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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 10 JULY 2024 VOL 50 NO 68

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 10th July, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

REINSTATEMENT OF HON. CONSTANCE CHIOTA AS CCC PARTY MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I wish to inform the House that on 19th July, 2024 the High Court handed down a judgement through the High Court Order HCBC 488/24 instructing Parliament to reinstate Hon. Constance Chiota as a Coalition for Change (CCC) Party Member of Parliament representing Mashonaland East Province.

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE ZIMBABWE-ARGENTINA PARLIAMENTARY FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that following the establishment of Zimbabwe-Argentina Parliamentary Friendship Association, the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade is calling for Members who wish to join the association.  Membership is open to all Members of Parliament on a first come first served basis.  The association has a maximum of 15 members.  For registration, Hon. Members should contact Mr. A Mapetere, the Committee Clerk for the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on 0713313170.

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM HON. MINISTERS

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I have got a list of apologies from Hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers.  Hon. D Garwe, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. B. Kabikira, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. K. Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Hon. C. Sanyatwe, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Hon. Dr. A. J. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement;  Hon. V. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement; Hon. D. Marapira, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement; Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion; Hon. Prof. A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development;  Hon. A. Gata, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. T. Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Hon. S. Chikomo, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; and Hon. J. Paradza, Deputy Minister of Environment, Climate and Wild Life.

          HON. MUSHORIWA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  You have just announced that there are six ministries that have given their apologies in terms of the Minister and Deputy Minister.  Would you be kind enough to advise the Hon. Members which Ministers are present in this august House so that Members can prepare accordingly?  They end up putting pressure on the Leader of the House every Wednesday as he carries the burden of answering questions for the entire Cabinet, which is not good.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Your point of order has been noted.  The Hon. Members present are Hon. Z. Ziyambi, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Hon. E. Moyo, Minister of Energy and Power Development; Hon. B. Rwodzi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Hon. D. K. Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion; Hon. S. Mhona Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development; Hon. Mavhunga, Minister of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Affairs and Hon. Kabikira, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works.

*HON. MUTSEYAMI:  I rise on a point of order Madam Speaker. Thank you, Madam Speaker.  The Leader of Government Business, Hon. Ziyambi is burdened with answering questions for more than 15 ministries.  Despite being very knowledgeable about all those ministries, do you not think we are burdening him a lot or we are just doing our work as a formality because questions pertaining to Government have been asked and should be answered?  Do you think he would know everything about the more than 15 ministries, that one individual?  Why are you doing that to him?

*THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Mutseyami.  I am sure more Ministers are on their way.  There is no way Hon. Ziyambi can answer for the more than 15 ministries.

TABLING OF REPORTS

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. K. D. MNANGAGWA):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  In terms of Section 12 (1) (a) of the Audit Office Act, [Chapter 22:18], I lay on the table the Report of the Auditor General Appropriation Accounts, Finance and Revenue Statements and Fund Accounts for the Financial Year ended December 31, 2023. 

I lay upon the table, the Report of the Auditor General on State Owned Enterprises and Parastatals for the financial year ended 31st December, 2023. 

I lay upon the table the Report of the Auditor General on the local authorities for the financial year ended 31st December, 2023.  I so submit Madam Speaker.

          HON. MASVISVI: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement. What is Government’s preparedness position in regard to the coming planting season for 2024/25 on the supply and availability of the Presidential inputs; particularly maize seed, small grain seed, cotton seed, fertilisers and logistics?  I so submit.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. As the Government of the Second Republic, led by His Excellency, Cde E. D. Mnangagwa, we have learnt several lessons, particularly after the last El Nino drought that ravaged us this past season. As a result, we are coming up with robust response mechanisms to ensure that we are food self-sufficient. Among those responses, we will ensure that coming this season, we will distribute seed according to region. We have realised that we were just buying maize seed and sending maize seed in a region where you cannot grow maize. What we are doing is that we are now going to ensure that there is food self-sufficiency in terms of procuring seed in the region where it will grow well. That is work in progress.

We have committees that are looking into that and we are hopeful that this coming season, we are going to have a bumper harvest, not only of maize but also of several grains. Like what we have done with the winter cropping season, we have tried to ensure that we close the gap of the food deficit by growing a lot of winter wheat. We are pleased that the hectarage that we actually have at the moment is the highest in the history of this country. I so submit.

          HON. MASVISVI: As much as I appreciate the response given by the Leader of the House, my supplementary question is - what measures is Government putting in place to avoid the cotton inputs delays as reflected by the previous season where cotton inputs were distributed very late in December?

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: That is now a different question. The first question pertaining to the Presidential Inputs Scheme was targeted at food self-sufficiency. He did not include the history of delays in cotton and now it has come as a specific question that there were delays in cotton distribution. That is now a logistical issue.  

          *HON. HWENDE: What measures is the Government putting in place for those who were abusing the Presidential Inputs Scheme when it comes to distribution of maize seed?  In Mhondoro where I come from, some were just given cups of maize seed as inputs. They did not get the inputs according to the allocation from the President. That is my question.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Please put your question in writing so that investigations can be carried out to ascertain whether indeed there was stealing of inputs.

          *HON. KARENYI-KORE: Hon. Minister, what plans do you have for monitoring and evaluation to ensure that those who get Presidential inputs are not abusing them because sometimes we see people selling the inputs instead of using them? Are there any measures in place to ascertain that those people who benefit from the programme do not abuse the inputs?

          *HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the follow up question. This year, when we realised that the whole country was dry, we decided to give inputs to everyone. We did not give bags per household but per individual. We are doing that this year because there was a drought. When there is no drought, the Presidential Input Scheme is a social assistance programme which is meant to give you inputs for your survival for that year.

          The Agritex officers give you seed that will produce maize cobs that would be enough for your survival to the end of the year.  What we do is that when we distribute those inputs, we do not just give to lazy people. If there is no drought, even if you come and say you are in need of assistance, we will tell you that your neighbour harvested well, but where were you? These days we monitor the yield and harvest. We do not just give inputs to people but we give to people who live with disabilities or the elderly, because we have realised that they are not able to work for themselves.

          *HON. NYABANI Thank you Madam Speaker. We thank the Government for the policies that are there, but we realise that most of the seed distributed does not germinate – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

HON. DHLIWAYO:  On a point of order Madam Speaker!

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Nyabani. What is your point of order?

*HON. DHLIWAYO:  My point of order Madam Speaker is, the words that the Hon. Member is uttering are not true because most of the seed germinates – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

 An Hon. Member having stood up on a point of order:

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member! Please may you take your seat? Hon. Nyabani, please may you ask your question truthfully – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order! May we have order in the House? Hon. Nyabani, pose a factual question because all of us come from beneficiaries of seeds – [HON. S. SITHOLE: Hon. Nyabani must sit down. He must not continue to ask.] – Order Hon. Sithole! Hon. Nyabani, please ask your question.

*HON. NYABANI: We are thankful for the seed that is being distributed to people but some of it, because of the conditions where the seed is stored…

*HON. ZVAIPA: Thank you Madam Speaker and good afternoon. Hon. Nyabani now seems to be avoiding his question. May he please ask the question about seed that does not germinate?

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Nyabani, please ask your question.

*HON. NYABANI: Please do not force me to ask a question that you want me to ask. Let me ask my question. Madam Speaker, some of the seed that is stored in inappropriate conditions ends up not germinating. What is Government policy with regards to storing seed properly so that it does not inconvenience farmers when it fails to germinate? I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –  

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order! May we have order in the House please!

* HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would also like to thank Hon. Nyabani for his question, where he is trying to understand. The questions that come into this House are twofold. There are policy questions, where we ask about the status of Government policy and Hon. Nyabani’s question is technical. The seed houses are the ones that have the expertise to know how many days it takes for a particular seed to grow and how it is supposed to be stored. That includes our experts from the Ministry of Agriculture. In order for the Hon. Member to get a satisfactory answer, may the Hon. Member put the question in writing and cite examples of exactly, where such seed is stored. That would assist us to understand the question.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you for your response, Minister. No more supplementary questions.

*HON. MURWIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker and good afternoon. My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. I would like to first of all thank him for resuscitating irrigation – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – 

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: On Members on my left side, please may we have order in the House. You are questioning why the Hon. Member is thanking, what is wrong with that? Hon. Murwira, please go ahead.

*HON. T. MURWIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker for protecting me. I would like to thank the Hon. Minister of Agriculture and the Ministry for resuscitating irrigation schemes. My question is, after resuscitating those irrigations, what is the current percentage of that programme?

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you for that question. May you please put your question in writing so that the Hon. Minister may research as to the exact percentage of resuscitation?

HON. MURERI: Good afternoon Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. What is Government policy pertaining to the protection of school children from hate speeches at rallies, which they are forced to attend by certain political parties?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. Our Constitution does not allow what the Hon. Member has said. If the Hon. Member has that information that such a thing is happening and he is not protecting the learners by reporting to the authorities, then there is something disturbing about the Hon. Member. I submit.

*HON. MASHAVAVE: My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government.  Hon. Minister, what is the Government position pertaining those slabs which were left idle but were meant for flats and I mention this for your attention.  Along Quinton Road at Zambezi Flats, there are certain slabs which were left idle for years.  They were erected under the tenure of the Minister of Local Government then the late Chikowore and up to today, those slabs are still idle.  What is the Government position pertaining those slabs which were left idle?  

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mashavave, your question is specific.  It is not a policy question.  I advise you to put your question in writing.

HON. MUSWEWESHIRI:  Thank you, good afternoon Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  What is the Government position in regards to the shortage of computer teachers, especially in rural areas?

 THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Madam Speaker ma’am.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  The policy thrust of the Second Republic is to ensure that we do not leave any place behind.  Having said that, it is something that we cannot do overnight.  It is an aspiration that we progressively realise.  So, the Ministry has a policy in place supported by His Excellency. You have seen him going round donating computers but the Ministry has a policy to ensure that we have those subjects across the whole breadth of the country.  I thank you.

HON. HWENDE:  My question is, what is Government policy with regards to ensuring that computers that were donated to schools that have no electricity will be electrified so that those computers will start working?

*HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  I would like to thank the Hon.  Member for the question. I would like to applaud him for congratulating His Excellency for doing a splendid job of distributing computers to schools regardless the status of the school. His Excellency intends to challenge any school, if they get computers, to work hard to electrify the schools even with solar. If they receive computers, then everyone has a duty to ensure that anyone can donate or ensure power is installed so that those computers can be put to use.

HON. GUMEDE: My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. What is Government policy on the regulation and moderation of university fees in Zimbabwe, particularly regarding measures being taken to ensure affordability and prevent exploitative practice?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Madam Speaker, this is not a new question. I have been in this Parliament and Hon. Minister Murwira has answered this question several times indicating, I remember that is his favourite spot somewhere there and he would even explain the various avenues that learners at universities are allowed to follow to ensure that if they do not have fees, they can follow those procedures so that their fees can be paid. So, I would want to refer the Hon. Member to the Hansard so that he can get a full response that was given by the Hon. Minister.

*HON. HWENDE: Madam Speaker, this is exactly what Hon. Mutseyami referred to. If Ministers are not available here, it is better for you to allow us to go back home.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Hwende, if that question was asked several times, it has been responded to.

HON. GUMEDE: Maybe the Minister did not understand me because he is not answering my question.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Gumede, that is unprocedural.  Hon. Hwende is standing and you are also standing.  Is it now a competition?

*HON. HWENDE:  Hon. Speaker, this question was asked during the Ninth Parliament and not during the Tenth Parliament.  May the Minister respond to it.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Maybe the question was asked when you were not around.

HON. HWENDE:  May you please go back to the Hansard and tell us when the question was asked?

HON. GUMEDE: Madam Speaker, may I please come again because it seems the Minister did not understand the question.  I was not asking about affordability of fees but about a regulation structure in terms of fees being different from each and every institution.  If you go to UZ, currently a Masters programme is USD1 200. If you go to MSU, currently the Masters programme is ranging from USD800. I am simply saying, can we not have a fees structure which is regulated by Government so that students can be able to afford…

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: And you are now talking of specific university institutions?

HON. GUMEDE: I am giving examples Madam Speaker. The Minister did not understand my question. I am talking about a regulation structure…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Gumede, please may you put your question in writing so that the Minister…

HON. GUMEDE: Let him answer my question because it is very simple.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, Hon. Gumede, put your question in writing so that the responsible Minister will come to this House today with a comprehensive answer.

HON. GUMEDE: No, he should answer my question, it is simple.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You cannot say no, I have already ruled.

HON. GUMEDE: That is unfair though.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please take your seat.

HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. What is Government policy regarding power generation using combustion of fossil fuels that is coal, oil and gas, given the anti-fossil uses that are coming from climate activists? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Chiduwa, Hon. Members, if you behave like kindergarten kids, I will show you the exit door. Do you hear me! Behave like Hon. Members. Hon Deputy Minister, please respond to the question.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SIMBANEGAVI): Thank you Madam Speaker. Thank you Hon. Chiduwa for the pertinent question. The use of fossil fuels such as coal is still very much being used in Africa, especially here in Zimbabwe, we are still using coal.   Hon. Members would know that Hwange 7 and 8 are still using coal and we are looking into how we can even expand the use of coal.

I understand that your question is coming from the background of CoP 27, where it was indicated that we need to look into the use of cleaner energy sources, which is really good. As a State, we have said that whilst we take cognisance of that, we are looking into how we can be able to clean up our use of oil as a source of energy. We will do it in moderation and gradually, graduating into the use of cleaner technologies. That is why we are now doing research into what kind of technologies we can be able to utilise in terms of minimising carbon emissions that we can emit into the air. Currently, we are still using coal whilst we are looking into other options that we can have. Thank you.

HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. As we push for energy security, I wanted to find out from the Hon. Minister if there are any plans to generate electricity using the abundant Lupane gas that we have?

