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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 11 December 2019 46-15
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 11th December, 2019
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
+HON. MATHE: Thank you Madam Speaker. My point of
privilege is, I would like to implore the House and request your powers that this House as the representative of people from various constituencies should thank God for the rains that are being received almost all over the country. We are happy and grateful to the Lord. We therefore request this House to give the prominence this week to thank the Lord for the rains. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker let me bring to your
attention a report which was in the social media on Hon. Raidza’s behaviour in terms of disrupting a prize giving day at a school because he believes that he must be present at every prize giving day in his constituency. I think we also had a similar case of Hon. Musikavanhu.
With due respect, we are Members of Parliament and we work with everyone. I think we cannot interfere with the education sector which is quite sensitive. I think we must respect the civil servants who are working tirelessly for this country. As Members of Parliament we must be seen to be complimenting them rather than causing havoc. As a result, I would like you Madam Speaker to investigate that matter. If so, you need to really give a stern warning to all Members of Parliament because you cannot be political. We are political when we are campaigning and after that we work with everybody in the constituency.
Secondly, I want to support Hon Mathe’s point of the rains which have been great but there are no inputs. I would like the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement to immediately come and give us how much has been distributed so far in terms of inputs. The Command Agriculture is there but to date people have still not gotten inputs. While the rains have been good, the inputs have not been distributed on time, which has been a major point that we have been talking about. The good Lord blesses us with rains and at the same time there are no inputs. When is the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement going to give us a statement of the inputs which have been distributed this year?
By now everybody must be having inputs if you are a farmer. Beyond that you can no longer be a farmer. You cannot produce anything. We must take advantage of these rains but people have no inputs. It is important as a matter of urgency that the Minister of Agriculture comes here because even the budget that we are debating has a lot to do with production. If production is not there as a result of inputs, we will still be in the same situation. I implore you Madam
Speaker to look into those two areas on behalf of this nation.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: On the issue of Hon Raidza, I
think we all now know that social media is not something which we can trust but I will make some investigations.
On the issue of agricultural inputs, yes that is very important so we will ask the Minister to give us a detailed report on what has taken place on the distribution of inputs. I thank you.
HON. MASANGO: I rise on a point of privilege. We are all aware that doctors have been on strike for the past three months. During this period, many lives have been lost due to lack of medical attention. His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa being the listening President that he is, offered the doctors a 48 hours moratorium for them to go back to work with no questions asked. I would like to commend the 42 doctors who heeded this call and reported for duty. As of yesterday, the figure of doctors returning back to work had risen to 80. They have shown that they have people’s lives at heart.
My prayer and plea now Madam Speaker, is for the remaining doctors to return to work. His Excellency has promised continued dialogue with those who are at work. His Excellency being a listening leader, the doctors’ grievances are being heard and will be met. I thank you.
*HON. MADZIMURE: If you look at written questions that are asked by Hon Members, they are usually questions that are received from constituencies. Therefore, those questions are usually specific and need responses so that they take back the responses to their constituencies. Ministers do not normally come to this House maybe because they are tied up but Ministers are collectively or individually responsible to respond on behalf of Government. Is it therefore possible that before we end next week all the Ministers should submit responses or respond to all the questions that appear on the Order Paper so that Hon Members can be able to take back the responses to their constituencies?
*THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon Madzimure.
Your question is very important; we will forward your request to Cabinet Ministers and we will make sure that all the questions are responded to.
*HON MLAMBO: I would like to bring to the attention of this
House the issue of lack of money to be distributed to the poor especially in Chipinge East. People used to receive funds from the social welfare to buy food but for the past three months they have not received that money. When we asked we were told that the RBZ has not been able to print money to disburse to social welfare. Now cash is available and people were stopped from using the US dollar – the World Food Programme is saying it has enough funds to give people but the RBZ does not have the local currency to distribute to the people. I hereby request that the RBZ should speed up the process of printing out money.
*THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon.
Member. We will ensure that your request is forwarded to the authorities so that it can quickly be attended to.
HON. T. MOYO: I rise on a point of privilege pertaining to political developments obtaining in Malawi. The Leader of the Opposition in Malawi, Mr. Lazarus Chakwera had this to say regarding the Constitutional Court verdict on the outcome of the presidential elections. Here is what he said on 7 December 2019 - he said, “I know this has been a historic case. My message here is that let us respect the judiciary. We believe in justice, we believe in peace, we believe in foundations that can truly make a nation great. We must respect what the judges decide”.
If we had to superimpose with what was happening in Zimbabwe, we saw the judiciary not being respected. When the Speaker of the
National Assembly was sworn in, the Chief Justice was heckled by Members of the opposition. So they should learn to respect the Constitution and the judiciary. This is a message to the opposition to respect what is right and to have respect for the rule of law.
HON. T. MLISWA: He is lost. The President is in control. It is only him who is doubting –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Mliswa!
Thank you Hon. Moyo, your point of privilege has been noted.
COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
MAIN ESTIMATES OF EXPENDITURE
First Order read: Committee of Supply: Main Estimates of Expenditure.
House in Committee.
On Vote 5 – Finance and Economic Development –
HON. MATEWU: Thank you Hon. Chair. My contribution to Vote 5, which is the Finance and Economic Development, is very simple. Whereas I understand the importance of gender awareness and also the importance of gender mainstreaming interventions, I fail to understand why the money has been given to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Gender mainstreaming in terms of policy development should be the prerogative of every Ministry. So my proposal to the Minister is simple; transfer the ZWL$22.5million that you have given to your Ministry to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises to ensure that they do the central coordination in all Ministries as far as gender mainstreaming is concerned. It is a very important issue and I agree with the money that has been given, the ZWL$22.5million but I implore the Minister to remove this money and put it to the appropriate Ministry so that the Ministry responsible for women can be the one that actually policies and trains all other Ministries as far as gender policy is concerned. Thank you.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Hon. Chair. I rise to submit my contribution in terms of Vote 5, which is the Finance and Economic Development. Hon. Chair, I need the Hon. Minister to clarify this vote.
In reading through this vote, there are certain key issues that are missing. I want the Hon. Minister to tell us where the ZIMRA fund or provision is under and also the ZIMSTATS. Apparently, when I look into the Blue Book and the way it is actually done, it appears as if the funds have been consolidated under different headings. The reason why I say this Hon. Chair is to simply raise the issue that ZIMRA needs to be capacitated if this Government is going to be in a position to generate...
Hon. P.D. Sibanda having stood in front of the Minister.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. M.
KHUMALO): Order Hon. Sibanda, the Minister must hear what the Hon. Member is saying. Can you go and sit down. Please do not interrupt the proceedings. Hon. Member you may continue.
HON. MUSHORIWA: My point is on ZIMRA. One of the
challenges that we are facing as a nation is actually to do with revenue generation. You find that in terms of capacitation, in spite of the fact that ZIMRA is the agency that brings revenue to the Government, you realise that in terms of capacitation for ZIMRA, it is lacking. Even the amounts of funds that are being given to ZIMRA are so little. If you go where the officers stay along the borders, this is the reason why you find that our borders are porous and there is a lot of corruption. Why is it so? It is primarily because we are pretending and we are turning a blind eye when it comes to the remuneration of the people that work at ZIMRA. We are also turning a blind eye in terms of the infrastructure; basic things like accommodation.
The second aspect Hon. Chair which I thought is important is to do with ZIMSTATS. One of the major challenges that we have faced as a country as the Hon. Minister in his budget presentation told us is that he has now stopped the publishing of annual inflation. The reason that the Hon. Minister raised is not sufficient and one of the major challenges that we then face is that ZIMSTATS which is supposed to produce statistics for this nation is also incapacitated. If you go there, most of
the information that they are getting, they are actually doing desktop analysis. They do not even have vehicles. They have nothing to use. It is even worse as we now prepare to go to the census. The Hon. Minister speaks in his budget that they have poured in funds to ZIMSTAT but we are not seeing it in the Blue Book and I want the Hon. Minister to help
Lastly Mr. Chair is the issue to do with the accounting system of Government. You recall that the Government has said that they are now going IPSAS, which we believe is actually a noble idea and a step in the right direction, but what we do not find in the Blue Book are the things that we have been told by the Accountant General in terms of the steps and processes that the Treasury was going to take towards the implementation of IPSAS, is not covered within the Blue Book. We do not see sufficient resources that have been allocated towards that.
If we do not do that Mr. Chair, you will find that most of our books of accounts will continue to be in a shambolic state. This is the reason why even when it comes to the debt amount, we do not know it because the accounting system that we are using – the cash basis does not really do us justice and want the Hon. Minister to advise us and this House whether the Government is serious in terms of movement towards
IPSAS. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Chair of the Committee of
Supply. Allow me to indulge the Ministry on and unfortunately, the Blue
Book is not paginated but it is basically the first page where it reads
“Key Results Areas”. If I may refer the Minister to Key Result Areas under his Ministry, the very first page of Vote 5. Hon. Chair, one of the key result areas is resource mobilisation. Now, the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) introduced a 2% tax whose justification was that it was money which was going to be channelled towards tangible projects in our constituencies. As he introduced the 2% tax, the Hon. Minister of Finance spoke about this money going towards social services, clinics and classrooms in the education sector. We are not seeing anything in the 2020 Budget where the Minister reports back to Parliament that this is how much he got from the 2% tax and of that these are the tangible projects which came about out of the 2% tax in our constituencies.
As Members of Parliament, we have moved motions and questions one after another calling for the Hon. Minister to respond to specific items and issues in our constituencies, some of which speak to developmental issues in terms of infrastructure. We are not seeing funds being allocated in this Budget which respond to those questions and motions. It is my belief Hon. Chair that as we move along the year, the
Minister of Finance should be capturing the issues that are being raised.
I will give you an example, in the 2019 Budget as presented in
November 2018, there was US$$2,4 million allocated to Kwekwe City Council towards sewer and water reticulation, none of that amount came by.
So, these are the issues which we will be tracking as Members of Parliament. I am sure various Members of Parliament have got their individual project items in their constituencies which were allocated money but the councillors and the community leadership tell us that whilst this money appears in the Blue Book, it has not been disbursed from the Ministry of Finance. I am not seeing again such a formula coming about in this Blue Book to say because we had given money towards Kwekwe City Council in 2019 and we had not disbursed, therefore we are giving this much again in 2020 because the problem is still there which requires a solution which had been identified before in 2018.
Hon. Chair, there are various road networks in our constituencies which had been allocated money but these road networks remain exposed. They are in fact becoming worse because of the continuous rains and more volumes of traffic. These roads are not being funded and when I look at the Blue Book, I must be able to speak to our constituencies to say this road network has been allocated this amount of funding in this year’s Budget.
Under Key Result Areas Hon. Chair, the Hon. Minister of Finance one of his priority areas is efficient – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Tsvangirayi and
Hon. T. Zhou, please can you stop what you are doing there.
HON. CHIKWINYA: One of the issues is Public Debt Management under his own Key Result Areas and I am speaking towards his own Key Result Areas as set out in the Blue Book. The country continues to sink in the doldrums of public debt by failure to service both internal and external debt. I want the Hon. Minister of Finance to point to us as Parliament that for this year in 2020, this is how much I am going to give towards external and internal debt. This is how much I gave in 2019 and therefore, you can consolidate the same so that at least we do not continue to mortgage generations who are to come.
I am also perturbed Hon. Chair that the Minister of Finance continues to borrow without Parliament approval as enshrined in our Constitution. As we speak, he has got a pending Bill for condonation of debts which were accrued in 2015. I thought before we discuss this Budget, he was supposed to be honourable enough to come and seek condonation but we are now discussing another budget before we have even condoned other debts which have been accrued as far back as 2015.
I thought this is one of his key priority areas as enshrined in his own Blue Book.
Hon. Chair, I will go over to the last point which is basically production of quality statistics in time. After the presentation of the 2020 Budget Statement, the Chinese Embassy and the American Embassy gave contradicting statements which are at variance from what the Minister of Finance gave. This goes to core of our funding models because we are a nation which continues to beg other developed nations in terms of funding and our budget is supported by other nations who are friends to us, the Chinese for example.
So the moment we give contradicting figures from those institutions and embassies, it means everyone else will begin to fold their hands and wait for us to be able to produce accurate results. It is one of his key result areas, the Minister of Finance, to be able to produce quality statistics on time. If he is lying to the Chinese or the Americans who are the superpowers of this world, what will the Swedish, Finnish and South Africans do? These are our neighbours who hold us to account. So if the Hon. Minister cannot be accountable to such big financing institutions, I am sure all these other donors who are around the country have their figures being distorted, more-so for political expedience ahead of anything else. Therefore, I implore the Hon. Minister to be able to respect these four key issues before we even pass
Vote number 5. Thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: My first issue with the Minister with regards to the issue of IPSAS, which is a new accounting system. Hon. Chair is the reason why we should make sure that particular programme to implement the new system is well funded. It must be well funded because that is the only way we can improve on our accountability. The problems we are experiencing right now and what we are seeing, the variance in figures that are coming out is all because of the system that we are using. We must move away from a system where there is a lot of face to face interaction as far as accounting is concerned. We must move towards a system where there is very minimum human intervention in our accounting system. I think that is very important. Apart from that, the general accounting system of Government must move away from these piles and piles of papers. We must move away from the paper system and introduce electronic computerised system, a system that uses more of computer systems – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order please. Hon.
Member there and the Chief Whip, please if you have serious discussions can you go out all of you. You are disturbing, we are not hearing. Can you continue?
HON. MADZIMURE: My next point Mr. Chairman is the issue
of the production of statistics. It is important to produce statistics because it is the only way that you can use to measure economic performance and also take the appropriate action at the appropriate time. As a result, ZIMSTATS must be well funded but I am trying to find in the Blue Book where ZIMSTATS is funded and I cannot see it. Can the Minister elaborate on that or indicate to us where ZIMSTATS is. The same applies to ZIMRA. The continued collection of the transitional tax of 2%, it is important that the Minister also reports to this House because we have always talked about ring fencing of that 2%. I thought 2% was going to fund specific projects and programmes and the Minister would come to this House twice or quarterly to report to the House that the 2% that I said should be charged, these are the results. We are all aware that our Budget has always been biased towards consumption, leaving very little money for capital projects. Then the Minister convinced the House even though grudgingly so, to charge the 2% and the people are grudgingly paying. What the Minister can do to the people that we represent out there is to at least come to this House and say the 2% which we ring fenced for the health sector, this is what we did. We built so many hospitals, we have imported so much surgical equipment and these are the benefits. If we move from a system where we just spend and concentrate on programmes and projects, the people will understand the need for the Government to collect any taxes.
Lastly Mr. Chairman, the issue of overspending by the Ministry of Finance must come to a stop. The issue of using the Reserve Bank to issue Treasury Bills which sometimes cannot be reconciled, that must stop. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Mr.
Chairman. Let me begin by thanking Hon. Members for the very good questions indeed regarding various issues under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Budget. The first one pertains to gender mainstreaming. Gender mainstreaming applies to every ministry including the Office of the President and Cabinet. You will notice that every ministry has an issue around gender mainstreaming. We take this very seriously and we have to allocate a budget for it and for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development it is $22.5 million. We think this is needed. It is necessary. We also want to make sure that within the Ministry, there is sufficient attention to the issue. It is a very important issue. We cannot have a zero budget. In fact, if we had a zero budget, you would be asking me where the budget for gender mainstreaming is. So we have put it in there, $22.5 million. Remember colleagues, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is your purse. This is where everyone draws from if they are short of money. Even if there seems to be a lot of money here and there, do not worry about that, we know who will come running for more money. Please allow us to have these resources even though we do not end up using them for specific areas but for gender mainstreaming, it is a very important issue. We should budget for it under the Ministry. I think you should be asking me where the budget is if I had not budgeted for it.
I think this is Hon. Mushoriwa, regarding the ZIMRA funds and the ZIMSTATS funds. This is sitting in the core Ministry of Finance budget. I will tell you exactly what it is. For ZIMRA, the Budget is $1.306 billion, for ZIMSTATS, the Budget is $186 million. For ZIMRA recurrent expenditure it is $672 million for capital, it is $634.5 million, the remainder and the total is $1306.5 billion. For ZIMSTATS, it is $186 million and for the census we have a budget of US$85 million. It is not in our budget, we are going to raise this outside the budget. I wanted to make sure you know just in case you are worrying about where are they going to get the resources for the census. We are going to raise this from outside and we are making a lot of progress in that direction. We are well supported when it comes to the census. On the census by the way, Treasury has already allocated $45 million this year 2019 Budget not even 2020, for the purchase of motor vehicles, iPads and motorbikes to prepare for the census. We are adequately funded.
Let me move on to the issue of IPSAS which was raised by Hon.
Madzimure. It is a very important issue indeed, then I will come to Hon.
Chikwinya’s comments. On IPSAS, on this Budget, this is our first stage in the transition towards IPSAS, towards full accrual accounting. This results based managed approach is also part of that. So the results based management approach or programmed based saw each programme well itemised under each Vote and a Budget has been attached to it. Secondly, again on that Table 1, if you notice before, I gave an example when I responded two days ago that before the cost of issuing Treasury Bills used it is called the acquisition of financial assets. Under IPSAS, that is a good example as to how this movement or migration towards IPSAS is being performed. It will require a full creation of registers. So far now, we have done very well in terms of getting every Ministry to create an asset register. Those assets will be properly valued because you need the values of those assets to have a full balance sheet under IPSAS. Our expectation is that the full migration will take another three years. By year 2024, 2025, we should have moved completely towards IPSAS. I thank you for those questions.
Coming back to Hon. Chikwinya and Hon. Madzimure, you asked about the 2% tax. Thanks for this question. This tax is very important and it has been very helpful. I think we do owe citizens an explanation as to how we are using the funds. I agree with you but what we have been doing so far, every time ZIMRA publishes the revenue figures, they mention how much has been collected month by month and for the quarter, very explicitly on the 2% tax. I would be able to report back the next time I am here on how much we have collected – I am happy to do that. Again, I will be happy to be telling you exactly which projects have received these resources. They have been very helpful and we must thank citizens. I argued in the Budget Statement that in recognition of the impact of the 2% tax, we must also give relief to citizens elsewhere.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order! Hon.
Minister, whilst you are answering the questions from the Hon. Members, please may you respond through the Chair here, do not respond directly to them.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you Hon. Chair. So, I will come back to the House and give an explanation as to which projects have benefited from the 2% tax. A lot of projects have benefited including those under the Cyclone Idai – roads, health sector and the education sector projects.
So I was explaining that we were giving relief to citizens; we dropped the VAT by half percent and then corporate tax by 1% to give relief to corporates and citizens in recognition of their contribution already through the 2% tax.
A question was asked by Hon. Chikwinya regarding projects out there in the constituencies that are being supported through the budget but I must say that these projects also overlap with those that are financed through the devolution resources. So the devolution resources are resources under Local Government - the PSIP, those three pots of resources impact on the projects and constituency level. That is where the information sits. If one will be able to pull out these PSIP projects and show them, I could pull out for example the infrastructure plan for
2019 and the infrastructure plan for 2020. The infrastructure plan for
2020, I am happy to share this with Members…
HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order! We are hardly
hearing what the Hon. Minister is saying. I am not so sure whether it is the mic or it is the general noise in the House.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: I am also having
problems in hearing what the Minister is saying because of the noise that is coming from Members. So can we all keep quiet?
