBA): Thank you very much Hon. Mliswa. You may resume your debate Hon. Minister.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Chair, there is no intention to give other timelines other than those ones given by the Public Finance Management Act. So basically, the wording can be done to reflect that we are complying with the PFMA. Thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Chairman! Can Hon. Chinotimba sit properly and give his face to you? He is not sitting properly, this is Parliament! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – He must sit properly and face you – not to be giving you his back. It is rude, even in our culture, you do not give elders your back – [HON. CHINOTIMBA: Are you the House monitor?] – With distinction yes!
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Hon. Mliswa, thank you very much for raising that point. – [HON. T. MLISWA: He must respect and face you, not give you his back!] - Sorry Hon. Mliswa, there is a story that was published in yesterday’s newspaper about an incident concerning three people who were murdered in Hon. Chinotimba’s constituency. – [HON. MLISWA: He can do that outside. He cannot discuss it in here!] – Anyway, thank you very much.
HON. MADZIMURE: Hon. Chair, if you read the Clause where it gives the Minister the discretion to give a directive for a set of accounts to be prepared – past experience tells us that not all Ministers are responsible. He can be a responsible Minister but past experience has taught us that these funds have been abused. It is important that we reflect the spirit of the PFMA on this. It also makes it easier when the Auditor-General is to produce a report, she refers to what is provided in the Act and for us to give a blank cheque to the Minister, I think is not good enough.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Chair as I said, on financial issues, we do not intend to do anything that is ultra vires to the PFMA. What we are basically saying here is giving the Minister, whoever he/she is the ability to direct for forensic audits. Hon. Chair, you would know that we were able to actually ask for the amendment of this Act about ZIMDEF because we had done a forensic audit. The issue is, while complying with the PFMA, we are also saying that there can be those ad hoc directives to make sure that prudence is done in terms of financial management especially about ZIMDEF. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: I am saying they have to comply with the Public Finance Management Act, to produce a report three months after the end of a financial year. The Minister will then have his power to then direct whenever he feels the forensic audit should be held. It is in his favour that he knows after every 3 months not to say as soon as possible.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: This Section Clause 14 (3), is actually referring to the statement of accounts to be prepared for the fund in respect of financial year or in respect of such period as the Minister may direct.
Clause 14 put and agreed to.
Clauses 15 to 20 put and agreed to.
On Clause 21:
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDCUATION, INOVATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. Chair. I propose an amendment to this Clause on Section 59 (b), functions of the Tertiary Education Council. On Page 14 (1), paragraph D (II), add ‘of’ between members and technical and substitute ‘or’ with and after technical. The basis of the amendment is that there are typographical errors which need to be corrected.
Amendment to Clause 21 put and agreed to
Clause 12, as amended, put and agreed to
Clause 22 put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Madam Speaker, I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 1.
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order. My point of order is to thank the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education for his determination and commitment to duty. It is not many Ministers who sit down and see a Bill through. There are many Ministers who have not brought Bills to this Parliament and he is an example of a person who is serving the country. You could see how involved we were because he was involved too. So Madam Speaker, it requires Ministers in future to follow suit what he is doing. Other Ministers have not even come here to move a Bill. Hon. Minister of Finance, despite being given a landmine by the Government in the economic situation, he is here also doing the same. I think we need serious Ministers who will be moving Bills. Parliament is only effective when Bills and laws are being made and the Committee Stage is the most important part of any policy because this is where we make the laws and Members of Parliament who are in here, well done for sitting through. I want to commend you Hon. Minister and may the good Lord bless you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa. I concur with you that Hon. Ministers are showing that they are serious and they are dedicated to their duty. It is good that they are leading by example. Thank you for that. –[AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection]-
FINANCE BILL: BUDGET DEBATE
First Order read: Finance Bill: Budget Debate.
Question again proposed.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I request in the interest of our tradition, to perform a particular ritual before I proceed to speak to my presentation. I say so as a feminist but moreso, as an afro-feminist in that many a times when things are done...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Misiharabwi, you can go ahead and perform your ritual, but before you perform your ritual, please may you approach the Chair.
Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga having approached the Chair and after consulting the Hon. Deputy Speaker, Hon. Misihairabwi knelt upon a traditional mat before the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Hon. Prof. Ncube and expressed thanks to him and thereafter, presented a gift of two T-shirts:one with a symbol of the Ncube Totem and the other one with a symbol of a Madyira Totem, with some ululations from some Hon. Members.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Misihairabwi for that ritual to the Minister. Thank you very much.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I thank you very much Madam Speaker for allowing me to...
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. Thank you Madam Speaker. I am using Hon. Mbondiah’s gadget. This is an institution of Parliament and we are an institution of rules. Whilst respecting our culture, the precedence so set here is dangerous that the people who are out there who do not have the background of what has happened will believe that women are used to kneel before men. This budget belongs to the Head of State and he is the person who runs the country and he has never been kneeled to by anyone and this is creating two centres of power. You are creating a very wrong precedent, especially on point number one. I want to understand under which parliamentary rule you allowed is ritual to be performed in Parliament because tomorrow I can also perform my rituals of removing all my clothes to express of my pleasure at the work being done by the Hon. Minister of Finance. I can remove all the clothes right now as a way of showing my pleasure. So, what precedence are we setting as a Parliament? I need a ruling Madam Speaker, and your ruling is going to make part of the rules going forward. Thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. Thank you Hon. Chikwinya. I think before Hon. Misihairabwi presented the ritual, I asked her to come here so that I could understand what she really wanted to do. When she explained what she wanted to do, I saw that there was nothing bad about it. Even if you would want to have your rituals in future in this Parliament – and if I ask as to how you would want to do the rituals, and you say you want to remove your clothes, I will not allow you to do so. Thank you.
*HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Madam Speaker, if any African man has not had any women kneel down for them, they should go and brew beer because generally I said I am an afro-feminist and I believe that our culture is important and I will do it when I need to do it. If you do not have any women who have respected you enough to kneel for you, enda unobika doro because you are the problem…
HON. T. MLISWA : Madam Speaker, I think there is no point for Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga to justify what she has done. You have just said there is nothing wrong. So, Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, I think you were in order. We are a people with a culture and tradition. Madam Speaker did not say you were offside. It equally applies to anybody, any ritual you want to do in here you do. Any language you want to speak amongst the 16 languages you speak. So, all is in order can you continue with the work. If Hon. Chikwinya wants to remove his clothes we will also be there to celebrate. Let us proceed.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Hopefully there will be something to look at when he removes his clothes.
Thank you very much Madam Speaker. As I begin this presentation, I just want to start with a quotation which will butress this presentation and the quotation is none other by a woman called Harris. The one woman who has been elected as the first vice president elect of the United States of America. We want to celebrate that during the time that we are having 16 days of activism. She says ‘what a statement Joe’s character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exist in our country and select a woman as his vice president.’
I say so because I think the things that I am going to talk about are about audacity. It is about changing the way we do business and this is why I started with the way I started so that as I begin to go into this presentation and as I raise the things that we are concerned about in terms of the education of our children, I hope the Minister’s team and the entire Government will understand that we are coming from a place of gratitude, but we would want things to be better. So I just thought this was a beautiful quote to start with to underpin the presentation. Thank you very much.
Within this presentation we will try and do a comparison of the 2020 versus the 2021 budget allocation. We want to do this so that the Minister can see whether we gained anything within the 2021 budget. We also want to analyse the emerging issues from the Education Amendment Act and the impact of Covid-19. We want to analyse the issues to do with teacher incapacitation and welfare and we will quickly go into issues to do with recommendations.
The first slide is to show you the kind of problems that we are actually experiencing within the education sector. There are children who are not only learning in dilapidated schools but are sitting outside. Those children sitting outside there are actually in a class. In most instances those are the kind of schools we would want to raise and talk to the Minister about in terms of what has been allocated in the budget.
If you look at the issues to do with comparison of the 2020 versus the 2021 budget, we want to acknowledge that when you look at the 2021 budget in terms of the percentage, it would look like we got a lot of money. So if you look at the $55 billion, it does look like it is a lot of money but if you do a calculation in terms of the percentage of what we got to GDP, you will find that in fact we have gone down in terms of our 13%. I know that the Minister was trying to juggle between education and health, but the difference is that in terms of health, he moved a little nearer to the 155 - but in terms of education where we have the Dakar Declaration, we really went down. So the 13% is really a loss. We say so particularly because the year 2021 is going to have more complications than we had in 2020. If you remember in 2020 we did not have school because we had a lock down from March up to September. That is a bit of a concern. However, of most concern is the issue that of that $55 billion, 73% has gone to employment costs and only 27% has gone towards non-salary. What it means is that the burden for taking children to school still remains with the parents that have had the big impact around Covid-19 and have not been able to get disposable income that they normally used to have.
We looked at the issue to do with budget utilisation. You will remember that the Ministry of Education and Portfolio Committee on Education had issues with budget utilisation where in fact the Ministry had received money for Cyclone Idai but had not utilised it. However, this year they did enough utilisation but the problem was with the disbursement from the Ministry. Most of the Portfolio Committee chairpersons have raised that as a concern.
Then the quick issues that we observed as a Committee firstly, the issues around school feeding. We had a bid of $3 billion but we only got $1.1 billion. That is worrisome because at the end of the day between January and April, people will be hungry and with $1.1 billion it will not be enough. Sanitary wear allocation – and like I said, we are very happy that we have been giving that allocation but if you look at it in terms of the per capita grant allocated for sanitary wear i twill not be enough. We are happy about the grant in aid, basic state but we think we should synchronise it with BEAM so that we understand that there is an allocation of $2 billion for BEAM and $1 billion for grant in aid and put it together. I also think there should be a clear plan around how we are going to roll free education.
The favourite one that got me to kneel, support to pregnant girls -$123m. I must say that we are going to have a baby boom in 2021 because of what happened with lockdown. We are having a lot of reports of young girls that have gotten pregnant and the psychological support is important. As we speak right now, in Bulawayo we have had two girls that have committed suicide because the psycho-social support does not exist. We are happy that we have the $123m and the discussion now is, how do we create the necessary support system to ensure that those kids are supported.
The issue of water and sanitation which is a time bomb, in Bulawayo when we did the visit as a Committee, it is a problem. The Hon Minister needs to deal with the Bulawayo issue. The rural areas are also in a bad taste and we need to focus on how we can do the linkages between DDF and prioritise the issue of borehole drilling. We did not see anything around ZIMSEC and yet we have a lot of kids that may have to rewrite because of the problems that we had around Covid. We noted that there is lack of clear education funding mechanism that is there. The picture that you see there is what people use in the rural areas. They call it a chigubhu giya, they put a bit of water there and you then press on it and the water comes out. Surely, the kids are being asked to carry water from their homes and some of them, there is no water even where they are coming from. The issue of water and sanitation is a real problem.
Sanitisers are also not there but what we found, we will talk about it when we get to the recommendations.
The issue of teacher welfare is a critical area. We need to deal with it because if we do not, then we will lose all the strides that we have had within education. There is also a problem around Covid response. The Hon Minister will remember that you actually gave the Committee $600m to deal with Covid response. We realise that in this particular Budget, we only have $144m that is provided for.
On recommendations, we would like the rationalisation of allocations within programmes to prioritise infant education. What you did with this Budget is that you actually put more money into secondary education. We think that it should be vice versa. Let us make sure that we get our kids at ECD level to be supported so that the future is clear. We need the urgent synchronisation of BEAM and the grant in aid, either we move it to the Ministry of Education so that when they deal with it, it is dealt with at that level. That also includes disbursements. We believe that we should grant disbursements directly to the schools because taking them to the provinces and districts is creating a lot of problems.
We need careful planning on the early schools opening in January. I am glad that the Minister of Information is here. The 4th of January maybe dangerous because people are coming from the festive season. Perhaps we should give ourselves a gestation period to see what has happened between first to the fourteenth. There is a proposal that we are giving for you to relook at the opening of schools.
Investment into construction of more classrooms and adopt the ZEC framework. We have said this before; the tents that ZEC is not using can we get those tents put into the schools so we facilitate the issues around social distancing.
There is supposed to be the procurement of motor vehicles. The Ministry is proposing having double cabs but we are saying single cabs are probably the best. With the amount of money that, we have we can actually get 200 vehicles. What is important is that let us get the money as soon as possible and let us buy those vehicles so that there may be the kind of supervision that we need at district level.
Prioritise e-book - I am glad that the Minister of Higher Education is here. Education 5.0, we should not be printing books but should be going for e-learning. The money is enough for us to start putting these things on gadgets and make sure that it is done. There is money that is there.
The conditions of service for teachers have to be finalised. There should be more focus on non monetary benefits. Let us make sure that the kids of the teachers have a waiver for school fees. It is unfair that somebody who is teaching your child, they themselves are unable to take their child to school. Surely we should be able to do that. There should be a waiver on cars and accommodation. The Education Fund is already reflected in the NDS1 but let us be clear about where we are going to get the money for the Education Fund. The Covid-19 tax testing levy because I see Government does not want to test and get money for themselves but surely let us levy the tests that are being done. Let us ring fence the 2% levy. The third party insurance, devolution and let us have a private school tax levy. Surely, the rich should be able to cover for the poor. If people are willing to pay $5000 per term, if we could put a little bit of levy there.
On CDF, we want to persuade the Hon Members that have not taken CDF for next year; we are going to be coming to you and say do you not think that it is important to prioritise at least for next year the issues that are to do with education.
In conclusion, we really need to have the disbursements dealt with. We need to make sure that we do our procurement properly. One of the problems that we have had with procurement of sanitary wear is that I do not know whether it is men who went to buy sanitary wear. This is the proper sanitary wear but people went and bought what is called panty liners. What happened is that instead of buying sanitary wear they actually went and bought panty liners. You cannot use panty liners when you are having your periods. At the end of the day the area around procurement is important.
I want to agree with Hon members on issues of procurement. With the amounts of money that we have like $500m, let us try and do international, regional and local tender because some of the sanitary wear that would work are sanitary panties because the majority of our girls do not have panties. Under normal circumstances when they are not having periods, they can run around without a pant. I could be standing here without a pant, you would never know but what happens is that when they are having their periods they actually have to have a pant on. If you give them these disposable ones, you are creating problems of lack of sustainability because you cannot sustain it with the amount of money that we have right now. But if we have a combination of sanitary panties, it means we give her two – one for the heavy flows and the other for light flows. She can keep it for about two years. So you do not have to go to one child to deal with those issues because you will have dealt with it. So the issue of procurement Madam Speaker is important and is of critical importance.
Madam Speaker, like I said, we are happy that there has been an
audacity to dealing with barriers – things that have not been there. I am happy with this particular Minister and his team because for some of us who have been in this House since 2000, it is bad enough and we need to leave. Since 2000, this has been our debate. We have never had at one time a Minister who has come in here… - [HON. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] – Yes, Hon. Mliswa has been very supportive on sanitary pads…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Mliswa please!
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Hon. Mliswa has been very supportive on sanitary wear and Hon. Banda also. So I want to acknowledge that and all the other Hon. Members.
We are saying that it has taken us almost 20 years to get these things done and for the mere fact that he decided that not only is he going to say that it is okay, he is going to put money on it. We hope that now that we are talking, tomorrow we may come back or next year with those kinds of things that can be provided for every other girl because the issues of sanitary are issues of dignity, but I want to thank you and thank you very much Hon. Minister. I hope that you will be able to consider some of the issues that we have raised in this presentation. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker! Madam Speaker, you know that I am always criticising. Let me thank the Chairperson of the Primary and Secondary Education Portfolio Committee for the presentation. You are going ICT, your passion to present, your capacity to understand, your capacity to be eloquent, articulate and deliver is second to none.
I wish many Chairpersons in Portfolio Committees could learn like you. I might differ with you in terms of the allocation of money to keep pregnant girls in schools but you are passionate and a marvel to listen to. May all Chairpersons have some flare and charisma because we want some charisma here, hatidi kungo bhowekana. Madam Speaker, this is an example of somebody who should be ministerial material if at all I were to advise the President. I hope so, thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. NDIWENI: Madam Speaker Ma’am, we can hardly hear any hear. The host is not doing his/her job. He is not muting their microphones, they are making noise and we cannot hear anything … - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. MOKONE: Introduction - The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services plays an oversight role over the Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Ministry. The Ministry is responsible for the dissemination of information locally and globally to uphold and promote Zimbabwe’s founding values, identity and interests.
Parastatals Administered by the Ministry
- Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ)
- Zimbabwe Film and Television School for Southern Africa (ZIFTESSA)
Companies and Public Enterprises Administered by the Ministry
- Kingstons Limited
- Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
- Zimbabwe Newspapers Limited and
- New Ziana
Functions of the Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Ministry:-
- Formulation and implementation of dynamic media and information policies that promote rights, the country’s development and national sovereignty. ii. Administration of information-related Acts for fulfilment and compliance.
iii. Information services to the citizenry on Government policies, programmes and other public issues.
- Articulation of Government position and views on national issues.
- Articulating Zimbabwe’s position and view internationally.
- Supporting Government Ministries and departments in the development of information-related structures; in the development and expression of national culture, as well as forging national unity, identity, cohesion and consensus;
vii. Image-building of Government and the country;
viii. Providing rural information services to bridge the information divide;
- Providing platforms for artists;
- Participating in Fairs, Shows and Exhibitions;
- Providing Training in information and media skills;
xii. Regulating Information and media industry;
xiii. Laying media infrastructure and platforms; and diarising Government events and activities.
Services under the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services:
i. Media Liaison
- Content Development and Production Services
iii. Rural Communication Services
- Urban Communication Services
- International Communication Services
- Finance, Administration, Human Resources and Internal Audit
vii. Broadcasting Services
viii. Transmission Services
- News Agency Services
- Book Services
- Training (Media, Information and Film)
xii. Archival Material Storage and Retrieval
xiii. Licencing and Regulatory Services
Major achievements during the 2020 fiscal year:-
Achievements for the Ministry for the 2020 Fiscal year are highlighted as follows:
- The Zimbabwean narrative was traced and shaped to at least 80%.
- Liaison and technical support to Government Departments culminating into the production of a weekly Government Diary.
iii. New 113m Gutu Digital Television Terrestrial transmitter infrastructure was constructed.
- Upgrading and revamping of the national broadcasting infrastructure as follows;
- Gutu FM 2KW radio gap filler transmitter installed.
- Kadoma Star FM transmitter installed.
- Karoi, Nyami Nyami transmitter installed.
- The licencing of six (6) new Digital Television Broadcasters successfully executed.
- Licencing of campus radio stations with Great Zimbabwe already licenced and 6 other University colleges application for radio licenses at various stages of processing.
vii. Covid-19 Communication campaign rolled out at national, provincial and community levels and successfully implemented. The production and distribution of 450 000 Covid-19 Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials in conjunction with Midlands State University.
viii. Roll out of a number of national Media Campaigns in the country as follows
- Transitional Stabilisation Programme
- National Devolution Policy
- Cyclone Idai
The following national events were covered:-
(a) Zimbabwe at 40 Documentaries produced as follows
- Heroes commemorations kits
- Radio and Television jingles in 16 national official languages
(b) Heroes day
(c) Anti-Sanctions Campaign
(d) Defence Forces Day
(e) Unity Day
- Proactive disclosure and Agenda setting through:
- Post Cabinet Briefings
- Covid-19 Taskforce and Press Releases
- Increased access to information for the Zimbabwean public, regional and international community through the utilisation of social media platforms such as Twitter, Face book, You Tube and Instagram.
xii. Regional SADC Troika Summit was successfully facilitated.
xiii. Coordinating, organising and commemorating international media days as listed below;
- Word Press Freedom Day
- Universal Access to Information Day
- Social Media Day
- World Radio Day
- World Television Day
xiv. Enactment of the Freedom of the Freedom of Information Act under the national media reform programme. The Freedom of Information Act signed into law on the 1st of July 2020, which effectively repealed the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
- Successfully held the 2 Musical Galas for Heroes and Anti-Sanctions Days.
Constraints in the Year 2020
The Ministry’s plans for 2020 were affected by the following;
- Covid-19 and the subsequent Public Health response measures.
- Inflation which eroded the real value of the budget.
The constraints affected the implementation of the capital budget as follows:-
- Rehabilitation of the Masasa Design Centre.
- Procurement of the Digital Printing Machine.
iii. OB Vans for awareness campaigns.
- iv. Only 36 out of 50 vehicles were procured as the budget was eroded by inflation.
National Development Strategy on Sector Outcomes and Strategies, the Ministry will contribute to the following sector outcomes and strategies:-
a) Sector Outcomes
- Informed nation and international community.
- Improved competitive national brand.
b) Sector Strategies
- Develop an effective and coherent information communication strategy to accurately inform the nation and the international community.
- Develop a robust national publicity strategy with clear communication protocol to enable a two-way communication between Government and the public.
iii. Reshape the National view point through content creation, development and dissemination to improve Zimbabwe’s visibility.
- Align existing laws to the Constitution reinforced by the maintenance and administration of a good regulatory framework and facilitation.
- Enhance traditional media through a robust Digital Media Strategy
- Modernise communication infrastructure, particularly the expansion and digitalisation of media platforms
vii. Efficient maintenance of the existing infrastructure and capacitating the government Internet Service Provider (GISP).
viii. Develop a powerful national adornment drive in which national symbols and cultural heritage are used.
- Improve public relations especially at ports of entry through requisite frontline officers’ training as well as dressing and adornment of reception areas.
- Create a highly competitive national brand, incorporating provinces.
- xi. Recommend sprucing up of and adornment of public buildings and spaces in Zimbabwe and Missions abroad with Zimbabwean art, culture and heritage products.
xii. xii. Establish a national branding committee to strengthen coordination and harmonisation.
xiii. Develop a strong national brand through marketing heritage, world class education, health care and transport, low crime levels, peace and stability.
xiv. Broaden the capacity building programme in protocol and diplomatic services for officials in the Civil Service and Public Entities.
- Develop a robust inclusive national events strategy.
Ministry Strategies and Intervention for 2021 to 2023
- Research, package and disseminate information in order to set the agenda on national development.
- Re-cost and re-engineer the national digital Migration Project.
iii. Increase online publicity.
- Real time information dissemination.
- Create content for social media and mainstream media platforms.
- Conduct public outreaches, road shows and exhibitions (mobile and static) and music galas.
vii. Furnish information hubs with content/ publications.
viii. Install and use effectively Outdoor Public viewing Screens in marginalised communities where there is no radio and television reception/ transmission.