HON. SIMBANEGAVI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Of course, we are looking into the use of gas. As I indicated the other day, we are looking into how we can be able to use other sources of renewable energy which includes gas. Thank you.

HON. MANGONDO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is related to the issue of the Gokwe/Sengwe Coal Powered project which she indicated to the House that she will be bringing in the ministerial statement regarding the progress of that particular project. My question to the Hon. Minister is whether she is now ready to give a ministerial statement regarding the Gokwe Sengwe Coal Powered project. I thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mangondo, I am sure the Hon. Minister has taken note of that. She will bring the Ministerial Statement.

HON. ENG. MHANGWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. To the Hon. Deputy Minister, yes, we appreciate that currently we are using non-renewable energy as our main source. What is the ideal energy mix for us as a country and how long will it take us to achieve the ideal and what steps are being taken for us to have the ideal energy mix?

HON. SIMBANEGAVI: Thank you Madam Speaker and thank you very much Hon. Member. In terms of our country and how we can be able to achieve what you are calling an energy mix, I would say that currently, we are using hydro energy. We also have abundant sun. We can be able to use green energy, like using solar energy to power our industries, houses and whatever we may want to use or even in the schools as was indicated earlier. We can also even use gas which we are currently doing. We are using gas and I will give you an example. If one has a house, one can use electricity for other things and use gas for cooking. So, that is like probably using multiple sources of energy. If I understood your question correctly Hon. Member…

HON. ENG. MHANGWA: May I be allowed to clarify for the Minister. The energy mix means that we are saying we have 52% renewable energy, 48% non-renewable energy by the year 2030. Currently, we are at 18% and will take five years. In the interim, we use IPP, etcetera to achieve what we want. That is what I was asking.

          HON. SIMBANEGAVI:  Madam Speaker, Can I be allowed to present what he wants in the Ministerial Statement?

          HON. MUTOKONYI:  With regards to the coal supplies to the power generation for ZPC, what is the Government’s plan to ensure that there is fair competition given that there are many coal suppliers to the power station? 

          HON. SIMBANEGAVI:  I am not sure what the Hon. Member is asking.  Competition in terms of supplying coal or competition in terms of licencing of IPPs?

          HON. MUTOKONYI:  Competition in terms of coal supply to the power generation.  I read previously that there are many suppliers of coal to the ZPC, whereby some suppliers do not seem to get the fair chance to supply coal to ZPC.  I read that in the media. 

          HON. SIMBANEGAVI:  I get the feeling that the Hon. Member’s question is kind of assuming that there is no fairness in the supply.  I am hoping that the Hon. Member can ask the question next time when he has specifics on who has been disadvantaged and how he sees the situation as unfair.

HON. HWENDE:  On a point of Order Madam Speaker, that is why we were saying before, that Ministers should come and attend the question and answer session. 

        THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Your point of order is over ruled. Please take your seat.

         HON. MATANGIRA:  Madam Speaker, that is very contentious.  Arikushora Parliament uyo.

         HON. MAUNGANIDZE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care.  In light of a number of women dying during child birth in Government hospitals, can the Minister please provide an update on the specific steps and measures being taken by Government to address this issue and improve maternal health care?  I thank you.

         HON. ZVAIPA:  On a point of order.  Good Afternoon Madam Speaker.  My point of order pertains to the Hon. Member who just spoke.  We were told that the colour yellow is not allowed in this House.  So, how did the Hon. Member come into this House?

         THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  We are not here to make jokes.  Who said yellow is not allowed in this House?  Please leave the House now.

         Hon. Member escorted out of the House.

         HON. MUSHORIWAOn a point of order Madam Speaker.  We are not questioning your ruling, but we just wanted to bring to your attention that the standing position as announced by the Speaker was that anything yellow - even the people at the gate are not allowed to entertain anyone with yellow attires.  So, the question by the Hon. Member is justified.  So, naturally I think it is a fair question.

         THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKERI am not going to entertain that.  Hon Mahlangu is wearing yellow.  Who said yellow is not allowed?  Hon. Mahlangu please rise.  Is she not wearing a yellow top?  If you came here to make jokes you will all go out of this House.

         HON. MATAMBO:  Madam Speaker, what is happening in this House seems very much unfair because on a number of occasions, people from this end of the House were chased out of the House because they were wearing yellow.  Now that it is someone from the right side who is wearing yellow, you are ruling in favour of the person.  It seems the law is only favouring one side of the House. I so submit.

        THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, may you please take your seats. What is wrong with you?

         HON. MALINGANISO: I rise on a point of clarity. Madam Speaker.  I just wanted to say that this is not yellow.  It is lime green. People do not understand that this is not yellow. It is lime green, people must learn colours.

          HON. MAUNGANIDZE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care.  In light of a number of women dying during child birth in Government hospitals, can the Minister please provide an update on the specific steps and measures being taken by Government to address this issue and improve maternal healthcare?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MOMBESHORA): Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for asking this very important question.  Yes, we have lost a number of women giving birth and this is not acceptable but over the years, we have seen our indicators improving, but not to the level that we are happy with.  We are taking a multi-pronged approach to address this issue.  We are addressing it at the level of health facility, human resources for health and at the level of equipment, drugs and sundries.  In addition, at the level of facilities, especially in the rural areas where most women have to walk several kilometers to health facilities where they can deliver, we are building a lot waiting shelters at the clinics so that women can go and wait a week before their due dates.  We have also increased the number of those training to be midwives, who we can deploy to all health facilities where deliveries take place.  This is a long-term plan because it will take two years and we want to reduce it to one and half years so that we can churn out a lot of midwives to be able to take care of our women who need to deliver at the health facilities.  We are also improving the equipment, especially to deal with cesarean sections.   We need to equip our hospitals, especially our district hospitals.  We have currently purchased more than 10 anaesthetic machines to equip hospitals that have maternity wards in the rural areas.  In the urban settings, most of the facilities are better equipped but we are still working on improving that equipment.

We are also looking at providing adequate drugs relating to theatre and postpartum management. We also have a challenge of blood supply and I am glad to say Treasury has released some funds to make sure that blood and blood products can be processed and are availed to women in need because one of the largest cause of mortality for women is postpartum hemorrhage and we are addressing this in these various ways that I have just mentioned.

*HON. MASHONGANYIKA: My supplementary question is, if you look at the machines that you talking about, they mainly work on electricity. When there is no generator for back up especially in Government hospitals, we find this to be very problematic. Is it not possible to make an arrangement to ensure that hospitals are equipped with such facilities to ensure that no power interruption takes place?

*HON. DR. MOMBESHORA: Indeed, it is true that some areas have problem of accessing electricity but the plan that we have is that we want to ensure that our hospitals are all electrified and are solar equipped for back up because some of them have now gotten to a stage where they use solar instead of using electricity from ZESA.

The problem that we have is that our major hospitals like Parirenyatwa and Sally Mugabe Hospitals have not been equipped with solar system as a backup. We have since made an agreement with the Ministry of Energy to ensure that the hospitals do not face power interruptions. At the moment, I cannot respond as to where that arrangement is. Some clinics have prepaid meters and we agreed that prepaid electricity should be removed from hospitals and health facilities because sometimes they may not have money to buy electricity when they need it. I thank you.

HON. DR. KHUPE: Part of the reason why women die while giving birth is as a result of user fees for pregnant women because they cannot afford to pay any user fees and end up not going for prenatal care. They only go to a health institution when they are about to give birth whereas complications would have happened already. I would like the Minister to confirm whether pregnant women are still paying user fees when they go to give birth because our call has always been that women should not be punished for giving birth. As they give birth, they are performing a national duty and therefore, they should not pay a single cent when they go to give birth.

HON. DR. MOMBESHORA: Yes, your point is very valid, and our policy is to say anything related to pregnancy should be treated in public hospitals for free including blood and blood products. We have a voucher system where we give pregnant women coupons so that they can access blood for free. I know at times you find some people who get overzealous and try to charge pregnant women but my plea is that please report any such cases to us so that disciplinary measures can be taken. Pregnant issues are supposed to be dealt for free in public hospitals. If you decide to go to a private hospital, then we do not interfere with the payment that may be demanded in those private institutions.

*HON. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA:  On the issue of waiting shelters for expecting mothers, I really would like to understand what the arrangement is with regards to all rural clinics because most of those houses are not there. That is why they wait whilst they are at home and that delay trying to go to hospital at a critical stage results in loss of life. Is that arrangement planned for on all clinics, especially in rural areas?

*HON. DR. MOMBESHORA: The point that you said that those shelters for expecting mothers in rural areas are not there, indeed they are not enough. That is why I said we have a plan to construct them. There are a lot of clinics in this whole country. If you go around, you will realise that here and there, you find construction taking place. It is true that we cannot afford to construct all at once. The most important thing is that Government has put funding through Treasury to construct those shelters.

We also have donors and development partners and I would like to applaud some of you Hon Members who are making such efforts because the country is supposed to be built by its owners. So, let us help each other. I thank you.

*HON. KARENYI-KORE: Maybe the Hon Minister responded but let me take him back a bit when he referred to women who expect to deliver through caesarian section. May they carry out a research in conjunction with Hon. Khupe’s question where the question was about user fee payment. Expecting mothers who are supposed to deliver through caesarian section are paying because they are asked to procure a lot of things that are used, be it drips or injections and they are very expensive. May the Hon. Minister look into that to ensure that they are available because this is one of the causes of death during delivery.

An Hon Member having stood on a point of privilege.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please give me time, I was in the middle of responding. Thank you. I believe the Hon. Minister understood you. I do not know whether he has something else to respond to.

*THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MOMBESHORA): I understood Madam Speaker and we will look into that. It is true that there are some areas where expecting mothers were asked to procure certain things. I know there are different cases but if there are shortages here and there in hospitals, they may be asked to do that. I know that there are some places where anesthetic drugs were not available, so they were asked to procure them, but we have since procured them. If you can inform us quickly wherever there is a problem, we will be able to resolve that problem quickly.

This reminds me that user fees are actually anti-progress.  As the Minister of Health Care, I will present a Health Insurance Bill which I will kindly ask you to support, where we are saying anyone who wants to access treatment in a Government hospital should be treatment through that insurance. We realise that where there is a user fee that cannot be done with – we are saying, anyone who wants to access treatment at a Government hospital must be able to do so for free. There must be a basic access where the National Health Insurance can pay.

HON. G. K. HLATYWAYO: Thank you so much Hon. Speaker. I have seen that there are lot of questions around the issue of maternal health. With your indulgence and with your permission, I was going to request that the Minister prepares a Ministerial Statement on this important topic, especially given the appalling figures that we saw, I think about two weeks back in the media, around the statistics of how many women are dying as a result of this issue. I think it is very important because we need to interrogate it further as Parliament to get more information. Thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am sure the Hon. Minister has taken note of the request of that Ministerial Statement.

HON. KUKA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance.  What plans are in place to compensate pensioners who lost their pensions during change over challenges to USD era in 2009? I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA): Thank you Madam Speaker and thank you to the Hon. Member of Parliament for that question of national interest. Madam Speaker, the roadmap for compensation is being guided by the Justice Smith Commissioner Report. You will recall in the 2024 Budget, Treasury made a commitment of 174 million towards the compensation, which was commensurate to the blame- worthiness of Government and the loss of pensioners’ money.

In the same vein, pension funds have been asked to submit their plans. These plans were supposed to be submitted by the end of March. Out of the 1 250 funds that were supposed to submit, I think we have got 50 outstanding. We have had missing or hazy data which has made IPEC’s job a bit difficult in ascertaining some of these compensation plans. I can assure the Hon. Member that this is a priority as it is part of our Treasuries and Governments bringing confidence to our pensions and also restoring lost value to pension funds. Indeed, there is a plan.  Government has committed 175 million. The pension funds are supposed to contribute the rest and make sure that pensioners receive their money whilst they are still alive. I submit Madam Speaker.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Thank you Madam Speaker and the Minister for the good response. However, my follow up question is on the case with reference to the Justice Smith Commission, which was set up in 2015. The fundamental finding from that Justice Smith Commission of Enquiry was that, it is Government and IPEC which failed to prepare an equitable and fair process of conversion from Zimbabwean Dollars to United States Dollars. Is it not a problem of the IPEC Board which has got its members of the board who are also leaders of pension funds? Is that conflict of interest not the one that is causing these unnecessary delays? That is my question Madam Speaker.

HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I think the Hon. Member is trying to personalise issues. There is a process that is clearly defined, that is independent of individuals or board members.  Maybe he has got some information on specific IPEC board members who also own pension funds, who are stifling progress on this. I believe it is in the best interest of all our constituents of Government, of everyone to get this issue sorted. I do not think that there are any individuals that have the capacity to stall progress of an exercise of this nature. I thank you.

HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want the Hon. Minister to assist us. Given the fact that IPEC did come up with a Statutory Instrument 162 of 2023 and gave the insurance companies 90 days, which was supposed to expire in December 2023. We are now in July and we have heard the Minister saying that Government made a commitment of about $170 million dollars. Can the Hon. Minister explain to us and if he is unable to do so Madam Speaker, we would then want him to bring, maybe a Ministerial Statement in respect of the compensation framework. Remember this is a 2009 issue and we are now in 2024.  A number of people have actually died along the process. We need to find out which insurance companies have got hazy data and which insurance companies are prepared.

I think if it is possible, the Hon. Minister should come to this august House because this is an issue that goes to the depth of many Zimbabweans. I would probably urge that maybe this question cannot be properly answered without a Ministerial Statement by the Hon. Minister. I thank you.

HON. D. K. MNANGAGWA: It is noted and accepted Madam Speaker. We will prepare a statement detailing some of the submissions as requested. I thank you.

          HON. NKOMO:  Thank you so much, good afternoon Hon. Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Good afternoon.