HON. T. MLISWA: Just to help you Hon. Chair. Unless these Members are so brilliant that they cannot refer to this book; for you to know where the noise is coming from, ask how many have got the Blue Book. Unless they are so brilliant that they do not need it then they really do not deserve to be here; they need to be scientists at Harvard. How are they following the debate, they do not have Blue Books, they are just talking. I thought I should help you.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Members, those
who do not have the Blue Book, can you use the Appropriation Bill, it has a lot of information and it is in your pigeon holes.
HON. CHIKWINYA: On the issue of Blue Books, when we went
for the half day workshop at Meikles Hotel, we were given Blue Books, it is sad to note that there are only 2019 Blue Books. Only one or two have the 2020 Blue Books but the majority of the people around here have 2019 Blue Books. So I am not sure where the mistake is unless you can show us where to find the 2020 Blue Books.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you Hon. Chair. The Blue
Books were distributed; I do not understand why the Hon. Member did not receive the book pertaining to the 2020 budget. However, if I could press on; there are three pots of resources that are financing projects out there in the constituencies. It is through the Local Government pot, the devolution resources and the PSIP programme, and sometimes always overlaps. So we know exactly where the resources are coming from and I am happy to share information on the various projects out there. I just mentioned that we have got the infrastructure plan for 2020 and one for 2019, with a list of the infrastructure projects that we are supporting constituency by constituency.
On the issue of debt flaws; again, these are very clear from the book. There is no issue of wanton issuance of debt, and you have seen what we have done on the domestic fund. We have had a controlled Treasury bill auction system and we are very pleased with the progress so far. The yields have been within expected levels and we are slowly building the yield curve. As Government, we have stopped having recourse to the Central Bank window, the Reserve Bank window as we promised and converted the previous exposure 2019 and previously of about three billion into long term debt instruments.
On the foreign front, the interesting thing is that if you do not service your external debt no one out there wants to lend you a lot of money anyway. So it is not as if we can go out and borrow a lot of money from the outside world with our kind of credit position – we cannot in the first place. So borrowings have been very controlled in terms of external debt and we are beginning to service our external debt with the European Investment bank, the Afro-Exim Bank, the World Bank and BADEA. We are very clear with the debts that we owe and how to manage those debts. We have a well functioning debt management department, one of the best in Africa. They know what they are doing, there are very good staff, there is a very good leader and Members of the House, I think should sleep well when it comes to debt management. I thank you.
HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Hon. Chair. I was
listening very attentively to the response by the Hon. Minister and I think he has not done justice to the first issue which was raised by Hon.
Matewu. It appears that the Hon. Minister may have misunderstood the import of his contribution because from the Minister’s response, he was giving the impression that the issue was not about zero budgeting in respect of gender mainstreaming. The issue and the point raised by Hon. Matewu was to the effect that when we look at the issue of gender main streaming, it is something which is very important and I think we agree with the Hon. Minister. However, his proposal was that this Vote and this amount be transferred. We all know that we have been talking about gender mainstreaming because women and girls have always been marginalised and so on. So for that important aspect to be appropriately dealt with, the proposal by Hon. Matewu was that this should be transferred to the Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Ministry. That was his suggestion and the Hon. Minister did not adequately respond to that suggestion that it be transferred and not that it should not be budgetted for. What the Hon. Minister was responding to was to the effect that perhaps the question was why that amount had been allocated or provided for whereas in fact the issue was - why should it not be properly monitored under the
Ministry which is responsible for Women’s Affairs? I think if the Hon.
Minister can address and apply his mind to that suggestion and respond accordingly.
HON. MUSHORIWA: I just wanted a point of clarification from the Hon. Minister. I got your response in terms of ZIMRA and ZIMSTAT but could you advise us as a House where there is a sudden change that ZIMRA is not stated on its own and ZIMSTAT is not stated on its own in the Blue Book. I say this because in terms of accounting purposes, when we want to call ZIMRA or we want to call ZIMSTAT, we need to be asking them how they are performing vis-à-vis their budgets. We just want you to explain and tell us why you have now decided to just lump them under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development?
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. Chairman, and thanks
for the request for clarification from the two Hon. Members. Starting with Hon. Gonese regarding the gender mainstreaming - I do not think this budget should be transferred to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development. This is a budget for gender mainstreaming within the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. It is very important that it should be kept there because the Ministry needs it. It is not as if the Ministry has also unlimited resources; we need these resources ourselves to do our own work but also we are the custodian of whatever anyone needs because we collect the revenue but we also need these resources as a Ministry. I think if the Minister of Gender feels that perhaps they need a higher budget and so forth, we will always have resources under undistributed reserves which we can always call upon. But for now, we need this also as a Ministry for our own gender mainstreaming objectives.
On the ZIMRA and ZIMSTAT budgeting, obviously the Blue Book
is also a summary of the individual items project by project and division by division. In the background in the system, it is all very detailed. Having revealed these figures, I do not think that the Hon. Member will have trouble at all in asking or interrogating ZIMSTAT or ZIMRA to account on how they are using the budget and how they are progressing.
All this will be clear.
But, I also like the comments made by Hon. Madzimure regarding computerisation – moving away from a manual system. I agree with him that overtime we need to computerise but there is no issue about us trying to hide anything. We have told you what the figures are and these have been properly budgeted and can be followed up by Members as they call these two institutions to account on how they are using the budget. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Hon. Minister, how comfortable are you with continuously giving monies to ministries who are not accounting?
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Mliswa, can
we stick to the budget.
HON. T. MLISWA: It is the same question. My question to the Minister is how we continuously give money to ministries yet they do not account and there are bad audit reports from the Auditor General’s office. How comfortable are you with that?
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: It is a fair question. In terms of budgeting in my previous job we used to cut back on budgets for departments that did not account in full on how they had used resources or badly used resources because we had a performance based budgeting process. But in a sense, this is what we have migrated to. It is a performance based budget and unfortunately, I do not think that we can do it immediately but over time we should be able to say on this specific programme, you underperformed or abused funds. Therefore, why should we give you additional resources but we should cut back. So it is my hope that this format of the Blue Book will help the Hon. Members to interrogate the departments more precisely about budget performance and about output impact. Not just input because revenue is input and this is now output and impact. We hope that this new approach will help us get there but we are not yet there unfortunately.
HON. MARKHAM: I would like the Minister to comment on the
policy – the figures as they may be. My first issue is on the administration - can the Minister confidently tell us that there will be no constraints on manpower? I say so because in a lot of the Auditor
General’s reports and certainly from the discussions within the PAC, one of the worst performing ministries on returns to both the Parliament and to the Committees is the Ministry of Finance and Economic
Development. I know they downstream to other ministries, so the job is huge. From the money that I see here, I do not believe that we will be able to convert to accrual in three years. It is of major concern to me and I would like assurance from the Minister that, that money is budgeted for.
Secondly, ZIMRA, if it is $1.3 billion, I believe that it is 2% of the budget and it should be enough to have a line of its own. So it is clear that 2% of the budget is contributed or attributed to ZIMRA and the large portions of money that we have in this budget must be identified because that is where the problems are. Finally on the loan issue which was covered very eloquently by Hon. Chikwinya, can we have a guarantee from the Minister that all loans, both those that are condoned and those that are not, those that are foreign and those that are domestic are all listed in this Blue Book so that we can start finding out where we stand with our issues.
My last question to the Minister is, I have an issue with the whole loan book. A lot of loans here have not been condoned by this
Parliament yet we are repaying those loans. No loan is valid until it has been approved by this Parliament. Why are we repaying loans that this House has not even seen before we pay back the IMF and the World Bank. We have had this problem since 1997 – why are we not repaying those loans back first which came through this Parliament? Thank you.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. Chair and Thank you to Hon. Markham for those questions. He says he believes that perhaps we have not budgeted enough under the policy programme vis-à-vis the manpower requirements for migration towards IPSAS. This is a multiapproach. So for, this year we have budgeted enough and next year we will budget some more. It is a multi-project and over the next three years, we do quite a bit in terms of migration towards IPSAS. So I can assure him that we have budgeted adequately for this project.
On ZIMRA, he is requesting for a separate line. I have no difficulty in making sure that my officials do that because they have to print a final Blue Book if there are any changes and so forth as we go along. I have no issue with that being itemised separately but the figure is clear, it is about $0.3 billion for ZIMRA, there is no difficulty there.
Then on the issue of loans and so forth, I have actually produced a statement on the state of our loans because I am required to submit that report twice a year to Parliament. I have done that. It could be that
Members have not seen it but I wrote to Parliament, to the Clerk, to the Speaker that the report is out there. Again, I will talk to the Speaker and the Clerk to make sure that the report is circulated to the Members so that they know what type of loans we have out there, both domestic and foreign.
On the issue of condonations, going forward, I will make sure that any major loans that we contract we come before Parliament in terms of the Public Debt Management Act. I think what Hon. Markham is referring to are loans that were contracted well before my time. I will have to find out what has not been condoned, but I will make every effort to bring issues before Parliament for condonation so that we catch up and clean up and face the future with clean books from a legal point of view.
HON. NGULUVHE: I wanted some clarifications from the
Minister of Finance and Economic Development. I have looked at Vote 5, I do not have much problem, but my comment is that in terms of devolution, you do set aside some funds for the various provinces. If you look at places like Victoria Falls and Beitbridge in terms of revenue collection, they are giving you a lot of money, but if you look at them in return, there is nothing in terms of development. I think you should consider that at least 00.1% of your collections should go back as retention to Beitbridge and Victoria Falls, so that they can improve in terms of health care and everything. I know you are giving them money through the provinces but I think as border posts you should consider that. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Hon. Chair. I just want to give some options to Hon. Minister relating to places and departments that collect revenue in foreign currency. He has already appreciated the existence of those departments, for example the hotels and I ask that he also adds the local authorities that are in areas that deal with foreign currency. I ask that he makes his job easy by designating some of those areas into special economic zones so that their dealing in foreign currency does not affect other towns, cities and departments in so far as revenue collection and payments is concerned in foreign currency.
Hon. Chair, this also becomes like duty free oriented zones. It is allowed to collect not in Zimbabwe only but in other jurisdictions to collect payment for certain services and goods and services in foreign currency for example duty free shops. If the Minister can couch these areas of interest that have revenue generation in foreign currency related monies into some geographical location that speak to about special economic zones. In special economic zones, for argument sake- there is investment, domestic and foreign that is derived from there. The foreigner or the domestic investor can recoup his or her 100% investment capital and profit…..
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, Hon. Nduna, I
am failing to understand you, where are you getting that in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Vote? Please can you speak to the specific Vote, we do not want general statements.
HON. NDUNA: This is Vote No. 5. This is other revenue generating streams so that he can get that money to augment and complement the meager resources that he currently has. I have not gone to him with a cap in my hand, I am suggesting to him that here are revenue generating mechanisms so that he can finance other Government and quasi government departments. We do not want to continue to unnecessarily bark this old tree but to have suggestive mechanisms of revenue generating which can be foreign currency related, then we can change it at bank rate and then we can augment the meager supplies that he has for other departments.
Hon. Chair, let me give an example of gold sector, there other departments and mines that are allowed to pay for electricity using foreign currency. All the people in the gold sector should be allowed to pay for services using foreign currency because they are currently generating that locally. Victoria Falls should be allowed to have its foreign currency generated through service provision. I hope this meets with the Minister’s favour so that we do not continue to cry but we put our money where our mouth is. I thank you.
HON. PROF. NCUBE: Again I thank the two Members, Hon.
Nguluvhe and Hon. Nduna for their comments and suggestions about the alternative revenue sources…
Hon. Phuti having been seated at the back row.
HON. T. MLISWA: Hon. Phuti please come and sit in the front
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order, I think
that row there is reserved for Deputy Minister. Hon. Minister please can you proceed.
Hon. Phuti had to be accompanied to the front row.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I welcome the two Members’
suggestions. We continue to explore these sources of revenues. Secondly, they are talking about Victoria Falls and Beitbridge on how they could benefit from the revenues that the industries produce in the form of revenues or traffic from South Africa in the case of Beitbridge and tourism in the case of Victoria Falls.
This is interesting because I met with Victoria Falls City Council during the Pre-Budget retreat. I had a conversation with them. They have written to us requesting that we should look into this issue to see how they could retain some of the revenue and receive some of the revenue in foreign currency. That issue is receiving attention right now from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Local Government,
Public Works and Urban Development which is their parent Ministry – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] Certainly, there is merit in some of the arguments that they have put forward and we are looking into this.
Also, let me remind Hon. Members that Victoria Falls is already a special economic zone for the financial services sector. So, as we go ahead with the offshore financial centre, that could also be an opportunity to see how the Victoria Falls could benefit from the revenues, that it is generating as a tourism sector. Thank you.
Vote 5 – Finance and Economic Development - $3 987 047 000 put and agreed to.
On Vote 6 – Office of the Auditor General - $151 930 000; HON. MADZIMURE: Of late we have realised how important
the Auditor General’s office is. We want to implore the Minister not only to timeously release some funds to this important office, but also to increase the budget as well. If you look at the staff complement of the
Auditor General’s office against their responsibility, the office now audits all the local authorities, parastatals and Government institutions. If we look at the complement and try to match it with the responsibility it does not add up.
The biggest problem is also that the Auditor General’s Office has been doing quite well and because of that a lot of organisations now use it as a training ground. They are losing a lot of experienced auditors, as a result, we end up now giving contracts to other audit firms to do forensic audits on behalf of the Auditor General. If we look at how much we pay those companies as compared to if we could have used the skills that we have in the Auditor General’s Office, we could do a lot of saving. So it will be better for the Minister to consider seriously improving the working conditions of the Auditor General and the staff in that particular department so that we retain the skills and also save a lot of money. The commitment that they have to duty is so amazing. This must be taken into consideration by the Minister.
The Auditor General needs our support. In actual fact the Auditor General has indicated to us how much money we lose. If we can allow the Auditor General to retain some funds on the amounts they recover, that will help a lot. My submission is that the Auditor General’s Office must be capacitated, well funded and must have that compliment that can perform the duties expected of that office.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Hon. Madzimure stated that the Auditor
General’s Office is now responsible for Government accounts, parastatals and local authorities. In addition the Auditor General is supposed to do forensic reports, value for money audits and all those things require technical support and professional people. This is the reason why if you look into the book the majority of the members who are employed at the Auditor General’s Office are professional staff and very few that are non professional.
In most countries, the vote for the Auditor General is normally 1% of the budget. We want the Hon. Minister to explain why the Auditor
General in this country gets a meagre 0.03% of the budget. The Auditor General should get 1% and all what we are asking the Minister is 1% of the budget to go the Auditor General if we are to move as a nation.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: May Hon Members
please stick to the vote, maybe it is because of cameras. There are some
Members who want to appear on television.
HON. MARKHAM: I would like to supplement the issue of manpower. Fixed contracts should be considered for people working for the Auditor General’s Office so that they cannot be headhunted. This is critical because the complement of the staff is only 60% of what is required.
The second issue which I would like to say is that the underfunding is not only that it is issues like vehicles to get to audits. Audits are not done from the office. The office that they are in is too small and it is ill equipped. Those are major issues. I agree with the 1% of the Budget allocation figure. The one issue I would like to mention with the Auditor General’s Office is that if the national ethos is to go towards transparency and accountability, this is the office which does it so why are we underfunding it- unless if we do not want to go the way of transparency and accountability? The number of institutes that have been audited are over 200. So, I urge the Minister to consider the issue because everything that this nation wants when it comes transparency and accountability comes from this office. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: If you read the report they require 380 staff and they have got 305, a shortfall of 75 yet there is so much money spent in terms of sub contracting work to other companies. I would like the Minister to consider how much money is spent subcontracting companies vis-à-vis putting it into the office. It really does not make any sense for you to give the money to sub contract yet there are already people who are professional who are required. Let us calculate how much is spent a year to companies like Kudenga, Ernst and Young doing the work. They become more expensive and not only that you also want a situation where these reports are not compromised and the Auditor
General’s Office is there to make sure that the reports are not compromised.
I suggest that you stop funding those companies which are sub contracted and then give that money to the 75 who are outstanding. It is a simple matrix that does not need anybody to go to school, unless there is somebody again corruptly not funding the 75 so that they can make money from the sub contracting. There is that notion again. We are in a way aiding to the issue of corruption. It is important that the Minister makes a decision and does not fund those companies until it is fully staffed. If it has to grow, let it grow because it is the very same office that does the aspect of accountability on behalf of Government and their reports are serious.
The other issue in terms of the Auditor General’s Office is that they have submitted a lot of reports but in submitting a lot of reports there is compliance on the part of the Ministry. I brought this up earlier and it keeps coming because when a report like that comes through that gives you the power not to give that Ministry any money. I would like to see the Minister giving those directives that you will be giving the
Ministry of X so much money because they have not complied as per the
Auditor-General’s report because there are recommendations that come with that so that there is performance at the end of the day. Why do we continue giving money to Ministries when the Auditor-General’s report is negative and the recommendations have not been implemented? Let us have the recommendations implemented. We go back Hon. Chair to being a country that issues so many statements; that does not implement so many resolutions and issues of the Auditor-General’s office must be taken seriously because they give confidence to the people and investors coming in because we are seeing to be complying with an institution that is responsible for accounting. That would be my contribution. I think it needs no convincing Minister; it helps you. They have even done a good job in your own Ministry in terms of exposing your own Ministry. Finally, what are you doing about your Ministry being exposed by the Auditor-General’s office? Are you going to comply Hon. Minister? Thank you.
HON. MATEWU: T hank you Hon. Chair. I want to speak to
figures which have been appropriated to the Audit office. I think a lot has been said about forensic audits and so forth. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development gave itself ZWL$199 million for economic planning and not the implementation part. The office of the Auditor-General has been given ZWL151 million for everything that happens in the audit office. More importantly, we all know the story of NSSA and some former Ministers being removed and so forth. We also know that this came via forensic audit reports and special audits. To my surprise, in this budget, special audits and forensic audits have only been given ZWL$2,4 million which translates to something around US$150 000. So, I urge the Minister and I know from the Public Accounts Committee that there are many special forensic audits that are in the pipeline.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, can you ask the
Minister to do what you want.
HON. MATEWU: That is what I am doing. There has to be context to what I am asking. Basically what I am saying is that we need more money in terms of our forensic audits and special audits to enable the audit office to look at every parastatal. We know there has been rampant corruption in almost all the parastatals, so we need the audit office to clearly look into every parastatal and conduct special audits into them. Can you please give more money to forensic auditing? Thank
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Hon. Chair. I just want to add a little bit. The Auditor-General as you have specified here will make sure that there is no monies transferred to other programmes except with your approval Hon. Minister. This is applauded and also from one subhead to the other without your approval. What I also want to say is they have got a constitutional provision to also account for the money that you have given to them yourself that is close to ZWL$200 million. Having said that, it is my hope and clarion call that you augment and compliment the amounts that you have given to them so that they are currently at 2018 in terms of audit reports. So they are up to date in auditing parastatals, Government and quasi-government departments. This is applaudable, it is a first in the five years that I have been here in Parliament.