- Creating an enabling environment for the media through licensing, commissioning and regulation of the media.
2.0 The National Budget Proportion
The Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services was allocated Z$1,479,000,000.00 which culminates to 0.35% of the total National Budget. In 2020, the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services was allocated Z$409 799 000 which was 0.64% of the total National Budget.
The Ministry had submitted a budget request of Z$3.7 billion and was subsequently allocated Z$1.479 which is 40% of the bids. This gives a budget gap of Z$2.3 billion, which is 61% of the total bids.
Comparison of Budget Allocation for 2019, 2020 and 2021 in Z$
|Ministry of Information,
Media and Broadcasting
|Percentage of Total Budget||0.25%||0.64%||
The 2021 Budget Allocation in USD Terms (million)
|2020 BUDGET||2021 BUDGET||Percent Change (2020 to 2021)|
|Information, Media and Broadcasting Services||410||25||1,479||18||-28.85%|
- The budget figures were converted using the official exchange rate, 16.138 for 2020 Budget and
81.82 for 2021 Budget
|HEAD OFFICE BUDGET|
Programme 1 Budget: Policy and Administration ( Z$ 000)
Bid - Budget
Bid - Budget
|Compensation of Employees||
|Goods and Services||
|Acquisition of Non- Financial Assets||
|Grand Total Programme 1||
Programme 1 Budget: Policy and Administration (US$ 000)
Budget Allocatio n)
( Bid -
Budget Allocatio n)
Change 2020 to
|Compensation of Employees||
|Goods and Services||
|Acquisition of non Financial Assets||
|Grand Total Programme 1||
In real terms, for Programme 1 Compensation of Employees had a positive change of 15% in 2021 compared to 2020. Capital expenditure which is key for service provision going into the future, declined by 46%, maintenance declined by 13% and goods and services increased by 1% in real terms for 2021 compared to 2020 budget. Overall, the 2021 budget declined by 24% compared to the 2020 budget.
The Ministry complained that Employment Costs declined in Z$ terms yet in USD terms employments costs increased by 15%. The Ministry has 52 critical posts that are vacant.
Although there is a variance of -52% for bid and allocation for 2021 for Goods and services in Z$ terms, the budget for the same line item increased by 1% compared to 2020 budget. The allocation for acquisition of non-financial assets had a variance of -11% in Z$ terms, however the same line item declined by 46% in US$ terms in 2021 compared to 2020.
Programme 2 Information and Publicity (Z$ 000)
(Bid - Budget
|Compensation of Employees||
|Goods and Services||
|Acquisition of Non-Financial Assets||
|Grand Total Programme 1||
Programme 2 Information and Publicity (US$ 000)
Budget Allocatio n
|Varianc e (Bid - Budget Allocati on)||%
ge 2020 to
|Compensation of Employees||
|Goods and Services||
|Acquisition of Non Financial Assets||
|Grand Total Programme 2||
In the 2021 budget, compensation of employees increased by 157% in USD terms compared to 2020. Goods and services which underpins the country’s rebranding and reengagement effort and shaping the correct narrative for the country had a variance of -66%. In USD terms the budget of the same line item declined by 56% in 2021 compared to 2020. This underfunding level will negatively affect the country’s international engagement and reengagement efforts and well as national image building.
The Ministry also needs to settle local financial obligations to the tune of Z$8 469 221 owed to various organisations ranging from Local Authorities and Parastatals. Acquisition of non-financial assets had the greatest decline of 81% in USD terms. The budget for maintenance increased by 32% in 2021 compared to 2020. The total budget for Head Office Programme 2 declined by 69% in USD terms.
The variance for maintenance was 4% (the Ministry was actually allocated more than they had bid for) and in US$ terms the budget for the line item actually increased by 32% in 2021 compared to 2020. Capital Expenditure had a variance of -46%. In US$ terms Capital Expenditure in 2021 was 81% less than was allocated in 2020. This will affect investment levels in 2021. The bid had included rehabilitation of Masasa Design Centre and procurement of the digital machine. The Budget prioritised the Masasa Design Centre, Production Services and ICT capacitation of the programme and Provinces in line with Devolution.
- The Ministry had a bid of Z$664.8 million and was allocated ZW$370 million, giving rise to a shortfall of ZW$295 million.
- The Ministry recruited 21 District Officers in line with the Devolution policy. The Ministry is now represented in 33 Districts and the District Officers report and disseminate information on all areas in the outskirts so that citizens get information on real time basis.
iii. The district officers also need vehicles and equipment.
- The shortfall will affect the implementation of Ministry programmes.
The Ministry is requesting a top up of ZW$70 million.
2.3 BROADCASTING AUTHORITY OF ZIMBABWE (BAZ)
The BAZ is the agent for digitalisation which programme started in 2015. Over the years since inception the total amount received for the project is US$49 232 204 and the project had been underfunded over the years.
BAZ owes Huawei US$3.3 million while work done so far cost US$ 52 million. The work done so far constitutes 41% of the total project indicating a snail pace speed in project implementation. The current infrastructure allows for launching of the DTV services to a limited number of consumers. The current infrastructure will only serve 38% of the country in selected areas. Transmitters are at different levels of development and the project will host the 6 new Stations.
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) Budget Z$ 000
|Variance (Bid - Budget
The Zimbabwe Digital Broadcasting Migration Project started in 2015 and digital TV services were supposed to be launched by 2016.
The total amount received for the project is US$49.2 million
Payments made to Huawei total US$16.6 million.
Payments made to BAZ amount to US$29.6 million.
Out of an initial quotation of US$175 million approved from Huawei, total amount received for the project is US$49.2 million, thus the project has been underfunded, resulting in slow pace of implementation. For the 2021 budget, the total budget bid for BAZ was Z$1.6 billion and it covered other machinery and equipment. BAZ got an allocation of Z$684, 7 million (43% of total bid) implying that they are underfunded by Z$986 million. This will negatively influence investment in machinery and equipment.
Committee Observations - As at the work done so far constitute 41% of the total project. In 2019, the ZimDigital project was at 38.6% completion and it needs to be completed so that its full benefits are realised. The Committee notes with concern that the project is moving at a very slow pace.
- The Committee calls for early disbursements of funds to minimize possible exchange losses.
- Services will be provided to limited areas at 38% of the country due to limited funding – US$50 million. The current infrastructure allows for launching of the DTV services to a limited number of consumers.
iii. Only 18 transmitter sites are functional out of 48 sites. Hopefully, disbursements for 2021 Budget will be timely in order to add 3 more transmitter sites so that there are 21 working transmitter sites equating to 44% of what is required. If all the requested transmitters were allocated it would improve coverage to 52%.
- The slow pace of implementation of the ZimDigital project leads to violation of Sections 61 and 62 of the Constitution which calls for freedom of expression and freedom of the media and access to information.
- In view of exchange rate developments, the Ministry is advised to prioritise foreign procurement.
- The completion of the digitalisation project is key to opening of airwaves, implying the need for BAZ to service its debt with Huawei of US$3.3 million. The 2021 allocation is US$1 million.
- Impact of Debt – Huawei threatens to switch off Satellite services but BAZ has been negotiating so that the Satellite services are not switched off.
- It sours relations.
- Jeopardises opportunities for future engagements.
- BAZ will embark on the manufacture of Antennae which is an income generating initiative and this also saves on financial resources since Antennae on the local market are expensive. The budget for the manufacture of antennae is Z$ 2 million.
- There is need to fund Media Asset Management and Software Upgrades to minimise disruptive interruptions of systems. ZBC cannot archive any information because there are no backup and archival retrieval systems.
- BAZ needs to be funded so that they improve radio quality and coverage since the Education sector now relies on Radio Services to conduct online lessons due to Covid-19.
- Digitalisation of ZBC is key for image building for the country.
xii. In funding BAZ services, the unifying role of sports in the country should not be ignored. Procurement of TV Outside Broadcast Van improves the quality of video and picture.
BAZ Priority Projects
It was resolved that in order that BAZ achieves its mandate, Z$362 million out of Z$986 million will suffice for 4 projects according to the following priority list;
TV Transmitters in Tsholotsho and Maphisa (Z$113 million) so that people in those low-lying areas receive TV coverage services which they have been denied since Independence in 1980. Transmitters need to be replaced before their life span expires otherwise, they can take 2 years to replace.
Replacement of Additional 4 Old Transmission Towers (Z$197 million) which are now very old and were installed before Independence. They are now a health hazard due to rust and they actually need to be decommissioned because they fall at any time.
BAZ Monitoring (Z$3 million) for universal access to broadcasting services and from a regulatory point of view.
Revamping of FM Transmitter Network at Gweru (Z$49 million) to improve reception and access to information in the Midlands Province.
Transmedia maintains the transmission infrastructure nationwide.
The licensing of Community Radio Stations could help save lives especially in mining areas and steer the development agenda throughout the country and in 2021 there is need to license disadvantaged communities to disseminate information on developmental issues. There is also need to upgrade FM network equipment since the current equipment is using old and outdated technology.
Transmedia was allocated Z$90 million out of a total bid of Z$542 million. Expenditures under Z$90 million are broken down as follows:
|•||9 Community radio stations
|•||FM Network Refurbishment||Z$29.5 million|
|•||TV Spares||Z$19.5 million|
|•||Transport Fleet Renewal||Z$10.0 million.|
Transmedia 2021 Budget (Z$ 000)
|Variance (Bid - Budget
Impact of Transmedia Underfunding and Committee Observations
- Absence of community radio stations implies less radio services coverage and fewer communities participating in the national economy, thus negating growth with inclusion.
- The non-implementation of the Long Term Evolution Platform prevents Transmedia from engaging in income generating projects. An investment of Z$42 million will generate Z$100 million. It also causes non convergence of broadcasting and internet based technologies.
iii. The current building housing Transmedia is condemned therefore there is need to build new office space.
- Construction of Mutare Regional Offices, Transmedia is currently incurring huge rental costs for the regional office.
- Lack of funding for a Data Centre installation implies lack of back up services.
Priority Areas for Transmedia
- Long Term Evolution Platform (Z$42 million)because it generates income and thus reduces dependency of the fiscus. Surplus resources will be deposited into a Broadcasting Fund.
ii. Data Centre Installation (Z$60 million)
- Construction of Head Office (Z$100 million).
It was resolved that Transmedia would require an additional Z$202 million for its priority expenditures.
New Ziana produces community newspapers in various parts of the country in line with the Devolution policy. Going forward, plans are to sell advertising space in the newspapers so that the revenue funds are used for the production and distribution of the newspapers to ensure that information is disseminated to the people.
NEW ZIANA Budget in Z$ 000
|Variance (Bid - Budget
|Compensation of employees||3,600||3,600||4,835||11,000||6,154||
|Goods & services||230||230||10,073||13,000||2,927||29%|
|Machinery & Equipment||2,000||2,000||165,676||-||-165,676||-100%|
New Ziana was allocated more than their bid for compensation of employees and goods and services expenditures. The Goods and Services will be used for Printing, News gathering and distribution, rentals, vehicle maintenance and communication costs.
Committee Observations on New Ziana
- The allocation for Compensation of employees will be used to boost worker morale as they were the least paid in the media industry.
- There was no allocation for Capital Expenditure which New Ziana needed for Printing press (Z$1 000 000), Motor Vehicles (Z$860,000) and ICT Equipment (Z$18 815).
It is being proposed that New Ziana gets an additional Z$122.9 million to procure the printing press (Z$82 million) and vehicles (Z$40.4 million).
2.6 Zimbabwe Film and Television of Southern Africa
The Film School is the only training Institute in the country with the mandate to train and provide the nation with professionally qualified film and television personnel. A total of 75 to 80 students graduate from the Film School with a National Diploma qualification after 2 and a half years of training. The school targets to recruit O-level and A-level graduates. Zimbabwe Film and Television of Southern Africa Budget (Z$000)
|Variance (Bid - Budget
|Compensation of employees||1,200||1,200||2,626||4,000||1,374||
|Goods & services||240||240||12,899||13,000||101||0.8%|
|Machinery & Equipment||8.000||8,000||55,506||22,000||33,506||-60%|
The Film School was allocated Z$39 million against a bid of Z$71 million which implies that they were allocated 55% of their bid. They have 45% funding gap and funding was required for equipment, teaching aids and vehicles to run the Film School.
Impact of Underfunding the Film School and Committee Observations
- The Film School has been chronically underfunded since its establishment. The School received 3 vehicles from the Ministry which have run their life span and now costly to maintain. The school needs vehicles for mobility as well as crucial film training equipment and the budget is $33.5 million.
- Since the equipment is imported due to non-availability on the local market, it is prudent to timely disburse the funds before the value is eroded by inflation.
iii. The Committee also noted that the Film School should be able to generate revenue using the equipment by covering events such weddings for instance.
It was resolved that the Film School gets an additional allocation of Z$33.5 million so that they procure modern equipment in line with the need to adopt and adapt to new technology.
|ZIMBABWE BROADCASTING CORPORATION|
ZBC has not been funded for nearly 20 years and through the efforts of the Committee, the Corporation received a grant of Z$130 million.
ZBC Budget Allocation in Z$ 000
Bid - Budget
Compensation of employees
|Goods & services||30,000||125,400||-||-125,400||-100%|
|Machinery & Equipment||314,600||130,000||-184.600||-59%|
Committee Observations on ZBC
- ZBC only received 27% of their total bid, Z$130 million out of Z$484 million.
- The amount allocated will be used to partly expunge legacy debt to critical service providers leaving other urgent issues unattended. About 55% of the allocated funds will go towards payment of statutory debts to content producers, ZIMRA, NSSA and ZIMURA. Legacy debt has been eating into revenue inflows from marketing and licensing hence the Corporation did not benefit from improved cash flows.
iii. The amount allocated to the Corporation should be disbursed early to avoid foreign exchange losses since Z$461 million is owed to a UK company.
- Revenue inflows are negatively affected by withholding tax in compliance with tax laws as previous tax obligations were not met.
- Servicing legacy debt will result in the following
- Stop writs of execution and legal claims from service providers.
- End garnish orders on the Corporation’s bank accounts.
- Smooth execution of the Corporation’s mandate.
- Unlock new content from both local and foreign suppliers.vi. Four (4) CEOs have successively left the employ of ZBC on allegations of poor corporate governance. Owing to these developments it has become the norm that CEOs at ZBC are in acting capacity. There is need to appoint a substantive Chief Executive Officer at ZBC.
vii. There is need for improved corporate governance systems at ZBC since there are consistent reports of corruption at the Corporation for a number of years. Thus, the Oversight function at ZBC needs to be strengthened by the Board and the Ministry.
viii. Ministries should pay for services rendered to them by ZBC and should also honour their legacy obligations to ZBC, so that operations at ZBC are sustainable. This will improve the fees collection compliance rates.
The Impact of Under Funding ZBC by Z$ 354 million
- Shortage of vehicles has affected mobility of core employees and thus resulting in poor service delivery. Critical assignments are often not done due to lack of reliable vehicles. Partial funding of vehicle procurement could help improve service delivery by the Corporation in view of the Devolution Policy. The vehicle budget was Z$59 million.
- The Corporation needs ICT equipment (software and hardware) for both Pockets Hills and Montrose to enhance efficiency in news gathering and processing. The Corporation is currently relying on pirated software which compromises output. Staff also needs laptops and computers to allow the smooth flow of operations. The ICT budget was estimated at Z$ 204 000.
iii. Security needs to be revamped through procurement of CCTV and other electronic equipment to minimise pilferage at the Corporation. About Z$16 million is needed for security so that the Corporation preserves funding provided in other areas.
- Absence of funding will affect the purchase of new and exciting content.
- Refurbishment of studios is key to produce quality output and this requires Z$48 million.
- Work stations need to be improved in view of Covid19 otherwise infections will increase at the workplace thereby putting staff members and their families at risk. A journalist has recently been lost to Covid19 at the Corporation – skills loss.
vii. Failure by the Corporation to pay salaries since license fees collection is only at 1 -2% compliance. This is because compliance officers are not mobile – they need motor bikes so that compliance rate moves to at least 50%.
Priority Areas for ZBC
- ICT Z$16.6 million
- Radio Pockets Hills and Montrose Studios Z$8.5 million
iii. Radio Mbare Studios Z$16 million
- TV OBV Z$48 million
- TV Studios Z$31 million
- HR and Admin Z$45 million
vii. Risk and Control Systems Z$11 million
Total Z$ 176 million
It is being proposed that ZBC gets an additional funding of Z$176 million
General Observations and Recommendations by the Committee.
The Committee commends the Ministry for efforts made in the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act under the National Media Reform programme. The Freedom of Information Act was signed into law on the 1st of July 2020, which effectively contributed repealed the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. We hope the Media Practitioners Bill will be presented as soon possible to complete the Media Reform Programme and further open up the media landscape.
The SOEs that fall under the Ministry should benefit from the new Ownership model which was proposed in the 2021 Budget. The Ownership model of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) where Government shareholder function is spread across different Line Ministries is associated with a number of challenges which include
- Inconsistencies in governance practices,
- Ministerial interferences,
- Delays and/or reversals of Government approved SEPs reforms due to vested interests within some line Ministries, and
- Generally weak and passive oversight function, among others.
The 2021 Budget recommended the migration from this traditional ownership model in favour of the deemed more progressive Centralised or Dual ownership models as Government took a deliberate decision to review the SOEs ownership model. For instance in Sweden, the Swedish Government gets a mandate from the Riksdag (Parliament) to actively manage SOEs so as to ensure the best possible long-term value performance and specifically adopted public policy assignments are performed well according to the Swedish Government.
Through this provision in the 2021 National Budget, the Committee will continue to impress the Ministry to improve corporate governance at Parastatals that fall under its ambit.
The absence of substantive CEOs at some SOEs (BAZ, Transmedia and ZBC) affects the smooth and continuous operations of the respective organisations since the Acting CEOs cannot come up with a strategy and implement it because they are not substantive.
In view of developments in the foreign exchange market there are risks of late and none disbursement of the required amounts for policy implementation. Funds should be disbursed on a timely basis so that the Ministry can effectively execute its mandate before possible exchange rate depreciation and inflation erode the value of the allocations.
There is need for the Information Centres to translate policy in languages that all economic agents understand in view of Devolution. This calls for analysis of policies using vernacular languages so that economic agents respond appropriately to policy propositions and changes. viii. Bids for capital expenditure were reduced which compromises efficient service delivery across the board.
The procurement of vehicles will help save jobs because all Government Ministries and Departments including SOEs are mandated to procure vehicles from local suppliers in line with the Local Content Policy.
The Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services plays a critical role in the dissemination of information, promotion of public communication and image building for the country. The Ministry also pays a unifying role through some of its programmes such sports. However, the 2021 budget made considerable cuts on capital expenditure bids which are likely to compromise efficient service delivery by the Ministry and Enterprises that fall under it. A high risk area is the non-completion of the digitalisation programme due to probable exchange losses and so the programme should be accorded high government priority status so that future prospects of engagement and reengagement is not jeopardised. Other programmes are not immune to erosion of value due to exchange losses and inflation, hence the timely disbursements of allocated funds is key.
There is need to prioritise servicing of local and external financial obligations by the SOEs under the Ministry so that the country has a good standing in line with improving the image of the country. The continuous dismissal of CEOs at ZBC due to allegations of malfeasance requires attention as this may point to deeper corporate governance issues that require urgent resolution to bring stability and progress to the Corporation. This will ensure that ZBC actively plays its critical role in the nation.
HON. MURIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am here representing the Chairman for the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs...
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. The Chairman for the Portfolio Committee was seated here. He was talking to Hon. Chinotimba but he is not here. These Chairpersons must be appointed on merit and we cannot continue. I therefore implore you Mr. Speaker Sir for us to defer this until the Chairperson is here. All the other Committees, we heard Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga here. Who is he not to be here? We cannot at all have the situation of Chairpersons sleeping on duty. We cannot continue with this anymore. Where is the Chairperson? May this be deferred? Therefore, my point of order is he is not the Chairperson, there is no apology before you that the Chairperson is somewhere else. Where is he? May he come and present the report. We cannot have this anymore. He is in the bar drinking and he loves his whisky. May he be found and come and give a report. This one is not the Chairperson.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. KHUMALO): Order Hon. Mliswa. I am informed that the Chairperson was not involved in the discussions that took place. So, this one was in charge and so he is the one who must present.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, there is no Standing Rule which says that. I was a Chairperson of the Committee and only when I am not there within 15 minutes, then you choose another one. There are rules which govern this Parliament and there is no rule that says because he could have been in or somewhere. He is the Chairperson and he was here today and people can witness if I am lying. He was seated right there. There is no rule or tell me the rule that is in the Standing Order which says that because the Chairperson was not going around, he cannot present a report. There is no such rule because he is being paid. We cannot allow this. Maybe the car that he was given is not going to be given to you. We cannot have Chairpersons who only want to Chair when it is convenient and yet when giving a report he is not here.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: We hear you. The Standing Rules allow somebody to Chair on behalf of the Chairperson if he is not comfortable or he is not ready.
HON. T. MLISWA: But he was here.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Not today, but all the proceedings on issues of producing the Committee report were done by this Acting Chair. So, let him present the report.
HON. T. MLISWA: No, but today he has decided to break the law because on this side, we decided to revoke rules because they have gone for too long vachitamba maChairpersons. He lost the DCC post and he was talking to Hon. Chinotimba. I will allow you to make your ruling but you got the point.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. KHUMALO): Can the Acting Chairperson present the report?
HON. MURIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Like I said, I am standing in for our Chairman Hon. Mataranyika, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. KHUMALO): If you have your Standing Rules, Order No. 25. Report of a Select Committee must be presented by the Chairperson or by a Member designated by the Committee and must be laid upon the table. Thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: You read the Standing Rules saying that the Committee can be chaired by another member. Where are the minutes which say this one has to speak? This is being recorded and it is going in the Hansard because we cannot have a Parliament without rules. Minutes are there and where are the minutes saying that he must speak. Therefore may he not speak until we see the minutes? I like to follow the law...
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. KHUMALO): HON. Mliswa, order. Acting Chair, can you present your report. Hon. Mliswa, give others an opportunity to report please.
HON. MURIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The report is as follows:
The 2021 Budget proposal has been prepared on the background of an economy that has, over the past years, endured challenges characterised by depressed economic productivity. The effect has been felt by business through suppressed industrial and commercial activity, unstable currency, distorted financial markets and fiscal and monetary constraints. It is on this basis that the Committee of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs applaud both the Honorable Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the Central Bank Governor for the crafting and successful implementation of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) and introduction of the Foreign Exchange Auction system. Significant progress in bringing macroeconomic stability is being felt by our business and social communities through improved industrial productivity and increased disposable incomes. The Committee is hopeful implementation of the 2021 Budget proposal will enable Government to sustain its resolution to achieve Vision 2030 and attainment of upper-middle income status for our country.