HON. M. NKOMO:  My question is directed to the Minister of Women’s Affairs.  What specific programmes have been implemented to support women on SMEs and the entrepreneurs?

THE MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRENUERS DEVELOPMENT (HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Nkomo for that very important question.  We all know the key role which is being played by SMEs in this country.  We know that the SMEs, starting from micro, small and medium enterprises, are playing a very important role, in fact, I would call them the pulse of the economy of this country. 

We have more than 3.8 million SMEs in this country and I want to say fifty-six percent of those are women.  Our Ministry is mandated to make sure that we empower women.  We also empower SMEs, cooperatives and communities.  We have quite a number of programmes which we are undertaking to make sure that we train. 

First, we do financial, technical assistance and also make sure that whatever they are producing, they find markets so that they can be able to sell them.  So, our Ministry has been given officers from the national level to the ten provinces. We have got provincial development officers for the ten provinces and we also have 61 district development officers.  Then we go all the way to the ward level.  We are grateful to the Government for giving us officers who go all the way to the grassroot because, you know our President’s mantra is not to leave any one or any place behind. 

So, in terms of training, we train business entrepreneurial skills.  We are also training digital skills as we are all aware that the four walls of banking halls are beginning to disappear and most of the banking is now being done on our women’s phones or SMEs phones.  We are also training digital skills so that they can be able to use their phones as banks.  They can also be able to use their phones for e-commerce or e-market. We know what happened during COVID-19 when there was a lock down, most of our SMEs went broke because they were not able to continue with their businesses.  So, the issue of digitals is very critical, we are giving loans.  We have a number of loans which are given through my Ministry, the Treasury gives through our Ministry Women Development Fund and that is targeted at start-ups, especially women to make sure that if you want to start, whether it is a piggery or poultry project, we will be there to help you, not only with the money, but also with the training so that once you start your project, it will be sustainable.

We also have the Community Development Fund (CDF) again

from the Ministry.  It is not enough, yes, but we do have a lot of requests because our communities are very resourceful but let me say, it is a whole Government approach and we are aware of the village business units which the Ministry of Agriculture are coming up with. We are busy training our women in terms of making sure they will be up and running with those business units.  You are aware that our Government is drilling boreholes in all the thirty-five thousand villages in this country and we are making sure that our women are aware of these projects which Government is coming up to make sure that we empower the SMEs. 

This country has become one of the first ones to have a women micro finance bank and I want to tell this august House that the women’s bank is there, targeted for women and this was in realisation of the fact that women do not have collateral.  So this is a bank which is 100% owned by Government and in the past, it has not been capitalised enough to go through all the list of women who had applied for loans, but we continue to see this bank and we are very grateful to the Ministry of Finance, they have been able to give them some money and they are also going out giving loans to our SMEs and women specifically – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MACHINGURA): Order, order Minister; Hon. Members! We have not come here to play like the Deputy Speaker said.  Why are you shouting instructions to the Minister?  Let her be heard in silence.

HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for

protecting me.  I want to continue to say the work which we are doing in terms of specific programmes for women, these are the specific programmes which I am talking about, SMEs. It is important for Members of this august House to be able to take this information and give it to the people in their constituencies. 

The women development fund that I talked about, the community development fund and then the women micro finance bank have seen women farmers being empowered by being given tractors at zero deposits. We have seen business models which they have come up with where women farmers are being empowered by tractors and other equipment.

We also have SMEDCO that is another bank of Government, 100% owned and it is there to make sure that they help the SMEs retool so that they can produce products which are sellable, of good standard and also, we have ZIMTRADE which is working closely with us.  We have started to see a lot of women businesses exporting the products they are making.  Just last week, we saw our President opening a processing plant.  This is part of the empowerment of these women businesses.  A place in particular, like Hauna where a lot of women, more than a thousand farmers, have been producing bananas.  They have actually been going to waste because they did not have a processing plant.  Government, through our Ministry, are putting up a processing plant where they can then add value to whatever they produce.  So, these are some of the programmes which the Ministry of the Government of the Second Republic is doing to empower women and SMEs.

HON. NKOMO:  What time do they take to give those who own SMEs?

HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA:  I want to thank Hon. Nkomo for that supplementary question.  It is understood.  I think she is very concerned Hon. Member who is working with a lot of SMEs in women in her constituency.  This is an issue which, as a Ministry, we are pushing.  I think this is affecting most of us in the Ministries.  The money which we are talking about is disbursed from Treasury.  We are pushing so that monies can actually go in the beginning of the year so that at least these SMEs which would have applied for loans in the previous year can actually get their loan payments in the beginning of the year so that at least they can start. This is an issue which the Ministry of Finance insists to have, early disbursement of what would have been budgeted for.  I thank you.

          HON. SHIRIYEDENGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for this opportunity and thank you to our Minister for your response. My questions lie in the fact that the Minister has spoken good projects that they are working on, but my question is, is there any public awareness with regards to these programmes? In the communities that we reside in, SMEs are not knowledgeable that women can benefit from programmes like being provided with tractors. Secondly, what are the qualifications for these SMEs to be considered as beneficiaries and what is the selection criteria? I thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much for recognising that the Minister has said a lot of good things, but while she was speaking, people were shouting to say she is saying too much. I suppose you represent the people that you are talking about and when the Minister is giving you answers, it is also for the benefit of those people that you say are not aware of the programmes of the Minister.  I will indulge you and ask the Minister to respond.

          HON. SEN.  M. MUTSVANGWA: I want to thank Hon. Shiriyedenga for the question and concern as you rightly say. Information is power and we realise the importance of making sure that information goes all the way up to the grassroot. As a Ministry, I said this earlier on that we have decentralised in all districts all the way to ward level. Hon. Member, in your district, there is a District Development Officer (DDO) of the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development. Below that DDO, there is a Ward Coordinator at every ward level. They are working together with all line ministries, development partners, NGOs and CSOs because we want our efforts to be all aligned as we help our people.

          So, the issue of making sure that information gets to the people is very close to our heart and this is what we are doing. We are also doing this through community radio stations because we realise that community radio stations have got a far wider reach in terms of reaching communities. We will continue to talk like this. I am happy Hon. Nkomo has asked this question because Hon. Members in this august House have got a duty to take information and make sure that it gets to the people so that they can benefit from all the programmes which are being done by our Government.

          Our SMEs in this country are well structured. We have got SMEs Chamber and we deal with all the presidents, the chairmen of all those chambers and the district chambers of those areas. They all deal with the Ministry. We also send information through our circles. We are promoting and registering a lot. Our co-operatives are also making sure that they make their membership aware of the programmes which are being provided for by the Government. There is no qualification.

          I just want to say everybody needs to understand that the Women Micro-Finance Bank, the SMEDCO, yes, they are Government banks but everybody has to understand that this is business. When you get a loan, you need to pay back. That is very important and whilst they are not asking for collateral, we always tell our women, businesses, our SMEs, to be able to pay back so that money can go round. This is the only way it can be sustainable.

          So, we encourage our membership to say there is nothing for free in business. When Government comes up with money and they give loans to our SMEs and to our women who are starting businesses, we expect them to pay back so that money can go round and benefit more. I thank you.

*HON. MASHONGANYIKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Minister. We have women in different provinces and His Excellency says that no one should be left behind. We have women who have different projects which include goat rearing, poultry and other income generating projects. My question is, what does the Ministry plan to assist these women so that they can access international markets where they can sell their wares because they are doing good projects and I believe that they can be sold outside the country. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I want to thank Hon. Mashonganyika for such encouraging words which motivate us as women. The Hon. Member raised quite an important issue that there are so many women in the rural areas and Government has the mantra that no one will be left behind. There are some who are engaged in different projects like poultry, road runners and crocheting. So, we work with ZIMTRADE which creates a platform for SMEs and women where they can have market linkages so that they can access the international and global market.

I also want to say that we have women and SMEs who have benefitted from such initiatives. Some have gone to exhibit their wares outside the country. Last week, we had women in Zambia where they attended an exhibition. Some have gone to Botswana, Zambia, Dubai and different destinations. As we are facing the OSAKA Japan Expo 2025, we believe that women are going to be part of this exhibition. Some will be exhibiting their baskets and other projects.

We have an arts handicraft which is a parastatal that has funding. The parastatal would target women in different provinces so that they have value for their money and value for their projects instead of them being taken advantage of. They are working hard to make sure that women benefit. They work together with ZIMTRADE and the Standards Association of Zimbabwe so that whatever product can compete competitively with other products in the market.

Indeed, we have quite a big responsibility. We have women who are rearing goats. There are some businesses which would need constant supply instead of supplying products today and then you find that the following day someone does not have the product. We want to make sure that co-operatives assist women. There are some co-operatives which are producing milk for sale. We have families who work together and they produce 18 600 litres which were supplied to Dairibord.  In Nyanga, there are some women in business who are excelling and by the end of the year, they anticipate that they will deliver goods worth US$1 million and in ZiG it will be roughly 13 million.  We continue focusing on the development of women so that no one is left behind.  We want to transform people’s lives from the family level.  I thank you.

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Minister Mutsvangwa, you indeed touched on my constituency where there is a lot of milk. 

Normally I allow 2 supplementary questions so that we cover more questions but because this issue involves women, I will allow one more.

HON. DR. KHUPE:  Thank you very much.  The Minister spoke about the Women’s Development Bank and Development Fund.  These are positive developments but the reason why we proposed those institutions to exist was for them to be lenient when it comes to women in terms of collateral and interest rates.  My problem is with interest rates because many of these SMEs are collapsing because women are failing to service their loans because of high interest rates.  Can the Minister please highlight to this House whether these two institutions are lenient when it comes to interest rates?  We want it to be just like banks in Bangladesh where women do not pay collateral and interest rates are very low.  You find that those banks are very successful because many women end up borrowing money and statistics have shown that if you lend money to a woman, they will work, make money and pay back the loans.  However, because of the high interest rates, women are unable to service their loans.  So, can the Minister highlight whether these institutions are lenient in terms of interest rates?

        HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  It is a pleasure seeing you Hon. Khupe.  I know she has been in the women movement pushing for women empowerment for a very long time.  I do respect that passion and that concern which you have just expressed.  We want to continue working together to ensure that women in this country will enjoy the same way their male colleagues are enjoying.  Yes, there has been a lot of work which has been done by the women movement in this country to make sure that Government is lobbied so that we have these institutions.  Like I said, having the women micro finance bank is very progressive.  I am very proud when I go to regional, continental or global forums to talk about the Women Micro Finance Bank.  Yes, we have had challenges here and there but this is very good.  The Women Micro Finance Bank is targeted at women.  We all know that historically, in this country, women have always been behind.  They did not own means of production and that is well known and it is only fair to have that affirmative action.  The reason we all know that women were not able to move into the traditional commercial banks and get loans was because they would ask for collateral or sometimes even a husband’s consent.  So, when this bank was formed…

    HON. MATEWU:  Mr. Speaker Sir, when we come to this House, we expect Cabinet Ministers to tell us the truth and not to misrepresent what they are saying.  According to the 2022 Auditor General’s Report, the bank that she mentioned, the Women’s Micro-Finance Bank - these institutions are technically insolvent because they have been so underfunded for so long.  So, when the Minister says we have 3.8 million SMEs surely, if we had 3.8 SMEs which were functional then we would have so much money in the Consolidated Revenue Fund but we do not have because…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Matewu, you are out of order.  Please take your seat.  Hon. Matewu when you point at the Minister - it is I who is Chairing so when you start pointing at the Minister - please leave the House.

          Hon. Matewu escorted out of the House.

  HON. MADZIVANYIKA: On a point of order.  It is the truth and only the truth that must set us free.  We are Hon. Members and this is an Hon. Parliament which must take a lead in telling the truth. 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, please take your seat.

HON. MAKUMIRE:  n a point of order Hon. Speaker.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please take your seat.

HON. MAKUMIRE: Standing Order No 65 allows me to give a point of order.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  There is no point of order.

HON. MAKUMIRE:  I refer you to Standing Order No. 65 which allows me to give a point of order.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Please take your seat and let the Hon. Minister be heard in silence.  I will recognise you some time but as for now, let the Minister conclude her submission.

HON. MAKUMIRE: What does the green book say Mr. Speaker Sir?  Can we be guided by the green book?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Please take your seat and let the Minister continue in silence.

HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA:  Hon. Speaker Sir, I will be very happy if the Hon. Members can actually take this information seriously and give it to the people they represent.  I will be happy to bring the evidence to this House of what monies have been paid to Women Micro Finance Bank by the Ministry of Finance, the projects we have done and the number of people who have benefitted.  I am very happy that there is a lot of energy coming out from our Hon. Members, which means they have to understand the programmes which are being done by the Government of the Second Republic under the astute leadership of the President Dr. E.D Mnangagwa.  We do not have any reason to lie because the evidence is there.  What we are talking about here is that if they want a paper which talks to the loans which have been disbursed, where, which province and which beneficiaries and the success story behind, we will be able to bring it to this House.  I wanted to say Hon. Khupe, we are open for discussion with all those who would like to see success stories of women in this country and we would like to say the knowledge you have out there, which you have acquired over a number of years, is very much welcome on board so that we can move together. The issue of interest rates, what I talked about on collateral free loans, I talked about interest rates which are not punitive or prohibitive for our women to get loans. This is what we are targeting.

          The Women Micro Finance Bank which you are talking about through a whole Government approach, has actually received more than 600 tractors from the Ministry of Agriculture, which they are giving to women farmers. So, there is a lot which we can do together and ideas are welcome on board. I thank you.

          *HON. NDUDZO: My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare and in his absence, I am going to redirect the question to the Leader of Government Business in this august House. How is Government distributing food relief in line with the President’s proclamation that this is a year of famine as a result of drought? Those who are in A1 and A2 farms are not getting food relief like those who are in rural communities. I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you for that question which speaks to the drought and hunger that we are facing.  After the ZIMVAC had made investigations and generated a document which depicts what is happening, Government decided to intervene with a food relief programme which does not select whether they are new or old resettlement areas. The challenge at the moment is the distribution logistics. Our desire is that if possible, every household or individual should benefit and get food supplies which are enough to cater for three months and then after three months, another cycle of distribution would commence.