We have been debating for NRZ, 2013 reports in the Eighth Parliament but currently, the Auditor-General is on point. She has brought 2018 reports and we are currently debating those reports in the Public Accounts Committee. Therefore Hon. Minister, it is my proposal that 5% of revenue generated in all Government departments be allocated to the Auditor-General so that in carrying out the mandate that they currently have, they can use that 5% coming from those departments that are going to be audited as a vehicle, pedestal and platform for carrying out their mandate. Secondly Hon. Minister Sir, it is my hope that …
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Can you please address
HON. NDUNA: Hon. Chair, I am not trying to demean your existence. I am very sorry. From now on, I am going to concentrate on you and I am going to address you. I ask that the Hon. Minister does standardise the services of the Auditor-General in terms of her carrying out a mandate. How would he do that? He can make sure that he removes the cap of employment so that the Auditor-General can be allowed to employ more manpower in order for her to carry out her mandate. As long as we are sub-contracting the services of the Auditor- General, we are leaving a lot to chance so there might be no standardisation. We are leaving a lot to chance so there might be no standardisation in her carrying out her mandate.
It is my hope that we have 92 local authorities Hon. Chair and it is my thinking that there should not be any of them that go under the radar at the time of auditing. As long as she is understaffed, they can go under the radar and she has no power to go after her in terms of her auditing processes. It is my thinking that every local authority gets to be dragged before the Auditor-General each year and every other five years there be a special audit carried out and a forensic audit carried out on all Government departments and quasi-government departments that she is mandated to carry out audits on. Every five years, forensic audit report, every year and Auditor-General’s report should be produced. It is my hope that we do not undo the good that she is currently doing that she is up to date in terms of her audit reports and that she is carrying out her mandate in terms of providing the general constitutional mandate that she has of the appropriation that is appropriated to her by Treasury. She should also be able to give her services in terms of making sure that she is policing those departments whose budgets have been presented by the Minister. I thank you Hon. Chair for giving me this opportunity to actually suggest mechanisms of financing the Auditor-General’s department and of also presenting the removal of the cap in terms of employment to complement the manpower that the Auditor-General currently has.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Chair. Just to put into perspective the importance of this office which has been allocated ZWL$159 million against the losses in 2018, one of the major achievements by the Auditor- General’s office is that they carried out a
NSSA forensic audit where they uncovered a loss of ZWL$400 million.
They carried out an audit on the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund where they uncovered a loss of more than ZWL$100 million. It is again the same office which uncovered the loss of more than ZWL$3 billion under the command agriculture amongst various other losses which have been unearthed by this office. I am speaking to these figures Hon. Chair so that at least you can see that capacitation of this office can assist us to plug these huge amounts of leakages that are happening in our parastatals. I would therefore favour to agree with the previous Speaker that a percentage, we may differ on the quantum of percentage but a percentage be levied to all parastatals on their gross revenue to support this office.
One of the key reasons why an organisation goes through an audit is to enhance their accounting systems and it was seen by the crafters of our Constitution that we need an Auditor-General’s Office for us to be able to enhance the accounting system of public funds. Therefore, if we fail to fund this office, we are going against the spirit of the Constitution. I was comparing $159 million to the Vote allocated to Vote Number 17 of the Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development. Under the women empowerment gender mainstreaming and community development alone, $155 million was allocated which is about the same amount given to the Auditor-General’s Office.
I fully appreciate the issue of empowering women and gender mainstreaming but surely if we are going to look at the value performance of the Budget, what the Auditor-General is doing against these projects of teaching our women how to make soap or prepare tomatoes, I think we are going to be better off as a nation in capacitating our Auditor-General’s office ahead of Vote Number 17. With all due respect and all its importance, but I believe that if we are going to vice verse these two funds, give $503 million to the Auditor-General’s office and $159 million to the Small to Medium Enterprises and Development funds. I thank you.
*HON. CHIKWAMA: I would like to contribute to debate on
Vote Six that is about the Auditor-General’s Office. I appreciate the fact that you increased the Budget allocation to this Office as compared to other years. However I wish you had allocated much more money because the Auditor-General’s Office has lots of work to do and also needs a big staff complement so that they are able to audit from every province or even local authorities but they can only do that if they have money. What is happening at the moment is that those local authorities actually hire their own auditors that they pay and give them their own terms of reference. So, to me there is lack of transparency with such an arrangement but if the Auditor-General’s Office is allocated enough
resources and has adequate staff, they can carry out their job efficiently.
My request is that money allocated to the Auditor-General’s Office should be increased. Sometimes money allocated to certain ministries is not released on time and that compromises work. You discover that some of the ministries are not audited for years because of lack of funds whilst funds are allocated, it is also important that funds are released on time so that they may do their job. We went to Zambia and visited the
Auditor-General’s Office and we discovered that the Office was well staffed and they were doing their job efficiently even going to the lowest levels of society where you can also meet their staff in rural areas doing their job. Here in Zimbabwe, you discover that external firms are engaged, such as Ernest and Young. That does not augur well.
As a woman, I want that office led by a woman to work efficiently. So in order for us to carry out our job as women, we need adequate funding and empowerment so that it can help that woman’s work to go all the way to the grassroots. I think I have stressed my point adequately.
I thank you.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I want to thank the Hon. Members for their contributions regarding this very important office and I agree with them that the Office of the Auditor-General is a very important office. I think we are really getting value for money. Let me go to contribution by contribution but there is clear overlap, and two things are coming out, it is more of budget and I think that is very clear, and more manpower. Perhaps a percentage of the budget say 1% and someone said 5% but really it is about more budgets.
Let me preamble this by saying and I think this came from Hon. Markham in terms of filling the vacancies. The Auditor-General’s Office actually has no issues with its budget. There has been no challenge with its budget in 2019. We budgeted $20 million for the Auditor-General’s Office in 2019 and so far as of September, they had used $8 million but I am sure they have used more now. We are in the second week of December and they have probably used more. I can assure you that in terms of budget, they have not run out of budget. If they have run out of budget, then no one has briefed me about it. So we have been very diligent in making sure that they get their budget on time and stay within their budget. There is no issue around their budget.
What we have done this year is to increase their budget 7,5 times from $20 million to $151,9 million. That is what we have done – [AN HON. MEMBER: Those were US$] – Sorry Chair to respond. No, they were not. If you recall this budget was revised in July. We did that together at the supplementary stage where we used ZWL. So, this budget is actually in ZWL and so from $20 million to $151,9 million, that is about 7,5 times. You can see we have rocketed up the budget and we still have the same complement of staff but we want them to increase the staff complement.
Let me now talk about the staff complement of the Auditor-
General’s Office. You see, they have to compete just like we do in Treasury with the private sector in finding accountants and auditors. It is not ease and what they end up doing is then giving contracts to the private companies. They are already employing these well sought after individuals to provide the audit services. It is working because if you cannot attract them, what do you do but what we have done as
Government is we have created a staff retention and acquisition fund so that we can top up the salaries of those that we consider to be valuable where we are competing drastically with the private sector. The Auditor-
General’s Office has been included in that fund and that is outside their own budget.
So, really the inability to increase staff in their office has to do with this competition with the private sector and the way out has been the contracting of services to the private sector. It is kind of unavoidable. We are not yet at the same level with Zambia, whether they staff the office all the way down to the provinces as the Hon. Member mentioned but we will get there one day but for now, this is what we have. It is working and we are getting value for money.
We think that this budget of $151,9 million is a very good start. Should they run out of budget, we always have unbudgeted reserves. We work very closely with the Auditor-General’s Office and we will be able to add more. I just want to be sure that they are able to work with what they have for now and if it is run out as it was in 2019, they should be able to live within this budget without much difficulty. Specifically, Hon. Nduna always comes up with very interesting suggestions – 5% of the Government revenue should be set aside. That will be $3 billion. It is quite a bit and I appreciate the generosity but I think you agree with me that this is quite a bit. I do not think that is where we want to go.
Ideas about levying parastatals and I think this came from Hon. Chikwinya who will not be very popular when he suggests that we remove some $151,9 million from the Women’s Affairs Ministry to the
Auditor-General’s Office. I do not think he would be very popular with that suggestion – [HON. CHIKWINYA: Inaudible interjection.] – I doubt it. I think the spirit of this is that the Auditor-General’s (AG) Office should be given adequate funding and I accept that but I believe that what we have done so far, the $151.9m is a very good start. Let us see how that works. Should we need additional resources, we always stand ready to support them.
The last point I want to make Mr. Chairman, as you know, you approved this in the interim statement in July and he said this was a suggestion that came out of the AG’s Report saying Treasury established a strong and effective internal audit department which will help in the enforcement and implementation of some of the suggestions from the AG’s Office. This new departmental structure will work closely with the AG’s office and I am determined that during 2020 we will make progress in establishing this internal audit unit to work alongside with the AG’s office. I think broadly these are the comments and through this explanation, I have tried to cover ground in terms of satisfying the Hon. Members but I appreciate the comments indeed.
HON. MATEWU: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Every Monday we
sit in the Public Accounts with the Auditor General. What the Minister is saying about using less money than they are given, the Treasury has a habit of not giving ministries their money. The problem that the AG’s office was having was that the money they had requested for was coming very late. They ended up not doing all the audits that they wanted to do. The problem is within the Treasury, that of not dispensing money on time. The AG has been very clear about the amounts of special audits and forensic audits that they want to do. I implore the Minister to give them the money that they need and if we can agree on $300 million as a starting point today, that would be a good starting point. Just give them the money and let us see how they perform because they are the department that has been holding all the other ministries to account and they have done a splendid job in doing so. Let us give them the money so that they do far much more than they are doing now. I really implore the Minister, let us give them at least $300 million so that it gives them some starting point and we can start to see more forensic reports and of course, who knows more convictions and more catch release, whatever it is as those things go. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the
Minister to consider on a quid pro quo but also backing up what Hon. Matewu has just said. If the Minister could consider 0.5% which is above the figure he has as a starting point for this year in order to see how the Auditor General’s Office progresses with that amount of money. The issue is simply that things like vehicles are dire as is working space in the office and decent computers. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development has a point of debt recovery which is not happening anywhere in the budget. Anywhere in Government as and when people are caught, the State will be strict on the Ministry that has not accounted for money; their appropriation for the following year must be cut down slightly to help consolidate the funds for the AG’s Office. The funding for 2021 would be reduced for the Ministry that had an adverse audit report this year. That way we are now forcing ministries to take into account the AG’s reports correctly. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Chairman. When you
allocate money you have reasons why you do so. If you look at the performance of the Auditor General and their Vote, the arguments we are putting forward are so justified. If we look at the kind of work they have done in a number of institutions, I can give an example of what they did to ZIMRA. The amount of money that we have been losing through mismanagement at ZIMRA and the situation that now prevails at ZIMRA, things have changed. If you look at the local authorities, how they used to spend money willy nilly, no accountability at all, since the moving in of the Auditor General things have changed.
Here we are talking about value for money. Why do we want the
AG’s Office to be capacitated? The kind of reports they even produced for the Ministry of Finance, I think you are all now in a mood where you know there is someone who is doing some work. A number of permanent secretaries have come and confessed that if you Parliament had been doing this all along we could have not been doing things the wrong way we have been doing them. We are saying to the Minister, for this one department, if you can increase from the current allocation from the current allocation to $300 million, it will go a long way to capacitate the AG’s Office. That office cannot be compromised. That office is not expected to go and beg. The moment they go and beg, you are taking away the independence that the office must enjoy.
I do not think we are asking for too much. He is fully aware why that office must be independent. He is fully aware what work the office is doing. As far as we are concerned Mr. Chairman, for us to come out of this House without having influenced the Minister to change the budget, we will have done injustice to the people of Zimbabwe. Whatever we are allocating here; the appropriation which we are doing as Members of Parliament, for us then to account for those monies it is through the Auditor General. All what we are appropriating here, the only way we can account and expect the Executive to account is through the Auditor General’s Office. Until we capacitate the Auditor General’s Office, we have a problem. So we implore the Minister to at least consider moving the budget from where it is to even $300 million and we will get handsome returns from the Auditor General. That woman has been working hard. That woman has been exemplary. We look at a lot of women who head several organisations, but that one stands out as one of the best. Why can we not support her and make sure that she shines? She is already doing so and she can do better. That woman deserves our support.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I want to
bring to the attention of the Hon. Minister; he is aware that he is supposed as the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to appoint the board to oversee the Auditor General. The funds that we are appealing for; I have moved that the budget should allocate at least 1% and this amount should be around $518 million if we are to capacitate this Ministry.
We work with the Auditor General in the Public Accounts Committee and in our engagements with the Auditor General, we have had several requests that you have sent to the Auditor General in terms of forensic audits, value for money audits and the Auditor General has come back to us saying she does not have the manpower. Secondly, if she does not have the manpower she has to outsource other professional auditors to undertake the work.
As far as I am concerned, we cannot leave this august House without a movement on the Vote allocation to the Auditor General. If the Hon. Minister cannot move to 1% which is around $518 million, at least he should move to beyond 300 million or even 300 million so that at least this office of the Auditor General can function properly. This issue cuts across and as a House this is one office that we should stand by and allow it to get money. We have had, only two days ago, 9th December was Anti-Corruption Day and now there is no office that has been so exemplary, that has exposed corruption. Even ZACC cannot compare with what the Auditor General’s office has done. We should reward good performance with more resources so that they can do the work. Those ministries and parastatals that are getting adverse reports, money should be subtracted from them and given to performers. To that extent, I want you to take 150 million from un- allocated reserves under the Ministry of Finance and put it to the Auditor General. To me, this is critical and crucial for Zimbabwe. I thank you.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I think Members agree with me that
the issue has been about the size of the budget. A real issue is what Hon. Matewu has raised which is that we need to disburse these monies timely and I agree with that. We will endevour to do that. So for me, it is not about the size of the budget as such; it is about the timely disbursements of these funds and we will make sure that this is done. So it really covers what Hon. Matewu, Hon. Markham, Hon. Mushoriwa and Hon. Madzimure mentioned.
Now, this is what I propose because again I have been consulting my staff and when looking at these budgets, I heard about the human resource element under Programme 1. So I propose that we increase that budget by another five million dollars for the human resource item under Policy and Administration Programme; this is sub Programme 2 under Policy Programme 1. This will then move that budget item from 23, 25 to 28, 25 million, that is the first proposal.
The second proposal is that, I listened carefully as well under the forensic audit issues and this is now Programme 2 under audit services since we are doing programme based budgeting under sub-programme 3 on forensic and other special audits. I propose that we add another 15 million to that item. At the moment, we had budgeted 2,414 million, I agree that let us top that up, let us add another 15 million which will take you to 17,414 million. So the total increase is an additional of 20 million for the Auditor General’s office to cover those two items but I thank the Members for their proposal and I think that will go a long way in beginning to address some of the budgetary requirements of the Auditors General’s office. I thank you.
Vote 6 – Office of the Auditor General - $151 930 000 put and agreed to.
On Vote 7 – Industry and Commerce- $368 013 000;
HON. MUSHORIWA: On the Vote of Industry and Commerce, I
want to start on hygienic issues. If you look at industry, it has three permanent secretaries, one woman and two men and if you look at the size of this Ministry, it is so small compared to the Ministry that the Hon. Minister has. The Ministry of Finance has got one permanent secretary but this one has three people who are occupying permanent secretary position level. I do not understand why this Ministry should have three officers who are sitting at the level of permanent secretary. We need the Minister to explain to us why it is so because I think that it is unnecessary and we need to cut so that there is only one. In our view, the person who signed this budget on behalf of the Ministry is one Mavis Sibanda who, in our view is the Accounting Officer of the Ministry of
Industry and Commerce and we want to understand where the other two Permanent Secretaries are coming from and in which departments they are sitting such that they warrant to be in the Ministry? Yesterday we were told that normally those people that are Permanent Secretaries and if they are moved from the Ministries, they are then thrown under the pool of the OPC where they actually retire at but here we do not understand when they are there.
Then secondly on the budget itself, Hon. Chair, there are several things and firstly I want to start by saying that the budget or the amount of money that has been allocated to the Industry and Commerce Ministry is so minute. We say this because if you look at the industrial capacity utilisation which is below 30%, we expected more money to be thrown into this Ministry.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Member.
Hon. Members, these three vehicles are blocking other: ADC 3258, ADI
9113 and ADC 3735. Can the owners please go and attend to their cars.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Hon. Chair, I was saying that the Ministry was allocated $368 million on the background of a depressed industrial production. Our industry utilisation capacity is below 30%. One of the things that I expected the Hon. Minister to do and it speaks to policy inconsistence within the Government, you recall when Hon. Ndlovu was still the Minister of Industry and Commerce; they came and lodged the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy and local content strategy. If you read through that policy and what the Government committed to do, it is not backed by any link to this Blue Book. We expected huge chunks of money being given. We have however Hon.
Chair seen that the Minister has given money to IDC but again Hon. Chair, IDC, we have suggested in other quarters that we need a forensic audit in terms of how IDC has been operating because we believe that they have been asset stripping under IDC and the continuation of giving them a lot of money without proper accounting is actually problematic.
Then the other issue which I do not understand and which I am not even seeing in this budget relates to the statement by the Hon. Minister who said in his Budget Statement that they were allocating US$20 million for industrial capacity but do not see anything within the figures because US$20 million at the bank rate of around 15, we expect something like $320 million being factored under that US$20 million facility and I do not think that the Hon. Minister can tell us that the money is going to come outside the framework of this budget. That money, if the Government is serious, should actually come within the framework of this budget and this is the reason why if I look at the industrial policy that this Government launched and if I look at what the Hon. Minister said in his Budget Statement, the minimum amount of money that should have been allocated to the Industry and Commerce budget should have actually been $1.169 billion and not the amount of money that has been allocated to this Ministry.
If you look into the operations of this Ministry, there are certain departments that are supposed to be effective if we are to move this country forward. One of the major challenges that we are now facing is, as long as our industry is depressed, then the Hon. Minister will continue to crack his head because the revenue that we are supposed to be getting, we will not get it. We will continue to import even things that we are supposed to be manufacturing. One of the things that Ian Smith did during the sanctions era under the Rhodesian era was to make sure that he poured monies to the industry and he made sure that the industry under Rhodesia could actually supply all the needs of that country. The question that I have with the Hon. Minister is simple – why should we continue as a country to invest in importing finished products? Why do we not give a huge chunk of resources to the capacitation of our industry and commerce? If we do not do that Hon. Chair, then we are going nowhere as a country and this is why I do not understand why policies of the same Government cannot speak to each other.
Why should we have an industrial policy which is not backed by the budget that we are talking of? This budget Hon. Minister on
Industry and Commerce, it appears as if it is not coming from the same Cabinet that Hon. Simangaliso Ndlovu sits on because there should not be policy inconsistencies but they should be feeding one Ministry to the other if we are going to go for the development. Even the issues that the Minister talks about in his TSP document, it is not factored in because industry is supposed to carry this country. Right now our belief and given the erratic climate change that we have in this country, if we do not fix our industry, we will continue to suffer as a country and to that extent Hon. Minister, I request that monies be increased. If monies cannot be increased but at least can the Hon. Minister explain to us why there is that missing link. Explain to us why there is not that $320 million for that US$20 million facility that he said in his Budget Statement? I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Hon. Chair. Government is supposed to create the right conducive environment for private business to thrive and it is my hope that the amount that has been allocated to industry which is just above $300 million can optimally be utilised – if it can be allocated and disbursed at the beginning of the year opposed to staggering it during the year.