Introduction of the National Development Strategy (NDS) 1 is a welcome initiative which will set the tone for the next 5 budget cycles (2021-2025) anchored on 2021 as the base year. Moving on the theme ‘Building Resilience and Sustainable Economic Recovery’ for the 2021 Budget proposal demonstrates Government zeal to inspire public confidence of its intention to consolidate and build upon gains from the TSP. It is also in the same light that the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Independent Commissions under the Justice Portfolio Committee should be supported so that it is able to put its contribution towards relevant deliverables necessary for the achievement of Vision 2030.
The Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has 95 Acts assigned to it through Statutory Instrument (SI) 226 of 2018 and is responsible for the delivery of justice throughout the country and ensuring of upholding the Constitution of Zimbabwe. It has 13 departments’ statutory agencies and commissions through which it delivers its core functions. Under the programmes based budgeting the Ministry has funds appropriated to it under four programmes namely; Policy and Administration, Access to Legal Services, Incarceration and Rehabilitation of Offenders, and Registration of Proprietary Rights. It has an approved staff establishment of 583 with 433 in post and 150 vacancies as at September 2020. Of those in post, 180 are men constituting (42%) and the remainder being women 253 constituting (58%). This is pleasing start point towards achieving a gender-just society where men and women enjoy equal access to employment opportunities.
2020 BUDGET FUNDS UTILISATION
1.1.1 Notable achievements from the 2020 funds utilisation include;
- Representing Government and handling 4,840 court cases.
- Tremendous improvement in diet for prisoners, reduced cases of malnourishment.
- Provision free legal aid to 1,461 indigents since the beginning of 2021.
- Registration of 205,042 proprietary documents and generation of US$182,186 and collection of ZWL$147,453,027 in Government revenue.
- Operationalisation of the Companies and Other Business Entities Act which introduced duty of care and loyalty by directors. This also permitted electronic processing of documents.
- Carrying out, for the first time, of a client satisfaction survey in a bid towards improving service delivery to the satisfaction of clients.
1.1.2 Ministry Strategies/Interventions for 2021-2023
Of interest to the Ministry on the focus of NDS1 performance parameters is good Governance which is in turn encored on efficient and effective justice delivery, national unity, peace and Reconciliation. The Ministry has to apply the budget in implementing the following strategies to achieve these NDS 1 target outcomes.
- Review and drafting of policies and laws.
- Strengthening advocacy and communication (Awareness campaigns).
- Capacity building of members of staff (Continuous professional and skills development for Officers and Offenders).
- Enhanced digitalisation of the property and proprietary registration system.
- Enhancement of production through farm mechanisation for self-sustenance.
- Engagement of Public-Private Partnerships.
2021 MINISTRY BUDGET ALLOCATION:
1.2 Vote Analysis:
The Ministry tabled a bid of ZWL$13,199,773,545 in intent to finance strategies and programmes necessary for it to complement Government toward achievement of NDS 1 expectation. Against this bid Treasury appropriated ZWL$7,340,000,000 representing 55.6% and a deficit of ZWL5, 859,773,545 which is 44 percent. This budget deficit poses a constraint to the Ministry in the discharge of its mandate which requires achievement of its set strategies programmes and projects associated with vision 2030.
1.3 Implications of the budget allocation
The Ministry is rated on its performance through its contribution to the nation’s international profiling on a number of variables including
The issue of Governance is encored on reforms that determine the World Bank Ease of Doing Business ratings. The improvement in these ratings is influenced by an efficient justice delivery system in the country. According to the World Justice Project, Zimbabwe’s Rule of Law rank fell from 118 in 2019 to 119 for 2020. This can only be attributable to failure to implement certain relevant programmes over the past years due to budgetary constraints. This rating can be best compared with the highest ranked African country, Ghana which is at position 51. This index shapes the perceptions of potential investors, thus failure to achieve the threshold rating will continue to make Zimbabwe an unattractive investment destination. From this perspective, adequate financing is needed to enhance the country’s governance structures including justice delivery so as to achieve an improvement in the global ratings. Figure 1 shows the bids and appropriations for the four Programmes under the MoJLPA.
Figure 1: Bids and Appropriations for Programmes in the Ministry in millions of ZWL$
1.3.1 Policy and Administration
From a bid of ZWL$481.933 million, Treasury was able to appropriate ZWL$498.191 million. Treasury actually surpassed the submitted bid by 3 percent. The Ministry expressed satisfaction at this allocation and hoped that Treasury disburses these financial resources timeously.
1.3.2 Access to Legal Services
Access to legal services is key in measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of the justice delivery system. Under Access to Legal Services programme Treasury allocated ZWL$1,365,627,000 against a bid of ZWL$1,224,449,770. This allocation is in access of the bid ZWL$141,177,230 or 12%. Your Ministry is happy to get what it did not ask for but the Committee of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs would have expected the Treasury to justify why it made such excess provision while giving less than amounts bided for in by the Ministry in other programmes. Funding inadequacies might arise in view of the ministry’s need to achieve NDS 1 programmes and projects relevant to it. Other project that had not been included in the bid might put constrain the Ministry when requirement to implement them using already allocated funds. Such project includes the Attorney-General’s Office and decentralisation structures for provision of devolved legal serves. These projects are expected to come as cabinet priorities and they will effectively displace funding for projects already catered for under the appropriated budget for the Ministry. The Committee of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs therefore sincerely ask the Minister of Finance to make further provision to carter for such projects should they be considered for implementation in 2021.
1.3.3 Incarceration and Rehabilitation of Offenders
This programme is managed by Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) department which is constitutional created in terms of the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Act, 2016. The Ministry bided for ZWL$10,646,433,775 and Treasury provided ZWL$5,083,942,000 representing 48 percent. With this amount, the ZPCS Department will be constrained in effectively and efficiently meeting its constitutional mandate. Table 1 reflects the items constituting the programme and illustrates funding deficiencies thereof.
Table 1: Bids and Appropriations for Key Expenditure Items in ZPCS
|179,177,404||66,333,000||(63%)||The less than optimal allocation means inmates and prison staff will go without medical care lead to high mortality rates. This defeats the access to justice objective espoused in the NDS 1|
|103,266,130||19,234,000||(81%)||Procurement of only 20% of required ammunition resulting in compromised security.|
|234,259,220||66,480,000||(72%)||Insufficient farming inputs will be procured compromising food security in prisons.|
|Utilities||367,400,000||162,611,000||(56%)||Only 6 months coverage of bill payments!|
|122,895,000||59,778,000||(53%)||Shortage of linen will lead to exposure of inmates to cold during winter and increased cases of pneumonia and death rates.|
|Uniforms||455,034,930||88,889,000||(80%)||Reduced provision of uniforms will lead to low staff moral and poor image for the department. Security may also be compromised to inefficiency|
|Rations||3,102,192,000||678,091,000||(78%)||Inadequate provision dietary leads to nutrition-related diseases and high mortality rates.|
|185,761,560||63,889,000||(66%)||The objective of access to justice may be compromised as the department will fail to provide transport to trial courts for inmates.|
|2,419,699,585||223,000,000||(91%)||Failure to replenish the vehicle fleet will call for increased hire charges which exorbitant.|
|25,020,000||10,000,000||(60%)||Procuring 40% of requirements which contributed to food insecurity in prisons.|
|Outstanding Debts||278,774,279.79||-||(100%)||Inability to service debts, ballooning of debt resulting in termination of services.|
The ZPCS Department regularly faces many operational challenges which may be alleviated if it gets access to the statutory claim to 15 percent of the Courts Administration Fund. Treasury has since suspended retention of funds collected under this statutory provision. The Committee of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs urges the Minister of finance to increase funding on medical provisions, bedding and linen to the ZPCS so as for it to achieve its mandate and for the ministry to realize SDG 16 on justice. Consideration should be placed on gradual replacement of old vehicle fleet as this may prove more expensive.
126.96.36.199. Farming activities:
ZPCS is serious on embarking on projects so as to internally generate revenue to carter for the needs of inmates. Such project includes factories to make uniforms for staff and inmates and also provision of food requirements. To this end the department was allocated farms by Government for it to commercially grow crops to feed inmates as well as generate income to sustain other activities not catered for under the Treasury provision. The Department is therefore serious prepared to effectively and productively utilize the availed land and ensure food self sufficiency and to a limited extent funding gaps that are not covered by treasury allocation. The committee implores the Minister of Finance to consider availing adequate seed money to kick start the farming and clothing factory projects.
188.8.131.52. Sanitary wear:
While crime is not condoned, being in prison is enough punishment to our inmates. The Committee of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs observed female inmates face difficulties if they are not provided with sanitary ware. Being in prison they are also not able to assist themselves in finding alternative means to access these necessary materials. The budget allocated to the Ministry has no provision for sanitary requirements for female prisoners. Failure to access sanitary pads by female inmates will result in them facing psychological and physical stress during their menstrual cycles for the period they will be serving their sentence. This is tantamount to additional sentence. To this end the Committee of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs implores the Minister to make provision for sanitary ware to cater for special needs of our female inmates.
1.3.4 Registration of Proprietary Rights:
This programme accommodates the department of deeds and proprietary rights. The department has a critical project that is underway and requires funding.
184.108.40.206. Computerisation Project:
A bid of ZWL$405 million was tabled, targeting Computerisation, but Treasury only appropriated ZWL$56.7 million, which left a funding gap of ZWL348.3 or 86 percent. The Department is operating partial computerised processes. This approach has serious risks and challenges in the modern world in terms of storage and retrieval documents. The use of paper based documentation by the Department has seen it running out of filing space and facing increased cost for stationary. The department needs to migrate from manual data management system to computerised process in sync with modern trends. The department requires Document Management System that scans both historical and current records to facilitate offering of online services and improve efficiency and service delivery. Easy of doing business is one of the objective of government in its bid to attract business and computerization one such tool that will enable government achieve this objective. Zimbabwe’s Ease of Doing Business rating in 2020 stands at 140 out of 190 nations while Zambia and Rwanda are ranked 85th and 38th, respectively. In terms of the sub-score Starting a Business, which contributes to the overall Index, Zimbabwe is ranked 167th. This may be attributed to the length of time needed to start a business in Zimbabwe, which is 14 days. In Rwanda it takes 6 hours whilst the duration is 3 days in Zambia.
The committee therefore implores government to accommodate the computerization project so as to enable the Ministry secure the necessary hardware and critical software licenses.
220.127.116.11. Filling of Staff posts:
The department has 16 vacant Records and Information Assistant Posts that need to be filled. In 2016, the Public Service Commission approved the creation of these Records and Information Assistant posts subject to Treasury Concurrence. This approval by the public service commission was on the background of a critical need for the service of such staff that the Ministry was facing. Ministry had recruited temporary staff to carry out the work and in the mean time pay their salaries from retention funds. In contrast, Treasury has since announced the discontinuation of the Retention Funds Treasury concurrence to the 2016 PSC approval and allocation of funds for the necessary salaries an urgent matter.
1.4 Challenges and Observations
The following observations and challenges were noted;
- Courts and Administration Fund
Inadequate funding has potential to fail the Ministry in achieving the NDS 1, SDG Goals 10 and 16 which are relevant to it.
- Cripple the justice delivery system and fail structures of good governance.
- Inadequate provision of sanitary ware to Female prisoners and medical provisions to all prisoners has potential to create health hazard in prisons.
- Absence of funds allocations towards productive projects will continue to put pressure on Treasury to provide funding for uniforms and food for prisoners.
- Failure to provide funds for the computerization project will continue to hamper the easy of doing business hence making the country an unattractive investment destination
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs recommends the following;
✔ Treasury to reverse its position on the suspension of retention of funds collected from Courts and Administration Fund so as to allow bodies in the justice delivery system. to optimally use the Fund to cover financing gaps on the budget allocated by Treasury.
✔ The Minister to make provision for procurement of sanitary pads for female inmates
✔ Treasury to allocate funds to kick start productive project for ZPCS so as easy pressure on funding requirement from Treasury.
2.0 INDEPENDENT AND STATUTORY COMMISSIONS:
The Portfolio committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs overseas budget performance for Independent and Statutory Commissions with Acts are assigned to the Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. To this end the Committee has considered budgets from the following Independent and Statutory Commissions
2.1 JUDICIAL SERVICES COMMISSION (VOTE 25)
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has a mandate to promote and facilitate the independence and accountability of the Judiciary and the efficient and effective administration of justice in Zimbabwe.
The Commission has an approved staff establishment of 1945 with 1819 in post as at September 2020. Whilst women constitute an overall 56 percent of total employment, the representation decreases as you go up the professional ladder. This is shown by 57 percent female representation in Technical and Support posts compared to 39.5 percent representation at Chief Director to Minister/Judges level.
2.1.2 Major Achievements on 2020 budget performance :
- Construction of Mt Darwin Magistrate Court.
- Building of Chinhoyi Magistrate Court (Work in Progress).
- Commencement of construction of Chiredzi, Lupane and Epworth Magistrate Court.
- Renovation of the newly acquired building for Master of High Court’s office building in Bulawayo.
- Rehabilitation of the Mutare Civil Magistrates Court.
2.1.3. The 2021 budget allocation is expected to address the Sector Outcomes spelt out in NDS1. The Commission is pursuing Expeditious Justice Delivery through the following Strategies/Interventions for 2021-2023.
- To promote access to quality justice for all through judicial independence, accountability, transparency, competence and good governance.
- To provide technological, financial and physical resources in order to promote an efficient, autonomous and independent judiciary.
- To advise the Government of Zimbabwe on judicial related matters and on the administration of justice; and carry out functions relating to employment, discipline and conditions for members of the Judicial Service.
- To facilitate efficient, effective and transparent court services and institutional administration.
- To maintain the Judicial Service in a high state of efficiency through best practice and effective monitoring and evaluation.
- To facilitate continuous training, learning and development of members of the judiciary.
2.1.4 Vote Analysis for 2021:
The Commission had a bid of ZWL$7.076 billion against Treasury appropriation of ZWL$2.487 billion. This represents a negative variance of ZWL$4.589 or 65 percent. In past, the Commission had access to 35 percent retention from the Courts’ Administration Fund, but the Treasury has since stopped the retention. The Courts’ Administration Fund was established under Section 30 of the Audit and Exchequer Act [Chapter 22.03] and saved under Section 93 (3)(b) of the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22.19]. The main purpose of this fund was to cater for court operations in the wake of the 2008 economic challenges that saw a deterioration in the justice delivery system premised by very little or no budgetary support. The revenue generated includes fines, court fees and estate duty, among other sources. The Fund has been used to cater for obligations arising out of court operations such as:
- Paying witness expenses: Budget releases take time yet witness expenses need to be paid on a daily basis and in real time. The Treasury pronouncement will mean witnesses are not paid and many cases may not reach their logical conclusion due to lack of evidence.
- Settlement of employment costs for contract workers: Growth in the judicial system via establishment of new courts and expansion of existing ones has not been met by Treasury concurrence to employ more staff. The additional staff is being employed on a contract basis, with employment costs paid through the Courts Administration Fund.
- Servicing circuit courts: these sit on a daily basis and the Fund is used to ensure that these courts sit as and when required through timely release of funds.
- Paying utility bills:
- Rehabilitation of court houses in Zimbabwe; Fund has been used to rehabilitate courthouses to improve their image.
- Meeting operational costs; these relate directly to the justice delivery system and include fuel expenses and servicing of vehicles.
The consequence of taking away the Fund in the administration of justice is dire.
2.1.5 Implications of the Budget
Figure 1 shows the total Vote appropriations against bids for key programme items.
Figure 1: Bids and Appropriations for Key Expenditure Items in JSC
Salaries and Allowances:
Compensation of Employees is projected to consume ZWL$1.775 billion and Treasury allocated ZWL$559 million to the commission. This leaves an underfunding gap of ZWL$559 million or 68.5 percent. The ZWL$1.775 billion bid was informed by an anticipated surge in staff requirements as a result of the introduction of the Commercial Division of the High Court as well as necessary salary adjustments to match the cost of living. The Commercial Court’s core function is expeditious resolution of commercial disputes in accordance with international best practice to enhance efficient justice delivery. The operation of the Commercial Court will improve the ease of doing business in accordance to the criteria set by the World Bank. If the required human resources for manning the Commercial Court are not funded, the contribution of the commission towards easy of doing business will go below the index threshold.
Goods and Services:
The Commission’s bid under this budget item was ZWL$1.295 Billion and Treasury’s proposed allocation isZWL$968 Million leaving a funding of ZWL$327 Million.
Acquisition of Non-Financial Assets:
A bid of ZWL$4.006 billion was submitted to Treasury with the intention to target infrastructure development, acquisition and operationalisation of the e-justice delivery system. Against this bid, Treasury appropriated ZWL$960 million, which is only 24 percent. The e-justice system is necessary programme on the on-going reforms which are underpinned by Governance in SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and NDS 1 Objectives. The e-justice system enhances transparency, effectiveness and easy access to justice. The Commercial Court will be the first to go paperless as outlined in SI 123 of 2020 High Court (Commercial Division) Rules, and the deadline has been set for 1 June 2021 which is not achievable with a reduced budget. If adequately funded and successfully implemented this would be a significant milestone in the history of our justice delivery system. Failure to finance e-justice will result in failure to launch the Commercial Court and will have negative implications. In addition, failure to meet self-set deadlines will make necessary reforms, including the relevant SDGs unachievable.
Customary Law Courts:
About 70 percent of Zimbabwean’s population resides in rural areas where Customary Law Courts operate. It is sad to note that the commission did not bid for funding under this budget item. Funding for this item is necessary as it facilitates capacity building of Customary Court Presiding Officers. Chiefs and traditional leaders are the majority of officers under this category. SDG 10 aims at reduction inequality while SDG 16 addresses Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. In keeping with SDGs 10 and 16 and the NDS 1 objectives The Minister is urged to allocate additional funds to the commission to cater the operation of customary Courts.
2.1.6 CHALLENGES AND OBSERVATIONS
Key challenges faced by the commission include:
- Inadequate funds to cater for ancillary court administration expenses that are not catered for by Treasury. This challenge had been addressed through the introduction of the “Courts’ Administration Retention Fund”. However Treasury has since directed that the suspension of retention of collected funds.
- Inadequate funding of e-justice system project will continue to hinder Government’s objective to improve the ease of doing business hence affecting the country’s international rating on this parameter.
- Lack of funding towards the operation of Customary Court has the effect of leaving the Presiding Officers, mainly Chiefs and other traditional leaders behind in the legal system reforms hence reduced access to justice for rural communities.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs recommends the following;
✔ Treasury should comply with the law by upholding the Audit and Exchequer Act [Chapter 22.03] and the National Prosecuting Authority Act [Chapter 7:20]and;
✔ Reinstate retention of funds by the commission under the Administration of the Courts’ Administration Fund which is shared departments involved in the justice delivery system.
✔ The e-justice programme needs to be optimally financed to maintain to sustain momentum on Governance reforms as well as achievement of SDG 16.
✔ Treasury to appropriate more funds to the Commission so as to ensure Local Courts are made part and parcel of the Governance reforms in line with SDG 10 and SDG 16 and NDS 1 objectives.
2.2 ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
No submission was received from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.
2.3 NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION:
The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) have a constitutional mandate to promote sustainable peace, equality, reconciliation, national healing, cohesion, unity and peaceful resolution of disputes and conflicts in Zimbabwe. The NPRC is operates two programmes namely Governance and Administration and, National Peace and Reconciliation.
The Commission has an approved staff establishment of 105 with 39 in post as at September 2020. Of those in post, 22 (56%) are men and women are 17 (44%).
2.3.2 Major Achievements on 2020 budget performance
- Engagement of political parties, civic society and security organs.
- Conflict Early Warning and Early Response System (Preliminary setting up of structures and framework).
- Conflict mapping.
- Training of NPRC staff on Basic Counseling and Gender Mainstreaming.
2.3.3 The Commission’s operational objectives for the next five years are extracted from NDS1 under the Enhanced Social Cohesion Sector Outcomes. It is in this background that for the period 2021-2023, the Commission’s policy priorities are drawn as follows;
- Baseline survey for NPRC programmes.
- Calibration process to establish a framework for Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Index (SCORE) in Zimbabwe.
- Conducting public hearings in all the provinces.
- Establishing victim support mechanisms, as well as peace architecture beyond provincial levels.
2.3.4 Vote Analysis for 2021
The NPRC submitted a bid of ZWL$474,500,000 and Treasury appropriated ZWL$133,000,000 resulting in a financing gap of 72 percent. The work carried out by the Commission is predominantly field-based as such issues of mobility are critical for the implementation of the various programmes. It must be noted that the NPRC has a sunset clause which means that continued under-funding will prevent the Commission from fully discharging its mandate in the prescribed time period.
2.3.5 Implications of the Budget:
The need for peace and harmony is at the core of any society that seeks to pursue progressive
Table 1: Bids and Appropriations for NPRC Programmes
|Chair, Commissioner & ES||30,000,000||14,930,000||(50%)|
|Finance, Admin. & HR||70,000,000||49,078,000||(30%)|
|Legal & Audit||10,000,000||4,844,000||(52%)|
|M & E||10,000,000||4,373,000||(56%)|
|Research & Knowledge Mgt||50,000,000||10,206,000||(80%)|
|Healing, Recon & Rehab||70,000,000||10,230,000||(85%)|
|Victim Support Gender & Diversity||87,000,000||9,973,000||(89%)|
|Complaints Handling & Investigations||87,500,000||10,273,000||(88%)|
Programme 1: Governance and Administration :
Under Programme 1 (Governance and Administration), the Commission put in place a bid of ZWL$170 million but Treasury appropriated ZWL$83,431,000, which is 49% of the bid. With such under-funding, the Commission will be constrained in;
- Capacity building and training of NPRC staff.
- Partitioning of the Harare Office may not go ahead as planned. The obtaining open-office arrangements are not conducive for victims to openly pour out
- Procurement of Office furniture to avoid staff desk-sharing and sitting on window sills.
- Securing legal representation.
- Conducting baseline survey as well as Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Index (SCORE) in Provinces. Only 1 out of a targeted 10 will be possible.
- Reframing of the Historical Narratives.