          The most important thing is creating inter-ministerial relationships where logistics are expedited in such a way that grain is taken to different communities. Peripheral areas should be prioritised. Every area should be covered and every place would benefit from the programme. The Hon. Member is aware that rainfall patterns are known by all. You would find that in Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central is where we get most of our grain. Transporting grain from these provinces to other provinces has been the challenge. This is what is being worked on. I thank you.

          *HON. NDUDZO: I want to thank the Hon. Minister for the response. My question is, what is Government doing in terms of transport and logistics for our grain to reach all areas so that there will not be an impression that there is a demarcation between the rural people and those in resettlement areas? At times you find that those who are in rural areas might be far and those who are in resettlement areas are near, but still are not considered. The question is, what is Government planning to do to in order to correct that?

          *HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: The issue that is being raised by Hon. Ndudzo shows that there might be corruption that is happening and that is not Government policy to skip other beneficiaries. The President said that everyone should benefit and the response that I gave is that like what we were told yesterday, the GMB in Gokwe can distribute to Nkayi because they are nearby instead of coming from Matabeleland North. That is understandable. Where you find a truck by-passing villagers and going further, that is not correct. I suggest that you report to the Social Welfare so that such cases are investigated. I thank you.

          *HON. MALINGANISO: My supplementary question is that we are receiving grain which is a good thing. How is Government dealing with disparities where you find that sometimes the number of registered beneficiaries is more than the delivered grain? I thank you.

          *HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: I said before that the research that was done regarding the stock on small grains, maize and other grains are enough to be distributed and to cater for the beneficiaries until we reach the month of October. Government promised that everyone should be given at least 7.5kgs of maize multiplied by 3, which is supposed to last for three months. If there are five people in a household, then all five should benefit. In the next distribution cycle, those that did not get the food aid would also benefit. That is what Government policy is and any formula or mathematics contrary to this set up will not apply.

          *HON. MAVHUDZI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is that we appreciate the food relief programme but this drought also affected those who live in urban areas. What are Government plans to cater for those who are in urban areas? I thank you.

*HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. This question was once responded to but I am going to respond again. From the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC), research which was done even in urban areas and those who need relief were identified. It is not everyone who is in urban areas who need relief but there are those who need food relief. From the findings, it is easy to distribute maize to those who are in rural areas because the shopping centres are scattered. They are not so close to where the beneficiaries live. Those who live in urban areas will be given money which is enough to buy the same amount of grain in towns. I thank you.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 68.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

MEASURES TO CURB ILLEGAL MINING OPERATIONS INSIDE THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, KILLARNEY AND PARKLANDS AREAS

  1. HON. GUMEDE asked the Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife to inform the House the measures being put in place by the Ministry to curb illegal mining operations inside the National University of Science and Technology, Killarney and Parklands areas.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE AND WILDLIFE (HON. DR. NYONI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Allow me to thank Hon. Gumede for the question. Let me start by acknowledging that illegal mining is a serious issue in Zimbabwe as we continue to face serious challenges with illegal mining in several places, not only the places mentioned here. In this particular case, we acknowledge that illegal mining activities have caused significant concern around the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Killarney and Parklands.

My Ministry, through EMA, has been working closely with the law enforcement agencies to combat illegal mining activities around the area in question. I am pleased to inform the House that few raids have been made and some illegal activities curtailed. However, we recognise that this is not a problem that can be solved by an isolated effort alone. It requires concerted collective efforts from the Ministry of Mines and also the Ministry of Local Government, but also the university itself.

We appeal to these authorities to join forces and work together to tackle this illegal mining effectively. These are people who take advantage of the situation to attack and run away. Therefore, they require a coordinated approach. We have not received any complaint from NUST after the raids. We will also ensure public awareness campaigns and educational initiatives undertaken to inform the local communities about the adverse effects of illegal mining and hope that this comes to an end. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

PROTECTION OF WETLANDS AND SENSITIVE WATER BODIES UNDER LOCAL AUTHORITIES

  1. HON. JAMES asked the Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife to apprise the House on the policy regarding the protection of wetlands and sensitive water bodies under all local authorities.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE AND WILDLIFE (HON. DR. NYONI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank Hon. James for the question. The management of wetlands is becoming critical, especially in the face of the increasing impact of climate change. As part of combating the management of wetlands locally and globally, the country has acceded to the Ramsar Convention in May 2013. Furthermore, the provisions of Ramsar Convention have been domesticated in terms of Section 113 of the Conventional Management Act [Cap: 20:27].

The legal framework that governs wetlands utilisation is provided in the Environmental Management Act [Cap. 20:27] under the following sections:

Section 113 provides for declaration of any wetland to be an ecologically sensitive area which the Minister of Environment may impose limitations on development in or around such an area.

Section 113 prohibits the reclamation of draining of any wetland, disturbance by drilling or tunneling, construction of hard-core buildings with reinforced concretes and steel foundations that interfere with the natural function of the wetland without authority from the agency or the Minister. The foregoing is provided for under the Statutory Instrument 7 of 2007 on EIAs and Ecosystems Protection.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Government having noted gaps in the wetland management legislation in the country, a robust policy framework was developed in 2021 leading to formulation of the National Wetlands Policy, National Wetlands Management Guidelines and National Wetlands Masterplan. This framework enables the Government to map and gazette all wetlands in the country followed by gazetting of ecological sensitive areas for specific wetlands in urban and rural local authority areas covering 259 092 ha. Urban centres covered are Harare, Chitungwiza, Epworth, Ruwa, Mzingwane, Marondera, Bindura and Gweru.

Currently, preparatory work to gazette ecologically sensitive areas in Chinhoyi, Mutare, Bulawayo and Masvingo has been completed for gazetting this quarter covering 4 000 ha. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker Sir, Government has developed a five-year wetland restoration roll-out plan (2021 to 2025) targeting priority 40 wetlands in both rural and urban areas with a budget of USD11. 5 million, which Treasury has been supporting. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. JAMES: Thank you Hon. Minister for a very comprehensive reply. Is the Minister aware that some local authorities are merely applying for change of use on some of these areas, how does the Ministry curb that?

HON. DR. NYONI:  I am aware. No local authority has the authority to change the land use and abuse the proper use of wetlands, that only lies with the Ministry of Environment. If there are such cases, please bring them to our attention because our idea is to protect our wetlands. They are very important for keeping our underground water and also for biodiversity. So, we need to join hands to preserve, protect and develop our wetlands. I thank you.

CONTROL OF THE SPREAD OF HYACINTH WATER WEED IN WATER BODIES

  1. HON. MAZHINDU asked the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Wildlife to apprise the House on measures being taken by the Ministry to control the spread of hyacinth water weed which is threatening Lake Chivero, Prince Edward Dam and other water bodies.

          THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE AND WILDLIFE (HON. DR. NYONI): Mr. Speaker, allow me to thank the Hon. Member for the question posed. Indeed, water hyacinth is an alien invasive weed that has become a cause for concern. In response to the written question submitted by Hon. Mazhindu, I would like to provide a detailed overview of the actions and strategies implemented by my Ministry.

          The Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife has been actively engaged in addressing the issue of water hyacinth infestation in various water bodies across the country. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is an invasive aquatic plant that can rapidly multiply and form dense mats on the surface of water bodies, leading to ecological imbalances and negatively impacting biodiversity.

          Water quality monitoring and law enforcement.

          Mr. Speaker, my Ministry through the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has been monitoring the quality of water in dams such as Chivero. It is disheartening, however, to note that there has been the deterioration of water quality in these dams. Such deterioration has been driven by the discharge of partially treated municipal and industrial effluent into rivers that pass through a number of our major towns owing to the breakdown of sewage treatment plants operated by local authorities such as Harare, Ruwa, Chitungwiza and Norton.

          These rivers are the tributaries of our dams and lakes. The discharge of sewer water rich in nutrients has resulted in the proliferation of water weed. In order to mitigate this, the Ministry through the agency has implemented a raft of measures that include issuance of fines, serving of environmental protection orders, prosecution through the courts and bringing the local authorities for hearings before the Environment Management Board.

          Surveillance and monitoring

          One of the key measures undertaken by the Ministry is regular surveillance and monitoring of water bodies known to be at risk of water hyacinth infestation. Through aerial surveys, satellite imagery analysis, and on-going inspections, we are able to track the spread of water hyacinth and identify areas requiring immediate intervention.

          Mechanical removal

          To combat the spread of water hyacinth, our Ministry has deployed mechanical removal techniques such as using specialized boats equipped with cutting blades or rakes to physically remove the plants from affected areas. This manual removal process helps in clearing large patches of water hyacinth and preventing further expansion.

          Biological control

          In addition to mechanical removal, we have also explored biological control methods as a sustainable approach to managing water hyacinth infestations and Kariba weed. This involves introducing biological agents such as water hyacinth hopper and Kariba weed weaver that specifically target water hyacinth while minimizing harm to native species and ecosystems. In this regard, my Ministry is working with the Plant Protection Institute under the Department of Research and Specialist Services in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water Fisheries and Rural Development. The trial will target Umguza, Shangani and Chinyika Dams as well as Borrowdale Ponds.

Community Engagement

          Furthermore, community engagement plays a crucial role in our efforts to control the spread of water hyacinth. We work closely with local communities living around affected water bodies to raise awareness about the impacts of invasive species like water hyacinth and involve them in clean-up activities and monitoring initiatives.

Research and Innovation

          Mr. Speaker Sir, my Ministry continues to invest in research and innovation aimed at developing new technologies or strategies for more effective management of water hyacinth infestations. By collaborating with scientific instructions and experts in this field, we strive to stay at the forefront of combating invasive species threats.

  1. Coordination with Stakeholders

          Lastly, we recognise the importance of collaboration with other Government agencies, non-governmental organisations, research institutions, and international partners in addressing the challenge posed by water hyacinth infestations. By fostering partnerships and sharing best practices, we can enhance our collective efforts towards sustainable environmental conservation. In this regard, for a lasting solution to the infestation, there is need for our local authorities to ensure that they treat their waste water to the appropriate levels set by the law.

This will require a complete revamp of the sewer reticulation and treatment infrastructure. Although my Ministry was part of an Inter-ministerial Committee on pollution in the past that successfully lobbied for borrowing powers to rehabilitate such infrastructure, it is disheartening to note that less than a decade after there is the continued discharge of approximately 416 megalitres of raw effluent into our rivers daily. I thank you Hon Speaker.

2024 FIRST QUARTER HIV PREVALENCE AND MEASURES TO FIGHT THE SCOURGE

  1. HON. BAJILA asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to provide the 2024 first quarter HIV prevalence province by province and to inform the House the measures in place to continue fighting the scourge after the lapse of PEPFAR Scheme.

          THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MOMBESHORA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Member for asking that question to provide 2024 first quarter HIV prevalence province by province and to inform the House the measures in place to continue fighting the scourge after lapse of EPF Scheme.  The summary of Zimbabwe HIV estimate is done once a year not on a quarterly basis. So, the statistics that I am going to give you are from the 1st of January, 2023 to end of year 31st December, 2023.

PROVINCE                                   HIV PREVALENCE %

Matabeleland Province                                     17.30%

Matabeleland North                                           14.50%

Bulawayo                                                            11.70%

Midlands                                                             10.90%

Masholaland Central                                          10.40%

Mashonaland East                                              9.90%

Mashonaland West                                             9.90%

Masvingo                                                             9.60%

Manicaland                                                         9.40%

Harare                                                                 10.90%

Measures for sustainability beyond donor funding, the HIV response in Zimbabwe is funded by Government of Zimbabwe, National Aids Trust Fund and Partners who include Global fund and PEPFAR. Currently, both Global Fund and PEPFAR are still supporting HIV programmes in Zimbabwe although indications are that this may change beyond 2026.

          The Ministry of Health and Child Care and the National Aids Council are currently working with various stakeholders to develop a sustainability road map that is expected to define strategies to plug anticipated gaps in the event that partners are no longer able to support our programmes.   The National Aids Council and the Ministry will continue to run the programmes using local resources. I thank you.

          HON. MUSHORIWA:  Hon. Speaker Sir, could the Hon. Minister explain the above average preference rate in Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North.  You look at the other regions – the other provinces, it is hovering around 9% and those ones are double figures. What could be the reason?  What special action is Government taking to make sure that we bring those rates to the average rate that is prevailing in other provinces?

          HON. DR. MOMBESHORA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Hon. Member, I am sorry to say I cannot give an adequate explanation for those discrepancies.  It is not that much of a discrepancy except in Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North where the percentage is 17.30 and 14.50 respectively. We have to get reports from those provinces through the Provincial Medical Directors.  They give us their annual reports which then explain where they had these deficiencies so that corrective measures can be taken.  Otherwise, the programmes are run the same throughout all provinces. 

So, the uptake of programmes or the mobility of people on the ground may be challenges but I cannot give a specific answer for each province at the moment. I thank you.

          HON. BAJILA: Supplementary! Thank you so much Mr. Speaker. PEPFAR stands for Presidential Emergency Plans For Aids Relief.  It was launched by someone called George W. Bush in 2003.   The Minister of Health and Child Care confirmed that Zimbabwe has been benefiting from this facility since then. 

          My question goes to say, part of these funding programmes that are happening - partners have been around the question of availability of birth control pills at low cost as well as free condoms to Zimbabweans in the fight against HIV.  So, are we as a country anyhow moving towards local manufacturing of these products in the event that these partners move away?  I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.]-

          HON. DR. MOMBESHORA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Thank you for that supplementary question Hon. Bajila.  At the moment, Zimbabwe is not manufacturing any of those commodities.  We have an arrangement with a specific company in India to manufacture oral contraceptives specifically for Zimbabwe but as for condoms, we buy from anywhere. 