It is my thinking that industry according to their strategic initiative which speaks to amongst other things dealing with reserved sectors of the economy for the empowerment of the formally marginalised black majority, they can make sure that structure that is page 100, you will find that in the quest, in dealing with their strategic initiative of embarking on this verification and registration of businesses operating in the reserved sector which amongst other businesses should be the local transport industry. I do not understand why an Indian operator should come and operate mushikashika public transport here in Zimbabwe. These are the other reserved areas and reserved sectors that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce seeks to structure and make sure that they are protected for the local industry or for the domestic investors. In conducting that modus operandi, they do not need any money. There is need for the monies that you have given to them to be released at the beginning of the year period. That is one issue and in so doing, I make a clarion call to this strategic initiative for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to go further and say any investment that is below US$2 million, foreigners should come and partner locals for us to capacitate our local players otherwise if we get an investor that is only investing US$2 million into the local reserved areas, we are doing ourselves a lot of injustice.
Further to that, he requests to deal with strategic initiative. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce talks about streamlining the community share ownership trust initiatives. It has been hazy from inception. Where I come from there is a community share ownership Trust that is championed by ZIMPLATS. It puts a seed capital of
US $10 million but it is my view that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in order to capacity both the local industry and themselves, they need to get the dividend from 2012 to date. It is nearly ten years now and these local community share ownership trusts have not disbursed any finances according to the dividend accumulated either yearly or up to now. They have only put in seed capital.
So, in their interrogation of the community share ownership trust, if you give them that money at inception they are going to make sure that money that has been accumulating whether it is 15% or 15% to the community or may be 10% to Government be given now in dividend form. If that money is ploughed into the community cumulatively from time of the community share ownership trust inception, that money is going to go a long way in revitalising industry in Zimbabwe.
I will give you an example of the platinum industry, that community share ownership trust, assuming that 15% that is due to the community was US$1 million annually which is the dividend. If we calculate the number of years from when it was established, we will get about US$8 million from the platinum metals that are being exported and refined in South Africa either at the Rand Refinery or elsewhere. So, that money can go a long way, it is my view Hon. Chair that the Minister can scrutinise the dividends accumulated out of the community share ownership trust through the Ministry of Industry and Commerce by allocating their monies immediately at the time that they want to use it at the beginning of the year.
As I end Hon. Chair, the issue of domestic investment using the platform of foreign investment for any amounts below US$2 million should be taken seriously so that we capacitate our domestic investors using the foreign investment. The issue of establishment of special economic zones should be taken seriously because there are a lot of initiatives. The establishment of special economic zones, that Bill when it came to Parliament, we took our time in terms of making sure that the laws that govern the special economic zones are done in a flawless manner so that we can have the easy of doing business. We can embrace foreign direct investment into this country and we can also promote domestic investment.
Hon. Chair I would also go further to say that as a suggestion, all the monies that are being exported and the jobs that are being exported using the community share ownership initiative for example the refining of our metals in South Africa - However, it is my hope and view that you can put in a statutory instrument that implore these people that are going to refine our metals outside, that are selling raw resources outside this country to bank that money locally. This will enable us to promote our local industry using what we have to get what we want. Hon. Chair, if all that money is banked domestically….
HON. MATEWU: On a point of order Hon. Chair. We are in Committee to debate the Budget, we are not here for a lecture, we are here to debate figures. So, can he stick to the figures please so that we progress?
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Chair, please
wind up your debate.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Hon. Chair kudzidza hakuperi. So this is my clarion call to the Hon. Minister so that we enhance the capacity of the Industry and Commerce. The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education has also said he want to create the industry through the graduates that they are getting through the Committee chaired by Hon. Molekela. That is very key, there is no need to continue to give them any more than they have got but disburse and give them immediately when they want to utilise it. I thank you Hon. Chair and I think this will go a long way in enhancing the capacity of the industry and commerce.
HON. S. BANDA: I want to debate on the issue which the Minister is using as a basis for the 2020 Budget. The Minister is saying that capacity utilisation for 2020 is targeted at 50% yet like Hon.
Mushoriwa indicated a moment ago, it is way below 30%. Actually Zimbabwe is at its worst was never below 30% with regard to industrial capacity utilisation. So, this is a record low for capacity utilisation. It therefore, requires an alternate answer – a better assessment of the situation, a better alternative. So, if we continue to give this very important Ministry only 300 and something million then it does not make any sense.
Hon. Chair, you will recall that last year there was an undertaking that ZISCO Steel would be given USD$5 million – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Hon. Chair, ZISCO Steel was promised
USD$5 million but when you look at the current Budget, currently for
2020 it is budgeted that they will be given RTGS $240 million. If you divide that by 15.5 – it is around USD$16 million for the entire country, yett for the resuscitation of a small part of ZISCO Steel was set at $5 million. So USD$16 million that has been allocated here is insufficient for all the IDC companies.
It is my call therefore, Chair, like Hon. Mushoriwa stated that, ‘Let us spruce up this Budget’. A country can never develop without an industry and Zimbabwe currently does not have a working industry. So, if we allocate peanuts to industry then we are going to have peanuts at the end of the day. Here they are saying that the manufacturing sector growth rate was supposed to be 5% this year, it is estimated at 5% next year and it will be 5% in 2021. At the end of the day, it means that the Budget that we have is just stagnant – meaning if we maintain the Budget as proposed our growth rate for the next three to four years is going to be constant.
I, therefore, propose or add onto what Hon. Mushoriwa said when he proposed that the Budget should be at least a billion dollars because that way, we are going to really capacitate industry. Also the issue of research development and innovation is also supposed to come into play within the Ministry so that we start doing new things that we were never able to do before. I think that when the Hon. Minister, in his budget presentation, spoke of satellites which is the direction we want to take, that of innovation and industrialisation. So, we also want the satellites of this industry to be considered.
Therefore, there will now be a linkage between what is going to happen in the innovation hubs and what is going to be happening in industry. Hence we need more money to be put into the Ministry of Industry and Commerce – that is my call. I thank you.
HON. MUKUHLANI: Thank you Hon. Chair, industrialisation by nature is policy driven. Yes, a budget framework allows that process to take place. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce is there to superintend and develop that policy. So the budget that the Hon. Minister presented to us is not for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to go out there and start industries – we need that clarification. We need to be clear that in this Budget, the figures that Hon. Minister presented are not for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to go and start industries.
However, what we need to do as a way of suggestion Hon. Chair is that the industry in Zimbabwe is not affected by budget allocations. The industry in Zimbabwe is affected by policy and regulatory framework. Our regulatory frameworks are so stringent that it creates high entry barriers into industry. So we need to relook at our regulatory framework, we need to incentivise local businesses that are reviving businesses that had collapsed. For instance, in Bulawayo, the infrastructure is there. There are business people in Zimbabwe who are investing in Bulawayo.
What is the problem with these business people who are investing in Bulawayo? It is not the budgetary allocation. The problem that is in Bulawayo today is that when you go to revive an industry in Bulawayo – your visitors are NSSA, your second visitor is ZIMRA and your third visitor is ZESA. So before you start reviving an industry or business in
Bulawayo – which is supposed to be our industrial hub – you have entry barriers from within our own system. These need to be dealt with seriously that those companies that are going to invest in Bulawayo must be given tax holidays. They must be moratorium to pay NSSA for those arrears that existed before these industries were liquidated.
So our regulatory framework needs to be looked at. When we look at the pharmaceutical industry today, we import more than we manufacture in terms of pharmaceuticals. Our regulatory framework for registering of medicines and opening of pharmaceutical companies here is more stringent than it is in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and in Australia yet we are the poorest. So, we need to look at this framework and say, ‘Does it apply to us?’
Furthermore, the way we are operating – our regulatory framework and policies are not speaking to the fact that this country is under sanctions. Therefore, our regulatory framework must speak to that environment that we have got a regulatory framework that is meant for a normal functioning country but we are not operating in a normal environment. Therefore, we need to get back and say, ‘The
requirements that we put on our industries, for instance from EMA, are they for a country that is under sanctions or for a country that is not under sanctions?’
So we need to make that conscious decision to say, ‘what do we want?’ we have a regulatory framework that is meant for a first world country. We are a third world country that is not only a third world country but operating under sanctions. So, it does not matter how much the Hon. Minister allocates to this Ministry. Even if he were to allocate a billion dollars – industrialisation will not take place because the regulatory framework does not allow that to take place.
Hon. Minister, you can crack your head on whether to increase or decrease the amount that you allocate to this Ministry. For as long as these issues are not dealt with and dealt with in a holistic manner; we will still be here discussing that there is no industrialisation. So industrialisation is linked to the regulatory framework of a country of which our regulatory framework has higher specs than what we can afford. I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr. Chairman, I would like to contribute to the debate on Industry and Commerce. What I would like to say is we cannot expect foreigners to come and sweep your house. What we should consider is that we should promote small businesses so that they grow. We are looking at small businesses like soap making, garments manufacturing, oil expressing et cetera. We should promote small companies whereby Government should allocate funds for that. They are a lot of companies that are operating but they do not have adequate funds. If you want to make sadza, you need mealie-meal and water but if you have mealie-meal and water without fire, you cannot make that sadza.
We may think that our local companies are not able to manufacture but all they need is support from Government. There is no progress that we can make when we import things like soap, clothes yet we grow cotton and soya beans in this very country. My wish is that the
Government should allocate funds to promote people to do those businesses. Things that you get as donations are not very efficient in terms of assisting you to progress. What is imported is funds should be allocated for the growth of those local industries. If you are to look at what is happening in the streets like Leopold Takawira in Harare, there is no foreigner operating in that road but all the buildings there charge in foreign currency. You discover that there are no locals operating there.
They charge US$10 to US$15 thousand, where will you get that money? You discover that some of the businesses that are being done there are supposed to be done by locals yet the locals are out because of such requirements. So, it is my wish that the Government should make relevant regulations that promote and audit what work every company is doing.
ZISCO Steel stopped functioning because of sanctions. If ZISCO
Steel were to be promoted and given adequate funds, it will help in turn for the development of other companies that deal in steel because they will be getting their steel from ZISCO Steel. I thank you very much Mr.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Chair. If you go to the theme
of this budget it says ‘gearing for higher productivity, growth and job creation’. Mr. Chair, we have a perfect opportunity to meet this higher productivity, growth and job creation. What we simply have to do is to put our money where our mouth is. Mr. Chair, during the UDI when sanctions were declared on Rhodesia, the statement that was made by
Ian Smith was that “nothing will stop the people of Rhodesia to enjoy what other people in the world are enjoying”.
What he meant was that he was going to transform industry. He meant he was going to substitute those spare parts and those machines that we were importing by simply producing them locally; this he only did it through industrial development. If you look at the industry budget today, it does not speak to any growth, it does not speak to any job creation, and it does not speak to productivity. To make matters worse, we have been decimating industry, removing some key components of industry from industry and giving it to other departments. If you look at the amount allocated to Industry you then ask the question how are we going to industrialise under those circumstances. Are we going to industrialise? If you look at the growth rate of industry, the projected growth rate has remained constantly at 5%; and you ask the question are we moving?
In actually fact, this year we have not recorded any growth in manufacturing, we must have recorded a clear minus. So, the amount allocated for industry is too little, it does not reflect on our aspirations. It does not reflect on the intended objective of the Budget. The most important Minister right now is the Minister of Finance and we expect the Minister of Finance to help us because it appears that currently, it seems he is the only person conversant of what needs to be done and we expect him to do as he did when we debated the Auditor -General’s report where he took on board the concerns of the members. Industry needs to be capacitated, we need industry to grow, we need to substitute those things that we are importing and the only way we can do so is through the improvement of the budget – [HON. T.MLISWA: Unogara wakashatirwa asi hauna mukadzi here?] – so I will implore the Minister to closely look at this and make some improvements because it is the vote that will determine whether we are going to save on the foreign currency that we use in importing almost everything. We are importing toothpick, matches yet we have got enough wood in Nyanga that can be used for production of match sticks. We need our industry to be retooled; we need equipment that is efficient, equipment that can produce high quality goods at the lowest cost. So, I implore the Minister to relook at this budget, the Vote of Industry and make some improvements.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Chair, appropriation means a sum of money allocated officially for a particular use. Now I remind Members of Parliament, we are at the stage of appropriation not debate; amount allocated, so talk about the amounts allocated and not debate, we have finished debating.
HON. KASHIRI: Thank you Hon. Chair. You should have given Hon. Mliswa the chance to say what he has said, maybe when we started the debate. Hon. Chair, in the interest of time and progress, I will not waste time repeating what Hon. Members have said. I think all has been said and done. All I want to draw the Hon. Minister’s attention to is the issue that we are moving into the fourth industrial revolution. When we talk about industrialisation, we are talking about innovation, artificial and creative intelligence.
How do we go forward into the fourth industrial revolution with such a small budget? We are talking of technology; technology is expensive Hon. Chair. My thinking would be, when the Minister looks at this budget for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, it should also speak to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education where our innovation, science and technology resides, so is the Ministry of Agriculture. These three figures should talk to each other and when he does his budget – please Hon. Minister Sir, look at that figure; it is too small for us to get into the fourth industrial revolution. I plead with you that let us not lag behind in the SADC region, Africa and with the European countries because we are going into robotics as soon as possible. I think that is my submission.
HON. M. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Once again I thank the Hon. Members for their contributions. Over the weekend, I did a tour of the Pepsi Cola factory, Varun Industries. I was very impressed by the machinery there, they are already at the fourth industrial revolution stage; robotics everywhere, producing 70 million bottles in terms of drink per day is very impressive. I have also done a tour of Surface Wilmar which produces cooking oil. I have done a tour of Treggers Industries in Bulawayo employing 3000 people; I have done a tour of Nestle and very soon I will be doing a tour of Dairibord. What is clear from my tours so far Mr. Chair and Hon. Members is that the issue for these industries, for them to retool to export and employ more people; they do not need an increased budget from the Government. That is not the issue, they are looking for better policies, consistent policies and better inter-bank market so that they can access foreign currency. So when Members are talking about an increased budget and so on, I think it is an assumption that it is the Government which invests, which is not correct. There are investors out there, they are doing their things and they know what to do. They require our support and that support is not financial.
Nevertheless, we have decided to give them financial support which is the $240 million which we have given to the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to invest in new industries. That is quite a bit and they have not even begun to use the $100 million or so that we gave them in 2019. They are still working out systems, approaches and the opportunities. We have given them an additional $240 million. For start-ups of small industries which are coming out of people’s intellectual capital, we have the National Venture Fund of $500 million that also cuts across to the youth in terms of the ideas that they need to be capitalised and funded. So there are other activities out there in terms of the resources to support the whole notion of industrialisation but in the main, industry is not looking for capital from the Government to retool.
We have also done something else; we have put in place a guarantee scheme for those companies which are trying to access capital from banks but they are running out of collateral to pledge for those loans. That is accommodated in the unbudgeted reserves in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development because it is an exposure of Government that sits with Treasury. We are doing a lot for industry to support productivity. I am really looking forward to 2020 as a year when we will really support industry and see that industry moves to the next level.
If I were to highlight two key issues that are impacting industry Mr. Chairman, it is access to foreign currency and power. Those are the two key impediments and they are not budgetary issues. I think according to the exposition from Hon. Mukuhlani, if anyone was listening, just listen to what he said. As someone who operates in the pharmaceutical set up, he knows what he is talking about and he agrees with me. I am sorry I have to single him out because I think he was on point about the real issues impacting industry. That is not to down-play everything that Hon. Members said. They were very important issues and I thank them. This kind of budget is adequate. Thank you Mr.
Chair and thank you Hon. Members.
The Chairperson having put the question for the adoption of Vote
HON. S. BANDA: I object – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
Vote 7 – Industry and Commerce - $368 013 000 put and agreed
HON. S. BANDA: I objected and you told me to sit down and I humbly sat down expecting that after you rule you can say Hon. Banda, please go ahead. That is what I was expecting. What I am saying is very important.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order please…
HON. S. BANDA: What I am saying is very important. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- Hon. Chair, you heard me saying I object very strongly but there were other objections which were allowed previously, and now it is only my objections which are being refused.
When the war veterans issue was being discussed there were objections.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: I am the Chair today
and that I did not hear. Today I did not hear any objections because it is the first one and this is why I am doing this.
HON. S. BANDA: Hon. Chair, if rules change day in and day out, it becomes a mickey-mouse.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Member, do not
tell me about how Parliament was run yesterday. I am the Chair today and I have ruled.
On Vote 8 - Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement $11 334 459 000:
HON. MATEWU: Thank you Chair. On this one I have one issue
but it is very serious. My issue is on the allocation to the Ministry under Policy and Administration and under Policy and Administration there is the Finance and Administration. I want to read to the Hon. Minister what it says: It says prepares budgets, executes, monitors, reports on financial resources and safeguards assets of the Ministry. This is almost in every other Ministry but in Agriculture, it has been given a whopping $7.5 billion and it is Finance and Administration alone, which puts almost 10 or 20 ministries together. I want to understand from the Minister, what is so special about preparing budgets, executing and monitoring that needs $7.5 billion?
I say this because we have an issue with agriculture that over the past three years they have spent over 100% of their allocated money and this money never came to the Ministry. This time we complained that any money that is used in agriculture must come from the ministries’ purse because previously Treasury was the one which was paying suppliers and everyone in agriculture and under Command Agriculture. I want to understand. This is fishy - why would we put in Finance and Administration $7.5 billion? Can the Minister please explain if preparing budgets costs $7.5 billion? Thank you.
HON. S. BANDA: Thank you very much Chair. The issue of
water is strong in our hearts. I want to discuss the issue of Kunzvi Dam. It was allocated RTGS$259 million and if I recall, I think three or four years ago, Hon. Muchinguri tried to have contractors start working on the dam for US$865 million. If I recall again, I think two years prior to that, there was also another contractor who was supposed to be given the same dam with reticulation, just the dam alone. It cost about US$400 million. This RTGS$259 million that is being proposed for 2020, I think it was also the same figure which was for feasibility studies but in US$ for 2019 and nothing has happened.
In 2020, we do not really want a feasibility study because the plans and the designs – this dam was supposed to be constructed in 1990.
What we want in 2020 is for actual construction to start. So I feel that RTGS$259 million is just but a drop. I am asking for the Minister to say if we are going to do the dam in two or three years, you can may be say let us divide US$500 by about three years and that way, whatever amount that comes from there can be the budgeted amount for Kunzvi Dam for 2020 so that actual construction will start. That is my plea Chair. Thank you.
HON. NGULUVHE: Thank you Chair. I wanted to direct my
comments to the Hon. Minster. The policy on agriculture says that for each district there shall be 200 hectares under irrigation per year. If you look at his budget allocation, there are some provinces or some districts where he does not take care of that issue in terms of dams for irrigation. I will give an example – the entire district of Beitbridge does not have any dam or any plan in terms of irrigation as far as Mukorsi.
We give you an example of an irrigation scheme in Beitbridge East - Chikwarakwara for an example. That irrigation has not been working for the past 15 years and my appeal to the Minister is, why can we not consider that irrigation? It is only 85 hectares but at least it will make a change. We are well aware that we are on Region 5 and we definitely need irrigation. So I am saying we already have a policy which says at least 200 hectares per year per district but if you check, there is nothing as far as Matabeleland South, particularly Beitbridge is concerned. I thank you.