Programme 2: National Healing and Reconciliation
This is the operational arm of the Commission. A bid of ZWL$304,500,000 was tabled but Treasury appropriated ZWL$49,569,000 yielding a negative variance of 74%! There is a clear funding bias towards the administrative side of the Commission’s business and yet the core business is peace and reconciliation. There is an unfortunate likelihood that the Commission may not be able to fully perform the roles it was created for. The results of underfunding will manifest in a failure to achieve SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) as well as Social Cohesion as enunciated in NDS1.
Conflict Prevention, Management Resolution and Transformation
Table 1 show that there is under-funding to the tune of 68 percent. The implications of this allocation are shown to specific sub-programmes;
- Dialogue and Dispute Resolution: NPRC will be able to conduct training of mediators and conciliators to engage conflicting parties. However, active resolution of disputes through meetings and conferences would not be possible.
- Conflict Prevention: The Commission will be able to engage in conflict prevention at provincial level through peace infrastructure already in place. However, cascading the engagement beyond provincial level would not be possible. In addition, elections monitoring will also not be feasible.
- Peace Infrastructure: The Commission will be in a position to hold 3 meetings with provincial peace committees on issues pertaining to conflict prevention at provincial level. The establishment and operationalisation of 57 district Peace Committees will not be possible.
- Conflict Early Warning and Early Response (CEWER): Setting up of a system and identification of monitors at provincial level would be feasible. However, funding gap will not make it possible to provide ICT tools required to facilitate information sharing on conflict.
Healing, Reconciliation and Rehabilitation:
There is a negative funding variance of 85 percent for this programme item (see Table 1). The NPRC will barely achieve 20 percent of their intended target.
- Public hearings will only be conducted in 2 out of 10 provinces.
- Truth telling and truth seeking will only go as far as one programme per province and will not be able to cascade to district level.
- Commission will be able to make recommendations on policy and legislation on issues affecting healing and reconciliation.
Victim Support Gender and Diversity:
Due to underfunding to the tune of 89 percent, minimal work will be done in this regard.
- Develop Victims Support Tools and Systems: development of NPRC Gender Policy, Victims Charter as well as standard operating procedures (SOPs) for handling victims, will be possible. NPRC will also be able to establish a data base for partners and service providers. However, setting up wellness centers for victim support will not be feasible.
- Victims Engagement and Documentation: Commission to carry out cross gender dialogue in 2 out of a targeted 5 provinces. Partially conducting psycho-social support sessions for victims will also be possible. However, engaging and documenting concerns and issues of minority groups will not be possible.
- Capacity Building for Victim Support: NPRC will only be in a position to conduct training on SOPs for partners and service providers in 2 out of a targeted 10 provinces.
Complaints Handling and Investigation (88% underfunded)
- Commission to investigate 300 out of a targeted 1,500 cases.
- Commission to carry out 5 out of a targeted 20 awareness campaigns.
- Commission will undertake 5 out of a targeted 23 trainings.
2.3.6 CHALLENGES AND OBSERVATIONS:
The Commission raised key challenges to their operations namely;
- That the operational arm of the Commission is grossly underfunded in light of the sunset clause on the tenure of the Commission.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs recommends the following;
- That there is an upward review of funds to allow the Commission to effectively carry out its mandate in its specified lifespan.
2.4 NATIONAL PROSECUTING AUTHORITY (VOTE 30)
The Committee did not receive any submission from the Authority hence the assumption is the allocation was adequate.
2.5 ZIMBABWE ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION (VOTE 31)
No submission was received from the Commission hence the committee‘s assumption was that it did receive adequate funding.
However, the Committee is keen to know if the 2020 recommendation for 10 percent retention of intercepted illicit flows was implemented. According to Transparency International, Zimbabwe’s Corruption Perception index improved from 22 out of 100 in 2018 to 24 out of 100, in 2019. The rating, thereof, also improved from 160 out of 180 to 158 out of 180. This is commendable.
2.6 ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION (VOTE 32)
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is constitutionally mandated to conduct and supervise elections, register voters, delimit constituencies, wards and other electoral boundaries, conduct and supervise voter education, accredit observers, develop expertise and the use of technology in regard to electoral processes, promote cooperation between the Government, political parties and civil society during election period, and ensure that gender is mainstreamed into the electoral processes. ZEC is operating its budget under two main programmes namely; Governance and Administration and, Management of Elections and Referendum.
The Commission has an approved staff establishment of 685 with 422 in post as at September 2020. Of those in post, 241 (57%) are men and 181 (43%) women.
2.6.2 Some of the Major Achievements in 2020
- Conducted 2 local authority by-elections for Harare Municipality, Ward 44 and Mwenezi.
- Drafted media monitoring regulations.
- Reviewed my communication Policy.
2.6.3 ZEC is guided by NDS1 by its contribution towards Sector Outcomes that include Enhanced Service Delivery, Enhanced Transparency and Accountability, Improved Social Cohesion and Improved Human Rights. Guided by these Sector Outcomes, the Commission’s Strategies/Interventions for 2021-2023 are;
- Delimitation preliminaries which include polling area standardisation, stakeholder consultative planning meetings, trainings, and pilot geo-coding.
- Conduct of by-elections.
- Purchase or construct office buildings and warehouses in all provinces.
- Continue with stakeholder engagement.
2.6.4 Vote Analysis for 2021
ZEC submitted a bid of ZWL$12,477,500,000 and Treasury was able to allocate ZWL$2,320,900,000 leaving a negative variance of 81%.
2.6.5 Budget Implication
Table 1 shows bids and appropriations for selected key expenditure items in ZEC.
Table 1: Bids and Appropriations for Key Expenditure Items in ZEC
|378,500,000||575,976,000||52%||● Inadequate to fill 128 critical posts.
● Allocation may not sustain upward reviews of salaries in 2021.
|Goods & Services||190,500,000||338,076,000||177||● No issues.|
|Acquisition of Capital Assets||72,000,000||116,000,000||162||● Purchase/construction of offices for the remaining 53 districts and 6 provinces is not achievable.
● The capacity of the data centre will remain capped at 7 million voters.
● It would be difficult to procure reliable vehicles for electoral activities.
Of Elections &
|12,027,000,000||1,744,924,000||85%||● Serious challenges in running outstanding 2020 by-elections as well as 2021 by-elections (if need be).|
Adequate financing of electoral management bodies is of paramount importance in thriving democracies. The very existence of legislators and senators is a direct outcome of this crucial process. Financing of ZEC may seem costly and competes for scarce financial resources with critical sectors such as education, health and defence. The funding requirements of ZEC are a function of the electoral cycle and will vary hugely between election and non-election. As 2023 approaches, the need for the adequate financing of ZEC is beyond any reasonable doubt. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission highlighted key concerns, in particular, those aspects that make administration of elections feasible. The ZWL$36.9 million needed to upgrade the Elections Data Centre from the current ceiling of 7 million voters has not been availed. Failure to upgrade will disenfranchise new voters when the ceiling is reached. This will have an adverse effect on reforms that are ongoing.
The current appropriation of ZWL$1.744 billion is as good as seed money for the delimitation exercise that needs to be undertaken. The Government has tabled amendment of the Census and Statistics Act so that the next census is conducted by 31 July 2021[i], and every ten years thereafter. This has been necessitated by the need for ZEC to carry out and conclude delimitation 6 months before the 2023 elections, as stipulated by law. Thus, ZWL$8.6 billion is required for the delimitation exercise to go ahead smoothly. The amount of financial resources spent per voter in Kenya (2017), Ghana (2016) and Tanzania (2015) is US$25.40, US$12, and US$5.16, respectively[ii]. Taking an average (US$15 per voter) and multiplying by the voter population (7 million) as well as the auction exchange rate (US$1: ZWL$80) will yield a figure of ZWL$8.4 billion! ZEC has made a clarion call to the effect that if ZWL$8.6 billion is availed, they will be able to meet all their expenditure requirements and preserve the credibility of the electoral process. Failure to meet this funding requirement may result in postponement of the elections which will damage the image of the nation and set back the country’s economic and political progress.
2.6.6 CHALLENGES AND OBSERVATIONS
The Commission raised key challenges to their operations namely;
- Delimitation has been underfunded threatening the smooth running of the 2023 elections.
- The Data Centre has a limit of 7 million voters when voter population is expected to exceed this limit by 2023.
- Outstanding 2020 by-elections have not been adequately funded and no provision has been made for 2021 by-elections.
✔ That Treasury avails ZWL$8.6 billion needed for successful completion of the delimitation exercise.
✔ That Treasury makes available ZWL$36.9 million to ZEC for upgrading of the Data Centre to accommodate 10 to 11 million registered voters.
✔ Those funds are made available for outstanding by-elections and a provision are made for 2021 by-elections.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I wish to join the debate on the Budget Statement that was presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
Mr. Speaker Sir, our duty as the Opposition is to do a critical analysis of the Budget if we can. Our duty is to give constructive criticism where it is warranted and give an alternative view or approach on national issues especially on policy issues such as the Budget. Mr. Speaker Sir, in my debate I will highlight the good, the bad and the ugly in the Budget – so it will be a very balanced approach.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Prof. Mthuli and I come a very long way. We hail together from the Department of Economics, in fact he was my senior and teacher and I must say that I also beg to differ with some of the things that he has done in this Budget but like I said, I want to first of all touch on what I think are the positive things within the Budget. For the first time, in my view I have been in this Parliament for quite a reasonable length of time.
The positive thing that I see in this Budget is that it is located within a particular trajectory. It gives trajectory on the economy and rests on the pedestal of an economic blueprint which has never happened before. Budgets were just being introduced willy nilly without being anchored by a National Development Strategy but this time around, the Budget is being anchored by a National Development Strategy – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – The National Development Strategy is very clear. The Budget is anchored on inclusive growth and macro-economic stability which we all need for this economy; for without growth, without growing the cake and without macro-economic stability, this economy will never recover. So macro-economic stability and growth are the basis of sustainable economic recovery and this is contained in the NDS1 that anchors this Budget.
The other pillar is of course developing and supporting productive value chains. Productivity is key, for without production there are no jobs, foreign exchange earnings and we perish. So the focus on productivity is a key focus which I think anchors the Budget so well. The third pillar is optimising resources in our natural resources – this has been the missing link. Zimbabwe is not poor, we are blessed with so many minerals and natural resources but we have not been able to leverage our natural resources to back up the Budget. There is no fiscal space, we are depending on tax revenues but because this Budget sees the need to leverage on the natural resources sector so that we avoid natural resource case and the Dutch disease, I think it is a very promising Budget in that regard.
This Budget also zeroes in on infrastructure development and as you know Mr. Speaker, infrastructure is an enabler to economic growth. The ring-fencing of about $10 billion for the Chirundu-Beitbridge Highway is very good because that road is happening using our own resources. I am happy that you have ring-fenced $10 billion – you must not end there. You can virement other resources to finish other roadworks or highway projects both in urban and rural areas like Mberengwa, Tsholotsho and all other areas that need highways. You can virement the Budget from the Unallocated Reserve to make sure that we complete some of the roads that have remained uncompleted for quite a long time.
I see that the thrust on energy – making sure that this country is going to be self-sufficient in energy is a very good thrust. I believe that in the years to come, we should be able to export power to the region which was unthinkable two years ago. So I must acknowledge that positive development as the Budget takes the NDS1 as its pedestal. Social protection and human capital development is also covered in this Budget. I see there is quite a lot that has been done on social protection and Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga already referred to some of those issues.
The Portfolio Committee on Education and Secondary Education; Health and Child Care also touched on social protection and safety nets that have been provided for by the Minister, which is all good. The strengthening of effective institutions and building good governance, the Portfolio Chairman on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has just referred to those institutional strengthening measures that are contained in this Budget.
Finally in terms of the pillars that the Budget rests on, I see there is engagement and re-engagement as a pillar that informs the Budget. So in terms of the trajectory, I think that the Budget is in the right direction.
I also noticed and of course I will come to the ugly but let me just note some of the good things that are in the Budget. Things like the setting aside of $3.9 billion for irrigation is very positive because it will amount to 350 000 hectares going under irrigation. I see the growth of exports to 4.1% in 2021 and from 3.6% in 2020 is a huge milestone. There is an effort to zero in on value chains as I have already referred to and I can also see attempts to revive ZISCO Steel.
Mr. Speaker Sir, what is wrong with ZISCO Steel? Year in and year out – we are talking about ZISCO Steel without any progress. I think that this must be the last time that we talk about ZISCO Steel without actually turning it around. We have got engineers, technicians, electricians and even the feed material to resuscitate ZISCO Steel. What is the problem? If we resuscitate ZISCO Steel it connects with so many other sectors of the economy. The railways, Hwange Colliery, the energy sector will be revamped if we revive ZISCO Steel; re-industrialisation will be promoted if we revive ZISCO Steel because it is at the centre of this economy. This is why the Rhodesians planned their economy with ZISCO Steel in mind and as long as we do not have ZISCO Steel operating and do not see cranes in our skylines – what are we doing? We must see a lot of cranes and buildings all over as a palpable measure to see the recovery of the economy and that is the direction we must take.
The Budget also provides empowerment money for women, youth and war veterans - $37 million but this is contingent upon the setting up of the National Venture Capital Company. Hon. Minister, it is one thing saying you are going to give $37 million to the youth and women but set the National Venture Capital Company like yesterday with structures and transparency information on how the youth and women can access the $37 million from the Venture Capital Company. So that company has to be setup as quickly as possible.
I see you have also allocated $21.4 million towards health and safety in mining; tourism you gave $1.8 billion but helpful this time around. You remember that we have been complaining about the Abuja target of 15% but you are just close to it – I think around 13.3% and I think that we must compliment you for that. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
One other important thing is devolution; you set aside $19.5 billion for devolution which is very good because we need democratic decentralised development. No country has developed through centralisation. We need a democratic developmental State where development is devolved and decentralised. I hope that the Local Government Act or legislations will be re-aligned to the Constitution to make sure that this devolution is able to proceed in a seamless manner.
The other positive that I can take from this Budget is of course, your attempt to introduce a defined benefit scheme for civil servants migrating from Pay as You Go to a defined benefit. That is the only permanent way to make sure that pensioners get something when they retire because if they do not have a defined benefit, that will lead to where they are now, i.e. impoverishment because they have been contributing to Pay as You Go without a defined benefit. So this migration in my view is positive.
The abolishment of retention fund by ministries - the Constitution provides for a single Consolidated Revenue Fund where all State revenue is warehoused but over the past years, we have had a plethora of these independent silos by way of retention funds. Each Ministry has its own slash/side funds and side shows have been happening. This has deprived Treasury of the much needed revenue. So the abolishment of retention funds in my view is a positive development. We want all revenue to go to one port, one Consolidated Revenue Fund and I wish you the best of luck in that because I know that there will be resistance from your colleagues who had been used to the slash funds.
I see that a lot of money $8.2 billion has been allocated to agriculture, to the Pfumvudza Scheme with inputs of fertilizer and seed. The same applies to the cotton sector where 300 000 households will benefit from subsidised inputs and I think that it is a positive development in this Budget. I can go on to single out what I consider to be positive developments in the Budget but like I said there is the good, the bad and the ugly.
I now come to the ugly so to speak. The first thing I note – sorry about this but I am there. I know that you are in a fix because of lack of fiscal space but the continued compression of wages and salaries and incomes is not good for the country. If you pay your civil servants and the private sector well, you are an economist. You are creating aggregate demand as people will demand more goods and services and industries will respond. There will be a supply response and they will create more goods and services and therefore, that is the desired macro-economic effect but if you continue to suppress, compress wages and underpay employees because you want to stabilise the economy, I do not agree with you there. Let us remunerate our civil servants adequately.
The poverty datum line as of September was 17,500 and what you have done is just to increase the tax free threshold from 5000 to 10 000 which falls short of the 17 500 poverty datum line. I would implore you to raise the tax free threshold, say to 15 000 at least to be near or closer the PDL.
The other elephant in the living room is of course your revenues. The 421 billion budget is just an aspirational budget because you need to collect the revenues. If I look at your tax structure, you only depend on V.A.T which is 25,8% projected this year, corporate tax 18,6 projected this year, P.A.Y.E 18,6; excise duty 10,2 and royalties 3%. I am worried about royalties because the mining houses are not contributing enough to the fiscus. A lot of illicit financial inflows are taking place in the mining sector, a lot of transfer pricing is taking place in the mining sector and they are shipping out raw materials, they are not beneficiating. We cannot reward them by just charging 3% royalties; let us increase the royalties that we charge. Infact, I do not agree with the reduction of corporate taxes from 25% to 24%. Companies should pay. If they are growing, they must pay more especially the mining houses.
We are over-taxing our citizens because income tax is too much, VAT is also too much and yet companies are going scot free but I know the mining sector is a lobby sector. I have studied mining all over Africa; it is a lobby sector, it is very difficult to tax mining houses because it is a lobby sector but I think the Minister will deal with that mischief. How can diamond only pay 15% royalties, the coal sector 1% royalties, the gold sector 2% in terms of royalties yet gold is doing well? They are doing very well. So I implore the Minister to review the royalties upwards. This is why in countries like DRC and Tanzania they had to cancel all mining contracts to renegotiate them because the mining sector was not contributing anything substantial to the fiscus.
If you look at the fiscal space, it is limited; this budget has to find money to be funded. Your taxes are only 16% of GDP, the projected GDP is 2, 4 trillion and we can only collect 16%. So we need to work hard to grow the cake so that we can collect more revenues and make sure that mining is leveraged; it contributes to the development of the economy.
Sovereign Wealth Funds – it is a fund which should be populated by earnings from the natural resources sector. We have got Sovereign Wealth Funds like the Norwegian, the Abu Dhabi one, very rich funds but they are populated by oil resources, natural gas resources. So it would be wrong for you to take resources from the fiscus to give to the Sovereign Wealth Funds. Those resources must be found from our natural resources not from income tax or other taxes. It must find a way to be funded by the companies themselves because it is a warehousing of revenues. So I think the money you have allocated to the Sovereign Wealth Fund must go somewhere, may be tertiary students, add money for grants and loans because sovereign wealth fund must be funded by the proceeds from the natural resources. The other challenge you have is that the money you are allocating to the Ministries are disbursed through drip disbursement. You find that at the end of the tenure of 2021, Ministries only have accessed 15% of the allocated revenue. So, this becomes an academic exercise.
Let the money allocated be accessed by the Ministries and that is when you would say I have saved a lot of money and I have surplus when Ministries have not provided services and when the health sector have not purchased drugs and so on. The disbursement or uptake of the fund is something that you need to improve on. The other issue is the debt trap. This country is highly indebted. Almost $9 billion in foreign debt and interest payments and if you look at the figure of interest payments, it is a huge amount. So, we are in a debt trap and let us find a way to get out of this debt trap and let us stop borrowing, foreign borrowing must be stopped.
HON. MAPHOSA: I propose for the extension of his time by five minutes.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): You can proceed for five more minutes.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Publicly guaranteed debt to parastatals and private companies which borrow must be checked because it becomes a fait accompli on the State. Arduous debt must be checked. So, let us stop borrowing at all in order to rise out of the debt trap. We are enslaving our children and great grand children through this high debt burden.
I come to the macro-economic framework, our macro economic projections. When we talk about stability, I want us to qualify the stability in view of the following things. If you look at growth, you are projecting a 7.4% GDP growth rate against a background of minus 4,1%. If we have declined by a minus 4.1% in 2020, suddenly we aspire to get 7.4%., it is too ambitious. I guess you can revise your GDB focus. This is too ambitious and it is unachievable because we already know that we are subjected to climatic shocks, global shocks as you rightly know and certain macro-economic shocks that are still prevalent in the economy. We will be able to achieve 7.4%. so, I wish you could reexamine that growth back.
The other issue is inflation. By all accounts this is an inflationary budget because you are talking of billions, trillions and it is certainly an inflationary budget. It does not mirror real values in the economy and we are projecting an inflation figure of 135% which is still in the hyper-inflationary zone because anything above 50% is hyper-inflation. So, 135% is almost three times fifty. I do not call that stability because it is not stability. If you go in the shops, prices are rising almost every week while incomes cannot afford those prices.
I see money supply growth also has been on the increase and if you do not control M3 or reserve money, you have got problems in targeting your inflation. I see from your budget M3 has been increasing and it is very difficult to target your inflation. At the end of the day, this budget must build confidence for investors, the private sector and confidence for Zimbabwean citizens and that is key because why citizens are not confident of the budget is that this economy is now a dual economy. It is now an enclave economy. This economy, 80% is informal and 20% is formal. So, this budget largely talks to the 20% of the population or of the economy.
It must be an inclusive budget which covers everybody not just the 10% or 20% in the formal sector. We must reduce informalisation and make the economy more formal so that we can create jobs and we can get confidence of our citizens. At the end of the day, this budget is a good effort but it is how you can balance these huge demands against a small pocket, pace or a small resource incomes. Thank you.
HON. KWARAMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to first of all applaud the Minister of Finance for presenting the budget whose theme was “building resilience and sustainable economic recovery” reflects the issue of inclusivity. The budget made commitment to empower disadvantaged groups like women, boys, girls and war veterans even though nothing much is said about the disabled. Priority should be given to women and girls to satisfy the NDS 1.
Hon. Minister, I would also want to applaud you for targeting the issues we raised as Women’s Caucus and the key issues we raised are among the top five priorities in terms of allocation of funds. These are primary and secondary education, health, energy, water and sanitation. These got higher funding as advocated in the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus Women’s Manifesto. I would like to comment on agriculture because our economy is agrarian based and the performance of the 2021 budget will depend on performance of the agriculture season but this will only be possible if the agriculture sector is well funded.
The pfumvudza concept is very good but modern farming implements to support women is required and also inputs should be prioritised and distributed timeously both for pfumvudza and A2 farmers. Minister, up to now, most farmers have not yet received inputs for this season yet we say we are not going to import maize this season. Now this is a good season as evidenced by the rains that we are receiving but inputs are not forthcoming. There should be gender disaggregated data showing the number of women who have received inputs to enable monitoring and equitable allocation of resources.
Climate change is one factor that is affecting agriculture, therefore, Hon. Minister we are saying there should be mitigation measures against climate change, let us consider irrigation and this should also be given to women in the district as stated in the MDS strategy. Minister, we also need statistics showing the number of women who received these irrigation equipment.
Madam Speaker, I also want to comment on education. We are very happy for the huge allocation but this should cascade to poor and vulnerable localities in urban and rural areas. Disbursements of BEAM funds should be done timeously and should consider affirmative action. We would also want clarity on import duty and VAT rebate on sanitary wear as it still remains unaffordable to most women. Thank you again for social support to pregnant girls as this reduces school drop outs but would you please clarify how this is going to be administered.