          We are not 100% reliant on donor funds for our contraceptives, we are actually purchasing.  We have funds that come from Treasury, a committed fund every year that we also use to purchase contraceptives.  These contraceptives are distributed free in all our institutions for the needy women and adolescents who require them. 

          As for manufacturing, as Government, we are planning to manufacture a lot of molecules locally. It is not an easy thing because you need a licence unless you have developed your own formula which you can then manufacture.  We are planning in terms of partnering with those who can help us build our manufacturing capacities.  We visited quite a lot of manufacturing facilities specifically in Egypt where they developed their local manufacturing much more than any other country in Africa.  We are learning from them and there are interests which have been expressed to come and build our capacity to manufacture medicines in Zimbabwe but to say specifically for contraceptives and condoms, not at the moment.  Thank you. 

          HON. G. K. HLATYWAYO:  Thank you very much Hon. Speaker.  Thank you, Hon. Minister, for the information.  I just wanted to find out – my understanding is that the United States Government PEPFAR programme is mostly being implemented through private voluntary organisations and other non-State actors as it were.  What would be the impact if the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Bill is to become an Act?  Is it going to have any effect in that sector? 

          HON.  DR. MOMBESHORA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  As far as I am concerned, the organisation that is being used to channel those funds is already compliant to the new PVO proposals.  So, I do not see that as a hindrance but what we have seen is that generally PEPFAR funds including the Global Fund, are reducing their contributions and as Government, we are working towards covering that gap that is being created, like I mentioned in my presentation.  I thank you. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Minister.  – [HON. TOGAREPI: You seem to be favouring the other side] - Okay Hon. Chief Whip, I do not see anyone standing up for a supplementary. – [HON. MUSHORIWA: I have been standing.]- Sorry, I did not notice you.  Okay, let me give way to the Chief Whip then I will come back to you.

          HON. TOGAREPI:  I just wanted to check from the Hon. Minister.  We have our National Aids Council and I understand they have been receiving a lot of Government funding to help fight the HIV scourge.  They have been making a lot of noise with a lot of campaigns to try and fight AIDS but of late, they have just gone into hiding.  I do not know, maybe I am missing them given the figures that you have already shown us – if we go to 10% of a population, it is frightening in my view.  What is the Government or Ministry doing to ensure that this fund and council go back to work?  Zimbabwe was at one point applauded throughout the world because we initiated our own funding to fight the AIDS scourge.  What is Government doing to try to revitalise them to go on with the fight to destroy the AIDS challenge in our country?

          HON. DR. MOMBESHORA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank Hon. Togarepi for your question.  Firstly, I would want to say the National Aids Council through the National Aids Trust Fund which was created by Government has done quite a lot and supported the programmes to bring the prevalence down to those figures that we are talking about. I think yes, you can say it is frightening to talk of 10%, but we came from a figure which was almost 30% at the peak of this scourge.  So when we look at where we are coming from - almost 30%, now down to figures like 8 to 14%, we have done a lot to come down. 

I am surprised to know that their visibility has reduced, I will find out because they are still doing quite a lot in terms of purchasing commodities, laboratory equipment and rapid diagnostic kits which have helped us bring down this prevalence to the levels that we are talking about. 

They have a certain percentage that they also help put the Ministry in terms of procurement of drugs, this is why we say we are moving towards self-sustenance rather than depending on donors.  However, the most important thing is that as the numbers are decreasing, it means that our requirements in terms of financial resources are also going to be decreasing rather than increasing.

We currently have about 1. 2 million on ART treatment and we hope the figure is not going to increase but we are going to see a decrease as some are going to get natural attrition and the new being born without being HIV positive because of the modern treatment that we are now instituting.  So, the National Aids Council through the National Aids Trust Fund is doing quite a lot to assist the Ministry of Health and Child Care to be able to be on top of the situation.  I thank you.

HON. MUSHORIWA: My supplementary question Hon. Minister relates to the distribution matrix of condoms in this country, the free condoms.  I want to raise the point that the Protector Plus which was supposed to assist the vulnerable and the poor, currently in the market is going for a dollar, and in a few places, they are costing a dollar for two.  Given the fact that most of our youths have to do an opportunity cost whether to use the dollar to get themselves high or to buy condoms,  I just want to find out whether there is any chance that the Government could direct the National Aids Trust or even take some of the resources to ensure that there is the availability of condoms across the country, especially in poor neighbourhoods?

HON. DR. MOMBESHORA: I am not sure whether the condoms the Hon. Member is referring to are condoms that are coming through our system. The Hon. Member must also know that the way we distribute our condoms is we put them in public places for people to collect for free.  However, some people may be too shy to be seen going to collect so they may be going to purchase from private pharmacies, private pharmacies can also purchase these condoms for their sale but I am not very sure about the prices and so forth.  Condoms that come through global funds and NAC are distributed for free, so I cannot comment on the prices that are now on the market, but we have plenty. 

I am surprised because a few months ago we had a challenge of space at NATPHAM and I ordered that most of those condoms be distributed because I was saying you are keeping a lot of stock, let that stock go out so that we create space for incoming drugs and other commodities.  I am not very sure whether these are our commodities that are being sold or whether people are abusing our commodities because when we distribute them for free, they collect them and start selling them, I cannot comment on that.

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

 

PLANS TO COMPENSATE VICTIMS OF HUMAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT IN CHIPINGE SOUTH

  1. HON. C. HLATYWAYO asked the Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife to inform the House the plans being put in place to compensate victims of human-wildlife conflict with specific reference to areas such as Gumira, Chisuma, Mashubi, Gavhiri in Chipinge South.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE AND WILDLIFE (HON. DR. NYONI): Allow me to thank Hon. C. Hlatywayo for the question. Let me start by acknowledging that human-wildlife conflict is a serious issue for conservation, not only in Zimbabwe but also in the SADC region. Zimbabwe continues to face serious challenges with human-wildlife conflicts, especially in wildlife corridors and in areas adjacent to wildlife areas.

This challenge is increasingly threatening human life and people’s livelihoods. Indications are that losses and injuries emanating from this conflict are fast increasing. The consequences of human-wildlife conflict are more serious, particularly in wildlife areas where livestock and crop production are an important part of people’s livelihoods and income.People are either injured, maimed or killed as a result of encounters with wild animals in efforts to protect their crops or when they carry out their day-to-day routines. Food security at household level is threatened by wildlife damage. Crop damage does not only affect the people’s ability to feed their families but reduces income and also affect nutrition, health and education.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Members, this situation is being made worse by increased human and wildlife populations coupled with settlement encroachment into wildlife corridors and areas. I am sure you might have heard cases in which certain communities are resettling themselves and parceling out land in designated wildlife and forest areas around the country against Government policy. The continued growth of human and wildlife populations and illegal settlements have profound effects on our ecosystems and of our communities. The encroachment of illegal settlements into wildlife areas poses multifaceted challenges that threaten both biodiversity conservation efforts and human well-being. Illegal settlements in wildlife areas contribute to habitat destruction and fragmentation, leading to loss of crucial ecosystems and biodiversity which is obviously the mainstay of Zimbabwe’s economy.

Following the land reform exercise, some land that was set aside for wildlife was allocated to local beneficiaries for various agriculture purposes. Private land with wildlife animals used to be fenced to stop dangerous animals from going into surrounding communities. Furthermore, most fences were taken down by people, some fences were vandalised and used to protect vegetable gardens and some for snaring animals-an illegal form of hunting. This resulted in wildlife moving out of the areas where they were protected, resulting in increased conflicts with settled farmers. It is this influx of people onto wildlife areas and corridors that has exacerbated conflicts between humans and wildlife. As settlements encroach upon natural habitats, they come into closer contact with wild animals, leading to increased incidents of human-wildlife conflict. Crop raids, livestock depredation, and even attacks on humans are escalating tensions and posing significant risk to both human and animal populations. Additionally, illegal settlements often lack basic infrastructure and services, exacerbating socio-economic challenges for inhabitants. Limited access to clean water, sanitation, health, and education perpetuates cycles of poverty and marginalization. It is disheartening that many of such encroachments are no longer genuine communities seeking land but barons and other speculators who are seeking monetary gain.

On the other hand, climate change is also a topical issue in global environment discourse and some conflicts are attributed to climate- induced shortages on food and water, forcing wildlife and livestock to share the scarce resources wherever they occur (livestock being driven into protected areas for grazing and wildlife dispersing into communal areas in search of water). The EI-Nino induced drought is expected to affect not only our communities but our wildlife. There is potential for more conflict and we are preparing ourselves together with key stakeholders to ensure we are able to adequately respond. Therefore, addressing the challenges for human-wildlife conflict requires both holistic and collaborative proactive and reactive approaches that prioritise environmental conservation, social justice, and sustainable development.

Mr. Speaker Sir, to answer the question of what we are doing in terms of compensation, you may recall that in Government, having noted these incessant challenges, approved the establishment of Human-Wildlife Conflict Relief Fund in November 2022 to provide relief to victims. This approval was followed up by an affirmation by His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the 3rd of October 2023, on the need to speed up the process of passing the Parks and Wildlife Amendment Bill which informs the establishment of the HWCRF into law.

The fund can only be launched and implemented when the current work on the new Parks and Wildlife Management Bill is completed and it becomes law. Therefore, while work on this Bill is underway, we have begun to engage our key stakeholders to ensure that by the time the Bill comes into law, we will be ready to implement the various provisions. We understand that hopes and expectations of wildlife victims are high but we have to follow all due processes and ensure a sustainable funding mechanism for the fund is established before its launched.

The fund will initially focus on relief to victims for death, injury, or maiming as a result of problem animals. It is envisaged that at a later time, more areas will be covered by this fund as more resources are realised. Unlike most other funds, human-wildlife conflict relief is complex considering that we are dealing with fugitive animals which cannot always be targeted and controlled. It is our firm belief and hope that once operationalised, the fund will cushion victims and provide a softer landing especially for vulnerable communities. We have been having discussions with key stakeholders on workable modalities of how such a fund can be successfully operationalised including its sustainable funding models. Our hope is that Treasury will be able to provide seed-funding to this important fund as soon as it becomes legally set up. Our expectation is that we will get more resources from our wildlife economy as well as grants from well-wishers in the conservation and development sectors.

Mr. Speaker Sir, it is important to highlight that our Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, the Forestry Commission, some Rural District Councils, organisations, private players such as Bubye Valley Conservancy and Gonarezhou Conservation Trust already have some functional modalities that they are using to provide some form of assistance to victims. I am sure communities in Gumira Chisuma Mashubi, Gavhiri in Chipinge South should be able to get assistance for verified cases. Our intention is to come up with a functional national system whilst allowing local level initiatives to continue. The approved national system will be brought to this august House for consideration.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker Sir, it is also important to highlight that we are not using the word compensation but relief. Compensation schemes face the following challenges such as lack of sufficient funds, fraudulent claims, bureaucratic inadequacies, and the practical barriers that some illiterate farmers from remote areas must overcome to produce a claim and valuation of compensation and verification processes.

I thank you.

DEFORESTATION OF TIMBER TREES IN CHIPINGE-CHIMANIMANI AREAS

  1. HON. C. HLATYWAYO asked the Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife to inform the House what plans the Ministry is putting in place to address the deforestation of timber trees in Chipinge, Chimanimani areas.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE AND WILDLIFE (HON. DR. NYONI): Mr. Speaker Sir, indeed deforestation of our timber resources is a serious issue which needs to be addressed. The country’s economy relies heavily on natural resources to generate employment, income and foreign exchange. The forestry sector which largely consist of exotic plantations and commercial indigenous timber contributes approximately 3% to the GDP.

Approximately 40% or 15 624 000 ha of Zimbabwe’s land area is covered by forests. Of this, 5. 1% is classified as primary forest, which is the most biodiverse and carbon-dense form of forest. Zimbabwe currently has approximately 100 000 ha of planted or exotic forests. The major players in the industry include Allied Timbers, Border Timbers, Wattle Company, Hunyani Forests and Mutare Board and Paper Mills. The exotic plantation forestry industry contributes most of the 3% that the forestry sector contributes to the GDP.

However, Zimbabwe has been facing significant challenges in managing its timber and forestry resources, including wildfires, land invasions and encroachment, brain drain, baboon damage, conflicting national legislation, capitalisation, siltation in rivers and destruction of forest business. As a result, the area under forest has rapidly declined, which will impact the future supply of timber. If the challenges currently affecting the sector are not addressed, Zimbabwe is likely to become a net importer of timber.

The local resource alone will not be able to meet the current demand for such timber, which means the situation will definitely worsen in the future. Although there is an Instrument (S. I. 116 of 2000) that bans the export of indigenous timber, it has not been effective in addressing poaching, overharvesting and smuggling.

Apart from commercial timber, which is limited to one geological area, the country’s indigenous forest and woodlands provide a diverse range of products including fuel wood, artisan crafts, fodder, fruits, honey, mushrooms, insects, bark for rope, medicines, leaf litter and gum. These forests also provide important services such as watershed conservation, carbon fixation, windbreaks, shade, soil stability and wildlife habitat.

The indigenous forests in Western Zimbabwe are crucial for environmental protection. Due to their significance in terms of environmental conservation and commercial timber exploitation, 800 000 ha of these forests were designated in the 1970s, while another 700 000 ha are being managed as communal forestland.