HON. HAMAUSWA: I want to make my contribution with regard
to water. If you check on the allocation of resources to water and sanitation, you will also realise that the sanitation part of it is silent and that is number one issue which the Minister should address – that of water and sanitation but in the budget, the sanitation aspect is silent. Secondly, we know the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for drilling boreholes. Here in Harare when we requested last year, we were told that they did not have diesel for them to drill boreholes in our constituencies. This is also a challenge.
We also need to consider mechanisation of boreholes. Therefore, I request the Minister of Finance to consider increasing the allocation meant for borehole drilling because when we target urban areas and we focus on drilling manual boreholes, I do not think we will be doing justice to urban dwellers because you will find that women and some who are old spend four hours queuing for water. If the boreholes are mechanised, it makes their life easier. So I am actually pleading with the Minister of Finance to say we need the Ministry of Agriculture to be equipped with technology that will enable borehole drilling to be mechanised, because you find that women will spend billions of hours doing unpaid work like fetching water and there are even some crisis that are arising from the issue of water.
I also want to conclude by adding my voice to the issue of Kunzvi Dam from another angle. I am just adding to say when Lake Chivero was built and the Harare Water Reticulation System was done, it was targeting about 200 000 people, but now we are talking about more than a million people in Harare. Harare is also now covering areas like Norton, Ruwa, Epworth and Chitungwiza. This means that the Minister of Finance should actually consider or push the construction of Kunzvi Dam to a level of a national project and we actually expect to hear a specific target of years from the Minister of Finance to say by this time Harare will be drawing water from Kunzvi Dam. Without such a guarantee, I do not think we will be doing justice to the people who are living in Norton, Chitungwiza, Epworth and other surrounding areas in Harare.
I think it is important that this Budget be pushed or the figures pushed further to a figure that would actually cover for these expected development because as we speak, we are actually lucky that we did not face many water borne diseases in Harare and other surrounding areas because there is an acute shortage of water. Those are my submissions Hon. Chair.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. M.
KHUMALO): I am very impressed by the level of participation and how you listened to him. Can you continue like that – that was very wonderful. Can we please be attentive like we did now?
HON. MUKUHLANE: Agriculture is of paramount importance to the economy and the well being of our country but over the years, the production or tonnage of maize that has come from the peasant farmers in our country has gone down. This is primarily because GMB is not resources in and on time to pay the farmers as and when they deliver their grain to GMB. When they do pay them, they are paid a figure that is not commensurate with the market. The production of maize has gone down from our peasants and this contributes significantly to food security in our country.
The Budget that the Minister has presented to us is fair and proper, it is important that GMB is resourced well on time so that these farmers can continue to produce, which is not what is happening at the moment. As we speak, we are on the 11th of December and Command Agriculture farmers within the rural areas are still in the process of being contracted and then go to CBZ get vouchers. The likely time that they are going to get their inputs will be maybe 15th January and they will already be out of season.
In spite of a good figure in terms of budgetary allocation, it is also important that our processes are efficient in terms of making sure that the resources allocated to this Ministry get to the beneficiaries in and on time so that the intended outcome is achieved.
I identify with peasants because I am a son of a peasant. A long time ago, the agriculture finance company used to come to the rural areas to contract and finance farmers. It is important that probably we also gave more players from the financial sector to be involved in terms of financing agriculture so that we do not create bottlenecks that are being experienced by farmers today so that we retain value for the allocation that the Minister has made for the Ministry and also that the farmers are within season for them to have a good produce.
HON. S. SITHOLE: I have got only one appeal to the Minister. I have noticed that every irrigation in some other parts of the country or districts are getting a budget but Insiza South in Insiza District, Matabeleland South we are having irrigation at Silalatshani Irrigation – which is having 460 hectares. All canals are leaking but that 460 hectares in Matabeleland South, there is no irrigation that is more than that in Insiza South but there is no budget allocation.
Can the Minister also add the allocation for the boreholes into the
DDF – the Minister should also buy the riggers and not give them money and allocate riggers; either five per district because when you give them money, they can spend the money but when we buy those rigger and allocate them to districts, it will be the best move for our country.
HON. WATSON: If I could go back to the issue of dams, we have heard about the issue of Kunzvi Dam but my appeal to the Minister is that concerning Bulawayo; you have spoken about re-industrialisation and power but you did not speak about water security.
Bulawayo has not had a new dam or access to water. The GwaiShangani Dam has been budgeted for for many years. The Hon. Chair himself is aware of the volume of work that has actually been done there. My plea is that you ensure that the money budgeted for the GwaiShangani Dam is released timeously so that the work is actually done. The Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Water stood up in this House and promised that the dam would be finished now, December 2019. It is not anywhere near finished and it has been on the cards for many years.
The cofferdams have been washed away many times.
It is imperative that the dam is there and the size is sufficient to catch the water that it can possibly help Bulawayo because you spoke of power in terms of re-industrialisation – the Bulawayo power station or confide power station uses potable water. Bulawayo is extremely water insecure. It is not good for the city to be put in that predicament.
HON. MAMOMBE: I want to speak on the agricultural education that is mentioned in the 2020 Budget by the Ministry of Finance. When we look at the money that was allocated to agricultural education, it is RTGS58 million. The reason why I am raising this issue of agricultural education is from the background that when you look at the Higher and Tertiary education, these agricultural colleges are not included. This means that the agricultural colleges that we have in
Zimbabwe – Gwebi and Chibero are stand alone. They are under the Ministry of Lands. This is where the problem starts because when they are under the Ministry of Lands, already, there is compromise in terms of quality assurance because they are still Higher and Tertiary education institutions.
This is where my point is to the Hon. Minister to say that if you are allocating RTGS 58 million for agricultural education only, where other higher education institutions like for example Chinhoyi University of Technology where they just want to upgrade their laboratories. They need more than ZW$58m. This is where my concern is, to say we are talking about smart agriculture, agricultural engineering, crop and livestock research; is this going to be feasible with a mere ZW$58m that we are putting to these agricultural institutions?
I want to talk specifically on the infrastructure that we have at Gwebi and Chibhero. I have visited two colleges and the infrastructure there is deplorable. If we are just giving ZW$58m to these two institutions, are they going to fulfill the mandate of smart agriculture that we are talking about in the 2020 Budget? I want to implore the Minister to look into this figure that he has allocated to the agricultural institutions. I thank you.
*HON. P. ZHOU: I wish to debate on the issue on Agriculture
Mechanisation and Irrigation Department. Let me say that yes, we have received some rains but there is little farming that is taking place on the farms because the farmers do not have tractors and the draught power. I would like to urge the Minister to review upwards the figure that he has set aside for this department in order to enable women farmers to have access to farming activities. Again I would to propose that farmers are allocated resources in their clusters per province to enable them to buy farming machinery. A lot of farmers in the provinces do not have farming equipment and they are waiting to hire from DDF which is also constrained.
Secondly, I would like to contribute on the issue pertaining Lands Resettlement and Security of Tenure - $457m. When I look at the 2018 figures you will realise that 700 000ha were put under irrigation, and it is my plea that this amount is increased so that more farmers can utilise irrigation schemes. I also urge the Ministry of Agriculture to avail more 99 Year Leases to more farmers as well.
HON. MAYIHLOME: I have two very small contributions but
very vital for the constituency I represent. The issue of agricultural equipment for commercial farmers is very vital that the Ministry should consider a leasing company in place of DDF because a leasing company located in various provinces would be able to run tillage programmes more professionally than what is in place now. We consider that area very critical as commercial farmers.
The second point is the issue of livestock financing. Unlike other commodities livestock sector has suffered inadequate funding over the years and we urge the Ministry to consider funding livestock financing and associated programmes related to livestock productivity separately. In the past when we talked about livestock development, we only talked about foot and mouth disease control and research which is not visible on the ground but the livestock farmer expects to be able to get a loan to purchase stock and be able to sell stock. Cold Storage Company used to have that arm of livestock financing but it is now virtually not there. we request that it be resuscitated. I thank you.
*HON. P. MOYO: I would like to contribute on the issue of farming. We do not have implements and we have lost a lot of cattle especially this year. My contribution is that on the budget in terms of implements and the purchase of cattle, goats and sheep there should be additions to the budget because we have had a serious drought this year. In terms of irrigation, the majority of irrigation schemes do not have adequate equipment. They are lying idle and may the Minister add more funding so as to enable the irrigation schemes to work and be productive. We do not have equipment to work with although we have the water. I thank you.
HON. MURADZIKWA: I would like to add my voice pertaining
to the issue of water as has been alluded to by my fellow colleagues before me. You made a commitment in the budget that you would want to ensure there is mainstreaming of climate change in WASH programming hence rehabilitation and upgrading of priority water supply and waste water. However, in your commitment there is nowhere you have budgeted for the construction of boreholes in the urban councils or even the reconstruction of dams.
In the budget there was an allocation of ZW$59.5m which was set aside for eight rural provinces but as I speak there is nowhere you budgeted for the drilling of boreholes in the urban areas. I urge and plead with you to consider putting aside a budget for the drilling of boreholes in urban councils. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Before I start, the appropriations are what
they are. I just have issues again with policy which I would like the Minister to bear with me. Over the past three years the Ministry of Agriculture is 22-24% of the National Budget. It is a very important ministry which should be taken and dealt with care. From 2015 to 2018 we have had major issues both from the Auditor General and from the PAC regarding the accountability of the money. I have to say this, I believe that there is double issuance when it comes to the RBZ paying people directly and the Ministry of Finance trying to reconcile at the end of the year. Can the Minister reassure us that all this money which is 20% of the total budget, that this hole has been covered because it is for three years now where the Ministry of Agriculture has over spent tremendously and most of it has been unaccounted for? Can the Minister guarantee that the issue of accountability, parallel systems between the
RBZ and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the
Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. I also have a major problem with command agriculture being budgeted under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development but practically on the ground is run by the Office of the President and Cabinet. This is a major issue when it comes to accountability and it would make our jobs so much easier if every appropriated account was dealt with by the line Ministry. That well said and done, I would like to go down with this Budget; the maximum and the major part of this Budget is the capital grant. The capital grant is some seven of the 11 billion. I do not believe that 8% to the national budget should be listed in the Blue Book in one line. I think the capital grant must be broken down into what it represents and what it pays for. I acknowledge and applaud the Minister for actually putting it in there and differentiating it from the 2019 Budget. For that, I appreciate but it must be broken down further for us to be able to consider what is going on.
The issue of command agriculture is a major issue to me. One may choose imports which are unaccountable and Minister, the second thing is the results are not there. This has to be looked at critically because if we look at the money that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development put into command last year, it would have bought enough maize for us. Yes, we had a drought but that is not the only answer because our small scale production which is brought up by the Hon. Member there is the last in the region. Our yield per hectare is the lowest in the sub-region and yet we are supposed to be one of the leading agricultural proponents. I have a major issue on that.
Hon. Minister, I also appeal to you to review very carefully the issue of grain subsidies. The grain subsidies have been lifted by 30%. I acknowledge and accept that however I think the timing is particularly poor when we are very short of reserves. I do not see why we should remove the grain subsidy when we are subsidising urban transport by
85%. If we cap the subsidy down on urban transport, surely that would issue some relief on the urban populace and the rural populace I am sure have to buy maize grain and one product in particular roller meal.
I also have an issue with the budget on irrigation. My only issue with the Budget on irrigation is that it is a big capital expenditure. Yes it guarantees a crop but the crop is not guaranteed because ZESA is not guaranteed. The winter crop this year is less than a quarter of what it was budgeted for. We will be lucky to get 50 000 tonnes and a 20 hectare irrigation pivot Hon. Minister with the current load shedding, we can handle five to six hectares of wheat. That is a practical thing on the ground that is really worrying me about the Agricultural Budget and the mechanics. I have no problem with the allocation of the money; my problem is the mechanics of distributing the money because this has been a problem for four years and we have not solved it yet.
I would like to just go on to one issue which has been totally ignored. We pay lip service to it and unfortunately is the back bone to many livelihoods. In the rural areas, it is their wealth. Some parts of the country rely totally on the cattle. We have a dilapidated, broken down, ill-funded dipping programme. It was there; it was fantastic and contained all the tick borne diseases for us. It has fallen apart. The money allocated Hon. Minister, I assure you will not suffice for what is required to rebuild that livelihood. Do not forget we have just been through a massive drought where a lot of people have lost cattle, have lost condition and therefore lost the value. I appeal to the Minister, when we look at agriculture, do not just look at the grain crops. Please look at the cattle. The cattle budget is by far the biggest problem I see lying here with the Agricultural Budget.
My final thing is I would like to back up the issue on education. Education in agriculture was probably the priority and the prime driver in our agriculture sector in the last 30 years. We are neglecting the sector and that is the back bone for what we require.
My last issue I will get back to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB). GMB is on its knees, it cannot pay farmers and it is ill-funded. I implore the Minister to look at a PPP with us in the GMB, with some of our donors. Right now we have a major issue with the donors. There is $300 million request to assist us with aid. They are struggling to fill it up and here we stand and we talk of sanctions. We have got to be sensible about these issues. This is a life and death issue – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We do not know how much maize we have in the GMB. Not one person in this House can tell you how much is in the GMB. There is a forensic audit going on right now.
HON. KASHIRI: Hon. Chair, the learned Hon. Member is now
debating. Let us zero into figures for progress sake. Let us stop debating.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
Your point of order is noted.
HON. MARKHAM: I thank Hon. Kashiri. I take his point but I had to do that background and the Minister knows exactly where I am coming from. The issue is very simple. Grain is our life, we need the money and we need $300 million. The complication is we run from one agricultural year which starts in September and by December, we are running two batches but I am imploring the Minister to break down the capital budget so we know we will stand with the fee that he will require for the next 12 months. Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Members.
Order please. Can I also advise Members that when you use that Blue Book, particularly on the infrastructure side, can you use the infrastructure booklet. It has all the dams and all the targeted irrigation schemes. Please can you use both.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Hon.
Chair. Let me begin by thanking the Hon. Members for their comments and for their questions. I think Hon. Mushoriwa wanted to know the back up of the ZWL$7,6billion under finance and administration under the Ministry – [HON. NZUMA: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Nzuma, please
can you listen to the Minister.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: So, the split of the ZWL$7,6 billion under the Ministry of Agriculture vote, under the item or programme on finance administration, how is that being split and what is it. Basically, under this one we have two major items which is the GMB; that is ZWL$5,2 billion and number two is Presidential input scheme at ZWL$1,1 billion. I think if you want us to be very explicit when we print the final book, we will do that for you but that is the split.
On Kunzvi Dam, this project was initially awarded to Sino Hydro under an EPC contract. So, we were going to end up with a foreign currency loan and that is what was going to be executed. This year we just said there is no movement, let us start somewhere, even with a smaller amount of money and get going. So, this is in a sense to say we are getting impatient about the dam; we need to make progress while we could receive these funds to eventually get the contract but we had to start. So we are not in a way saying look, we want to allocate adequate funding for the dam. We just want to start well knowing that let us not over commit ourselves, eventually we will get to the EPC contract and I am hopeful that in 2020 we will get to that EPC contract arrangement.
From Hon. Nguluvhe, he talked about irrigation in Matebeleland South in the Beitbridge area that he is not seeing enough activity in that regard as it is a dry part of the country, which I agree but what is happening is that there is the Zhoye Irrigation Scheme that is going to start in 2020. This has received funding of US$20 million from the Kuwait Fund and US$15 million from the Government, totalling US$35 million. So there is some movement at least on one project and I hope that it will go a long way in meeting the needs of that district or Zhoye region.
On boreholes, several Members highlighted this issue which is an important issue that we need capacity and resources, and I dealt with this issue yesterday that we have got a Budget of $233 million for DDF, part of which will cover borehole drilling and we also have got another $59 million covering ZINWA again for drilling boreholes. So, there is a budget for that purpose. We expect them to use this budget.
I recall someone saying we need to make sure that there is timely disbursements of resources especially by GMB. We are doing everything we can to make sure that there is timely disbursements for the purchase of grain from farmers. So movement from us to the GMB account, and every Monday, I actually check at the end of the day how much will have been transferred by Treasury to GMB. I think the Acting Accountant General now knows and everyday at 1730 hours, she just knocks on my door to come and give me a briefing on payments to GMB because I really watch that like a hawk. It is actually that and the grain importation progress.
Then something from Hon. Sithole about the Insiza-Silalatshane Irrigation Scheme. Certainly, I will take a look and he is right it is a very important irrigation scheme in that region 460 hectares is a lot of hectares to cover the region and we will take a look at that as a Ministry and see whether we can allocate resources within that.
He also mentioned the issue about borehole drilling by DDF. Here, colleagues, I must thank our Chinese colleagues for helping us with the drilling programme. They have been drilling and I was particularly hands on, on the drilling programme in Matabeleland South personally making sure that boreholes are drilled because I am aware when I visited that villagers were up at 0300 hours to go and look for water. They would queue for three to four hours easily and that pattern is repeated right across the country. That is just one example and this is just one area where I spent a lot of time working with the Chinese contractors to drill boreholes and appreciate everything they have done to support and supplement what DDF has been doing.
Then on Bulawayo Hon. Member, I agree with you that Gwayi – Shangani needs to be completed. We will try our best to disburse funds timely. It is long awaited and the city needs water urgently.
There is the comment on agriculture education. It is as if you have listened to some of our Cabinets debate. We have debated this issue around what should happen to some of these agricultural projects. Should they not be under our education in the first place? There is a debate going on and I can say that. It is not as if we are not focusing on the issue, we are but what has happened in the interim is that these colleges are collaborating with other universities. For instance, I know that Chinhoyi University of Technology is collaborating with these colleges already. So, in a sense the burden of education is being shared. Then we worry about whether we should give them a lot of budget given that the burden is being shared but perhaps in future, I can see some thinking emerging that perhaps they ought to be merged with the higher institutions.
By the way, this is not policy it is now me thinking together with you and thinking aloud in a way. Maybe that is the way forward but also it is good for maintaining standards to make sure that these colleges are rightly resourced as said by Hon. Mamombe; we are all thinking together and aloud in a way. It is important to maintain and improve standards to make sure they also fall under our national qualifications framework, the NQF which has been developed by the Ministry of Higher Education. Yes, the budget maybe slow but the burden is shared but we will see an evolution I think in these institutions going forward.
This is Chibero and Gwebi College.
On irrigation again, I recall an Hon. Member who mentioned about the need for mechanisation. Tractors especially were mentioned and I am happy to say we are making progress. Right now, we just have some tractors that we have just ordered at a cost of US$20 million which are sitting in Durban awaiting movement to Zimbabwe. These tractors were acquired through a company called John Deere and of course, because of the shortage of foreign currency, we have been a bit slow but we are dealing with it and we will receive these tractors as part of that mechanisation programme. So we are alive to this.
On the issue of 99-year leases, you know one of the reasons why I pushed hard for some kind of guarantee scheme for banks; CBZ, Agribank and others under Command Agriculture is because I could see that there was a problem in banks easily accepting 99-years leases. Although I believe we have made progress, so by offering a guarantee to borrowers or farmers we are partly dealing with the challenge of security of tenure as there is still some discomfort around the 99-year leases.
That is not to substitute for the 99-year leases but it is to overcome a challenge that will enable the farmers to access credit from the private sector.
From Hon. Mayihlome, he mentioned that perhaps we should use a leasing approach to accessing equipment and DDF programmes. This is an interesting idea. Certainly I will engage my colleagues in the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture to look into this. It is a very good idea indeed. Then livestock finance and so forth and I think also Hon. Markham raised this. Cattle and this is a big issue, I think it is fair to say that our agriculture programme has focused quite a bit on crops and so forth and less on animals. Perhaps, even up scaling what we have been calling command livestock is very important. We have been trying to do that.