On transport Hon. Minister, since we have introduced a ban on ex-Japan cars, would you kindly resource the motor industry to reduce costs because we foresee the cost of cars going up and beyond the reach of many people. We are also appealing for duty free cars for women. The Government has imported ZUPCO buses but most women cannot access these buses. There is a lot of abuse when women try to board these buses. Kenya and Tanzania have this scheme for women to prevent abuse, we could also adopt that. On non-communicable disease, we also urge the Minister to take sugary foods so that money goes to finance non-communicable diseases to encourage health life styles and the same goes on cigarettes. Minister, you did not respond on this when you did your budget.
Thank you for capacitation of ZINWA and DDF for procuring drilling rigs and borehole maintenance programme. We would also need central coordinating for watch projects because these have a direct impact on women. On sliding payments of water, Hon. Minister, you did not respond to this. On SMEs, monies should be released in time so that they are not affected by inflation. There should be a once off payment so that women’s programmes are not disturbed. Requirements or collateral should be scaled down so that these funds are accessible but women should also be encouraged to pay their loans so that they benefit others. There should be also a bias towards rural women. Erratic releases affect women’s projects. The women’s banks should well funded so that all women access loans.
To conclude Minister, Government should remain focused on gender issues and disburse funds timeously. I thank you.
*HON. CHIKUKWA: I want thank the Hon. Minister for the budget but I want to speak representing people in town. I come from Harare town. I think I need clarity on the issue of tax free band when we compare the type of money which we used to pay, if someone pays in US dollars, the tax free band is high compared to someone who pays in the local currency. Therefore, I suggest that when we are paying, the issue of tax free must be balanced between the local currency and the US so that all people benefit equally or use the exchange rate for that same day.
On the issue of location tax, this touched me. On the issue of projects which are being done especially those operating in Siya-So or saloons, it is not bad as one must pay a certain percentage towards the tax. I am pleading to the Minister that you must reduce the location tax because the time which we are expecting for this to resume on the issue of paying the tax, many people were not going to work or doing any work because of Covid-19. Now people are trying to stand on their feet after this Covid-19. Therefore, extend the period and reduce the amount they are supposed to pay.
In 2012 in Japan, there was an earthquake and the issue of radiation was introduced. On cars there are some cars that were imported in the country before radiation was introduced. Those cars must also pay for radiation not to charge that on cars that are being imported now only but all cars, even those imported before must pay. If the already imported cars are also a disaster to our health, then radiation must be paid.
On the issues of water, there are lots of projects that we have proposed. If you go to areas like Highfield, Harare South or Mbare in the early morning, many people will be queuing for water at the boreholes but there are the elderly who are not able to go to those boreholes to fetch water but they will be requesting for help from the churches. Therefore, I suggest we put aside money to drill boreholes and those boreholes must have piping directed to 100 houses or for a certain area because some other people are now making money by selling water to the people which is supposed to be for free.
Therefore, the issue of putting the pipes from that borehole and service those houses makes the issue of corruption on water to be eliminated. I thank you.
HON. J. SITHOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker. First and foremost, I would like to applaud the effort that was put into providing the top most figure with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education of $55.221 billion. This shows that our Minister is very much aware that it is this level of education which can capacitate any other level, whether it is at university or college.
I also want to thank the Minister for realising that there are certain critical areas within that Ministry which need funding. However, I still feel that there are areas which need to be considered critically, such areas as ECD because as we think about the new curriculum, the updated curriculum and also the Education Amendment Act that we are pursuing, we should realise that State funded basic education starts at ECD. If we start from ECD, then we are going to see ourselves developing a situation where we are going to see more children getting into school, hence capacitating our education system.
I would also feel that there is need to give more money or more funding towards tuition because looking at the situation as it is, a number of our children this year have not managed to go to school throughout the year. Some, even up to today, are going to school once a week because of the staggering that is going on due to the Covid situation and it implies that if Covid is, by God’s mercy, not going to be with us, next year we need to make sure that we revamp our education system and make sure that our children are going to have enough materials in terms of their education.
I also want to mention that for the past years from 2019, we saw our Government making sure that all the outstanding BEAM funds were paid. In 2020 about 1 million children managed to get funding through BEAM and for 2021 an allocation of about $3 billion has been given towards BEAM. It might appear like a very big figure but mathematically if calculated it looks like we are going to go back whereby we will have fewer children going to school using that BEAM facility because of the amount of money which is required per child. The calculations show that each child now needs more and therefore the allocation that was given to BEAM needs to be increased.
We also realise the level of vulnerability among our children and incapacitation of their families accordingly also reflects that there is need for increasing BEAM funding. After all, it is a fund that can work as a footstool towards our basic State funded education. I would like to say there are issues which are also related to education which need to be looked at critically, such issues as mobility by the lower tiers of the administration structure of education – the district school inspectors and their inspectors, the PDs and the inspectors in their different provincial offices. These people need to be mobile so that they can go and see what really happens at ground level.
During a tour by the Committee on Primary and Secondary Education last week, we observed that a number of schools in this country have not seen teachers going back to work and the children are just alone. Some Grade 7 children were actually saying they had just come to write the examinations and such situations require that the administration in the Ministry should be able to go downstream. So there is need for such facilities as vehicles to make these people mobile and you will also find that in these schools a number of parents were saying they could not pay fees because the term or the year is coming to an end. Such things need to be observed by the powers that be so that our education system is not going to suffer.
Accordingly, this also applies to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare where we will find the Ministry is engaged in education, health and food issues. The officials there need to be capacitated to ensure that they go down to ground level and observe what is happening there. For example the BEAM issue which I have talked about is something that comes from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare but the way that it is being administered at lower levels leaves a number of children who cannot access that fund because there will not be enough education for the parents involved and in some cases they are child headed families or they are the disabled children. They may not be able to access the funds and it needs these officials from the Ministry to go down and monitor what happens at school level, hence they need to have vehicles.
I also want to say our schools, because they have been so much affected by Covid-19, still need a lot of assistance with such things as masks or
HON. J. SITHOLE (speaking)…all types of PPE because our parents cannot afford. Even as we were moving around, we found that the PPEs were given and some of them got the PPEs in the first phase as they were opening and others did not get them. They were actually working from their own pockets to make sure that their children were getting these PPEs so that they could end up being in school.
I also want to say in terms of the Ministry of Finance, we would rather expect that the issue of a Constituency Development Fund (CDF) must be taken with the name it deserves, if it could be raised. I think proposals have been brought up to something about $2 million because I understand last year, when we visited Zambia, we found that their CDF as of last year, stood at 1.6 million Kwacha and ours was slightly below RTGS200 000. I think we need to make sure that we coin the fund constituency development to mean exactly what we are doing because when we say we develop, we have to develop and that should be adequate.
I also want to say in the area of environment, it was reported that EMA did not get any funding. If we go even into our rural areas, the amount of land degradation that is going on there - yet no attention being taken is so alarming. I strongly feel that EMA should be capacitated, if we do not do it, we are only going to end up with our good Zimbabwe turning into a desert. I think the Hon. Minister has done quite a lot, but these few areas I have mentioned, I strongly feel they have to honoured.
I want to crown this debate by saying we have got serious problems of food in our communities where you have got hungry citizens. They cannot even improve the nation economically because they will not be strong enough. We strongly feel that they should provide more to our vulnerable citizens so that they can also participate in the economic development of this nation. They have been affected, incapacitated during Covid and they need to be given some food. As of this year, we understand the Government had problems of feeding all people who deserved some food to the extent that some had to be dropped off. We feel the budget that is being given of $6 billion to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare versus an expected $20 billion might need to be increased so that our people can get the food.
Finally our workforce as well, such things as continuous strikes need not to happen. Let us attend to them timeously by giving the people who deserve these salaries and non monetary incentives. Let it be done timeously so that they feel that the Government also understands their plight. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Speaker, I want to add few words to this debate. The first issue is the monitoring and evaluation of the programmes, starting with the TSP. It was very important for the Minister to have presented a thorough analysis of the performance of the TSP so that the NDS1 will first talk to issues that will sanitise or correct what went during the TSP. Also, to use that as a benchmark because whenever you introduce a programme, if it is not the first programme, you must have looked at the previous one for it to inform you.
Madam Speaker, if we look at the performance of the TSP, it was not very encouraging. It was supposed to stabilise macro economy and the financial sector and also introduce some necessary policies that would help the economy to perform better. Also the issue of institutional reforms, where we were going, to move away from depending on the Government doing a lot of things and let the private sector lead the economy. As a result of that Madam Speaker, we then fail to understand what will be the linkage between the NDS1 and its predecessor which is the TSP. There were no effective consultations Madam Speaker with the key stakeholders including Parliament.
I think the same was repeated in NDS1 where we had to go for consultations without the blue paper which is the NDS1. A lot of people whom we were meeting during our tours as Parliamentarians during budget consultations were asking the NDS1 paper which was going to be used as the anchor for the budget. It was difficult for us to answer those people.
It is important to consult because issues of development must not be from the top and cascading. The top specialises in consumption. It is important that for any developmental issue to be successful, it requires a good approach. That normally accounts for the country’s specific circumstances. It is important that we realise where we are, what we have and our circumstances. Once we do that, we will then be able to say this is how we are going to move from there onwards.
In terms of the macro-economic performance, the overall real GDP growth targets for 2018 and 2019 were all missed, that is a fact. Madam Speaker, because we missed those, if we had carried out an analysis or a review of our performance then we could have said how did we miss the targets. The economy in 2018 grew by 3.4% against a TST target of 6.3 which in 2019 the economy declined by 6.5% against a targeted 9% growth. The 2020 target, we are also going to miss it. So the issue is, we are going to miss our target which should have been around 9% and we ended up achieving a minus but our focus for 2021 is above 7%. We expect ourselves to recover from a minus back to a level of plenitude of 0% and we start going to 9%. I think it is a tall order, it will be easier for the Minister to have projected a target that can be even 1% growth because we were going to meet it and then start going forward.
I would also want the Minister to explain further which sectors we really expect to perform so highly that we are going to achieve that particular goal. If I look at a number of sectors - industry, there is virtually nothing that we are doing at the moment to equip our industrialists. My expectation is that we start re-tooling; we start improving the equipment that we have; we start improving the way we produce our products; we start making sure that productivity improves because until we can do so, we run into a problem where we just think of production but production does not add value. What really adds value is productivity. There is also our mantra ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’, which I strongly feel targets these big businesses but the fact is that our economy is now almost 90% informal, meaning the biggest players in employment creation are not those big companies. It is those small businesses at Magaba, Glenview 8 and these big companies where you find a number of companies occupying what used to be a single company.
What are we doing for those people for them to produce more? It is important that we concentrate on ensuring that our small businesses have favourable conditions for them to grow and produce economically. The only way they can do that is to afford them a situation where they can access funds at reasonable interest rates. Not only that, technically we must equip them as well. We must train our people, we must set up institutions that can train people. SRDC where Prof. Chatsanga used to be at one time, this House resolved that we have a national productivity centre. The whole idea was to make sure whatever we produce there has some element of industrial engineering involved. Industrial engineering is all about maximum utilisation of plant and equipment and also making sure that there is a perfect relationship between the man and the machine. This is what made Japan what it is today. This is what made China what it is today, the issue of productivity. Whenever you walk into a factory, you must know what you are expected to produce. That produce must be known. If it is going to be 75% without any incentive, so be it. This is how the Chinese and Japanese do it. You do not thumb suck and the same applies to even our Government ministries. We do not have any standards. For you to say I have performed today and I ask you, at what level did you perform, that person does not understand.
In a modern world like where we live, we cannot compete with anyone if that is not done. It appears to be a very simple thing but it is because of that, that we do not even produce in our farms because there is no target. The technical support we give to our farmers is very little. I come from a rural background; I used to know that house belongs to a mudhumeni. The house which used to be occupied by the mudhumeni which fortunately was built under Smith is very strong and it still stands there but I last saw someone occupying that house 20 years ago. So there is no one monitoring the performance of our farmers.
We used to know kuti chimudhudhudhu chikati dhudhu! ndechamudhumeni, extension officer. We now do not have those people and because of that we waste our labour. You find where you can grow your crops with only one person but you want six, seven of them. Look at how they even grow the maize - 1 metre apart, hanzi ndokuti chiite zihombe sitereki. There are modern ways of doing things and we need to train people to do that.
Finally whatever performance, the success of any programme or any budget must be related to the effect it has on a person who is in Chiendambuya or who is in Kambuzuma - what gets into their pockets. Does it transform their lives and as far as I am concerned at the moment, the measures that we have been taking are not doing that. We are still giving our pensioners or our elderly, RTGs300 or even 500. That amount is around US$5 or US$4 point something. What do you buy with that and can we proud ourselves that we are looking after our elders when we are giving them RTGs500? That also sometimes brings us into believing that we are in a crisis a little bit where our people cannot survive.
We must ensure that whoever we give, that something can sustain the individual. If we cannot then we cannot and we then think of where to raise the money, which leads me to the issue of resource management. Madam Speaker, the level of corruption if we were to calculate the effects of corruption – in most cases we just talk of someone is corrupt because he was involved in a $60 million deal and the like. Effectively what it does is that, where you were supposed to buy something for $20, you will buy it for $40 but that person who will have facilitated corruption does not get the other $20. That person only gets probably $3 and $17 goes to these businessmen. That is why you then find some people claiming to be millionaires; to be moving mountains. So, until we account for every dollar, then we have a serious challenge. Just imagine where you lose $10 million; if the Minister of Finance was going to get that $10 million and distribute among all the hospitals in Masvingo, they will have enough supplies for the whole year but we pay lip-service as far as corruption is concerned. We have people who get contracts and some of the contracts when the tenders were first floated you would hear it was about $10 million but a month or six months later, it would get to $15m or $20m and then you ask yourself what is changing before a person has even been granted that particular tender. I think it is also important that whatever money we collect should be put to good use and we make sure that all the ministries, whatever is disbursed to them must be followed up. We must know where the money will have gone.
Lastly Minister, if we say we are going to give $5 billion to BEAM it must be disbursed as $5 billion. That is another problem that we have. We talk of the figures but we do not disburse the money. In most cases, almost every Ministry comes back and says they have not received the money. If we cannot raise the money, then we must not promise that we are going to give that money. It will be very important to give the money where it should go. We should also relate the money to the per capita. If we say we are going to give BEAM, how many children are we going to pay for?
Health – from my own calculations of per capita, each Zimbabwean will get around US$60. This amount, for someone’s health care for a whole year is too little. Our people are subsidising the government by going to a clinic, getting a prescription and buying their own medicine. I thank you.
HON. MADHUKU: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me the opportunity to also add my voice to this budget debate. I want to thank the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for producing a budget which in my view is quite relevant and meets the environment which we are in, and also for subscribing to the NDS1 which has been promulgated by His Excellency. So, it forms the foundation for the budget and I appreciate that very much. I also want to touch on a few points which I think the Minister can look into.
The first one concerns the investment in the youths and women. I think this was also highlighted by the Portfolio Committee on Youth. We think more can be given for vocational training and also for recreational centres. We realise that a lot of our youth need employment and once they are capacitated in this manner, it means they can employ themselves in view of the fact that we have problems with employment in the country. We also realise that the youths form the bulk of the population and this would also cater for the youth which could be a time bomb to the nation if we continue to produce the youths into the street and they do not find something to occupy them in the form of recreational centres and creating jobs for themselves. I urge the Hon. Minister to look into these issues as well as the issue of banks for women and the youths. More needs to be given to those banks. Accessibility should be improved to the youths.
On the issue of irrigation which got a lot of money from the Minister and also command horticulture as highlighted by the President, I think this area needs to be looked into and beefed up. I urge the Hon. Minister to probably look into the possibility of funding drip irrigation in view of the fact that we have erratic rainfall systems due to global warming. So drip irrigation will serve us a lot of water resources because it is very effective and uses little water.
Then on the issue of increasing revenue base whereby the Hon. Minister went to the extent of getting SMEs to ensure that they also pay a piece of their earnings to the country, I think the Hon. Minister can do a lot on the issue of revenue collection because we hear that in the developed world dodging tax is a very serious crime. However, we see that a lot of people in this country do not seem to be paying tax. I think the Hon. Minister can cast his net wide to ensure that everybody pays tax to Caesar.
I also want to urge the Hon. Minister to look into the issue which we once talked about whereby we have a lot of other businesses that are charging in US$ but paying tax in RTGs. If he could find a way of ensuring that they pay government in that denomination, that would also boost the national revenue collection.
Let me also talk about the issue of the mining sector with specific reference to those who mine gold. I have read an article which has been given by Equity Access, which says that Zimbabwe will not meet its gold output target for 2020 and is said to produce less than 20 tonnes in 2020. According to Equity Access, 2020 gold production is Zimbabwe’s lowest in six years. Zimbabwe is now said to widely miss gold production target for 2020 after recording a 1.5 tonne produce in November. We think that there is a problem here because his budget also should get a lot of revenue from mining specifically gold.
The report goes further to say this comes amid reports from Bloomberg Business, that gold worth 1.5 billion is smuggled out of Zimbabwe every year. If this is true, then I think the Hon. Minister has to do something and invest in extractive industry transparency initiative. I think the issue of good governance in the mining sector is very critical because the mining industry has to account for all the revenues they get and their expenditure. So, I am not sure why as Zimbabweans we are finding it very difficult and dragging our feet to join EITI when a lot of other countries such as Zambia are part of this organisation which actually boosts our levels of revenue collection. I would urge the Hon. Minister to ensure that he puts something and makes it a point that we join EITI so that we boost our revenue.
Let me go to the issue of ICT where I want to applaud the Hon Minister for doing a lot by giving money to this area. More can be done to this area especially in the education sector because we have had a lot of problems due to COVID-19 whereby a lot of our learners failed to access online learning and radio lessons, they could not because of lack of connectivity. We end up having a situation whereby some learners are left behind because of challenges with network. Not only that but this age of technology, a lot of our farmers back home benefit from this connectivity by way of improving their farming methods or even looking for markets. They need to be connected. The issue of ICT connectivity will do a lot and also boost production.
Let me look into the other area which has been talked about by the Chairperson of the Committee on Primary and Secondary Education pertaining remuneration and the improvement of welfare of civil servants. On this issu,e I want to zero in on the teaching fraternity. It is critical that we look into this area as seriously as we can because if we do not when we moved around the countryside looking at what the schools are doing, we have witness a very sad scenario whereby some teachers actually just go to the classroom and just tell the learners to read on their own or just give homework which is never marked. This kind of issue is very much disturbing to the learners and it is going to have far reaching consequences. Any development we can talk about for any nation without a good education system is doomed to fail.
We need to seriously look into their welfare. Many countries have challenges improving remuneration for their workers because of economic challenges but other issues like the non-monetary incentives or benefits will go a long way in solving this problem. If I may give an example of what psychology says. There is one Abraham Maslow who talked about the basic needs theory – it is an issue of motivation to say human beings naturally are motivated when their needs are met first. At the bottom of the ladder, we are talking about physiological needs and these have to do with food, water, shelter and clothing. If these needs are met, then they will be motivated to produce more if they are at work. When these needs are me,t they go to the next level of security or safety needs. Here we are talking about financial security, health and safety.
We are saying that following this theory which has been tested scientifically and empirically, if we meet these basic physiological needs of the civil servants, then we are going to have excellent work and they are going to do more to ensure that our learners get the best. It is my plea to the Hon Minister to look into this. By so doing, let me quote what Malcolm said, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”. We have to do something now in order to ensure that our NDS1 is a success.
Lastly, let me talk about the school feeding programme. We notice that the SDG2 talks about better nutrition and also aims at ending hunger and achieve food security. The goal is to combat hunger and malnutrition for everybody. We have noticed that in the school system, if learners are given food, more of them attend classes and they come to school. You are aware that there is a lot of hunger in the countryside. If learners are given food, more of them will flock to school. We have witnessed that where there is no feeding programme and resources, there has been a lot of dropouts. This is what we have witness. We have also witnessed that sometimes they say they have been given beans, chunks but it is not balanced because there is no maize meal and rice. We have witnessed certain schools just giving learners beans only because there is no maize. I would urge the Hon Minister to ensure that more is given to the learners to ensure that more of them attend lessons so that no one is left behind. This is in line with Vision 2030 and also the SDGs on health and education.
Overally, I want to salute the Hon Minister for being sensitive to the requests from the public because we have seen a great improvement for this Budget for 2021. This is a positive development. I want to applaud him and we are very optimistic that with all these presentations, he is going to look into them and improve in areas where there is need for improvement for the benefit of our country and the National Development Strategy 1. I thank you.
HON NDUNA: I just want to applaud the Minister for coming up with a Budget in the manner he has done. Contrary to what the other Hon Member has said, the issue of TSP has been eloquently and effectively ventilated by the Minister of Finance in terms of its achievements, goals and targets. I will unpack my introduction as follows in that I can vouch that very few, including diplomatic missions, have even read that 300 paged document. What the Minister has done is to actually constrict it and he has actually summarised it and gotten to the key points of TSP, its achievements, goals and such like, what has led him to the NDS1 document.
The Minister has extracted the highlights and then he has also shown the extent to which the TSP goals have been met. It was impressive in my view and I think even tough skeptics like Hon. Mashakada and the rest would actually view that there are now significant changes in the dynamics and economic matrices and matrix in this country. I am going to suggest Madam Speaker Ma’am, that the Hon. Minister issues a shortened version. Like I have said, the one that you presented has got more than 300 pages so that we also, as Members of Parliament, can benefit from the shortened version that is also going to be read by your skeptics.
However, let me just deal, in my introduction, with the micro-economic side of the TSP since August, 2018. We have achieved the following, Madam Speaker Ma’am, I want you to understand this before I go into five points that I want to deal with on his Budget. Number one, the Hon. Minister has brought the Budget under control and got all ministries only spending what they are authorised. Certainly ministers have been coming here, certainly quarterly and monthly reports have been coming to Portfolio Committees and we can see that – it has been open for all to see.