Mr. Speaker Sir, my Ministry is putting in place measures to ensure we reverse this loss of both viable land for timber as well as the timber itself. We are engaging beneficiaries of land reform who were given plantation land and are now converting it to other uses. Our intention is to have those who were allocated plantation land to continue with trees as a viable form of land use. We are glad that the current growth in the construction sector has allowed farmers to see value in timber plantations as viable business options. We are also engaging the Ministry of Lands to ensure that we deal with the issue of illegal settlers who in most cases are responsible for the bulk of degradation taking place in our forest areas. Over and above this, we have embarked on a tree planting drive and creation of legacy forests. We are supporting the Presidential horticultural programme and we have received support from the First Lady who has been instrumental in spearheading a culture of tree planting across the country.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the above actions coupled with monitoring and law enforcement by the Forestry Commission, should be able to reduce the rate of forest loss in the country. However, to effectively manage our forest resources, we need a well-resourced and capacitated Forestry Commission. The institution is in dire straits due to funding challenges which are not entirely of its own making but a policy decision issue. In January 2016, as part of austerity measures, the Treasury discontinued its employment grant to the Forestry Commission.

This grant had been a long-standing pledge to the FC, made as a conciliatory gesture after one of the two major revenue streams of the Forestry Commission, Allied Timbers was privatised and registered with the Government of Zimbabwe as the shareholder. To sustain the institution, Treasury decided to continue providing salary grants while funding operations with proceeds from own funds, including Ngamo Safaris, a strategic business unit.

However, Mr. Speaker Sir, the Forestry Commission has been facing several distressing challenges since 2016. Revenue generation has significantly declined over the past decade. In 2015, the Government brought in a levy for tobacco farmers. The idea was to include the sector within the country’s afforestation drive. The levy was reintroduced at a rate of USD0. 015 per dollar of the selling price, with the revenue generated ring-fenced to finance re-forestation activities. The Forestry Commission which was approved to be the recipient of this fund has only received ZWL162 million in 2019 and 2020. This has crippled the organisation which had advanced own funds in anticipation of the release of the tobacco levy.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I therefore, call upon Parliament and Treasury to ensure that the institution is supported. We cannot renege from our responsibility of financing forestry in Zimbabwe. I thank you.

PROBLEM OF CROCODILE ATTACKS AT LAKE CHIVERO

  1. HON. TSVANGIRAI asked the Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife to inform the House what measures the Ministry has put in place to address the problem of crocodile attacks at Lake Chivero.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE AND WILDLIFE (HON. DR. NYONI): Allow me to thank the Hon. Tsvangirai for the question. Allow me to give a background on the human and crocodile conflicts. A total of three (3) people were recorded by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) as having been attacked by the crocodiles, two men had their legs injured in February 2024, whereas one woman was killed at Crocodile Creek in March 2024. The problematic crocodiles were searched and eventually eliminated (killed) in March 2024. Since then due to various interventions, there has been no reports on incidences of human-crocodile conflict.

Mr. Speaker Sir, my Ministry has put in place the following measures to mitigate human-crocodile conflicts in Lake Chivero;

  • ZimParks is holding frequent education and awareness session with fishermen and holiday makers on the potential threats posed by crocodiles on the lake.
  • ZimParks has put up “Beware of Crocodiles” signs at all strategic points (entry points, offices and on the lakeshore).
  • ZimParks has intensified enforcement of the “fish from the bank” by law through Ranger patrols along the lakeshore.
  • ZimParks is making arrangements to open up a canoe hiring facility for fishermen/anglers so that they do not dip legs in the water as they fish.
  • The recent increase in crocodile sightings has also spurred ZimParks to investigate the root cause of such. Current efforts are underway to investigate reports of escapees from former crocodile farms upstream of Lake Chivero where crocodiles are said to have been abandoned and may have found their way into the river systems and ultimately into the lake.
  • ZimParks has enhanced monitoring efforts in Lake Chivero and where possible, remove problem crocodiles in the water body. Due to its sensitivity to high human activity, it is important to reduce the crocodile population to levels where human-wildlife conflict is kept at a minimum. I thank you.

DISCONNECTION OF CHIPINGE SOUTH CONSTITUENCY FROM A DEDICATED POWERLINE

 

  1. HON. HLATYWAYO asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to explain to House why Chipinge south Constituency was disconnected from a dedicated power line at the Green Fuel Ethanol Plant, a situation which has deprived local residents from benefitting on the electricity supplied.

          THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you Hon. Speaker. Part of Chipinge South Constituency is normally fed from a Chisumbanje One 33kV line from Mukwasine 132kV substation to Checheche and the surrounding areas. In the event of outages on Chisumbanje, one 33KV line, the clients are fed directly from the Green Fuel 333kV transmission line that evacuates power generated at Green Fuel Ethanol Plant onto the national grid for the benefit of all the lines fed from the matinal grid. Currently, all lines are in service. If there are nay clients having power supply challenges, may you please get in touch with the ZETDC Chiredzi Depot to expedite the resolution of the problem?

INCENTIVES FOR INDEPENDENNT POWER PRODUCERS

 

  1. HON. C. MOYO asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to appraise the House on the incentives that have been put in place for Independent Power Producers (IPPS) to tap into the lucrative solar investment projects.

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

  • Government Project Support Agreement for solar Power Projects aimed at de-risking ZETDC off taker risk and related financial risks now in place for use by prospective IPPs.
  • Solar IPPs now able to directly sale their power to private off takers like mining companies and industry in order to get foreign currency receipts from their energy sales that will enable them to pay off their underlying foreign currency debt obligations.
  • Mining Companies and ferrochrome producers now compelled to establish their own power stations in order to eliminate subsidies that they are getting from ZETDC through power supplies. The development should see more Solar Power Stations by IPPs being developed by IPPs for uptake by Mining Companies and ferrochrome producers.
  • ZETDC has adopted a massive net metering project and power banking facilities that allows Solar Generators to integrate their generation with ZETDC system for power set offs that incentives private players to develop more Solar Projects.
  • Deliberate efforts are being made to further reduce current import bill through replacement power from Solar IPPs.
  • Duty exemptions on Solar equipment by IPPs investing in Solar Generation and
  • USD45 million fund created by a partnership between Government and the private sector to support more investment in green energy of which Solar IPPs are critical in unlocking the opportunities arising from climate change mitigation measures.

MEASURES TO SOLVE POWER CONNECTION CHALLENGES IN TSANZAGURU, RUSAPE

  1. HON. SAGANDIRA asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to explain and to appraise the House on the Ministry’s plans regarding measures being taken to solve power connection challenges in Tsanzaguru new stands in Rusape.

          THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Tsanzaguru project, the reticulation project is being funded by customers who are pooling resources towards the  construction of the MV lines. ZETDC will then come in with construction of HV lines and three substations. Phase 1 of the project is at 35% and phase 2 is at 10% completion. To accelerate the two projects, ZETDC is in the process of mobilising funding to procure power line and substation materials. The project is expected to be completed in the 2nd quarter of 2025.

INTERVENTIONS ON REDUCING NEW HIV INFECTIONS AND ACCESS TO SEXUAL REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AMONGST THE YOUTHS

  1. HON. P. ZHOU asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to apprise the House of the following:

       a) Government’s policies and interventions towards reducing new HIV infections in Zimbabwe among young people, particularly in the 15–24-year age group.

           b) What Government has done to increase access to youth-friendly Sexual Reproductive Health Services

    c) What Government is doing to ensure access to HIV prevention services to young people

(a) The first step in sustaining the response was to achieve epidemic control, also known as 95-95-95, that is at least 95% of the people living with HIV know their HIV status, at least 95% of people who know their HIV status are on treatment, and at least 95% of people on treatment have a suppressed viral load. Now, that we have achieved that, we need to sustain or maintain our achievement through the following: - increased domestic aid response (look at new sources of funding for health and HIV including the formal sector); improved community engagement, ownership, and leadership and increased public-private partnerships.

(b) The ministry is training healthcare providers to be more assertive, understanding, and judgmental when providing sexual and reproductive health services to adolescents and young people.

The Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), has made efforts to improve sexual and reproductive education and services for young people by supporting sexual and reproductive health programming articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options and providing norms and standards and promoting their implementation and monitoring.

This was done through the following actions: - In 2015, with support from partners, the MoHCC and the National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Coordination Forum, initiated the process of adapting 2015 WHO Global standards for quality health care services for adolescents. These guidelines have also adopted the East and Southern Africa (ESARO) region standards addressing Policies, Procedures, and Institutional Support in addition to the eight WHO Standards for Quality Health Care Services for Adolescents.

These National Guidelines on Clinical Adolescent and Youth Friendly Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Provision (YFSP) assist service providers and managers in all settings to provide quality, efficient, and accessible youth populations. They are also a key reference document for on-the-job training and mentorship opportunities for service providers in youth-friendly service provision.   

The guidance aims to provide services that should be safe, effective, and affordable; meet the individual needs of young people (adolescent males and females) who return when they need to and recommend these services to “friends”, understanding what young people want in the context of their community and society is, therefore an essential aspect of this definition.

Clinical services are being provided through service delivery points in a variety of settings such as outreach in places where young people meet; tertiary institutions, youth centres and health facilities.

What the Government is doing to ensure access to HIV prevention services for young people?

( c) putting in place policies to reduce new HIV infection; information education and communication on abstinence and mutual faithfulness; HIV testing and counselling which is an entry point for enhanced HIV prevention as well as referral for access to HIV treatment services; condom promotion and communication. When used correctly and consistently, condoms are an effective way to prevent HIV transmission; voluntary medical male circumcision to reduce HIV infection at individual and population levels; we also prevent HIV infection through pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) given to HIV discordant couples or those who do not know the HIV status of their partners and feel they are at risk.  There is also Post-exposure prophylaxis for victims of rape or sexual assault by HIV positive or unknown status; putting HIV-positive persons on treatment and making sure they adhere to treatment so that their viral load is undetectable is also a good way to reduce/prevent further transmission (known as treatment as prevention).

 

Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER, in terms of Standing Order No. 68.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

ELECTRICITY SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. E MOYO):   Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I rise to give a Ministerial Statement on the electricity situation in Zimbabwe.  My presentation is going to be divided into the following sections: - power generation, I will look at our different stations: IPPs, the outlook of our electricity situation and our priorities to mitigate the current electricity situation.

On power generation, the country through the Zimbabwe Power Company is currently generating a daily average of 1 300 megawatts against a demand of an average of 1 850 megawatts.

  Hwange Power stations, stages one and two are producing 380 megawatts from units 1, 3, 4, and 6. Unit 2 is under statutory maintenance and is expected to return to service in July 2004.  Unit 5 is undergoing a major overhaul which is expected to be completed in May 2025.    Units 7 and 8 are stable and generating a total of 614 megawatts.

Kariba Power Station remains constrained due to low water levels. As a result, the Zambezi River Authority is implementing a tight water allocation schedule that has seen Zimbabwe and Zambia reducing their generation.  Kariba power station is generating at an average of 292MW out of a dependable or an installed capacity of 1050MW due to low water levels. 

Independent Power Producers (IPPs)

IPPs are producing an average of 50MW which is coming into the grid while solar net metering is giving out 24MW.

          Imports

          An average of 200MW have been secured from import arrangements with ESKOM, EDM and HCB to help cover the electricity shortfall. 

Load shedding is being implemented in stages depending on the shortfall on a particular day as follows;

          Stage 1:  Supply shortfall is below 300MW and load shedding is mainly targeted at residential loads while prioritising productivity and security points.

          Stage 2:  Supply shortfall is between 300MW and 500MW and targets some industrial loads in addition to residential loads.

          Stage 3: Which is very rare the supply deficit is above 500MW.

          Due to the shortfall in internal generation the country has been experiencing Stage 1 load shedding until mid-June, 2024.  Thereafter, there has been increased demand resulting in stage 2 load shedding.  Furthermore, ZESA has ring fenced 100MW for winter wheat to cater for food security.

          Outlook

          Demand in the winter season is expected to increase to an average of 1900MW, which without significant intervention would result in continued load curtailment.  There are however several mitigation measures that are being implemented in order to narrow the supply demand gap.

          Government is looking at increasing power supply sources through an enabling policy and regulation environment for support and procurement from Independent Power Producers (IPPs), Embedded Generation and the continued involvement of third parties in the reformed electricity supply industry such as the Intensive Energy User Group (IEUG), Utility Warehousing, Africa GreenCo, Negomo and others - these players procure power locally and regionally and supply direct customers, energy efficiency improvements and demand side management.  Government will continue mobilising foreign currency to enable the utility to increase our electricity imports.

          Prioritisation of Hwange Power Station.

          The refurbishment of Hwange Power Station’s Unit 5 is a critical step in addressing Zimbabwe’s Electricity shortfall in the short to medium term.  Recent updates indicate that the completion of refurbishment work on this unit will result in an additional 160MW to the national grid which is a significant boost considering the current deficit of 300MW.  This enhancement in capacity is expected to have a positive impact on both economic and financial performance by mitigating production losses due to power shortages.

          Furthermore, the allocation of resources to Hwange Units 1 to 4 and 6, in order to minimise plant down time on failure, will further alleviate the electricity shortages.  With these developments, prioritising resources for the power station’s key production related issues is indeed a viable short term solution.

          The repowering of units 1 to 6 in 48 to 60 months’ time in the short term will eventually restore the station’s capacity to at least 840MW which should significantly curtail load shedding and stabilise the power supply for the country.

          Demand Supply Management

          The Switch-off Switch initiative is a strategic approach within Demand Side Management (DSM) that encourages consumers to actively participate in energy conservation by turning off non-essential electrical devices.  This not only contributes to immediate reductions in energy consumption, but also promotes a culture of energy awareness and responsibility.  ZESA Holdings has begun a public relations campaign to effectively communicate the benefits of energy conservation to the public, fostering a collaborative effort to manage demand and contribute to a more sustainable energy system.

          Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)

          The integration of a BESS is indeed a critical step towards enhancing energy supply stability; BESS systems are designed to store electrical energy for later use, playing a pivotal role in balancing the supply and demand for electricity within the power grid.  By storing excess energy generated during periods of law demand, BESS can provide backup power during peak demand times, thus ensuring a stable energy supply and mitigating disruptions caused by load shedding. 