So Agribank currently is giving out loans to support command livestock and they have covered all the provinces. I am aware that Manicaland Province has not been adequately covered. We are alive to this as a Government and we want to make sure that they spread resources to that region as well but I agree with you that this is an issue and we need some kind of asset replacement programme for whether it is heifers or whatever to replenish the livestock that has been lost. It is not just cattle, it is other livestock as well – sheep, goats and so forth. All these animals have been impacted by disease, drought and absence of food. We need vaccinations and dipping chemicals.
Our challenge Hon. Markham has really been foreign currency.
We have been struggling to find foreign currency to pay to the Botswana Vaccination Institute from which we import vaccines but also we have not been able to source dipping chemicals easily because of the same problems, which is foreign currency. I am informed that going forward, we may be able to develop capacity internally as a country for dipping chemicals. That is what the experts are telling me. So I am hopeful that one day we will not have to import dipping chemicals so that we can resuscitate our dipping programme as well as articulated by the Hon.
I want to come back to irrigation, when I was visiting the United Kingdom two weeks ago, one of the issues I was chasing was investors in the irrigation sectors to see if we can get these done on a public private partnership basis where some private sector investors could invest in our agriculture but target exportable horticulture projects specifically. We are alive to this and we have been pushing these days one investor who is showing interest. I hope they will eventually show up. We can only push. I think there is a scope to fast track the irrigation programme targeting exportables so that we can escrow the proceeds in US dollars and service the loans which are also in US dollars.
Hon. Markham, this is the accountability process, trust me.
Everything now is on the table; the Vote is going through the august
House. I will be able to follow it up, whether it is the Auditor General’s Office but I think partnering with banks as another layer of course and accountability, and even access because of the branch network but accountability in the sense that these banks also have to report to their shareholders how they are managing the programme. Those reports are public. Some of the banks are listed on the Stock Exchange. So they have no choice but to put the information out there. Certainly, their shareholders would be asking. We have a few layers for probing on the issue of accountability and transparency and I think we have the better architecture for the programme this year than before. Capital grant of $7 billion needs to be broken down, I think this is okay. We will do that when we do the final Blue Book. It is a fair request.
On the grain subsidy, you know what we have done with the grain subsidy. It was our view and I think this House also agrees that our previous approach where we had the omnibus approach where you end up subsidising some of the business people in the system be they millers or whatever, we are removing that targeting the beneficiaries. We think that this is a better way; a targeted, transparent and well budgeted for subsidy programme is way to go. It could include other commodities as we go forward. I think the President has already mentioned this. There is already some thinking about increasing the list but we will do so within our envelope of the 2020 Budget.
The proposal that maybe we should consider the Grain Marketing
Board, a PPP and so forth; for a start this year we have unbundled it.
We have done enough for now. Let us make Silo Foods work; let us make GMB work and remove the inefficiency in GMB. Of course, these are all ideas. Who knows what we could do in 2020, 2021; maybe they could have a partner. I do not know but these are ideas and we welcome all ideas. I think we have done a bit through the splitting up in the first place. Let us make that work well for now.
On the audit at GMB, yes there is some audit going on especially around what is in the silos. We need to know how much is there, so there is continuous audit to make sure that we have the grain levels that we claim we have. Mr. Chairman, this is obviously a lot of comments. We have covered a lot of ground and I hope that Members feel that my responses have gone somewhere in allaying their fears or making them understand the situation better. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Can you remain there
Hon. Minister. I noted two issues about targeted irrigation as if they are not there, the 200 ha per district. Can you clarify that because I heard it from Insiza as if there is no irrigation going on when there are those 200 ha per district.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: This was set out a while ago that we should have at least 200ha per district. We have made progress in some districts and less progress in others. I would need to go back and check very carefully in the PSIP programme and give a report to Parliament. I am happy to do that and let you know which ones we have progressed on, which ones are still outstanding and the reasons why. I want progress and no one wants to be impacted by climate change where we have been impacted this year. We need irrigation as planned, 200ha per district. I am happy to give that report and to go back and check that for the Member.
HON. HAMAUSWA: Mr. Chairman, I would want to refer the Hon. Minister to the Budget Statement on page 43, paragraph 119. We raised the issue of water and we said even in urban areas, now the issue of borehole is being used as an alternative to tap water. The challenge we are having in urban areas is that there is no adequate funding and in the Budget Statement paragraph 119, page 43 says, the budget allocated of $59 million will also target the rehabilitation of 993 non-functional boreholes within the eight rural provinces of the country to be implemented through DDF and ZINWA. There is no mentioning of urban areas. Mr. Chairman, I want you to know that our Constituency Development Fund now is going for boreholes and we do not feel that we are making an impact. We would love to do high impact projects but we are now diverting that amount to boreholes and it is not enough. Somehow you just drill one borehole. We also requested that the boreholes being drilled in urban areas be mechanised because in rural areas the concentration on one borehole is less than the concentration of pollution for one borehole – the ratio is different when you compare with urban areas.
I also highlighted that this year 2019, we were promised that in
Harare we were going to have boreholes drilled by the Ministry of Agriculture and Water but only one constituency got boreholes. This constituency is Glenview South. I do not know whether it was a coincident or what because they were drilled during the by-elections –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Members.
Do not care, can you proceed?
HON. HAMAUSWA: Mr. Chairman, I think the issue of water is important for everyone because when we come here sometimes we see posters on our toilets written ‘no water’– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Do not care, can you
HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I was saying, on page 43 of the Budget Statement, paragraph 119, there is an allocation given to rehabilitation of boreholes in eight rural areas. This excludes Bulawayo and Harare. This totally excludes urban areas because it is specific that it is targeting rural areas. We are not worried about targeting rural areas, it is okay but we are also saying the urban areas equally need allocation for the rehabilitation of boreholes and for drilling more boreholes. We are saying Mr. Chairman, we also need the boreholes in urban areas to be mechanised because the population in urban areas is higher than in terms of the concentration. Again if you check on paragraph 120, China Aid is going to complement Government efforts but you will realise that this is also going to cover Matabeleland South, Masvingo and Manicaland and again no urban areas are being covered. When you also approach the donor community, they say we focus on rural areas but then our own Government is not targeting urban areas. So this is where we have problems.
Therefore, it is my plea that maybe you can clarify how you are going to assist urban areas by way of making it specific as you did on this paragraph targeting rural areas.
I will conclude by highlighting that on Kunzvi Dam, the issue is that yes we are appreciate that they are starting something but we are facing an acute shortage of water in Harare. The water from Morton Jeffrey is now covering Norton, Chitungwiza, Epworth and Ruwa. So you will now realise that between 2020 and that time when the water project from Kunzvi Dam is going to be commissioned, there is going to be a problem, hence we need an alternative. We need something that
will cover that gap between the initiation of the project and the time when the project is going to be commissioned. When we talk of the construction of the dam, we need to understand that there is need to construct the pipes that will bring the water to Harare. So we are pleading with you Hon. Minister, to really consider alternative funding for Kunzvi Dam because this is a crisis. We were even requesting the Minister responsible for water to declare water in Harare a matter of emergency. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: I want the Minister to take note of the Grain Marketing Board. Year in year out money is made available to buy grain and that grain at GMB is not given for free during our term. However, if you look at the GMB books they do not balance. We know that there is a subsidy that goes in there and must be recorded as such.
Secondly, the management of grain at GMB; you now have more
than 30% being lost but it is not always true that it is being lost, good grain is simply written-off. I also have got experience because I once worked for the GMB and I know the systems because I also designed some of them. So there is that problem where grain sometimes is written-off because people would have connived to write it off. So for the Government to continuously pump money to the GMB without us making sure that they are accountable for all what happens in the management of the GMB is not good.
The other issue regards the unbundling of GMB; when we went for ESAP, it was instructed to commercialise. There is a difference between commercialising and unbundling. Commercialising, you will simply be making the entity more profitable or being run in a commercial manner. Again that is precisely what builds up to a budget. Budget is all about how you give money and you look after the money. So that issue of unbundling; we have to be very careful because we are going to create other companies that are also expensive to run.
The projects that we have in agriculture, I always raise this issue of Tokwe Mkosi Dam. Why not allocate specific amounts to such big projects so that we start monitoring and evaluating the progress as we go on. It is obvious that when you allocate a specific amount for Tokwe Mkorsi’s irrigation you obviously select the competent people to do business and it is run in a business manner. So it is important that, that is done because if we put together the monies in the same basket it becomes very difficult to track especially as Members of Parliament. Whenever we allocate and we have got items that are identifiable, we will then be able to follow programme by programme. It becomes easy also for us and for accountability purposes and it helps the Ministry.
Finally, the issue of us funding agriculture requires us to be able to make people pay. Minister, if we look at what we are going to import this year and how much we funded agriculture, it does not balance. However, it is not a crime that sometimes we go through hard times in terms of rainfall and other weather patterns. We also have got those people who would have done well; money must be paid back. After all, the money that we give to agriculture is not money that falls from trees; but it is money from the people’s taxes. So it is also important that we make those people who would have funded account for what they would have gotten. We cannot continuously year in year out fund agriculture; fund the same people. We must make sure that whoever borrows or gets money from Government pays back that money because it is not
Government’s money but people’s money. The 2% that even my grandmother pays also goes to fund such projects. Why do we allow other people to grow fat using other people’s money? I think we must all be responsible and make sure that agriculture becomes a business.
+HON. MABOYI: Thank you very much. I would like to make some additions to this budget regarding agriculture. We know that Zimbabwe is an agro-based economic country. Therefore, agriculture is a business and we should treat it as a supermarket. When operating a supermarket we look forward to getting some profit. When you are budgeting funds for the agriculture there should be some monitoring and evaluation in this programme. In most cases, we have heard of monies being put into some of these programmes but because there is no monitoring and evaluation, the money goes to waste. A business is an investment and we should have profit on investment in agriculture.
I am now introducing a new idea. We are talking about cattle and we heard a lot of herd of cattle which have since died including donkeys that have also died. In my constituency, we do not have tractors but for draught power in Matabeleland South, we use cattle an donkeys and I am kindly asking you Minister that may you please budget some money for a pilot project so that we will have some small plots or areas where we can grow stock feed so that the farmers able to go and buy some cattle feeds Lucerne or tambora or even bannergrass to feed our livestock. We need to develop our people in order to grow these types of grasses in order to alleviate the severe loss of livestock. It is known that in Matabeleland South, we face drought which is very severe. We notice that there are no contingency plans for farmers to stand the drought like in some countries they grow fodder. We do not have Lucerne or tabora or even banagrass. So my request is, why do we not invest on starting a project on cattle feed so that we are able to stand the drought. It is my humble suggestion that we grow bannergrass for cattle feed. Year in, year out, we talk of a lot of cattle dying, what kind of people are we who do not learn from the past experience. We have said Zimbabwe is an agro-based country and we should be benefitting from agriculture and that is why Minister I will repeat that, let us invest on cattle feed. We have had situations whereby you have said there is going to be some distribution of livestock, for example cattle and this has been done under clandestine. In areas like Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Midlands, we have lost a lot of herd of cattle. We have had some individuals who have lost up to 70 and 80 cattle and this is something which I have come across and we know hence, I am saying increase money on this budget so that farmers will be given heifers because as we speak, people have lost lots of herd of cattle and they are now poor.
I have said agriculture is a business because some people were allocated farms but we have had some land which is derelict. In Matabeleland South, we have had some of our dams which have silted and again, we are asking for equipment for the de-siltation of these dams. This may help us reduce a lot of expenses under agriculture.
I will talk again and say, we should concentrate on monitoring and evaluation of agriculture, when people have been given land even in these agricultural areas, we should have supervisors so that we need to know who are the people who are really fully utilising the land given to them otherwise if you do not do that we will simply be wasting money. At the moment, the District Development Fund (DDF) is talking about the digging of boreholes. We have had plans which have been shelved because they end up being thrown away. We want to dig boreholes in various areas but at the end of it all, no boreholes are dug and that is why I am calling for monitoring and evaluation. Still talking on cattle and agriculture, we have talked of the resuscitation of the Cold Storage Company, which I believe could assist in purchasing and buying the livestock.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order. May you
please debate on the specific vote allocations? We have already finished on the general debate of the whole budget.
+HON. MABOYI: When you have been given a chance to debate,
you want to touch on as many angles as possible. I am asking the Minister to put more money for agricultural colleges. We need to have more farmers to go and train in colleges such as the one called Esikhovheni. We should invest money on these so that farmers can go for reorientation and teaching on the agricultural best methods. I thank you.
HON. O. SIBANDA: I would like to thank the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for what he has done and I think your budget proposal is excellent. And, what is really needed is the implementation and quick implementation because of inflation, once you delay in releasing these funds, we will fail to achieve what we are targeting.
Hon. Minister, I come from a constituency, Vungu where it has never been in the Blue Book for the past maybe 30 years and I am almost in tears because again we have missed out in the Blue Book. There is nothing concerning Vungu. Vungu and in particular Lower Gweru was the breadbasket of horticulture supplying Gweru in the Midlands
Province but as we speak, four irrigation schemes are not working. Mr. Chairman, through the allocation which I am seeing, that means another year of failing to get irrigation started in Vungu. So Hon. Minister, the irrigations which are affected were providing money to various families and they were taking their kids to school. As I speak, nothing is happening. There is a boy at one irrigation scheme who has a similar name as yours. He is Mthuli Ncube and he is 17. Newspapers were writing about him saying Mthuli is in Lower Gweru but, yet nothing is happening in his own constituency. So, if you look at such things happening Hon. Minister, it means that we are failing to achieve what we want.
I am saying this because the dams’ issue, I think we should do what is called target approach, especially on small dams around the rural areas. When we are trying to harness water, as I speak, none of those small dams have a dam wall. The dam is silted and you cannot even see that there was a dam in any part of our lives. So, there is need for us to make sure Hon. Minister that scooping is done in these dams and a target approach is applied when de-silting these dams.
Then, quite a number of people have been settled in the wetlands and also in the catchment areas of these small streams or rivers. So, through the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, I think that some funds should be put to make sure that people are relocated and leave the wetlands and leave also the catchment areas.
There is the issue of boreholes Hon. Minister. Yes, there is money which you have allocated to DDF and to ZINWA but I think that there is duplication of functions there. If you look at what ZINWA is doing and what DDF is doing, they are doing a similar job and as such I call it duplication and in some cases you will realise that ZINWA may think that DDF has put boreholes yet we do not have boreholes. I feel that some monies which are allocated to ZINWA for small boreholes should be reallocated to DDF so that they do not bulk water but small water like the small boreholes. In these boreholes we should also include in the budget allocated the small ponds at every borehole which will serve animals or livestock to drink water from. For example, we are faced with a drought and a lot of animals and cattle have died. They cannot even use the boreholes for supplying water to animals. As a result, a lot of cattle have died.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order Hon.
Member. Like what I said to the previous speaker as well, we have programmes that are in the Blue Book, we need to debate on the programes and the allocations. Let us be specific to that so that we can move on.
HON. O. SIBANDA: My request to the Hon. Minister was to take money from ZINWA and allocate to DDF and it will solve what I am talking about because the allocation is already there in the Blue Book.
DDF is going to do something with this money better than ZINWA. ZINWA is concentrating on bulk water but DDF is concentrating on small boreholes and small dams.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Member I had to
say that because you were talking of small ponds and boreholes, on the issue of ZINWA and DDF that was fine.
HON. S. SIBANDA: As I conclude, I do not have much to say. I just want to remind the Minister to remember a Constituency called Vungu and once we are done, we will come and thank you Hon. Minister. As the Hon. Chair is saying, we are not in the Blue Book so my hands become tied, if it was in the Blue Book I was going to say much.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you very much Madam Chair.
Veterinary Services was allocated 10 million dollars, how can you give this amount to Veterinary Services when there has been an outbreak of disease. There are no dip tanks, no medication for the cattle and so forth. You know Zimbabwe used to be known for exporting beef and you can only export beef when you have met the veterinary requirements. Why would you give 10 million dollars only, what is our total herd? The dip tanks are not there at all and I think what is important is to put more money and 10 million is nothing at all in terms of veterinary services for the entire country.
Hon. Chair, we need to improve on that so that we can then be able to market our cattle. On Livestock Advisory Extension you allocated $6.2 million, how then do they move around to be able to supervise and so forth. I think because of the climatic change which is happening, let us move to the aspect of livestock. It becomes a better way. You do not have to do crops, livestock on its own, well managed especially in the Matebeleland area, with proper feed there is no point in us talkign about bringing in a new herd. There is no feed and the dip tanks and various things that go with that are quite critical.
Zimbabwean beef market is known to be sweet. It is already marketed but we now need to invest in this. So, $6.2 million is nothing at the end of the day. I think we need to start moving to the aspect of cattle ranching livestock more than cropping. Cropping is becoming difficult because even the money that is apportioned to irrigation is not enough to be able to do that. I think the Chair did ask you that in terms of the 200 hectares which was planned per district, how far have we gone with that? Why should we plan for 200 hectares of irrigation when we know very well that there are farms with water, all we need to do is to rehabilitate not to reinvent the wheel.
Madam Chair, the system that the farmers had was a good system. Let us see how much it costs for us to rehabilitate and so forth. Again I do not see in the Blue Book where white farmers will be compensated. Hon. Minister, why are we rushing to compensate the white farmers when this Government will never have enough money to compensate the white farmers? The war veterans themselves do not have enough, we are rushing to compensate the white farmers, who are we trying to please?
It is something that we have decided to take on which we cannot afford. We want to please the western world because it is Zimbabwean way of doing business. We cannot do that, what is critical at the end of the day is that compensation money must go towards us being productive, being able to resuscitate the very same things which are needed. When we then produce like the theme is then we are able to pay anybody. Why do we want to pay people money that we do not have at the expense of our agriculture? So, $50 million was given for white farmers to be compensated – I have nothing against white farmers being compensated, it is okay but this is not the right time. The Land Reform is not yet even complete. There is land audit which we need to embark on and so forth. So, until the land audit is complete we can then say let us compensate them. I do not know why we are rushing to compensate the white farmers when we cannot even resource our own black farmers.
In terms of infrastructure which is on the farms, make it optional to the farmer. Whoever wants to compensate will get title deeds but I suggest that there be a Government fund for the war veterans. The war veterans do not have to pay compensation because they went to war for this land so they must be separated from the ordinary person. I never went to war, I am a businessman, I am doing farming on the business point of view, why can I not pay for the infrastructure, agree with
Government and then I get title deeds? Government does not need to burden itself with paying when people can produce and pay. There must be a deliberate policy for government to look after the war veterans. Give them title because that is why they went to war for, to be economically emancipated.
I do not know how much you have put aside for the compensation of the white farmers and so forth. The Lancaster Agreement was very clear that it would compensate them. Why are we being nice today, I do not understand taking on a bill that we will never afford. We are now leaving debt for generations to come. So, I would like to know in terms of compensation the policies and how much money have you allocated. I tried to go through the Blue Book, I could only see compensation for A1 farm land acquisition amount but there was no specific heading of compensation for the white farmers but the Government is still compensating the white farmers. Where is that coming from? Thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The first issue is
that we are debating about land and agriculture but I want to ask the Minister to seek a change of policy in terms of making sure that the
Land Act of 2000 has got the same power as the Mines and Minerals
Act. What is currently happening is that he is financing the Ministry of Lands, Climate and Water but people on the land are getting to be dispossessed of their land by just mere licences from the mines office. So, whilst we are giving with the right hand, we are taking with the left hand because soon there will not be nobody left on the land because of the policy that make sure the Mines and Minerals Act supersedes any other Act including the Land Act.