Number two, restructured the Budget completely with the reduction of the proportion of spending going to salaries – from 97% Madam Speaker Ma’am to the current 45% and he has maintained that view. Number three, the fiscal deficit that has averaged over 9% of GDP virtually since Independence and re-emerged in 2014 has been eliminated – that is applaudable to say the least. Number four, the Reserve Bank balance sheet which in 2018 – we as the Public Accounts Committee have been critical of the quasi-fiscal issues in the Reserve Bank but you need to listen to this. The Reserve Bank balance sheet which was totally distorted in 2018, with liabilities exceeding assets by a wide margin, is being completely restructured and will be sound by end of 2020. It is happening and we are scrutinising it as the Public Accounts Committee. It was fully audited in 2020 and all liabilities analysed and brought to book. What more can you want? Certainly we need to applaud that.
The State is again in a position to start debt servicing as the Hon. Minister said in his Pre-Budget presentation and to finance essential long term investment priorities – that is quite applaudable. Number six, we have moved steadily into a balance of payment surplus and are now financing all recurrent imports in full and on time hapana chinokunda ichocho.
Hon. Minister, I also want to applaud you in that in the Monetary Policy field, we have re-established the Monetary Policy Committee in your spheres of influence which has also managed to bring the delinquent behaviour in the system under control and we have seen you reigning in Ecocash, the money lenders and brought those people under control and stabilising our RTGS Dollar and that is quite applaudable.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, a great deal still needs to be done obviously but a market for foreign currency has been created and for the past four months, Madam Speaker Ma’am, you would definitely know that it is a predictable price that you find at TM Supermarkets and such like. There is stability and it is my observation also that in the past three months, inflation has been below 2% on the month to month. It is my thinking and we expect these conditions to be maintained in 2021. Having said that, I want to say to the Hon. Minister that the inflation that he forecast, it is my thinking that it is too high. He basically maybe just needs to concentrate on the revenue targets that he has spoken about which I think really needs amadoda sibili to be realised. I will be giving you how I am proposing that some revenue has to be generated both from the market and from other sources that are not tax related – that is what I am known for. I am not a cry baby.
There is also, in my view, need to fully review professional staff salaries – if you want a monkey, you will definitely get peanuts for payment. My Hon. Madhuku, who has just been here, the issue of manning of schools, is very key but we also need to effectively and efficiently remunerate those who are spending more than eight hours with our children. They are now basically like first class parents. Some of us as parents do not spend eight hours with our children. I am here nearly 14 hours, I get home two hours and I do not sleep like I am competing with the dead and two hours more, I am awake and come back to Parliament. It is my thinking that if you look at that Hon. Minister, in terms of your revenue targets, we can get to where we want expeditiously.
Imports, in my view, have shrunk enormously. I speak to some friends in business and they tell me that there are reports of increased exports. Basically although demand slumped in the second quarter of the year, demand is now recovering strongly after the COVID-19 pandemic. In the process of all this, Government has asked the people of Zimbabwe to embrace TSP – those restrictive measures that are very restricting and that were very tough – those austerity measures. They have stuck to this position in the face of fierce Opposition – I applaud you for that Hon. Minister.
In saying that, it is the 2% that has been charged to everybody across the board and it is my clarion call that if that can be increased and then maybe you can remove the other VAT, other taxes and stick to the increased percentage quantum in terms of that tax because the 2% has done wonders. In particular, in terms of infrastructure development and we also see money is coming in for devolution and that is quite applaudable.
Your work Hon. Minister actually goes overboard, you are the gold finger of the country but also the issues to do with governance also affect the perception that the global community views this country and it is my thinking that the Government of the Second Republic has done a good deal with the farmers in that global sect and that is quite commendable in terms of compensation and they have scrapped POSA and AIPPA that affects your jobs and perception. It also increases the appetite for the International Finance Institutions and also IMF and the World Bank in terms of financing our operations.
There has been Acts amended – 138 Acts of Parliament to bring them into line with the Constitution and maintain a free press. Very shortly and for the first time the State is going to allow the registration of independent radio stations and TV stations, that is commendable, it impacts on the budget. I personally and for a very long time observed that there are a lot of issues that are not monetary related but that affect your business. It is known and it should be known and there were observers in this country in 2018 that His Excellency, E.D Mnangagwa won definitely by more than 300 000. That perception and if that is spoken about from across the political divide by all protagonists, it also gives us as a country that perception by the international community that Zimbabwe is ready and is primed for take off in terms of its economic development.
The issue of aviation is very key. You have already proposed that there is going to be money allocated to four aerodromes and airports for their rehabilitation, maintenance and reconstruction – that is very key. I am alive to the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo tower extension. There is increase on machine interaction, you see the aircraft coming from the air-traffic controllers’ point of view and you are able to guide it accordingly. The current scenario is that the building and the tower are at the same level so there is no eye contact and that is very dangerous, to say the least in the aviation sector.
I have also seen it is Vote Number 1, the President’s Office where DDF resides. You have deliberately put in 4 aerodromes and airports that are there that you need to rehabilitate. It is my hope and view that there should not be any going back on that mantra.
Suffice it to say that I applaud you Hon. Minister – you are on the right track. The issue of roads and road rehabilitation, you have given DDF 300 000 USD, I have divided 3 million by 100 and I have come to that. In USD it buys you a brand new grader, just one.
It is my thinking Hon. Minister that if I can ask you to allow DDF to use that 300 000 and buy second hand graders. You can fit in 10 of them that are below 100 000 hours each and they can go for your gravel roads for more than 10 years. So I ask that you allow them to import those machines duty free for that amount that you have given them.
I am not asking you to increase but Hon. Minister having spoken about aviation, the issue of Air Zimbabwe is very key. If Government can expeditiously take over the debt of air Zimbabwe, it is under reconstruction but in 2011 we had one C.E.O who was Makona who rehabilitated and rejuvenated Air Zimbabwe single handedly without any reconstructor. What the administrator is getting is that he is getting about 11% of all gross income but after this Covid pandemic, it is my hope and view that we are starting on the same level with Emirates and everyone else in the aviation sector. It is time to start again; we lose nothing if we let the workers of Air Zimbabwe bring up their own airline again. Right now you are losing a lot to an administrator unnecessarily. The law can be changed for order. So this is income generating mechanism…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, your time is up.
*HON. P. MOYO: Ndaikumbira mumuwedzere dzimwe 5 minutes dzeku humana.
HON. TOGAREPI: On a point of Order! That is not parliamentary.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member can you withdraw your unparliamentary statement?
HON. P. MOYO: I withdraw.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. The aviation sector can grow economies, it actually grows economies and as a continent and as a country we can take advantage of the Yamoussoukro Declaration of the open skies policy. There are five or so of what is called freedom rights that can be apportioned and given to the aviation sector and to airlines in our country that can be used to grow our economy. There is the fifth where they come in from Dubai and they come in via Lusaka and come into Harare. I request that the fifth freedom rights be cancelled so that we do not lose our clients going to Lusaka from Harare.
Emirates take off from Harare, fill up in Harare and go straight to Dubai without transporting our clients to Lusaka and there is what is called cabotage. Cabotage is allowing Emirates to come and do Bulawayo, Harare or Bulawayo-Chiredzi in our country. let us give the airlines that have been with us for a long time such rights and we will get a lot of income arising from that. We can augment and complement that with our ERJ 145 which we have just imported which is at Air Zimbabwe, it is that aircraft the small one which costs nothing more than 5 million dollars and as second hand as it is we can go for about 10 years with the hours that it has.
So, it is my hope and view that you do not sleep as it relates to supporting the airline and they do not need any money, they can utilise what they have. We need to attract more airline, our landing fees and our take off fees are one of the highest taxes in the whole region and in the continent and that does not attract airlines. It is my thinking that the lesser the take off fees and the landing fees, the more the aircraft that will come into Zimbabwe and we can make this an aviation hub of the region.
The geographical location of Zimbabwe as a gateway to SADC should be utilised in the aviation sector. The natural endowments both inside Zimbabwe and outside in the region, we have one of the seven wonders of the world, take advantage of the Victoria Falls, the Mosi-oa-Tunya, there can never be any other place like the Victoria Falls. Business opportunities opened and supported by the second Republic are quite enormous, we have the runway of Hwange Airport, is the longest in the country at 4, 2 kilometers. So we need to rejuvenate it but there is not any money needed, we can use those in the tourism sector to finance.
The issue of the mining sector, as I conclude, we need the private sector and the minors to adhere to the ethos, values, conditions of this country in terms of extracting our resources. There should be no one allowed to mine except they can rehabilitate, reconstruct and make sure they put back the condition of our land. There should not be anybody allowed to mine except if they can construct roads in a macadamized – way asphalt laid, black oriented and all dealt with in the carriageway markings the second to none. So, these are supposed to be the conditions before anybody can mine. What is that going to do to you – it is going to save a lot of money.
The people of Chegutu West are very happy with the way I have given you other resource mobilisaton mechanisms and I hope that computerization also on our road networks can allow you to get a lot of revenue. I thank you.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank you for this opportunity to join the debate on the 2021 budget as presented by the Hon. Minister. This is the third budget that has been submitted to this House by the Hon. Minister. Firstly, let me acknowledge the efforts done by the Hon. Minister in coming up with this proposal to this august House. It is only fair before I delve into the budget proposal by the Minister to take cognisance of the background upon which this 2021 budget is premised. We are aware that the past two years under the PSP the two previous budgets that have been presented by the Hon. Minister have made several things.
One of the things that it has done is that in terms of all the projections, economic growth, the two previous budgets failed. For the two years that the budget has been presented to this august House, the Minister had focused on a positive growth, but what we have realised in the past two years is that we have had negative economic growth. We have also failed in terms of our projections in terms of inflation, exchange rate and given such a scenario, you need to look at the assumptions of the 2021 budget. The Hon. Minister is putting his budget on the assumption that there will be a good agricultural season. He is also banking on the fact that probably we have passed the worst Covid pandemic.
He believes that the inflation nosedive is going to be reduced. He banks on the stabilization of the exchange rate and also hopes to increase revenue at the same time. The challenges with these projections are very simple. When it comes to the agricultural season, inasmuch as we can get as much rainfall as we would want, the level of preparedness is very poor in terms of agriculture. The question of Pfumvudza is not sufficient to generate enough agricultural produce. Secondly, the question of Covid-19, in my view – I think for the next three or four months of 2021, this economy is going to be hindered by the Covid pandemic. What that means is that most of the projection of a 7.4% economic growth in 2021 is not realistic and it is not achievable.
The other aspect which the Hon. Minister told us is that $88.7 billion revenue was generated in nine months from January to September. In his projection he says to us from October up to December 2020, he expects to generate $84.4 billion, meaning that he is raising 50% of the revenue in three months, compared to the first nine months from January to September. The dramatic increase is that the Minister then said he projects $344 billion revenue for 2021.
Mr. Speaker Sir, 344 billion is not achievable and I will tell you why. The past two years have taught us a lesson. Ask any Ministry. Of all the money that they have been given in the previous budget, very few ministries managed to get more than 70% of the allocated funds. What it means is that the budget that we have, most ministries are going to get less than 60% of the projected expenditure that they want. Unless, the Hon. Minister is telling us that his Budget is premised on a higher inflation level compared to what he actually stated in his Budget Statement.
If we are going to have a stable inflation rate, then I will tell you that it is difficult to raise even 250 billion in 2021. There are things that the Hon. Minister has tried to do this time around which are noble. You had gone on to introduce presumptive tax on a number of areas. That is good but I think the Hon. Minister did not do sufficient consultations. There are a number of areas which I believe that if the Hon. Minister has actually done sufficient consultation, maybe we will not have major problems. For instance, when you look at the presumptive tax on professionals, lawyers, engineers and medical personnel are supposed to pay presumptive tax. There are other professions which have actually been exempted and you then wonder why tax these professions and leave other professions.
There should be a method, and in any event the basis of that taxation should actually affect each and every person in a manner that equates to the level of his or her income. The other aspect which I thought the Hon. Minister was also going to deal with is the 2% tax. What is happening on the ground when the tax was introduced is that it was meant for the informal business. Right now, 90% of the informal traders, Siyaso or everywhere no longer want to get RTGS and ecocash. If you go there with ecocash they will tell you to go and change your ecocash into US dollars. They now want to be paid in US dollars. What does that tell you? It means the informal market is no longer paying the 2% tax. Who is paying the 2% tax? The 2% is being paid by those who are formally employed, those who are formally registered. What it means is that we are actually overtaxing the already overtaxed formally employed and businesses. This is the reason why I was actually hoping that the Hon. Minister, in his Budget, was actually going to make a re-look into the 2% tax or come up with other measures that could actually level the playing field.
If he wanted to contain and still insist that 2% remains, then the other thing was to make sure that we reduce on the PAYE or make the other 2% deductible for a corporate like what the industrial bodies have been willing to do. Mr. Speaker Sir, I know that we spend the better half of 2020 with most of our personnel in health and education not doing their job. My prayer is that when I look at the figures, the amount of money that has been set aside for employment costs, you get a feeling that we are likely going to face the same predicament. If we do get the same predicament, what it then means is that the Budget as it stands will not suffice, will not help us and this is the reason why I would have been happier if the Minister had actually come up with a rationalisation of the civil service. Let us have an efficient civil service which is lean is well paid.
The other thing that the Hon. Minister tried to touch on but which I am not convinced, is how to deal with State enterprises. Mr. Speaker Sir, what we have in Zimbabwe is a time bomb. Most of the State-owned enterprises are highly indebted to the extent that most of the debt is actually going to fall on the Government sooner rather later. What we need is a practicable solution, not this continuous talk every year on every budget, that we are going to reform yet we do not see reform happening. It is my view and I will be raising some of these issues when we come to the appropriation and the Finance Bill, some of the issues that I actually believe the Hon. Minister could have taken cognisance of.
Lastly, I just wanted to add my voice in terms of the social sector. I want to appreciate that the Hon. Minister has gone a distance in terms of the allocation of money to education. I know we are supposed to target 20% but I think if you combine the two education ministries, I think we have done fairly well. What needs to be done even in health where we have 10% instead of 15%; we have done well but the problem is that most of that money, 70% or so goes to employment costs. We cannot continue as a country to depend on donors to finance our health and to continue to support even our education system.
What I would have wanted Hon. Minister as we had suggested during the Pre-Budget; that certain revenue measures, domestic resource mobilisation needs to happen to make sure that we get a pool of funds that can help in our health sector delivery and also in our education sector so that we do not continue depending on donors who may one day pull the ladder beneath our feet. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am not going to waste much time I will sit down and listen to others.
*HON. TOGAREPI: I want to thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to also add to this budget debate that looks at the funds available in our nation. We want to thank you for crafting this Budget in such a difficult economic environment. We are in the middle of Covid-19 and we also have challenges from the drought that we experienced as well as sanctions. All these were militating against you as you drafted the Budget. The sanctions were avoiding interaction with other nations. Covid also made people to stay in homes because of the lockdowns and no production was taking place. The drought also affected us because it affected our food security. So crafting the Budget was in a very difficult environment. So when we looked at your Budget, we saw the expertise that you exhibited because you want our nation to develop.
You looked at businesses and the livelihoods of the people were seriously considered. I want to thank the Minister that this Budget is good for us as a nation. Minister, I also want to say that I also realised that you had foresight that in 2021 we will experience expected growth of 7.4%.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members attending virtually, may you please mute your gadgets.
*HON. TOGAREPI: You also expect growth in our economy of 7.4%. I saw it as important that our mindset, we need to craft a Budget with optimism. A 7.4% growth shows optimism.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, order. May you please unmute your gadget?
HON. TOGAREPI: I also looked at the fact that in 2021, we may realise the resuscitation of jobs that were lost because of Covid-19 and drought can be available and this will deal with the issue of unemployment in the country. This can encourage a number of industries and companies to work harder because the possibility of getting profit is positive.
Minister, I also realised that the Budget shows that we will have stability in terms of prices in 2021, but what I think you should also consider and put your authority on is the issue of price distortions that are found in the retail sector. If you look at what is happening currently, the exchange rate is at 81% or 82% but when our people are buying using electronic systems, the shop owners are not using the official exchange rate but they are paying premium. That distortion in terms of prices, if it is not addressed by coming up with policies or measures to ensure that we all get to a point of using the official exchange rate, it means that honesty and discipline in terms of business will be lost. So as a Government, what we need to do is to address that. You can also realise your expectations as the Minister. Our perceptions and what is happening in the economy needs to be addressed. You should come up with measures to address the distortions in prices.
I also noticed that you mentioned the issue of inflation. Year to year inflation might go down to 9% because that will result in more disposable income, but we need to remove those people in the society who cause these challenges. If I am to ask if there are other people here who are experts in economics, most challenges that we meet are because we do not have economists among us because there is no reason based on economics but a person can decide to just raise the price of commodities and what has influenced such price increases is nothing at all and cannot be found in economics textbooks. The mindset that our people have now is one of defrauding others and to ensure that the Zimbabwean population suffers. So as the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, we need to come up with measures to ensure that there is fiscal discipline and to address the issue of profiteering that is affecting the prices of goods.
Minister, I also said as a nation we need to come up with measures in order to attract foreign direct investment. I talked about the minerals that I think some are going out through illicit deals. The gold that we mine, the diamond that we get, is it declared or we are only declaring platinum? So wherever mining is taking place we need to know the minerals that are there and they should be declared. If it is a challenge we expect people to come and mine and pay us because the mines are in our hands. Our minerals should be able to give us value for money.
In my opinion, I think we are losing a lot through fraudulent means. There are people who import goods and other things into Zimbabwe. They sell those goods in United States dollars. They are failing to bring that money into Zimbabwe because of the financial system, so they buy that maize and sell their goods in United States dollars. From that money they buy gold and they take gold to their countries. So, are we benefiting as a country? What are we doing about it? A person just comes to sell produce here in Zimbabwe. Now that a person has brought in grain, how was the payment made? These are issues we need to interrogate because there is a lot of money laundering. You have put 200 trucks of maize but how where you paid so we need to plague those leakages. The money should go through the banking system. If not, then that grain should not be brought in the country.
The other issue is concerning our own children or people who are in the diaspora. As the Ministry of Finance, do we have measures because that is our biggest resource - our children in the diaspora are getting a lot of money? If you look at the money that comes through various means, we need to come up with measures to ensure that this money comes in legally and how we can benefit from that to develop our nation. Others are buying houses and stands here in Zimbabwe but as a Government, are we failing to come up with a diaspora housing programme to ensure that they get their stands without any challenges and that when they pay the money, it falls into our coffers. Why are we not doing that?
If we look at the population in the diaspora, they want to build homes in their home country. Have we created avenues for the inflow of that foreign currency? I was of the opinion that another major way of mobilising resources is that I can give an example of Namibia, they have a Public Service Contributory Pension Fund. In Zimbabwe we have Pay as You Go. If one is employed by the Government, he is paid a pension that he has not contributed. We cannot fund pension for civil servants. The money from the Government takes a large amount of the budget but in Namibia, they have a pension fund for public service which runs into billions and that money is used for infrastructural development for the country.
It is also utilised for skills building, so we can actually use that money to develop more skills. I was thinking as a nation, we need to come up with a public service contributory fund. It is a missing link in terms of domestic mobilisation for long term investment in Zimbabwe. We have NSSA, the NSSA Act provides that financial issues are supervised by the Ministry of Finance. NSSA is not regulated today. My fear is that one day NSSA schemes may collapse from a regulatory point of view. NSSA invests in funny things because it is not regulated. My request is that you need to come up with measures to ensure that funds that are contributed through private pension funds including NSSA, should be used to develop the nation.
We should incentivise our pension plus not only to look at infrastructural development but also to look at skills building. So, those incentives will push them to do more. If they fund in the Willowvale Motor Industry, you can give them more benefits. If we do that, those pension funds can have money to pay the pensioners but at the same time investing in the productive sector and creating employment resulting in more contributions.
Hon. Minister, the issue of the youths, they requested for 22 billion and you gave them 3.8 billion. We know the cake is small but I think that you need to have a youth desk in every Ministry where you put money in those Ministries. All youths should be able to access these funds in various Ministries to enable them to be empowered without even increasing the budget itself.
Looking at the health sector, remuneration that we give to our health sector should be increased. I think that we need to come up with a health insurance that is funded by the workers or can be funded by people who drink and smoke. We can tax them and we create an insurance fund and the money from the fund can be used to remunerate the health personnel. That has worked in countries like Rwanda and other countries, so we can do that to develop our nation.
In conclusion, I am also of the opinion that economists who came to unpack the budget, for the first time in the history of this country, we witnessed convergence, we had people like Dr. Chanakira who came and unpacked the budget and they all agreed. What I think will result in achievements in terms of the Budget is to implement the Budget as planned. Yes, people have debated but for it to be a success, you need to go by the book, that is the only way we can succeed. The Budget that we have now, I am a farmer and I am happy with what is happening and I am positive that whatever is in the budget will help me and my family to grow. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Order, order, I have been informed that dinner is ready. So, I propose that we go to dinner in batches so that we continue with Business.
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker. My chief whip who is no longer in the House had advised me that I may reserve my debate today for the purpose of debating tomorrow. May I be advised whether the House will proceed today and tomorrow or going forward so that we can plan. Are we going to be sitting tomorrow?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: We are not sitting tomorrow.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Are we going to go into Committee of Supply today?
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chikwinya, you are taking your time. You are the next speaker after Hon. Muchimwe.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I want to be assisted. Are we going into Committee of Supply today.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Yes.
HON. MUCHIMWE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I have very little to say in line with the Budget presentation by the Minister of Finance. I really appreciate the presentations by all those who spoke before me. It is a clear fact that the Ministry of Finance has to give all the Ministries and department sufficient amounts budgeted for timeously. Remember Government funds accumulate mainly from taxes. How can tax funds accumulate when the majority of our people are not at work?
The problem of the Ministry of Lands not having enough funds to dispatch to its departments is a talk of the day all the time. I propose that the Ministry of Lands must support fully, the development and rehabilitation of dams which is water harvesting particularly in the rural areas where there is enough ground for dam construction because dams take up large space of land which is not found in towns. The fundamental principle of any development emanates from agricultural activities because if people have enough, food they can perform many other activities. Obviously, when one is hungry, it is hard for them to do work. With the availability of water in the rural areas, we will be able to encourage people to form, for example bricks, window seals and many other agro-based products to sell in towns where there are so many people.
Agriculture or crop cultivation does not need much cash or any complicated educational systems. They say in our language, kurima hakuna benzi. Once seeds are put in the ground and there is moisture, obviously germination is possible. Weeding and addition of fertiliser is not a hard task. If we utilise fully the land endowed to us by the Almighty God, it means that all citizens will be engaged at work. It then follows that Government revenue will boost from agricultural activities. If many people are formerly employed, income tax will flow into the Government coffers, hence the Minister of Finance will be able to disburse funds to all Ministries without any difficulty because funds will be available.