It is essential that BESS installations are paired with a reliable source of charging supply such as solar or wind power to maximise their effectiveness.  This approach not only ensures a continuous energy supply, but also facilitates the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid, contributing to a more sustainable energy ecosystem.

As we continue to regularly monitor the hydrological outlook on the Zambezi River, the country expects an improved hydrological season for 2024 to 2025 due to the anticipated La Nina phenomenon.

We urge all consumers to be responsible in their daily power consumption and to work hand in glove with the Government to resolve the energy challenge.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. CHIDUWA:  Supplementary question Mr. Speaker Sir.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I just wanted to find out from the Hon. Minister, the reliability of us purchasing power within the Southern African power group under the Short Term Energy Market (STEM).  Why I am asking that question is you indicated that you are also getting power from ESKOM, and my understanding is that South Africa is also load shedding and seemingly, you are saying we are importing from South Africa. 

I may not understand the dynamics, but I thought we could get something from STEM within the Southern Africa power group.  I submit.

HON. TOGAREPI:  I just want to check, we are looking at a situation where the energy supply, maybe is in a deficit.  Why are we not pursuing what we have seen in other countries, where all water bodies that have enough water have small hydroelectric power stations created?  We have even big rivers like your Tokwe-Mukorsi, Mutirikwi and you also have got small dams.  If you go to countries like Switzerland, they go to every small dam and there is hydroelectric power that can look after communities around it.  Have you explored that as Government, to try and increase our energy that comes from hydro power?

HON. SHAMU:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  In listening to the Minister’s statement, I find that missing out are major challenges if we are talking of the state of affairs as we stand today.  The issue of cables, Mr. Speaker Sir, in Chegutu we have over 1000 hectares that we should have planted wheat, but we failed to do so simply because ZESA says we have no cables.

Furthermore Mr. Speaker Sir, we hear of ring-fencing areas that grow wheat.  We grow wheat, but the amount of shedding that we are facing is crop threatening and if no measures are taken to ensure that anomaly is corrected, we will find that our yield would be affected.

Finally, the Minister talked of public relations in order for people to be made aware of the conservation of energy.  We have not as yet met any officer who is there to promote the conservation of energy and even if it were so, maybe they know that there is no energy to go and conserve because of the load shedding that we are facing.  So I would feel that it would have been much better if the Minster would have included those areas that are affecting our efforts to economically recover the challenges we are facing in this country.  I thank you.

*HON. NYABANI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to find out more from the Minister about solar power.  The Minister mentioned that we have 24 megawatts and as I was searching, the Gwanda Project is supposed to start this year until 2026 and is anticipated to generate 600 megawatts.  Are there other partners or any other programme meant to augment the electricity?  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. E. MOYO):  Mr. Speaker Sir, the first question was on the reliability of purchasing power from the Southern Africa Power Pool.  We have recently signed a power purchase agreement with ESKOM, which was done in April and that goes for a year.  So, we have a firm supply of 50 megawatts from ESKOM and then 50 megawatts variable supply, meaning that the other 50 is supplied as and when it is available but then the 50 megawatt supply is firm because it is contractual.  We also have imports from EDM Mozambique which gives us 50 megawatts.  There is also HCB of Mozambique also giving us 50 megawatts.  All these contracts were signed for a year and were resuscitated this past April; they will subsist until April 2025.  So, we have firm 150 megawatts supply and variable 50 megawatts supply.  Energy supply deficit and all water bodies should ordinarily have generation capacities.  We have small hydros that are located in the Manicaland provinces and in terms of their efficiency, run seasonally.  During the rainy season, they produce more but now they have depleted their production because of low water levels. 

In the case of dams like Tokwe-Mukorsi, there is something that is going on right now.  There were issues of ownership between different agencies but I think those have been resolved.  That particular generation hydro plant at Tokwe-Mukorsi has attracted national projects status, which means they are able to secure funding even from our pension funds in the country.  I know that those logistics are being finalised.  Then for the other dams, the current dams that are being built now like the Gwayi-Shangani, those are built with a provision for power generation.  So, rather than have a dam just for the sake of water, we now also have a multi-purpose use of those dams.  So, the current Government policy position is that all water bodies should have generation capacities. Unfortunately, some of the dams were built and that provision was not done.  I am sure it could be looked into and perhaps some innovative ways could then be developed.  I think it is a good point.  Some of these things were not done because in the past, Kariba used to be very reliable and power shortages were very rare.  Now that we are facing these hydrological issues, we now have to be innovative. 

The other question was about missing information in the text.  Yes, we could have put in everything but we looked at key areas that were demanded when this Ministerial Statement was ordered.  The issue of theft of cables is a very worrying element in our energy space and we call upon neighbourhoods, citizens, MPs and everybody to make people aware of the problems associated with this.  Someone goes to sell a cable for a few dollars just to buy a bottle of beer and yet their parent is dying.  They go to the shops and complain that the beer is not cold enough when they have themselves stolen a cable which will have deprived them of electricity.  So, I think there is need for constant awareness on the effects of these thefts.  What we have done to mitigate the issue of time-out as a result of cable shortages is that we have gone into a joint venture with a foreign company which has partnered with ZENT - ZESA Enterprises for the cable manufacturing.  So, we are going to have the bulk of our cables manufactured locally so that we save on importation and save on the time that we have to wait for cables coming from outside the country. 

The ring-fencing for wheat production – yes, 100 megawatts has been ring-fenced for that purpose.  However, to benefit from that, maybe there was missing information through farmers associations that we requested to put together farmers into clusters and then their meters to be submitted to ZETDC for that purpose so that they are spared that load shedding to enable their crops to grow well.  I am surprised that some farmers have not benefitted from that.  Every Thursday morning, we have a virtual meeting with farmer leaders and some other farmers in the country and they have expressed that they are happy with the supply of power for their wheat crop.  If anyone missed out on that, they need to get in touch with their local ZETDC office to register so that they are part of the ring-fenced power supply. 

On the publicity to conserve energy, I think different media platforms are being used.  The Website is being used and I think we need to do more.  I agree there is not much especially on net metering.  There are a lot of people who have roof tops that are generating in excess of their requirements and we need to have a sort of arrangement so that they can also benefit from their excess supply.  Currently, we are receiving 24 megawatts from net metering programmes but we think that the potential for net metering benefits is in excess of 100 megawatts.  So, that is one thing that will have to add energy to. 

The Gwanda Solar Project has generated a lot of interest and it is something that the ZPC and the developer are working on.  As you may be aware, there have been a lot of problems that have caused delays and since some of the issues are still pending in the courts, I may be limited to say more than what I have done.  The project, through a court ruling, was supposed to go ahead and I think there are still a bit of issues here and there but the focus is that the project has to materialise.

          HON. MUROMBEDZI: My question to the Hon. Minister is, in his report we have heard how this country continues to grapple with a significant power generation deficit that affects both the rural and urban population, exacerbating challenges for economic development and quality of life.

          The setbacks from the Chivhayo solar scandal that he has just alluded to where taxpayers’ money was mismanaged have only deepened these issues. Considering the critical role that PPPs play in addressing our energy needs, what comprehensive measures and robust mechanisms is the Ministry implementing to ensure that future mega projects like these live up to their billing? Specifically, how will the Ministry ensure that these projects are managed with the highest standards of transparency and accountability to prevent mismanagement of funds?

          Additionally, what strategies are in place to guarantee that the benefit of such projects extend to our rural communities, ensuring equitable access to reliable power across the entire nation?

          *HON. MAPIKI: As we migrate from hydro electricity to thermal and smart electricity, how far have you gone on the issue of having floating solar panels at Kariba?  I wanted to check on the issue of lithium batteries. What is the Ministry doing, because getting electricity from ESKOM costs about 0.04c but with lithium, sometimes people use them to complement the power?

          There are farmers who do not have transformers and 60% of water bodies do not have transformers. We have companies which are under your Ministry but these companies are quiet about transformers.

          HON. BAJILA: I would like to thank the Minister for the question and also thank Hon. Mapiki for picking my question on a floating solar panel on our water bodies so that we could be using them to get more electricity. My remaining question is on the issue of theft. Cable theft is a serious problem.  I would like to find out if the Minister has done an investigation on the possible involvement of ZESA employees in cable theft because they are the ones who know when electricity will be gone and when it will be back?  We have not heard of any cable thieves getting harmed in the process of conducting cable theft. Has this investigation been done with the view of making amendments to the Electricity Act so that cable theft can become a more serious crime than what it is now with very heavy penalties of minimum of 100 years in prison?  I thank you.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: I want to thank the Hon. Minister for his Ministerial Statement. The World Bank reports that the 2030 aspiration by Government may not be achieved due to energy and power challenges because currently we are losing close to 6.1% of our GDP. I want to find out from the Minister, you look at unbundling and rebundling of ZESA as an entity to bring more efficiency. We know that Government created five companies out of ZESA but the question we then understood when Dr. Gata was appointed as chairperson of ZESA was that there was an indication of rebundling so that they create efficiency. Can the Hon. Minister advise this House how far that has gone?

          Tied to the above question is the question on infrastructure investment. One of the key things that we have noted is that we are losing a lot of power due to our infrastructure because the distribution and production system has actually outlived its life.

          My third question is on net metering which the Hon. Minister has alluded to. What is Government doing in making sure that companies which are doing solar installation should be mandated to ensure that there is a provision that allows the automatic net metering between the home owners and electricity companies?

          What is the gestation period of the agreement that the Minister has reported to have signed with Sky Power in terms of power generation in Manhize? Mazowe and other places. When can we have those 300MW that we understand this contract would generate for the country?

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Can you please clarify your question on infrastructure. Are you saying because the infrastructure is poor the power that is generated is lost or is leaking somehow? Can you clarify on that one please?

          HON. MUSHORIWA: On infrastructure for instance, the distribution system, we are losing a lot of power primarily because there has not been any investment for some time. The efficiency in terms of making sure that the electricity that is generated at 100MW, by the time it reaches the consumer, it arrives at 76MW. That is my question.

          HON. E. MOYO: Thank you to all Hon. Members for your questions. On the power generation deficit, I spoke about earlier on especially with reference to the Chivhayo issue as exacerbating the problem that we have. True that is so. The power that we could be benefiting from that project if that project had taken place would have assisted us in reducing the current deficit. That is agreed. On the logistics of going forward, I indicated that the ball now is between ZPC, ZESA Holdings and Intratek. That is how far I can go.

          On the PPP projects, what are the measures to safeguard taxpayers’ money. With each episode of a problem lessons are learnt even on how to structure these agreements. My own view is that there could have been a problem in that agreement. Now that we have structures in Government that are dealing with investments, specialists that have been employed to deal with that like ZIDA and we also have legal advisors in different departments of Government, this should reduce the risk of weak contractual agreements.     

          On the Rural Electrification and that you might not meet the target; our aspiration is to meet the target 2030 and we are accelerating pace of deployment, particularly when you look at the rural areas, we are not only doing grid extensions, we are also doing mini-grids which come with a clean energy source. 

A few weeks ago, we were in Bhemba in Thsolotsho where we were commissioning such a smart village with all the power in the different houses even in the huts, all done by REA.  We also have street lights there in the rural areas, boreholes, irrigation facilities, all schools in the area, clinics and business centres were done. We are encouraging profitable use of that electricity by people coming up with a small industry like welding and other such industries.  So, these are some of the efforts that we are doing to also attend to our rural areas and show that by 2030, we are able to take everybody on board.  So, we do not want to plan for failure, we want to plan for success.

          There is also what we call a total electrification strategy that we have come up with, which we shall soon be launching and that strategy has been done in collaboration with a number of partners including the World Bank.  It is going to be launched and people will soon know how we want to roll it out. 

Floating solars in Kariba; we have done a lot of work regarding that.  I am sure you will not understand that when you go into that kind of exercise, there a number of milestones that you must achieve to get there, with EMA, the agreements that area has to do with National Parks, we are sharing the water course, sharing the dam with Zambia.  We need to link up with the Zambians.  So those were stages that have been taken so far. We are at a stage of discussions around the PPA (Power Purchase Agreement), ZDET sees as the off taker, you need to agree with the possible developer so that at the end of the day, there is agreement on the PPA and then a license is applied for with ZERA so that the project can begin.  Our expectations are that by January, February next year, we should see that project being deployed on that lake. 

We have also asked different people who have come through to say that they are interested in deploying floating solar systems to also look at other water bodies in the country.  The problem sometimes that people are looking for water bodies that are closer to the grid so that they avoid building transmission lights.  So, by then, we are trying to come up with a mechanism that is going to ameliorate that problem. 

Lithium batteries, yes; I was reading somewhere that there are companies that are now beginning to produce lithium batteries.  The idea really is that we be self sufficient in terms of that.  However, we are still not yet developed in terms of technology to be able to be efficient in that area.  We have gone offshore to look for investors to come and partner with us in the country so that we can produce all those things locally.

The issue transformers, is also another issue.  We are producing transformers at ZENT here in Harare, but then we cannot match the demand for customers.  So, this is why we have approached possible partners and we have signed MOUs with them so they can come and partner ZENT and then we can have our transformers produced 100% locally.

We currently have a company that was here two weeks back which is part of this consortium of companies that are coming in to deploy technology and funding for production of electrical equipment in the country.

          The issue of theft of cables, yes; we do a lot of investigations and with each case, we determine who is doing it, where they are selling it and all that goes around the issues of theft. The current statistics that we have indicate that scrape metal dealers are the major culprits in this business but it is also true in some, not in the majority of cases, where you find that you have ex-ZESA or current people who are involved. Because of the penalties, what we have seen is that there are very few active employees who are involved in this.

          Let us also remember that the issue of electricity is not confined to ZESA employees only. We have people that work in mines who are electricians, engineers and people that work in different settings in the country who are also conversant with this thing about electricity. So, it is really the issue of our own vigilance as communities and also tipping or working with the police so that they are aware of what is happening because these people do these things in communities and sometimes, they hide their loot within the communities. So, it calls for all of us to come on board to try and reduce this scourge.