Madam Chair, what has happened is that in the erstwhile colonisers, they are armed with the mining licences whereas our formerly marginalised black majority are armed with the Agrarian
Reform Land, lease agreements and the offer letters and so forth for the A1 and A2. They are being forced to march out of that land by people who are just using the licences from the mines by the former owners of that land. They were conducting mineral extraction. This is where they were making a lot of money, but now they are force marching our formerly marginalised black majority using that paper work.
The first issue that the Minister needs to do as the gold finger and the pace holder of this nation is to change policy using the power of his office in terms of harmonising these Acts so that there is no Act which is higher in terms of power than the other.
The second issue – DDF, you have given them $233 000 000 for borehole drilling and other activities. The example that I seek to give, Hon. Minister in terms of batter trade, DDF seeks to also have land for their officials and houses. In the local authorities where I come from, we have copious amounts of this land and it is my fervent view and hope that you can see light in the batter trading of the services by DDF in exchange for the land that they require for their operations so that you have no need to have any money exchanging hands or allocating any more money to DDF than you have already allocated.
We drilled 43 boreholes and we gave them land in exchange for those boreholes. They were mono pumped but we seek to now make sure that those boreholes are motorised. We seek to go through the same route because we have the land that we have been apportioned according to the master plan. We have been given that land by the Ministry Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. We need to exchange that land or the services. So this is a suggestion of how you can use what you have to get what you want. It is a positive suggestion, Hon. Chair, to the Minister. So I hope that can take root in some of his proposals that he is putting across.
In terms of dam construction, to augment and complement the waters that we have we need to have empirical evidence of how or if any of the water has been utilised in the year prior to the year that we are allocating more resources to dam utilisation and dam construction. We need to make sure that we have scientific and empirical evidence championed by e-governance in terms of water utilisation.
I want to say, as you allocate money for dam construction, as a contractor myself, you need to allocate 4% of that money towards project planning, project design because as long as we do not allocate this money at inception, we are going to see an end product that does not speak to quality and optimum planning and utilisation of that resource which you have planted a lot of money. If you miss the 4%, it looks very minute and very unwarranted as we speak, but it is very key to the end part of the dam utilisation and the corpus amount of water that you are now going to have in that dam.
Madam Chair, it is my proposal to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development that Chinhoyi University of Technology in two months is producing straws of semen, enough to impregnate all the heifers and cows that we have nationally. We have cows and heifers numbering 1.5 million nationally.
What is my suggestion? My suggestion therefore is the semen is there, the producers are there and the heifers are there. You can use only but a little bit of money to have a PPP with Chinhoyi University of Technology in order to enhance the visibility and the growth of the beef industry by making sure all the heifers and the cows, 1.5 million of them are serviced by what we have locally. Where there is PPP there is no Government capital outlay. Let us use what we have there to get what we want and you will have a scenario where we have this project all encompassing and embracing the capitalisation of Chinhoyi University of Technology.
I am going to speak about, Hon. Mutomba. I bought an abattoir from him. I am a producer of beef second to none, third largest abattoir in the whole of Mashonaland West. You would want to capacitate the domestic beef industry first. We are the ones that stood shoulders high above the rest during the time when CSC went underground. It is time now therefore to recognise us, capacitate us because we have gone down because of the beef industry, the demise of the cattle industry. Capacitate us now so that you can recognise the time that we actually capacitated the country at a time when CSC went down. We were the small time producers but we now want to use that time as a pedestal, a platform for enhancing our capability going forward.
I see there is the Kuwait fund and everyone else, but show commitment to us the small time players. I see there is now going to be investment in CSC. Do not ignore us. Just give the right environment, buy from us first as Government and then we can export later.
Hon. Chair I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to enhance the Budget of the Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Ministry. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members. I
have an announcement. Dinner is served but we have to go in batches. We cannot leave the House empty so we go outside in batches and then we have dinner.
We still insist that may we please stick to the specific vote allocation. I think it is quite important so that we can move. From yesterday we only have done three votes so far. So, I think we really need to move so that at least we can be able to accomplish our task. So let us stick to the specific votes. I am sure when the Minister came in with the motion of the Finance Bill, we were given an opportunity to debate generally. I am sorry if ever I am going to be tough or if I am ever going to be strict; we need to debate the specific votes. So if you are going to stand and if I recognise you, please let us stick to the specific votes and the allocations. Thank you very much – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- I am going to be strict – we need to debate the specific Votes. So, if you are going to stand and if I recognise you – please let us stick to the specific Votes and allocations. I thank you. Hon. Kashiri – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Hon. Mushoriwa, first it was Hon. Mliswa, then Hon. Nduna then it is Hon. Kashiri. You are going to be given an opportunity after that.
HON. KASHIRI: Madam Chair, thank you so much for giving
me this opportunity to make a contribution.
Madam Chair, agriculture is a very important industry. It is one industry that we can actually use to fight the so called or actually to fight the sanctions that we talk about everyday – I believe so. Hon. Minister,
I would like to draw your attention to the allocation on Page 116 to
Policy and Administration – I see ZWL$7.6million into Policy and Administration. Then I look at Lands Survey and Mapping – you have got ZWL$63million.
Now Hon. Minister, I am thinking, we are moving into technology – if we adopt technology and buy drones to use in land survey, our budget here will not suffice. We could cut a lot of expenses from Administration and Policy, take a chunk out of there and invest that money into Land Survey and Mapping. I think it will go a long way and be even faster because innovation is the way to go. Let us invest more money into land and survey – that was one thing that I picked up.
The other thing that I wanted to draw your attention to is the issue of ARDA Estates Hon. Minister. I thought I would see some monies allocated to ARDA Estates to resuscitate them and then go into PPP with foreign investors. We have a lot of land sitting with ARDA that is under-utilised and we have equipment that is lying idle within ARDA Estates. We resuscitate that industry and move in with PPP – I think that it will go a long way.
Hon. Minister, if we can look at that and make a separate budget for ARDA and manage it separately – I think that it will give us a yard towards the direction that we need. I thank you.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Madam Chair. Hon. Minister,
mine is very specific – Hon. Chair, with your indulgence. In looking into the figures, the $11.3 billion allocated to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. The Hon. Minister in his Budget Statement bemoaned that the current financial mode of our agriculture was pressing an unfair share or burden to the Government.
In his solution, he then stated that he was going to replace that with Government providing guarantees to banks.
What it means Hon. Minister is that, we need you to clarify to us and I ask this primarily because as you are aware, we have a
Condonation Bill before Parliament that are we not therefore providing extra monies that will end up having this budget of $11.3 billion possibly going beyond $20 billion. We want the Hon. Minister to explain to us – what is the criterion of the Government guarantee? Is it going to be open ended to every Tom and Jerry in terms of whoever wants to farm? My reason Hon. Minister is that we have certain farmers in this country who one, were given equipment such as tractors during the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and remember the debt was then taken over by the fiscus. The same farmers were then given monies by the banks and they failed to repay the monies.
Then the Government through the RBZ created ZAMCO, they then
took the bad debts that were tying the banks. After that Hon. Minister, those same people went to Command Agriculture – if you check, they were not even repaying the money that they were collecting from Command Agriculture. Are we not going again, Hon. Minister, for the fifth time going to continue giving money to those farmers who are not supposed to be given money? I would be happier if the Hon. Minister could just clarify to us – what is it that you mean by Government guarantees?
HON. MAMOMBE: Thank you Madam Chair for the
opportunity. I would also want to commend the Hon. Minister for his response in my first presentation pertaining to the Vote 8 – particularly on the issue of education in terms of agriculture. So, I want to recommend that if the debate is going on in Cabinet, surely schools of agriculture should be put to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development so that we do not compromise quality as you have mentioned.
Let me move on to the issue of water particularly in urban areas. Hon. Madam Chair, personally I am really aggrieved because when I look at the Ministry, I feel that the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture,
Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement as presented by the Minister of
Finance and Economic Development. It is a Ministry of Rural
Development – why do I say that Madam Speaker? Because when you look at all the projects in the Ministry, I feel that the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement there is no one project that focuses on urban areas - all the projects.
Look at water, they have talked about drilling boreholes – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Chisimukaika mutaure!
HON. CHAIRPERSON: Order, order, please address the Chair Hon. Mamombe.
HON. MAMOMBE: Madam Speaker Ma’am, the point that I am
trying to raise is to say that when the Hon. Minister spoke about drilling boreholes – he talked about DDF and this focuses on rural areas. No mention of any plan in terms of urban areas. Let me go to the one project that he mentioned – the Kunzvi Dam. The Kunzvi Dam, Hon.
Chair, he has allocated ZWL$259 million. Just as the previous speaker,
Hon. Mushoriwa mentioned, the allocation of money to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement – the totality is 22% of the total of the national budget.
So when you look at $259 million – this is just 4% of the whole allocation which is $11 billion. So Madam Speaker, just like what Hon. Nduna said, 4% is needed for project design and the surveys. So to me it does not make sense to give an infrastructure project just 4%. Let me give an example of one of the infrastructure projects that he mentioned.
Let us talk about the Harare-Beitbridge Road where he is allocating $1.2 billion.
Madam Speaker, water is a serious human right issue, so if you are allocating $1.2 billion to an infrastructure project of road construction; why are we not also allocating $1.2 billion to the construction of Kunzvi Dam? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - Why am I saying that
Madam Speaker? Madam Speaker, let me reiterate Section 77 of the Constitution – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - It is not my making. This is the Constitution of Zimbabwe – the Constitution of Zimbabwe talks about Section 77 where it talks about the right to food and water and it is very clear that water is a right. So, if we are saying that water is a right, why are we not prioritising Kunzvi Dam? Why are we not allocating the same $1.2 billion?
Secondly, if we are saying, we are going to wait at $259 million then let us focus on the boreholes. The same way that boreholes are being drilled in rural areas is the same way that we need boreholes because water is also a crisis in urban areas. So Madam Speaker, we want the Hon. Minister to address this fundamental issue of water challenges in urban areas.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, when you look at the infrastructure projects. Hon. Nduna spoke about the 4% as a Project Development Allocation but if you want to do an infrastructural project, at least a 20% is needed. So when you talk about 20% of the totality to construct Kunzvi Dam, it will be $1.2 billion. So Madam Speaker, we want to implore the Minister to say we are kindly asking that you allocate at least 20% of the total amount that is needed for Kunzvi to construct the dam, so it will be ZWL$1.2 billion Hon. Chair. We want to kindly ask the Minister to consider this allocation; ZWL$259 million is nothing at the end of the day. This is where you hear about corruption. This money will be spent on mere salaries and accommodation for the workers because already people have been displaced around the Kunzvi Dam. If you are going to remain with this ZWL$259 million, it will only focus on the workers and it will not make a difference in terms of the construction of the Kunzvi Dam. Hon. Chair, we are actually
demanding because this is a human right. It is a human right and I repeat it is stated in Section 77 - no compromise to it. We want at least 20 percent of the total budget Madam Speaker.
*HON. CHIKWAMA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I will talk
about agriculture especially on irrigation. You said you want to irrigate 12 500 hectares which is a very good target. The amount you allocated for this programme is very little. May you please add some more funds onto this budget because we have got an unpredictable rain season and we do not have to rely on rain fed agriculture but we need to rely on irrigation. We can only afford to do this when we add more money onto irrigation. We will be following a worldwide trend of irrigation.
Turning to land tenure, you are talking of 99 year leases and as of now, we have had 20 leases issued. If only you could support this 99 year lease, this is going to improve the lives of the people because they will have confidence in being on their land and be able to do agriculture. We are very glad for the amount you have allocated to this programme.
You have talked of permits for A1 Minister, I am sure you are aware that A1 farmers are the most hard working farmers and you have said your target is 1 500 but as to how it has been allocated we are in the dark.
I am begging you Minister, please put more money on A1 because A1 farmers are the most reliable farmers and they grow a lot of maize which is the staple food in the country. When we desilt dams, we empower women like what you promised in Waterfalls. When these women have access to water they can do more projects and there will be progress in Zimbabwe.
State management will be a very good investment and it will also bring money with regards to agriculture. If we get the tenure, people will feel that they are permanent on those farms and they will also use these documents as collateral even from foreign donors.
+HON. MATHE: Thank you Madam Chair. I am very grateful
for what the Minister of Finance has done in the allocations. He has crafted a well planned document which shows experties and the intelligence of the Minister. Minister, please through the Chair, allow me to add some more points so that this can help you in the crafting of this beautifully crafted budget. You talked about agriculture education, my apologies, I left my spectacles and I am using somebody’s glasses. You allocated agriculture education 38 million. I am suggesting that more funds be added because agriculture is failing in this country because of lack of education. We need to be told about the soil testing, usage and this can only happen if more money is put into this programme. In rural areas, people need to receive education on the nature of soils and the types of agriculture which is needed on a particular land type.
If people are educated they will do proper farming because we may know that in certain areas these soils differ and each different soil needs particular fertilisers, particular chemicals and particular crops. I am begging you please, you have put 38 million into this programme; please add another 38 million and Zimbabwe will be back to its bread basket status. I have said my fellow Members of Parliament, I do not have my reading glasses, can somebody please read for me.
Mrs. Maraire of the Serjeant-at-Arms department gave Hon.
Mathe reading glasses.
*HON. MATHE: Thank you mhamha this happens to be the best.
In the department of crop and livestock you put 230 million. Like I stated, you did well by this allocation but I am asking you to please add some more funds. I am saying this because we have heard about climate change which has caused the death of a lot of our livestock especially when rains are delayed. We know that when people are starving we have this programme where we feed the citizens of Zimbabwe so that nobody dies of hunger and the same should be transferred to cattle.
We urge the Minister to put more money on livestock feeding so that this programme can be implemented. We need an allocation so that we grow more food which we are going to consume in the country. I am calling Government to enact a law which should make it mandatory for a farmer to have a quota system of growing the local staple food. People must be taught farming and when they would have harvested, the food should be taken to the Grain Marketing Board. There is idle land at the moment. I have made my own research and noticed that there is more idle land than land which is farmed. When traveling from Harare to Bulawayo and in my constituency Nkayi South, I have made an observation that the most fertile land is derelict; nobody is carrying out farming activities. As a result, we have enemies of the State who ask for that land so that they do farming activities. However, since they are enemies of the State, they just take the land for speculative purposes. Some of them are with us in this House. I am proposing that the land which is lying derelict should be repossessed by the State and allocated to people who can fully utilise it.
I do not want to be repetitive or try to show off, I am now going to touch on my last point. I am not going to waste of time but I will go to straight to the point. I will talk of water; you have allocated 1.549 billion – I am saying this is very little for such a project because we need to have dams in the country. Unfortunately, we have had siltation of these dams and the only way of resuscitating these dams is through desiltation. We need to buy equipment for desiltation of the dams. I have not seen this indicated in the budget but if we have put some money for de-siltation machines, it is fine. I am proposing that each
Constituency should have a dam scooper for de-siltation programmes.
The Chief Whip having been speaking to the Hon. Minister of
Finance and Economic Development (Hon. M. Ncube).
+HON. MATHE: Chief Whip, I am begging you; give me the time to address the Minister through the Chair. When we do not have scoopers in constituencies there will be a lot of siltation. You find that after very little rainfall, the dams look full but there will only be sand under and little water up the dam. Therefore, there is need for desiltation. My fellow Members of Parliament have called for the desiltation of dams, so we need to add funds into our budget. Like I stated,
I will repeat - we need each constituency to have a de-siltation machine.
I am making a call for the removal of allowances for the Members of Parliament so that they are directed to the acquisition of de-siltation machines because when we earn so much money we forget about what to do. If these allowances are removed, each Member of Parliament is going to acquire a de-siltation machine for his constituency. God has given us rainfall and if our dams are de-silted, we will have a lot of water for our farming programmes. Hon. Minister, may you add funds on Agriculture; we need to buy more of these de-siltation machines. I thank you.
HON. P. MOYO: Thank youHon. Chair. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for allocating the little resources. He allocated funds towards the construction of dams in Zimbabwe; that is wisdom on its own and I would like to thank him. However, the allocation of those funds is too little to construct dams. We are facing a litany of problems in our country. It is a shame in other countries to continuously have problems of water-borne diseases, it is totally unacceptable.
Our Finance Minister should allocate at least $2 billion towards the construction of dams in our country. We are talking of irrigation on our farms right now, you cannot even irrigate when you do not have those dams. So we need to have the dams constructed like the Moda, Kunzvi and other dams. When we have these problems in local authorities – in other countries they are laughing at us saying we do not think yet we can think. We can mobilise the local resources that we have. For example, the $15 billion which we heard from the grapevine that it was stolen from Chiadzwa, if we had taken that money and constructed our dams, we could have been somewhere. I do not want to take much of your time; I think you have listened to what I have said. We need $2 billion to construct our dams to alleviate the problems of water borne disease that we are facing in our country. In other countries, the Minister resigns if there are water-borne diseases. We are not saying he should resign because he is new and is trying his level best to correct some of the past problems that we were having. I want to thank you Minister.
*HON. SEREMWE: Thank you Hon. Chair. I will talk about the funding of dams. My contribution is that we are building a lot of dams in one year. What we need to do is to construct only two instead of so many dams per year. If we say we allocate money for dam construction and we build just one dam, that will be enough because we would have put more money, build a very big dam and have all the aspects and facilities needed for that instead of building many small dams which we cannot sustain.
HON. MARKHAM: Hon. Minister, I am going back to the same issue of the capital grant; you gave us two figures there, can I ask where inputs are budgeted for or are they under the same thing when you are talking about Command Agriculture which I believe is now called Smart Agriculture.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you very much Madam Chair. I thank the Hon. Members for those questions, comments and requests for clarification. Let me start with Hon. Mamombe but she is not the only one who mentioned this issue of urban water and boreholes. Urban areas in the main are supplied by the City Councils; there is piped water infrastructure. In my view, that should really be the target of our water supply strategy, targeting Morton Jeffrey Water Works repair, supplying chemicals, making the forex available and investing in the metering system so that we can collect user charges to support the supply of
water; that should be the strategy. The strategy should not be drilling boreholes all over Harare or Bulawayo as the core strategy, that is only an emergency. Yes it is being done, we are doing it and supporting it but it cannot be the core strategy for our water reticulation problem in our urban areas. It is an issue but I must also say that in terms of water provision, we have a budget of $213 million under the local authorities water improvement projects already allocated.
We have another $113.2 million focusing on just water supply around growth points. We have also got the $2.9 billion under the devolution 5% budget - part of which will go towards urban areas as well and may well target water. You should recall that when we intervened for the City of Harare, Bulawayo and other towns, we were using some of the devolution resources. We mentioned when we were in Victoria Falls that we did use some of the devolution resources to deal with water issue in urban areas. So to me that should be the way to go- and not boreholes as the core strategy. That is just an emergency. That is my response to the urban boreholes issue.
There was an issue mentioned around livestock support. I just want to highlight that there is some resources for research which is $230 million, livestock production $281 million and for animal production $568 million. That is a lot of budget around livestock that is already allocated in the budget. So, we are doing something about it and members should be rest assured that we are focusing on it and it is not being ignored at all.