Of course there are other avenues where Government money comes from. That money will be adequate if supported by countrywide agricultural activities. There are so many people in our towns. The reason for which they come to crowd in cities is because in their rural homes, there is nowhere to perform money generating activities. So many would think life can be sustained better if they join town life. Therefore, my resolution is that employment can be created in the rural areas if water is harvested there. Those in urban areas would now buy those products from the rural people, thereby making money to circulate in the country. Since I have great regards for the Minister, I wish that he considers the little that I have contributed. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I rise to add my voice on the ongoing debate around the 2021 National Budget; cognisant of the importance of this developmental policy trajectory and it being a statement of intend, an actualising vehicle with regards to Zimbabwe attaining its 2030 Vision as expounded by the Executive. Hon. Speaker, allow me to first of all express my disappointment in that barring raising a point of order with regards to our quorum in respect to the processes of Parliament to the extent that we need to proceed but surely Hon. Speaker, as you sit there with the heavy duty and responsibility that you have as the Presiding Officer of Parliament; can you surely say we are debating a national policy which took more than a year to construct….
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. I think you remember me saying that food is ready and those Hon. Members who are not here went for food.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I would have proposed Hon. Chair that
we all go and eat for 30 minutes and we come back. In my view, I am not going to be disputing with you and this is part of my debate so there is no need perhaps for us to interact with each other. It is actually a ruling but I am just trying to put on record that in a quick count we are less than 15 Members of Parliament who are debating a national policy that is supposed to shape the national trajectory for the year 2021. From the opposition we are actually nine and from the ruling party there are four MPs, demonstrating the lack of sincerity and seriousness when it comes to matters of national importance by a party that purports to have won a parliamentary majority where 270 members are supposed to be in the House.
HON. TOGAREPI: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, I think we are debating a budget. Derogatory statements like a party that purports to have won is going against the Constitution. I think that is wrong and is not necessary for you to bring another dissension. Just go into your debate.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chikwinya, the way you used purportedly is very wrong. May you withdraw that statement and may you be guided Hon. Chikwinya. You seem to be taking much of your time because the time I am allocating I am being managed by the time-keepers here. Instead of contributing so the Deputy Minister can listen to your points you are wasting a lot of your time.
HON. CHIKWINYA: It is my time Hon. Chair. There is lack of seriousness by the Ministry officials who have left their deputy and the responsible minister has gone away for dinner. Anyway, I will respect you within that regard. My point of entry to this national budget is that
I am a member of the Mines and Mining Development Committee and I believe in the submissions that have been made by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Hon. Chitando in his vision which he has managed to convince the Executive in the attainment of $12 billion economy by 2023. In that regard, I have located the mining industrial development fund as a vehicle that is going to assist the small scale miner in making sure that we attain three issues. As we speak, in the province of Mashonaland Central mining disasters resulting in deaths of small scale miners, illegal or legal on the part of them is higher than COVID for the year 2020. So, put into perspective and contextualised, you may as well walk around with a helmet in Mashonaland central than to walk around with a mask because your risk is higher as a small scale miner than being an individual exposed to COVID. I am speaking to the issue that small scale miners are being more exposed to death within the operations of their duties than they are exposed to COVID – that is statistics.
Two weeks ago we lost, so far accounted 40 miners just in two weeks. Actually 42 to be specific, because two more died trying to rescue the other 40 bodies. That is at Rain Mine in Shamva. At Esgodini we have six bodies currently trapped - in fact, they have been declared dead. We are just trying to fulfil cultural obligations of retrieving the bodies for decent burial. In Chegutu Task Mine we have four bodies. They died being five and we retrieved one and the other four are still trapped. I am trying to contextualise and put into perspective a picture that we are now killing more people through our mining activities than those being exposed to COVID.
In Penhalonga we have killed 10 people who were buried alive as the investors were trying to make good of the ground under which they had been given to invest. I have located a line budget item in the 2021 budget which is the mining industrial loan fund which has been allocated $247 million for the purposes of developing small scale miners. In our interaction as a committee, the mining industrial development fund is supposed to capacitate small scale miners with regards to machinery, training and equipment which is necessary for them to do face mining.
My appeal to the Hon. Minister is for him to release the funds. This fund was given $250million in the 2020 budget but nothing was released. So, I am trying to connect the non release of this fund, the non capacitation of the small scale miners, the non training of the small scale miners to the deaths. So, where we were exposing our small scale miners, untrained with no equipment with rudimentary equipment, we expose them to death.
Figures from Fidelity Printers show us that two thirds of our gold comes from small scale miners. So here we are as a nation proud that we have our individual small scale miners giving us two thirds of our gold but we are exposing them to death. I am not speaking of one or two miners who are dying daily around the country. I am speaking of figures that have attracted media attention. My point is: can we facilitate the release – I am not disputing the figure but pleading for the early release of the funds so that it can go to capacitate our small scale miners for them to protect the environment and themselves and be able to deliver our gold in a formal channel devoid of the illegal channels which are making them to be exposed to these dangers?
Hon. Speaker, I am also a member of the Media, Information and Broadcasting Committee of Parliament. I want to applaud the Minister for attending today’s budget debate session in the afternoon. When my Hon. Chair made our presentation. Devoid of time, the Hon Chair had to skip certain issues which I think I may want to buttress as we make a case for this Ministry to be supported. Hon. Speaker, this Ministry is responsible for information. The Bible says; my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.’ We are currently in a COVID scenario and if people do not know, they will die. If Hon. Speaker you do not know that you are supposed to social distance, put on a mask or sanitise, you will die because you will be exposed to COVID out of ignorance. This Ministry having played an important role was only given $1.4bn out of a request of around $4.7bn, giving a deficit of around $2.3bn. I was comparing figures with other Ministries, some Ministries which, in my view are service Ministries have retained funds from their provision of services.
For example, the Ministry of Justice, through its Judicial Service Commission as it executes its mandate through the courts, make people pay fines and levies and therefore have a capacity of retaining funding for the exercise of their mandate. This Ministry is limited in that function. This is a Ministry under which if we fail to portray a good image of Zimbabwe, every other policy pronouncement which we are currently making in terms of ease of doing business, the anti sanctions trajectory, the tourism sector in terms of advertisement, it will not come out right.
We are a nation which is handicapped in that we only have one television station and we speak through one medium in terms of television, which is ZBC. If we fail to make good of that channel of communication, we have failed the whole nation. For the first time we gave ZBC $130m for the capacitation of ZBC. Let me tell you one thing, ZBC is so defunct that if you go to Mbare Studios you are going to have more than 5 people sharing one room. Thirty five individuals tested positive, what does it mean? It means the people who assemble at Parliament with their electronic gadgets, camera persons and ZBC reporters who come to report parliamentary sessions are exposed to COVID-19 outside and they come to Parliament. They are exposed to more than 270 Members of Parliament who go back to their constituencies and have a capability and possibility of spreading covid-19.
I was telling Hon Senator Mutsvangwa in the afternoon, what the Permanent Secretary reported to us that Hon Mutsvangwa visited Mbare Studios, then nature called, she could not even use one of the toilets meant for females because it was so dirty that she could not enter inside. Why, it was not maintainable because ZBC had no funding to maintain its own toilets. Hon Mutsvangwa had to be driven to a ministerial toilet at Munhumutapa and be driven back to Mbare. That is how graphic it shows the incapacitation of ZBC. I have my own issues with ZBC. Ask me on a different day, I do not like ZBC at all. As a legislator and a Member of the Committee, I am obliged to represent a state institution which I believe that once they are good to go, we can then shape their policy direction.
I was disappointed by the report of the Parliamentary Committee on Justice. They did not answer to one critical question of the country. Is ZEC prepared to hold by-elections? Until when are we going to go ahead with a parliamentary process where other constituencies in terms of seats are not represented? The answer did not come out clearly. I implore the Minister of Finance to properly finance ZEC for purposes of fulfilling a constitutional obligation. We have no choice; once there is a by-election we must be able to fulfill it within 90 days. This is no political matter. We cannot hide behind COVID regulations to say we can have DCC elections but we cannot have bye elections. That is not correct. Let us get our things straight. These are the issues that take us within other communities of nations. I hope the Hon Minister as he is having a fork and knife with fish, can listen to what I am saying because I can see that his deputy is not writing everything.
My other point is that I did not get a report of Parliament because the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee was supposed to report in Parliament. They did not. We have an incapacitated Parliament and on a proper day, and with all due respect, I know that you are the Acting Speaker of today, but I want to raise this in the presence of the whole Speaker’s bench, including the substantive Speaker Hon, Mudenda, that the committee system of Parliament was brought about by Hon Mnangagwa when he was the Speaker of Parliament. The CDF was brought about by Hon Moyo when he was the Speaker of Parliament. What is it that we have done in the Eighth and Ninth Parliament towards the reforms of Parliament? What is it that we are going to be proud of, to say when Hon Mudenda was the Speaker of Parliament these were the new things that were invented or that were established in the Parliament of Zimbabwe? We have nothing to show for it.
We are having a Parliament that cannot go to workshops because it is not funded. The Minister of Finance must know that the untimely release of our funding is making Parliament incapacitated. Our legislative agenda is not moving forward because of the Ministry of Finance. We are the only Parliament in SADC who is not capacitated in terms of Section 117 and 307 of the Constitution to release this process which we are doing. We are giving money to the Executive. It is in our power to give money to the Executive but the Executive does not give money to us. We are the only Parliament.
If the Judiciary makes a request to the Ministry of Finance, it is approved pronto. If the Executive makes a request to the Ministry of Finance it is approved pronto, but if Parliament makes a request to the Ministry of Finance, we join departmental heads. We are in the same queue with the Ministry of Youth. It is unheard of. Right now Mr. Speaker Sir I am challenging you as the head of Parliament, look at the Committee plans which they did in January in Nyanga and look at what they delivered by December and observe the difference. You will find that what they planned in Nyanga is not what they did by December. They did something else. Why, because civil society organisations diverted Committees because they were paying out of hotel allowances. Instead of doing a parliamentary programme, which has got no money, Parliamentary Committees were doing a civil society programme which has got money. That gap should have been funded by the Ministry of Finance.
HON TSUNGA: I move that the Hon Member’s time be extended by five minutes.
HON PETER MOYO: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I am so touched by the issue of Parliament on the basis that – I am not talking about remuneration. I am talking about programmes. I could talk about remuneration because the media is not there but we are the only Parliament which survives by selling coupons. You must be ashamed, including you Mr. Speaker Sir, you sell coupons. You must be ashamed. It is not correct. There is no judge or magistrate who sells coupons. There is no Minister or Deputy Minister who sells coupons, only Members of Parliament sell coupons for them to survive. It is not correct Mr. Speaker Sir. I am making my point. If this Budget does not address the issue of parliamentary staff remuneration, does not address the issue of Members of Parliament remuneration, we are going to move in circles.
We are in a community out of an economy that is not performing well. Members of Parliament are seen as practitioners of social development. So the boreholes, the soccer tournaments and dip tanks that you see are being developed by Members of Parliament. So if you do not support the CDF you are killing the whole community development initiative and the President is on record to say, you are supposed to serve your people. So that is a principle and agreed policy – Members of Parliament are supposed to serve their people. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is denying us the vehicle to serve our people – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – because we can only serve our people through being properly remunerated and being given a CDF that is commensurate to the dictates of a developmental State.
I have no problems with the individual ministers but have problems with the staff of the Ministry. The Permanent Secretary Mr. George Guvamatanga is on record to say, ‘If you want to have money, do not join politics, that is why I did not join politics.’ This is what he said whilst speaking to politicians in Bulawayo. He has a deliberate policy of not releasing money to Parliament. There are Members of Parliament in here who are owed outstanding allowances where they funded themselves to attend those workshops. How do we have a Parliament that is non-funded? So Hon. Minister, as I conclude on Parliament, may you support your Parliament which you are herein today? In fact for you to win, you are the Deputy Minister Hon. Chiduwa; in order for you to win DCC elections it was because you want to come back next election. So come back to a House that you have supported for it to be able to perform the duties of you being a Member of Parliament for your constituency in Bikita. Thank you on that one.
My last point on the overall performance of the Budget is that, as long as we have a disparity in the income which is by and large the salaries of the civil servants and the expenditure which is the prices in the shops to the extent that people can obtain their salaries as civil servants but cannot afford a grocery that can sustain a basic family, we have no Budget. That is the long and short of any Budget. Right now, diesel increased from $0.96c to $1.19 – that is almost $0.24c increment. An increase of about 30% but what happened to people’s salaries - nothing. The net effect is that the price of transport, food in the supermarkets and housing for rental has gone high but this Ministry has held ‘a tighten the belt policy’, that is not commensurate with what is happening in the market.
So I implore you in the abundance of being cautious to time, that can you match your Budget – income to expenditure. Do not be proud of having a surplus budget, pleasing IMF and the Breton hood institute yet your people have no clinic in Mbizo, have potholed roads in Highfields and no bridges in Malipati. Do not be proud of a statement of surplus yet there is no surplus on the ground. I thank you Hon. Speaker. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I am not going to take long but just on two issues…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Gabbuza, may you please turn on the microphone.
HON. GABBUZA: Mr. Speaker, there are certain assumptions that were made during the Budget preparation. The whole Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is drawing, Government is coming up with statements – upper middle income by 2030, a growth of 7% etcetera.
The assumption that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is making is that there will be plenty of energy throughout but unfortunately, if that energy is not available, all these plans that are being made in the Budget will come to naught. I wish the Minister of Finance and Economic Development could seriously look at the issue of energy because without energy these plans are just useless and at the point that we are now, the level of energy at ZESA at any time – it can collapse and come to zero. It is unfortunate that many people are not very technical within the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development but I would like to invite them to tour some of these generation institutions of ZESA to see where our energy is coming from. They will seriously understand the predicament and the dangers that the country is facing.
Mr. Speaker, if you go to any ZESA office right now, you will be very lucky to find a serviceable mobile vehicle and yet during this rain season, almost every locality is reporting faults, fallen pylons, damaged transformers and when you go to ZESA, they will tell you that we have no vehicle to come and attend to the fault. This is the situation that we live with everyday. I went to one ZESA depot in Hwange, even the staff when you look at them, it is no longer the ZESA moto muzhinji that we used to know. You see an engineer walking bare-footed with no safety shoes and the overalls or work suits are tattered. They have only one ladder on a limping vehicle. They are dejected and you can clearly see that there is no way that the current ZESA can keep the staff.
We are talking of engineers and artisans who are marketable all over. Actually the few who are there, we must be celebrating and applauding them for remaining because any other normal and rational person would not remain working for ZESA when Zambia and South Africa can offer better packages. The situation is so bad and how they are surviving. The other day I met a ZESA vehicle; they had a breakdown – a tyre burst just by my turn off at home. They spent a week waiting for a tyre from their depot and it took a week to get a tyre that had to be brought from Harare from another mobile vehicle – that is the situation that we have at ZESA. What are the problems?
In brief, why do we not allow ZESA to operate professionally without political interference and without micro-managing their assets? The challenge is; we are generating a unit of electricity – if you average because for importing one kilowatt hour of energy which is one unit from South Africa, it costs about $0.13c but then when that unit is sold to Hon. Gabbuza at his home, he has to pay $0.04c from $0.13c then you charge $0.04c and the situation has been like that for some years, I think for the past three years. We are importing electricity at $0.13c and selling it at $0.04c. If it was a company, you would actually be making a loss. There is no way that a company can survive when you cannot even break even. Now, when your average, the production cost of energy from our thermals, hydro, at least to break even you need about 8 cents. However right now, we are selling electricity at about 6,7 cents from about 8 cents production cost. So the Minister of Finance must seriously consider if we do not want ZESA to collapse; that difference, at least if we do not want to make a profit let us break even.
We produce at 8 cents; we sell at 4 cents then that difference of another 4 cents somebody must chip in. The obvious thing is to allow the Government to bring in some money to bridge that gap if we do not want to make a profit.
However, a profitable rate would be to allow ZESA to charge at least 10 cents per unit. I know people would complain that it is too much just because people do not have money but it will still remain cheaper than anywhere else in the region. Before that we were paying about 400 dollars per month. If you calculate what we are paying now, no serious investor can bring in their money to start a power station because we will be selling electricity for a nothing.
I think we seriously need the Minister of Finance to look at this. As we speak, the number of transformers that have been damaged the whole country, the backlog; people want to put in new transformers for new connections, some transformers were vandalised, stolen and damaged by lightning which totals to about 5 000. That is the shortage of transformers in the whole country – 5 000, that is not a small figure.
At the same time we have got a ZESA company called ZENT which can make 400 transformers a month locally, which means if they made 400 per month, in ten months they would have covered up the backlog but what is the Government doing? We are taking money, giving it to some middlemen to go and import transformers from China. Why not take that same money and give ZENT our local engineer; they manufacture the transformers within record time.
The Committee toured ZENT, they have very strong infrastructure, and have made enough boxes. The housing where you put the transformer components they have made enough to supply the whole country but they cannot get the components which are imported just because they cannot get the USD yet ZESA has got the capacity to even charge people in foreign currency but they are not allowed.
On the other side, the energy sector – garages are allowed to sell fuel in foreign currency but ZESA is made to charge in bond notes, which will not even buy those components for the transformers. All of us in our constituencies, we have a clinic or a school without a transformer.
Hon. Minister of Finance, capacitate ZENT to make the transformers. They have the capacity, the guys are sitting the whole day doing nothing waiting for components but a middleman is given foreign currency to import. When you want to import you are told that we are waiting for COVID regulations before the parts can come back and a lot of stories. I think we need to be really serious and assist ZESA to come out of its problems. The problems of ZESA affect all of us and all facets of the economy.
The second issue that I wish the Minister of Finance and Economic Development should have addressed in the Budget is the issue of steel. The Chief Whip mentioned issues about ZISCO. Solving ZISCO would solve half of our problems in the country but we keep ignoring since the First Republic I remember we went there and opened with ESSAR, the new investor at ZISCO but up to now it is still closed. Now what is the effect of ZISCO - I wish to invite the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development just one afternoon to drive along Mbare; soon after the flyover you turn left, take the extreme left - this is where you find all steel companies selling steel coming from South Africa.
You will realise that they do not even put their steel in the warehouase; the Gonyeti with 30 tonnes of steel will be waiting while people are buying. The steel is finished, they start buying from the next Gonyeti and another one comes in. When I did my calculations, I think those guys in an hour are making about close to 30 000 USD per hour of steel coming from South Africa which ZISCO could make. The much needed foreign currency is going to South Africa, even the fencing which Salwire was making is all now coming from South Africa. Just one roll of field fence, 100 USD is gone and the way those companies are making money. I think if the Ministry of Foreign could go there and simply say, let us introduce a steel levy even point one percent for importing steel then we ring-fence that money and give it to ZISCO if we cannot get an investor. The engineers, artisans who were working for ZISCO are still there. They did not go out. Most of them were old enough to go and work outside in the Diaspora. If those guys are brought back with support that ZISCO within a year can be done – what are we doing? We are just allowing it to rot like that.
If we do not have money, let us introduce a levy on those people who are importing a lot of steel from South Africa because in any case we are already losing a lot of foreign currency which is going to South Africa. Introduce a small percentage on those imports, ring-fence that money and plough it back into ZISCO. Within a year we would have brought up that company.
Mr. Speaker, I think these are really painful issues and in my view, I was expecting that the Minister of Finance will address some of these critical issues but you just made mention in passing about ZISCO. Like it was done before, it has been done before and obviously nothing will happen because there is no deliberate critical energy towards trying to solve the problems at ZISCO. They are not big problems; just a little bit of capital injection. The furnaces are there, the coal is there and like it is always known, if we sort out this problem we would have sorted Hwange Colliery, National Railways of Zimbabwe, the construction industry because they all depend on steel. We would have sorted out a lot of all other industries even Sable Chemicals because they used to get oxygen produced from ZISCO as it soots out these furnaces.
However, now Sable Chemicals has to import some components or some elements from South Africa because it is not being produced at ZISCO. I really implore on the Minister of Finance to have a re-look and convince other people in Cabinet to attend to ZESA urgently and attend to ZISCO, then we solve more than half of these problems in the whole country. I thank you.
Hon Tsunga having stood up to debate
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. KHUMALO): Hon. Tsunga, I do not understand what you are saying. I have already recognised Hon. Munetsi to debate.
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, for giving me this chance on the debate on our budget. I am going to focus my debate on a few Ministries about four or five of them but I am going to zero much on the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in which I am a member. I want to touch your sensitive heart to this Ministry and I want you to observe the difference about this Ministry to others. We have the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Defence and Home Affairs and you will discover that all those Ministries encompass two departments. This Ministry, if you look at it, it is Ministry of Environment, Tourism, Hospitality and Climate Change. This means that the amount that you should give to that Ministry is four fold because of the magnitude of work that the Ministry encompasses.
Let us look at some of the areas of concern within the Ministry. If you look at the weather, there are varieties in certain areas that should be covered which need money. We can talk of weather forecast and cloud seeding. We also need some machines to detect the weather pattern and things like that need a lot of money. If you want to forecast about our agriculture in the country, there is no way you can forecast without looking at the weather pattern and we say agriculture is the backbone of this country, but it is focused in the weather pattern which is under Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality and Climate Change.
I want to thank you for funding the Forestry Commission 100%. We applaud that as a Committee and we want to thank you for that. That will help a lot in aforestation in all the areas in Zimbabwe, but you did not allocate anything to EMA. EMA looks at things like the wetlands. We have issues about the wetlands in this country which are being invaded and it comes under EMA, invasive species like those which we have invaded some parts of Matabeleland. We have harzadous substances which come under EMA and all those things need monitoring equipment which this department does not have at the moment and it needs a lot of money.
I want to speak to your heart to consider this Ministry. Zimbabwe Parks is under this Ministry again and it affects tourism so much. If we do not put in place good infrastructure within the parks, I am talking about the lodges, roads and I am talking about the scenic areas which need to be upgraded, if those are not funded and done well, you will discover that tourists will not be keen to come and have some scenic views in our parks. You will discover that most of our infrastructure is dilapidated in the parks and they definitely need to be revamped.
We also discussed about some revolving fund and let me explain a bit about the revolving fund and how good I find it to be. Revolving fund as it was described is some amount of money which is borrowed by any department within the Ministry and after use; they return the money back to the coffers. They borrow $2 billion and they build the infrastructure and still return the money to the coffers and so, it works double fold. They have done the infrastructural building and they have also returned the money to the coffers to be borrowed by another department. So, I would want you Hon. Minister to definitely consider putting aside some revolving fund for this Ministry so that we can be able to build some of these dilapidated things.