          On ferrochrome, I have just given ferrochrome as an example, in trying to reduce the burden of electricity and subsidy in the country, what we have asked ferrochrome producers to do is to develop their own generation plants for own supply. That is also going to reduce because the ferrochrome sector alone takes about 25% of electricity generated. So, we are saying they should now begin to develop their own generation plants so that they can free electricity for other uses.

          On infrastructure investment, it is true that our infrastructure is old and there has been some time without investment in the development and strengthening of the integrity of our infrastructure. However, this has been as a result of a non-cost reflective tariff for over ten years and it was only last year in December that we reached a cost reflective in terms of tariff in the country. Some work has begun to refurbish our network and I am sure you can bear witness; you have seen our people working all over the country to revive electricity infrastructure in the country.

          We are also looking at further investments and a few weeks ago, we were in Spain meeting investors, some of whom are interested in these transmission investments. Transmission investments take a lot of money and require long term investments. You need a long-term investor to go into that, but it is noted there are losses, however, we are working on strengthening that network.

          Net-metering; what should happen really is that, you know it is not easy to know who has excess power generated from their rooftop. So, it should be the customer coming on board but however, on the other side, we need the utility to advertise this so that people know what to do. We now have some people who are currently applying and we have others who have connected on the net-metering platform and they are giving us a total of about 24 megawatts currently.

          On Sky Power, yes, we signed an MOU with them and they had promised to come into the country to launch in Matopo, I think on the 29th May, but from their side, I think side had issues and they could not come. So, an MOU is not really an agreement, it is an operation statement to say we are going to cooperate on this and they have committed themselves to say they are going to do that. We will continue to energise them as the Ministry of Energy.

          HON. DR. KHUPE: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir. Hon. Minister, if I got the figures that you gave to us correctly, you said our current generation is 1300 megawatts and our requirement is 1850 megawatts. According to my calculations, the deficit is 550 megawatts whereas we are importing 200 megawatts. Why is it that we are not importing an equivalent to our deficit as a stop gap measure whilst we are looking at other avenues to cover the deficit? Is it because of foreign currency challenges or are there other factors apart from foreign currency challenges? I thank you.  

*HON. CHIDZIVA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. Hon. Minister, may you please clarify the issue of a machine with troubleshoots faults?  When you invite ZESA technicians, they tell you that there are a few machines and it takes time for faults to be attended to. There is also an issue of computer colleges. Is there something that can be done so that children who go to such schools are not prejudiced? Moreover, there is the pilot project of the Presidential Solar Schemes, how far has the project gone?

Regarding the sealing of cables, when replacements come to different communities, sometimes aluminum cables are coming. Can we use aluminum as an alternative if it works the same as copper? In addition, the issue of transformers, they should not be in dark secluded places because this is where people go to steal. There should be lights covering the transformers. The ZESA employees were not clarified and I dedicate the response on how they are given transport and logistics.

Furthermore, the other issue is of energy mix. How far has the issue gone? I wanted to understand the issue of wind power and solar as alternatives. I thank you.

HON. MANGONDO: Let me first acknowledge the comprehensive response that has been given by the Hon. Minister. I have a couple of issues to raise with the Hon. Minister. The first one has to do with the several mega projects that…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member, when you acknowledged the comprehensive responses that he is giving you, I did no hear anyone clapping their hands…

          Some Hon. Members having clapped hands.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Okay, that is much better, thank you. Can you proceed?

          HON. MANGONDO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. My first issue has to do with the mega projects that this country has carried out studies in the past and I was hoping the Minister will touch on some of those mega projects. A few weeks ago, I have the question on the Gokwe/Sengwe Power Project and I also raised the same issue earlier with the Hon. Deputy Minister to understand what the status of that project is, especially in view of the fact that it has potential to answer all our energy deficits. 

          That project, the Gokwe/Sengwe was said to have the potential of generating 200 megawatts. We also have had the Batoka Gorge hydro-electric project which has been on the cards for more than 50 years, which is supposed to be jointly developed with Zambia. We have had Zambia taking initiatives recently but not much on our side. We also appreciate if the Hon. Minister can brief this august House on the progress and prospects of the Batoka Gorge hydro-electric project.

Let me first acknowledge that I tried to raise the issue of PPPs but I would like to say that it would appear that Zimbabwe has not been able to take advantage of the expertise and the financing that comes with PPPs. I attribute this mainly to the absence of institutional frameworks, preferably a legal framework. Part of my issue would have gone to the Ministry of Finance, if I get the chance to ask regarding the establishment of PPPs unit within the Ministry of Finance as has happened in countries such as South Africa.

With specific respect to the Hon. Minister, other countries have also come up with Independent Power Producers Office (IPPOs) under the Ministry of Energy. What are we doing in terms of ensuring that we have a nationally coordinated unit which looks at all these PPPs relating to either renewable energy projects or these other projects which will be focused on ensuring that Zimbabwe takes advantage of the opportunities that are inherent with such PPPs? The Minister made reference to the issue of PPAs which has been a major challenge for Zimbabwe. The Power Purchase Agreements have always been a problem.

We have several projects that were approved particularly in the Eastern Highlands, small hydro-electric projects. We had several and most of them failed to take off because of the absence of Power Purchase Agreements. What is so difficult in Zimbabwe having standard framework for these Power Purchase Agreements considering that the off taker is a Government entity?

I would like to say that if Zimbabwe were to have proper institutions such as a PPP unit in the Ministry of Finance and an IPPO under the Ministry of Energy, we certainly would be able to implement some of these power projects that we have and we will be able to take advantage of the private funding that goes with PPPs and also the expertise that come with organising or having such institutional arrangements. We would also be able to have standards that can be benchmarked against other countries standards in terms of PPPs and IPP arrangements? I thank you.

          +HON. MAHLANGU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Minister with the work that he is doing. I would like to know about the substation up to the stage when it is built. How long does it take for it to be fixed? I want to know if the transformers or cables are stolen, who should replace them? Most of the time, citizens engage themselves in order for them to have electricity fixed and most of the time their property is destroyed because electricity comes at any time after load shedding. I thank you.

          HON. E. MOYO: The first question on this round was why not import to cover the total deficit. The Southern African Region, even the Central Regions in the country and the Western Regions have power deficits and we can only import as much as we can pay for. I think we are all aware that when we import the PPAs are in foreign currency and when people pay in the country they normally pay with local currency and to change that local currency to cover the total import bill is not easy. I am sure we all know our situation. So, we only import as much as we think we can cover and also as much as is available in the Southern Africa Power Pool. In the SAP market, we have deficits - I will not name the countries but we have deficits in many other countries here and yet we have countries who have got excess power, but those countries with excess power which I will name; are Angola and Tanzania, we are not connected to them.

We are currently, as SAP, working on interconnectors for Angola and also for Tanzania, so this is work in progress. We have been having discussions around that because these are billion-dollar projects. Some investors have expressed interest to support those developments.

On surveillance technology, yes, there is a technology but then it is not enough. Let us also understand these things in the context of a period of over 10 years without a cost reflective tariff where the barest minimum was being done but then we are currently working together with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education to develop our own technologies for surveillance to curb these deficits. Some work is being done with some institutions and one of the institutions I know is NUST, HIT and UZ. These things are being done and developed. We are not yet there but we are walking the mile.

Computers in schools, power goes, we encourage all institutions to have back up just like in the homes, solar equipment can be imported free of duty.  In fact, it is imported free of duty and we also have schools programmes where there are partnerships with different partners who are deploying solar equipment in the schools, clinics to mitigate this problem of power supply demand gap.  These things are really happening, they might not have covered the whole country but these programmes are being rolled out all the time and mini grid and micro grid that we are deploying as Government through REA and sometimes with other partners. We do schools, in the community we do households, irrigation schemes, clinics, business centers. All these are efforts to try and reduce the impact of power outages.

Replacing of copper with aluminum, this is ongoing. You will understand that a lot of our infrastructure, our cables were in copper and we cannot pull them down one day and complete them. However, where opportunities arise, we replace copper with aluminum. There are other components where you cannot replace with aluminum which needs high conductor efficiency and then you need copper for that.

On the transformer thefts, what we are doing, apart from encouraging local vigilant groups to also keep their eyes on electricity infrastructure, we are also changing the mode of placing transformers on those support structures. You will see that the transformer is now placed much higher and there is also what we call transformer hardening where we make sure that no one can unbolt it easily. These are some of the things that are now being done and also placing these transformers where there is population density so that people can be seen when they temper these transformers.  For example, in business centers, we move the transformers from the road to the actual business center so that even the security that is guarding the shops is able to see what is happening.

In the homes, rural areas it is also placed closer to a particular home. These are some of the measures, adjustments to curb that problem.

The availability of vehicles, am sure you can see on the roads that we now have more ZETDC vehicles. Yes, we are not yet there but most of the key stations now have new vehicles to try and assist us attend to faults timeously. The frequency of faults is very high and sometimes it is not possible to attend to all of them very quickly but sometimes when they occur and the frequency is low, I think the speed at which these faults are attended to is much faster.

Energy mix, our aspiration is that we have more of renewables than fossils but it is not an easy thing we have a lot of coal in the country and we have invested so much in these fossil fuels, thermal power stations, we cannot throw them away. However, we are encouraging new entrance in to the sector to come up with renewables. What has happened is that we have developed some sites and done feasibility studies for different sites for solar and also for winds and some of them are being run because we need to run say for about 18 months to see if the wind is such that we can put a wind turbine so some of them are being done right now. As soon as everything is ready these are going to be auctioned for possible developers to come into the sector.

On the mega projects and one sited is the Gokwe-Sengwe project. In January we were able to scout for investments in China and UAE we were able to get some investors who were interested and those investors followed up in three months’ time that was in March beginning of April they were here in the country. They visited those areas and Hwange to see where they could site their power stations using coal. They went back to work out their numbers and also to make financial arrangements. We are waiting for them so they are not just a pipe in the air there are projects that we envisage are going to come on very shortly.

On the Batoka Gorge there was some time back an initial arrangement were two international developers were going to partner to develop the Batoka Gorge.  The process of selecting those two had some problems to which some legal proceedings ensued and then we had to first of all clear those issues before we can invite new entrance or new applicants for the development of that. At the moment what I can safely say is that the pre-feasibility studies have been completed and now Zimbabwe River Authority who are the custodians of the gauge are working on the actual feasibility study so that any player who comes in already guess the numbers because these feasibility studies can take years and years so that is what is happening. We also envisaged that before the end of the year the tenders are going to be out for people who want to develop there. We also have had some unsolicited expressions of interest from different developers who want to come in to develop that but then from the previous experience, we think we are advising them to submit tenders because if we just head hunt and appoint it creates legal challenges.

IPPs Ministry has got a department that deals with renewable energy and IPPs.  So, when someone is interested in developing – coming in as an independent power producer, there are people who have come to the Ministry, we deal with them and take them through the whole process so that one is there.  We may differ in the name, but the function is there in the Ministry.

          On the projects failing on account of the PPA, like I said earlier on.  The background is that ZESA as the major off taker, has been incapacitated by a non-cost reflective tariff, therefore, having to rely on project implementation agreements from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.  Again, the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion will also look at the cost benefit analysis and say; if the tariff is so low, what that actually means is that the burden is on Government to pay that PPA.  This reduces the agreements. It becomes difficult because electricity should come to people not as charity but also as business, people paying for it.  We are happy now that with the cost reflective tariff, a lot of IPPs are coming on board and some PPAs are succeeding on the basis of that. 

          The other thing is on standards, we have the standards.  We know what it costs but then of course, these come with some deviations depending on the costs build-up of a particular project which when people are applying for a power purchase agreement, they have to submit their cost build-ups to justify they applied for tariffs.  So, it is no longer a big issue really in terms of PPAs but in the past, it was difficult because people would ask for PPAs, and technology had not developed then, things were still expensive.   If you looked at the cost of panels then and now, you find that there has been a marked drop in the cost of procuring solar equipment, more so that now we no longer pay any duty for that. 

          Substations being overloaded – I think I would need more information on that with specific detail so that we can investigate and see what the problem is.  Is it the overloading?  Is it the transformer?  Is it because someone has tampered with it or whatever?  Sometimes when these things burn down, it is because people have stolen from the transformer.  So, we need specifics on that in order to give a correct answer. 

          Who replaces stolen cables?  Ordinarily, the utility must replace those cables but however, it is difficult to anticipate when budgeting to say we are going to budget for thefts.  We want to eliminate theft.  So, sometimes you find that for the utility to come up with money to pay and purchase those cables, it may take time but, then people would want to have electricity like yesterday.  We then encourage them to say you if you are in a hurry and cannot wait for these processes, when procuring you know the Government procedures, you have to go through a lot of processes, competitive bidding, awarding of tenders et cetera, and that takes time.

          People sometimes would say no, we need this power like yesterday and we can put our monies together to purchase – we allow them to do that.  Once they get to ZESA to get the QOPs, they get that and then they can buy with those specifications.  Then ZESA will come and install.  Once they have done that, ZESA has an obligation now to reimburse those people.  We cannot pay them in cash because of cash flow situations.  We pay them in units, they submit the names and meter numbers of people who have contributed and the amount that was contributed, and then those people are repaid in units. 

          I think sometimes when these outages occur, the damage to equipment in the house also occurs.  Who pays for that?  At the moment, I am not sure but what I would advise is that normally, we want to insure our property in the houses.  Secondly, we buy surge protectors so that when there is that surge, our equipment is not damaged.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I would like to thank you Hon. Minister for the Ministerial Statement. This brings us to the end of the Ministerial Statement laid on the table by the Minister of Energy and Power Development. 

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. E. MOYO), the House adjourned at Eleven Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.

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