Let me proceed to another Ministry. The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development – I just want to look at the road infrastructure as a key factor in the country. We cannot do without roads and we can definitely not do anything. I want to ask you Hon. Minister to give priority to our national roads. Of course I want to implore you to pick this one not forgetting Chiendambuya Road in my constituency as well as a key road. As you look at all these other roads, do not forget Makoni North Constituency, there is a key road which goes to Chiendambuya GMB. Roads make it easy for service delivery; it is easy for us to access home.
Are you aware that I am probably the only Member of Parliament in this House who has a constituency without a centimeter of a tarred road? My constituency does not have a centimeter of a tarred road; that must touch you. There is one area which I would also want to ask you to look at. Most areas in Zimbabwe, there are maintenance depots by the Ministry of Transport. If you get to those places, they are some tractors, trailers, dozers which are not functional but when you look at them, they just need a few things for them to work.
If you can send some men around to check on such equipment, it will assist to alleviate some of these problems that we face in our areas because that equipment is there but it just needs something for it to be functional. These maintenance depots are scattered all over the country. Bad roads affect people who live in the rural areas. They end up paying a lot of monies for bus fares, the commuter omnibus and the like. T those who ferry fertilizers for Pfumvudza pay through their nose because some of the roads will be bad and the transporters will charge quite a bit.
I want to thank you for putting money to DDF so that they can consider some roads in the rural areas. I speak much about rural areas because I am a Member of Parliament in a rural constituency and I am rural myself. I have had some DDF people in my constituency maintaining some boreholes and I have had 3 or 4 boreholes sunk, I applaud that. I also want to thank you for funding the local industry so that we can boost employment. I want to thank you for stabilising the economy of this country. I want to believe if it were not for Covid-19, we will be a lot better.
Let me end up by discussing issues to do with primary and secondary education, it is an area of interest Hon. Speaker. When the Chairperson of this Committee...
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are left with 5 minutes.
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. When I was watching some slides which we saw this afternoon presented by the Chairperson of this Committee, one would shudder to think that they are pupils learning sitting on the ground not under a roof in this era. Hon. Minister, you probably need to visit areas like that and definitely give a hand to assist. I would like to applaud the education sector, though the money comes late, but the facility of BEAM is there and feeding is there. I want to ask you to look at the secondary schools. It could be very expensive for parents to pay exorbitant fees but if you chip in and assist by subsidising and giving boarding schools say mealie meal, sugar, cooking those foods which are not perishable, that will help to reduce the fees for the parents, think along those lines – [AN HON. MEMBER: Boarding school is luxury otherwise if Government subsidises we will take all our kids to boarding schools.] – I want to ask you to consider building grants for the schools so that you can monitor that you have given so much for a school for a block and that must be completed within that period.
Lastly, we have the department of youth in the country, who are the leaders tomorrow. If you can assist the youth department across the board, find out what they want, give guidelines and assist them. We know the youths are active and there is this saying that new brooms sweep clean but old ones know all the corners of the room. The need guidance. You can assist them in whatever manner in their banks, in their projects so that they can come up and grow to be people of good stature tomorrow.
HON. SEN. MAVETERA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I thought I should also add my voice to this conversation here and indeed we would like to thank the Hon. Minister for coming up with such a splendid budget. I think as young people I am going to just speak on issues to do with the young people of Zimbabwe and with the representative role that I play in this House. I think it is critical for us to be able to analyse, thank and applaud the Minister for what he also did well.
Let me first start by applauding the Minister for the subsidy of examination fees which he gave, especially which is about $500 million. For us as young people, we would like to applaud you and thank you very much for that initiative. That will go a long way in making sure that young people will be able to fulfill their dreams. Let me also be able to thank you again to make sure that this fund alone, we hope that it would actually go also to people living with disabilities. I know there is already a scheme in place which is BEAM, which also looks into that. However, we also thought that to others who would not have benefited from this, you are going to include people living with disabilities. It would also go a long way.
Hon. Minister, let me also thank you for the $37.5 million that you gave to the young people. Indeed, that venture capital is an addition to the current $500 million that you had in the last budget. However Hon. Minister, as young people, we felt quite shortchanged by what happened last year whereby we had the $500 million which was allocated, but was not utilised because there were no systems in place. Let us applaud you Hon. Minister because you said you are going to operationalise the $500 million which was meant for the young people and now it will be effective in this 2021 budget.
Let me also applaud you, Hon. Minister, for the sanitary wear that you gave and put in place which increased from $200 million to $500 million. As young people we want to applaud you and say this is a step in the right direction and we want to thank you for continuing to have the views and all the aspirations of young people at heart. Hon. Minister, when I look at sanitary wear we are hoping that you would also extend it to people living with disabilities and extend it again to those living on the streets. They are not able to access sanitary wear and they do not have that capacity. So we are just asking that if you could then extend it not only to school learners, but also people living with disabilities and people living on the streets. For starters, I think as young people you would have addressed us well.
Hon. Minister, let me go on and highlight some of the issues that we came across when we were doing public hearings that we thought you could actually be able to also address. There was the issue of funds for children living in care homes. Truly speaking Hon. Minister, the law which says that children in care homes are supposed to leave the institution at 18 and they are left there without any other funds or not knowing what to do next, what happens is that these children will go back to the same place that they were when they were taken from the streets or wherever they came from. So we are hoping that Hon. Minister, you could actually set a budget which then enables those that would have left care homes to at least be able to get a self sustaining project or anything that they might get which is self sustaining for them to be able to transit from leaving the care homes and then be able to be living alone.
Let me also applaud you for the boreholes that you put for the council and also for the rural areas. However, especially in Harare and Bulawayo which are the council boreholes, they are having a lot of challenges of children or young people that are being victimised or abused. So we are calling upon you to set up a budget that will look into people that are manning boreholes or that are the ones who are supposed to be controlling boreholes. Considering that they are still very few now, we are just hoping that inasmuch as there are going to be more boreholes that are going to be drilled when we are going towards that, there are people are manning boreholes in certain areas like the area that we went before which was Mabvuku. What you would see there is that these people who are manning boreholes, especially the men, then abuse young ladies because they will want to get water. So as much as we are working towards making sure that there is sufficient water and sufficient boreholes in the country, we are also hoping that you would also make sure that if there is a budget that has to be set aside so that council boreholes have got people who man them who are paid by Government so that at least we do not get this manipulation.
Hon. Minister, let me go on again and talk about grants which Hon. Munetsi talked about. We are hoping that as young people we will be able to have grants, especially in universities. This is very important so that at least young people or any other people who would like to pursue education can then be given that right which I believe a lot of those that went to university maybe 20 years ago were benefiting from student grants. So we hope that this will be reintroduced so that at least we can be able to move forward.
Hon. Minister, let me also conclude on an issue which is not youth related but also applaud you for the $75 million that you put aside which is compensation of pensioners. The reason why I think I need to applaud you is that a lot of people do not want to go on pension because there are no lucrative or no incentives that would incentivise them to be go to pension. So what then happens is that as young people there are no jobs created because there is no room, or you come to realise that that platform that would allow people to go to pension is not there. So you being able to have a budget for us to review insurance and pensions, the legislation on insurance and pensions and also just compensating those who lost any of their monies for $75 million, Hon. Minister let us applaud you. I am sure when they go on pension young people get employment.
Let me now speak to the issue of the budget of the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Art and Recreation. Hon. Minister I will start with the Empowerment Bank. We really want to thank you for allocating $250 million to the Empowerment Bank. However, I understand the Ministry had bided for $ 1 billion and they only got $250 million. So what it means, Hon. Minister, is we need to understand what the Empowerment Bank is supposed to do. We believe that if ever there is capital injection in the Empowerment Bank what will happen is that young people will start businesses and again you should understand that the Empowerment Bank has got minimum percentage loans that young people can be able to access and even the conditions, we believe that as young people, they are quite conducive enough for us to be able to access them but there is the issue of decentralization.
Hon. Minister, you realise in the Empowerment Bank we see that most of the loans that we have can actually be accessed especially by people in Harare, Bulawayo and Masvingo. However, we have to look at another angle whereby we have realised as a Portfolio Committee that the capitalisation or the amount which is used for any budget allocation that you give to the Empowerment Bank, 80% of it goes to salaries. So that is quite scary for us. What it means is if we are going to talk of $250 million, the amount that has been allocated to the Empowerment Bank - we are quite scared that maybe another 80% again is going to go to salaries as well. So meaning 20% is only left for the young people to be able to access loans.
What we are calling upon Hon. Minister is that if possible, may you please look for a plan that will make sure that at least the bulk of the money in the Empowerment Bank will actually be able to benefit young people and again, even the budget allocation of $250 million. Hon. Minister we appreciate that there is $37.5 million, we appreciate again the venture capital, but we are a bit scared now considering what happened last year whereby we had the $500 million and then it was not disbursed. So it is better for us to say that we look for what is currently there, that we know we can easily access which is the Empowerment Bank. So we are calling upon you to say Hon. Minister, if possible, if you are able to make sure that at least you would increase from $250 million, it would actually be good for us.
Hon. Minister, let me go on to the National Sports Stadium. On the National Sports Stadium, we realise that it got an allocation of $200 million. Hon. Minister, we were barred as a country because our stadiums were not sufficient, however my issue now comes to saying the upgrading works have not finished and the budget allocation that had been requested for was $870 million of which you will disburse $200 million. Now our issue then comes to say, Hon. Minister, how then are we able to qualify when we were already qualified? I would not really know that do we still have the capacity as a country if we are not going to invest and make sure that at least the National Sports Stadium is upgraded so that we get the bucket seats which were requested for and also access controls and many other things that were also talked about.
We also need to engage in international games. Hon. Minister we need to understand how sports can actually upgrade people’s lives. We have got the issue of Didier Drogba who went on and played internationally. After playing internationally, he started developing his own country. Of course, we also have people like Benjani Mwaruwari who came in. We appreciate that at least he was groomed in Zimbabwe and went out. We are hopping Hon. Minister that you can then increase a budget for the National Sports Stadium so that we can then sufficiently be able to be included on the international scene, especially in football.
Let me move on to vocational training centres (VTCs), on the VTCs we got an allocation of $107 million. The $107 million, what I need to understand is that the VTCs play a very important role when it comes to capacitation of young people. The issue of the VTCs, there was a request of about $1.5 billion we are currently requesting Hon. Minister, if you could increase that amount from $107 billion. We believe that as young people we will be able then to do what is called skills outreach. We heard that the Ministry has got a plan of making sure that skills reach out the but which is outside the VTCs. There is need for talent identification for us to then be able to create even interact centres and also to go on the budget of multipurpose courses, creation and facilities. We are calling upon and saying may you kindly increase that budget so that at least we can then be able to work towards employment of young people.
Let me go on and talk about incubation hubs, production hubs and innovation hubs which also speak into mining, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism. If you look at all these Hon. Minister, they will go on to assist and train youths. This will enable the youths to become self sustainable. Again Hon. Speaker it is another form of employment creation. On the overall budget of the whole budget of the Ministry of Youth - considering that youths consist the largest population in the country which is about 67% of the total population of Zimbabwe; may the Minister kindly increase this budget so that at least the youth needs are able to be adhered to.
Hon. Minister, considering that the Ministry asked for $23 billion and it got $3 billion, may you kindly be able to at least increase this amount so that it can address the issues of the young people? I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS; Hear, hear.]
+HON. S. NDHLOVU: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to add my voice on the Budget that was present by the Hon. Minister of Finance. Here in Zimbabwe we are talking of this cake that we are supposed to share as a country. I realised that we are being taxed so much, since we are being taxed on Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and all these other taxes. With the current mining activities that are going on in our country, we are not supposed to be encountering these challenges. Therefore I always ask myself if ever we are being taxed the appropriate way or we are being overtaxed.
Mr. Speaker, I realised this year we have quite a number of girls that got pregnant. This means that come 2021, we would have a number of children that will be born by these school going children and amongst those who have fallen pregnant, we have some coming from child headed families. When we give birth to children, we give birth to our nation. Right now looking at the families where these girls are coming from, we realised that some of them are coming from very poor families. They will not be able to go to hospitals when they are due for labour. Most of them will end up giving birth at their homes.
We realised that most of the girls that have fallen pregnant are those from Form 1, 2, 3 and 4. As such, Government needs to make sure that it gives help to such children. In developed countries, young people are no longer giving birth but ours continue to increase the population through these early pregnancies. Therefore, I will need the Minister to look into how best he can assist these children who are about to give birth. Also to look at these women that are in child birth age groups to make sure that they are well taken care of by the Government. If we are to let these ladies give birth in their homes, most of them end up dying without being able to get medical attention. These challenges end up taking us to women who experience breech child birth and so on. Therefore, we really need to make sure that we protect these women so that they get assistance to get to hospitals to make sure that they give birth the appropriate way so as to avoid risk.
There have been deliberations on BEAM that it is going to take care of these children that are going to be born. BEAM is not enough to take care of these children. Most of the children are very intelligent. As I speak I myself pay for about 36 children and I have made sure that these children write their grade seven examinations. This was after realising that these kids are intelligent. Some of them fail to even write their grade seven due to challenges that they face in their families. That is when I realised that I really need to come in for these children.
Last month a certain lady came through to thank me for paying school fees for her child and asked me to continue paying for her child until she completes secondary education because she was unable to pay for that child. Therefore, Government should increase money that is allocated to BEAM so that it takes care of these children from primary level to secondary level.
Most of these children who fail to get funding from BEAM come crying to us to say we need to continue with our education but our parents do not have money to pay for school fees. I need to make sure that I take up another 36 kids and pay for them so that they write their grade seven examinations while the other 36 will continue with secondary education. With these few words, I thank you.
HON. NYONI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to this Budget. This budget is of national importance since it is the foundation of our economic development. Therefore, it is important to have certain procedures that are simple and straight forward and tax rules that are also understandable to the tax payers. We all understand that our economy currently is mostly informal. So there is need to educate that sector so that they understand and develop a will to pay taxes. There is need to find ways of registering them and computerise them for ease of follow ups.
This brings me to the issue of ICT used by ZIMRA for online payment which is either down or very slow. There is need to improve on their ICT so that they are efficient in revenue collection and that they do not inconvenience clients by waiting for too long for a service. I also propose that the Minister reviews taxable income from $3 million to $5 million because our Zimbabwean currency is too weak and one can easily raise $3 million in business. There is also need Hon. Minister, to review tax bands timeously so that the tax payers do not feel robbed of their hard earned income.
I also want to comment on the issue of 2% tax on transactions using ecocash. This tax now is being paid by registered business people and the ordinary person who is already overtaxed. The informal sector being our major business people no longer accept ecocash as legal tender. They now want hard cash. Hence, there is need to have a second thought on that tax because I think it was introduced as a way of raising funds, hence it needs to be reviewed or scrapped.
I also want to comment on the budget that was allocated to industry and commerce. They were allocated $1.9 billion and if we want to resuscitate industry, I propose that this budget be revised upwards. Industry is not about manufacturing but value addition, hence industry and commerce plays a pivotal role on this aspect. This will increase exports and attract the much needed foreign currency in the country. In a nutshell, I thank you Mr. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I think it was agreed that Chairpersons and others must be in here but a lot of people are out yet they have to take part also.
HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to the 2021 budget debate. Let me begin by thanking the Minister for the positives in the 2021 Budget. I want to appreciate that a lot has been addressed by the Budget in terms of the demands and inputs that we did even during our consultations out there as Members of Parliament. I want to congratulate the Ministry of Finance for having taken heed of what the people out there were saying and as Parliament, we will not be embarrassed to go back and give feedback because most of the issues have been covered. However, I know that it will be difficult for the Minister to take everything on board or for us to take further demands to the Ministry.
Let me begin by saying that the budget must cater for the needs of the people especially the disadvantaged, the women, youth, people with disabilities and the unemployed. Without government support, we will find that the categories that we are talking about will not be there. There are people that rely on government support and believe government will actually deliver everything else to them. There are a lot of taxes that government demands from everyone who is employed and that is also a resource base where government can actually tap resources to target some of the programmes that may have some deficits in terms of funding.
On health, I wish to put emphasis on the free maternal health that we have been talking about for the last five years. I would want to believe that the Minister, even during our Pre-Budget workshop, was reminded by the Minister of Health to look at the issue of free maternal health. No woman should die whilst giving life. Everyone here came from a woman, so I would want to believe that we would not want to kill the next generation because they are the next leaders and Members of Parliament.
My second issue is on the support to rural women. I note with concern that we have the Pfumvudza and it is very labour intensive. Who is in the rural areas – it is the woman and the girl child. Digging holes is not easy. Looking at the time when Pfumvudza started to be popular in the rural areas, I was right down at home and women were digging holes. It is so labour intensive and we need modern equipment so that it becomes attractive. Who is in the rural area, it is the woman and the children. They will end up dropping out of school, so that is my appeal that we need to modernise Pfumvudza. It is a good programme and I acknowledge the development so far.
I will now move on to employment and the skills attraction and retention. You will note that in the region, we have more than four million people working in South Africa and Botswana because here we are not offering enough. We need attractive salaries that will make people want to work in Zimbabwe, our own and then we can have those who can join our ministries and industries. Without that, we are losing educated and skilled people. We have had a brain drain where we are training and there is a lot of skills flight. One typical example is the Auditor General’s Office where they have completely lost a number of employees, experts for that matter because we are paying poor salaries, have poor working conditions and bad treatment in terms of looking after the employees in government.
I will move on to social dialogue, TNF and NJC. If you notice – in the report that was presented by the Chairperson of the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Portfolio Committee, there was mention of the gap. On the TNF, there is not enough for the Tripartite Negotiating Forum yet we are saying they must establish an independent secretariat and come up with a social contract. However, without adequate resources those meetings will not be convened. The same applies to the National Joint Negotiating Council where Public Service conditions of service have to be dealt with between the employer and employees. My appeal is that there is need for the Minister to look at non monetary benefits. I know there was mention of Public Service buses but to those who may want to buy cars, can we resort to the old system where one would get a tax free certificate to get a car maybe within five years so that at least we are retaining the skills and those people will be attracted to stay on their jobs.
The Zimbabwe distant work programme was launched in 2010 but up to now this programme has not taken off properly because ILO believes that the programme will deal with issues that are coming from the TNF and National Joint Negotiating Forum so that there is harmony at industrial level. Without the set up and talking to each other, the employer and employee relationship becomes sour, hence you have strikes, discords and absenteeism at work. In most offices you find just jackets because people are demotivated. When there is decent work people will be attracted to work because they will be getting something that satisfies them. My appeal to the Hon. Minister is that more money needs to be targeted to the social protection programme such as assisted medical treatment order. Anyone who cannot afford health facilities or health fees should get a letter from the Ministry of Labour and Social Services. This scheme has not been adequately funded for the last five years. We also have the bus warrants for those wanting to travel to courts. There is no adequate funding and I am appealing to the Minister for this programme to be funded. Then the food distribution programme is especially in the rural areas but hunger now has even spread to the urban areas. My appeal to the Minister is that there is need for more money to be put on food distribution and all the above programmes I have talked about.
The final one is on the cash transfers. I was going to propose that the Minister adds more money to this programme because this is a Ministry that caters for human beings all year round and the cash transfer also targets the disadvantaged communities such as people with disabilities, the youth and unemployed. There is need for more money more money in this particular department, in these particular programmes, so that at least we have better life for all. I thank you for this opportunity.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF NCUBE): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 15th December 2020.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF NCUBE): I move that Orders of the Day Numbers 2 to 29 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 30 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
MAIN ESTIMATES OF EXPENDITURE
Thirtieth Order read: Committee of Supply: Main Estimates of Expenditure
House in Committee
HON CHIKWINYA: On a point of order. I seek your indulgence. We have just been in the Second Reading of the Bill and the Minister is yet to respond. The Committee of Supply has an effect of adjusting figures clause by clause, if what the aspirations of Members of Parliament are going to be taken on board by the Minister. I am not quite sure whether we are procedurally doing our business if it means that we are going to go into Committee of Supply without hearing the response of the Minister, that is number one, without exhausting debate of the Second Reading, that is number two.
May you please refer me to the Standing Rule and Order that allows us to proceed to the Committee of Supply without exhausting the Second Reading of the Bill?
THE CHAIRPERSON: May you show me which Standing Rule and Order prohibits same?
HON CHIKWINYA: By the same weight of your question, yes I may be ignorant of the rules but you are the Chairperson of the Committee. So, you cannot also proceed in ignorance. So the same question applies to you. By which order are you proceeding to the Committee of Supply without exhausting the Second Reading of the Bill.
We are debating the Budget under the Appropriation Bill and you are proceeding to take us to the Committee of Supply; of which Bill? You may as well want to guide us. My problem is that I am representing a constituency with the ultimate objective of passing a Budget which I believe technically is moving in two vehicles – the Appropriation Bill and the Finance Bill but they will marry at one point.
Hon Members who are seated here in respect of yourself and the House are here to assure that the Minister of Finance responds to what they have been saying because we cannot be raising concerns.
THE CHAIRPERSON: These two things are separate.
HON CHIKWINYA: Technically they are separate but they are the same. Let us deal with one against the other.
HON MUSHORIWA: There are two issues in respect of the point of order. First and foremost, when the Minister presents the Budget, he lays before this House the Appropriation Bill and the Finance Bill. What normally happens is that the debate to the budget statement is a feeder because whatever we have been saying and all the Committees have been saying, what it means is that if we are going to consider the Appropriation Bill, what it basically says is that everything that was said by Hon. Members has actually been thrown out of the window - [HON. TSUNGA: It was a futile waste of time.] - Then the second issue Chair, tradition – this will be the first time that we have done this…
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: That is actually not true Hon. Mushoriwa.
HON. MUSHORIWA: No, traditionally, we have always exhausted – we do the Budget and the Hon. Minister responds then we proceed to the Appropriation Bill. After the Appropriation Bill we proceed to the Finance Bill – it has always been like that.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Mushoriwa, may you approach the Chair please?
Following a protracted discussion between the Temporary Chairperson and Hon. Mushoriwa, THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON left the Chair to report progress and seek leave to sit again.
Committee of Supply to resume: Tuesday, 15th December, 2020.
On the Motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE), the House adjourned at Five Minutes past Nine o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 15th December, 2020.