There was also another issue of putting through the water drilling DDF budgets through the CDF, that is not a good idea. I think that let us allow these institutions whose job it is to drill boreholes to do it. DDF and ZINWA are there. Let us capacitate them and as Members of Parliament, you are free to work with these institutions. You are already doing that and we are aware of that. There is no need for you to take over that budget if that is what you meant to manage it, it would not be a good idea all.
On Kunzvi Dam, maybe I was not well understood. The approach is to seek external resources because it is an extensive project. The fund being targeted is of the order of US$600 million. It is a lot of money and we want to do it on an EPC contract basis. That is the proposal we have from Sino-Hydro and that is what we are pursuing. Of course, there have been delays and the reason why Government is allocating something is just to deal with those delays so that we do not lose time. The core is not Government resources, it is external resources under this EPC contract arrangement.
Under GMB, I think this is from Hon. Madzimure. He has the benefit of having worked there. I appreciate that and he says that 30% of grain is lost and so forth and that things are not run well. We are currently undertaking an audit of GMB to make sure that the amount of grain that is supposed to be there is available. We will know in the next month or two what those figures are.
On the unbundling of GMB into silo and GMB as a grain stabilisation fund – yes, we will continue to focus on this but also capacitate silo foods. Tokwe-Mukorsi irrigation that we should focus on that - let me say something else about irrigation – The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture has put out a request for proposals and RFP for the provision of irrigation infrastructure. It went out a few months ago and I will wait to see any progress in terms of expressions of interest, but their wish was to proceed using a PPP approach. As Treasury, we have been seeking other funders to fund this project. So, we will be targeted and Tokwe/Mukorsi is a critical piece of infrastructure.
Funding for agriculture, the question was, are people paying back? We are aware of this and part of the reason of partnering with the bank is to improve the payment or the repayment processes because banks are usually good at collecting what they are owed. They are natural and this management entity is the way they are designed. So, I am confident that our collection repayment levels will go up as a result of the partnership.
Another one is that we should shift our budget from ZINWA to DDF. My understanding has been that ZINWA is actually better a drilling deeper borehole because of the equipment that they use while DDF is shallower boreholes. If we did this shifting of resources we may really prejudice in ZINWA, it is playing an important role in drilling deeper boreholes and we need to support them to repair their equipment. They have requested some resources to repair their equipment and we have just processed those resources from the 2019 budget. So, I will not favour shifting resources away from ZINWA. On the contrary I think they need additional resources.
I have also noted from Hon. Sibanda that Vungu Constituency is missing and he has implored me to look into an irrigation facility in his constituency. We will do so because it has been ignored for years. I think that this kind of heads up from constituencies is very useful. The veterinary services budget from Hon. Mliswa of $10 million is too low and advisory services is also too low and so forth. I think the budget of $11.3 billion for the Ministry is a lot of budget. It is the largest budget we have and all we can do is not to increase this budget but rather move items around. I am happy for my team to look into that and we will move things around a bit, but let us not increase a budget that is already so large - $11.3 billion is a lot of budget.
On the issue of farmer compensation – the figure that we have allocated in this budget is $380 million and Hon. Mliswa wanted to know. Hon. Nduna had said as usual very interesting ideas about how we do a swap for services arrangement with DDF that we give them land in return for services. All those are ideas and I think some of these are really operational issues which will reduce the demand on the budget, but there are operational issues that we will convey to the Ministry to sort out.
The issue for example of Chinhoyi University doing what they do is really welcome. Our institutions are very productive and have come up with this incredible way of capacitating our industry – in this case livestock. We should support them and the budget that we have given to the Minister of Higher Education, Science Innovation and Technology speaks to that desire to support research and development. Hon. Kashiri talked about a budget of $7.63 million for processing administration and land survey. You said that this is low but at the same time you said that if we use drones, it will be more expensive. Using this technology makes things cheaper. I think that at $63 million it is a good budget. I do not think we need to increase it up too quickly. Let us see how they use it. As I said already $11.3 billion is a lot of budget. May be we could move things around within the Ministry if we think the $63 million is rather low.
On ARDA Estates, some of this is demand driven. When we
receive budget proposals, the Ministries also tell us what is of priority and what is not priority. I will again look into this and interrogate it with the Minister and see if we can again move the budget around to deal with the issue of kick-starting some of those moribund ARDA Estates which have great potential to resuscitate our agriculture.
Hon. Mushoriwa on the issue regarding the model for guarantees that I should explain what it is. It is very simple. The new model of financing agriculture through you Chair is to give guarantees as the first order of business, to banks to then lend to farmers. What those guarantees cover is losses in terms of loans that are not paid back but these banks are also meeting us half way. They have skill in the game in the sense that they are taking additional insurance above our insurance in terms of the guarantee so that those are two pieces of insurance at play and we are confident that this will help the recovery process. At least the insurance provisions will help. Beyond the guarantee is then liquid support for those banks where we feel they are doing a good job – we give them additional liquidity support for them to continue on lending to the farmers. So it is guaranteed in the main followed by liquidity support.
Criteria for guarantee – well, the banks have to sign an MOU with us. We analyse these banks and see if they have got good balance sheets and so forth, they are strong or worth partners with Government. We look at the size of the balance sheet, non performing loans as well as checking whether the bank is sound or not. The soundness reports exist and they are public information from the central bank. We use those to target the banks we want to partner with.
Hon. Mamombe spoke about urban water and I think we dealt with this. We also spoke about irrigation. We also dealt with the issue of education. She might have been out when we were debating it that there is a sharing of responsibility between the two agricultural colleges with some of the universities. We should be careful about not over budgeting, because the responsibility is being shared to provide this kind of education.
I hope a few things that I have tackled have helped clarify this Budget which is the largest in our whole budgetary process. For some of these you have to move the budget around within the $11.3 billion.
Let me stop here for now. Let us try to make progress.
Vote 8 put and agreed to.
On Vote 9 – Mines and Mining Development - US$353 725 000:
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Chair. I hope the Minister of Mines will be able to catch up as he reads the Hansard. I rise to give my input on the Vote on Mines and Mineral Development, largely premised on item (4) which is major achievements during 2019. You will see that the Mines and Mineral Development generated $2.07 billion which translates to 66% of the country’s export earnings and
receipts of $3.116 billion.
First and foremost, I would have appreciated that the Minister demonstrates to this House how the receipts are benefiting the Budget itself. Our aim in supporting the mines and mineral development sector, is that it is then supposed to support the public finance sector. I would have wanted the Hon. Minister to demonstrate by way of figures that this particular amount was supported from the mining development sector the same way he did from donor funded funds.
The second issue is that under the same item (4), you will see that there is resumption of granting of Exclusive Prospective Orders (EPOs) and Special Grants for exploration. You would recall that in the 2019 Budget, a company is created which has to deal with exploration and it is resident under ZMDC. US$3 million was given to this company for it to purchase equipment and begin exploration. The thrust being that Zimbabwe does not have enough mineral resource knowledge to the extent that any attempt to lure investors without enough mineral
resource information will be dipping into the dark and we risk being abused by the very same investors or we cannot negotiate meaningful contracts which benefit the country.
Now that the Minister says as one of his achievements, there is resumption of EPOs and Special Grants for exploration. I would want to know if these EPOs and Special Grants are being explored by this Government Company which we gave US$3 million or these are private explorers. If they are private explorers, I would have wanted to know the timeframe, because at the end of the timeframe, we can then link a particular dollar to say we would have used this much for the benefit of this much.
Under item (V), there is item (i) Acquisition, Development and operationalisation of computerised mining and cadastral system. This is scheduled to run between 2020 to 2022. Hon. Chair, you will realise that in the 2019 Budget and 2018 Budget, the establishment of a computerised mining cadastral information system was a priority for the Ministry of Mines. However, this project has not kicked off despite it being given budgetary support since 2018 through to 2019 and again in 2020.
We are faced with a situation whereby as a country we have to answer this question. Are we having low production from the mining sector or we are having high leakages because that question is informed by the fact that at Reserve Bank or Fidelity, there is a reduction in figures resident or reduction in deposits of gold resident with our authorised gold dealer which is Fidelity. The question is, are we having low production at production level or are we having leakages? This issue of mining cadastral system answers that question partly. The fact that we are having continuous disputes and by way of procedure, if I am operating at a particular mine and another investor, say Hon. Markham comes and also claims that the block under which I am operating also belongs to him and there is a dispute, both of us cease to operate.
What it means is that it affects production. The computerised mining cadastral system quickly resolves these disputes because we would have managed to locate our coordinates and link them to the rightful owner of that particular claim. The cadastral system answers part of that. There is so much unproductivity that is happening because there are too many disputes.
I will rush to page 151 and I would have appreciated if the Minister was going to be there. Our budgeting presentation system has a certain formula. If you look at all the votes, they have a certain format. Now no page 151 and speaking to the issue of mining title management, there is a page which is unpopulated, but it attempts to speak to why we are actually here as representative of the people.
Under mining and title management, the drafters of this template very clever enough to be able to demand these answers. What is the percentage number of mining titles issued in 2018 (actual and not populated), targets not populated. We now do not know as a Parliament how many titles are we issuing to people or how many titles do we intend to issue to people. This again affects the issue of productivity.
The template speaks to the percentage reduction of backlogs, not populated again. So the absence of this information makes this
Parliament blind and is expected to pass a Budget without information.
I implore the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to
liaise with the Minister of Finance to populate this page. It is critical in that we have given money to the mining cadastre system for us to resolve item 2 under outputs, disputes resolved. Percentage of disputes resolved in 2018 – not populated. Target 2019 – not populated. We have given money to the cadastre system with an intention of solving these disputes. I would have wanted this page to be populated as it informs some of the figures which have been thrown into the Budget.
I will move over to the issue of the launch of the ZW$12bn mining sector road map. His Excellency, the President launched the mining sector roadmap and we attended the breakfast meeting where the business community and mining stakeholders interrogated this roadmap. On paper, it is a brilliant roadmap, but from a parliamentary perspective, the ZW$12bn roadmap if we do not actualise it through a budgetary mechanism, to me it remains a pie in the sky. Of the ZW$12bn roadmap, ZW$4bn are supposed to come from the gold sector between 2020 and 2023. I would have wanted a statement in this particular Budget that speaks to the actualisation of realising that ZW$4bn. About ZW$3bn is going to come from platinum and I would have wanted to see how much are we then able to harness in the 2020 in this particular Budget. If you have been listening to the Minister in the majority of his responses, he continuously says and I want to challenge if he may not repeat the same today. He continuously says we have it at the back of our minds. The unfortunate thing about that statement is that it then limits our capacity in terms of question and answer when it comes to the
Minister’s Question and Answer on Wednesdays where we begin to interrogate with our Ministers on a policy perspective. We must be able to run with this document throughout the whole year referring back to it to say in our Budget Statement, this is what we said, where are we with it. That is what I believe is our role.
I also want to believe that it is our role as Committees of
Parliament and I sit in the Committee on Mines and Mining Development – in the absence of this information, our Committee is rendered useless. We have unpopulated pages, statements that do not link to policy of Government. I believe that policies of Government like the ZW12bn roadmap is a policy which they are supposed to have been actualised by a vehicle called the Budget.
I would also implore the Minister if you may be able to direct him to the questions that I have forwarded to you in his absence that if he may be able to respond to them. I hope his staff is here so that in his response, he may be able to speak to them. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: I will be swift and precise, straight to the point.
The issues that speak to and about the strategic policy direction of the Ministry speak to how this as an industry can contribute meaningfully to the economic benefit of this country. The issue of recognising title through e-governance or the cadastre system has been spoken about for a long time. I have often said the computer was generated and established in 1934 and we cannot continue to be manually oriented, to be rudimental, archaic, moribund and antiquated. We need to embrace technology in order to enhance our economic benefit using our mineral resources. Most of the time we are adjudicating on issues that are talking about conflict between one claim and the other and not embarking on extracting the resources. The issue of the cadastre system as mentioned in point No. 4 of the Mines and Mineral Vote should be taken seriously and should take root immediately.
The issue on policy priorities up to 2022 on point No. 5, the issue of establishment of beneficiation and value addition chain should be as a policy and a starting point come 2020 going forward for any investor who is going to come into the mineral rich sector. In Mashonaland West, we have got the widest band of the great dyke which has got more than 20 minerals in it. In that area we have got about two biggest platinum mines.
It is my thinking that Caro Resources which have been given some concessions out of the 26 000 ha that has been recouped by Government of the hectarage that was once under Zimplats should be the first to benefit from the policy that is skewed towards value addition and beneficiation. Mind you, that company is going to be the biggest in terms of platinum extraction. Much more than the three obtaining companies - Mimosa, Zimplats and Unki Platinum. We should use that as a launching pad to say all new investment should have a defined way of beneficiation and value addition of our mineral sector and resources. Aware that just a little ball of uranium can turn around our fortunes in terms of energy supply and power development in this country. We should not shy away from beneficiation and value addition. This point comes at a very critical and key time but it is rather late but we need to embrace value addition and beneficiation.
I stood here one day and said Belgium, Antwerp and Denmark have no resources to talk about but they are beneficiating the diamonds from DRC and we need to have a simple policy that is very deliberate in terms of beneficiation. I want to say what the Ministry of Mines needs is just good policies and not money. The money that they have been given is too much for a place that is endowed with a lot of gold mines. ZMDC has got more than 25 gold mines. They should use what they have to get what they want. They need to extract and also finance the sectors of Government in terms of their budgetary requirements. We should not be going unnecessarily to request from the Minister of Finance when we have got the resources. They should embark on triple PPP The last I checked they had an investor who was going to sign an agreement end of November with ZMDC in order to optimally and efficiently extract the resources from their gold mines. One such gold mine is Elvington Mine.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. MAVETERA):
Hon Nduna can you please be specific to the vote allocation.
HON NDUNA: Exactly I am talking of priority that is priority pint No.5 Priorities 2020 to 2022. I am proposing other mechanism of income generation and not to go with a cap in our hand to Treasury all the time to ask for benevolence. We are not a charity organisation in terms of the mineral sector. The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should completely desist from wanting to get any monies from central revenue except that which would have been accounted for and then goes back to them in order to deal with their Budgetary requirements and capital requirements just for accountability but they should not be going to request for any monies coming from agriculture.
Otherwise, they should generate their own income using PPPs and Joint
Venture Act of 2016.
Madam Chair, the issue of the Mines and Minerals Act that has been mentioned here, we have spoken about it ad infinitum. Gold Act, Section 3 which has a mandatory jail sentence of nothing less than five years should come here and be repealed expeditiously. I do not know why it has not come here. We need to repeal the law so that the formerly marginalised black majority is empowered. This act was deliberately crafted in 1951 by the whites and the erstwhile colonizers so that the black man can never go near gold. Gold is sold at flea markets in DRC. Why should we be incarcerated and interrogated for possession of gold because we have found it on our farms and because we are black? Our only crime should not be that we are black.
As I round up, we need to repeal that Act and we need to repeal it expeditiously. The small scale miners and artisanal miners have contributed a lot to fiscus. We need to complement and support their efforts so that we ward off illicit outflows and revenue leakages. The 2017 report of the World Bank states that we have lost US$8 billion and we can use our laws to curtail such happenings. It is a report that was presented and is globally acclaimed. Here is an opportunity to redeem ourselves. Here is an opportunity to have economic benefit for ourselves.
Madam Chair, the previous speaker spoke about the EPOs, so I will not labour you with the issue of EPOs. It should be a thing of the past. They are called Exclusive Prospecting Orders. Instead of establishing and signing them into law, we should hold on because they are about to repeal the Agrarian Reform Act of 2000 and bring in the Mines certificates that supersede the Agrarian Reform Act because it supersedes all other laws. I implore you Madam Chair that in the major achievements during 2019 and in their priority areas of 2020 and 2022, they should not have the issue of EPOs. If at all, they should put a screeching hold to signing in of EPOs for those that have been waiting
His Excellency, the President’s assent. They should be stopped in their tracks. We need to put our money where our mouth is.
As soon as an artisanal miner or a small scale miner goes and delivers gold to Fidelity, at that point, we need to register him on the claims that are held for speculated purposes. These claims are registered on the London and Australian Stock Exchange whose value is premised on our God given natural resources and they are benefitting the erstwhile colonizers and the former colonizers that used to put an albatross of colonisation around our neck. We need now to benefit from our God given natural resources using this Budget. The Bible says ‘the year King Hosea died, I saw heaven’. The year that this Budget was passed, we got rejuvenated, rehabilitated, robust and resilient Budget. Let us learn from this Budget and let us take the bull by the horns and have our economic benefit coming from this Budget today. I thank you.
On Vote 10 – Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and
Hospitality Industry - $615376000
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Hon. Chair. I just want to bring
to the attention of the House that the total Budget is a little bit over 1% of the total Budget. When you consider the first three things in the policy priorities which include basically evaluating the environment and natural resources, cutting it down in US dollar turns to less than a million dollars per province. If you go on to the other issues which include environment, climate change, tourism and hospitality, we have a series of problems if we are to put this amount of money in the Budget.
If I would just tackle environment for one second on the priorities, we have a major issue with the environment on “makorokoza”, agriculture, urban areas and the surrounding areas because of tree cutting. Finally, EMA cannot afford or keep up with the amount of work they have got, particularly on the legal issues. I would urge the Minister to reconsider the portion of the Budget he is proportioning to this vote. I thank you.
Vote 10 put and agreed to.
On Vote 11 – Transport and Infrastructural Development -
HON. J. SITHOLE: Thank you Hon. Chair. I just wanted to say one thing that on infrastructure in terms of roads where there is $2 billion, I strongly feel it is highly inadequate considering that we have a lot of roads that have to be made. We need to have such good roads such as the Beitbridge – Harare Roads. All these need a lot of money. However, we also have very serious problems in the rural areas where some roads have not even been graveled for the past ten to 20 years.
Such roads are impassAble now, yet we were in Bulawayo for the 2018 – 2019 Budget, we said the road is the economy. In such areas, where farmers have to transport their produce, they cannot transport that produce; where they will have to transport their cattle to people who will need beef, you find they cannot even get there because the roads are not in good condition.
Just now that the rains have come, we all celebrate that we have rains coming but there are places where people are now in dire need of communication because their roads are in bad state. Some of the Ministry roads that we have in the rural areas are such that they are never looked after. You find there is only one road engineer for two or three districts who has got to mann those roads but each time you go there, you want to ask for assistance so that the roads can be graded, you are told there is no fuel. At times MPs have to offer their own transport to have an engineer to go and have a survey of the roads. At the end of the day, nothing is being done and this is a serious thorn in the flesh of people who are in the rural areas.
Also, there is hardly any supervision that is going on in terms of people who should have these roads done because you always find that some people are just there in the almost dilapidated camps where there is no sign of any activity at all right through the year. I do not know whether they will give reports that they are doing something or what. So I strongly feel we need more money towards this infrastructure development and we also have to look into the rural areas where in the largest part of our survival is the base of the economy of this country and we want to say the road is the economy. I thank you.
HON. S. SITHOLE: Mine is short, only one issue. Minister, I want to put through to you and remind you, I am appealing also that you can add the budget for infrastructure of the road. In Insiza South, there is a road from West Nicholson to Mberengwa. Last year it was allocated $11 million and you gave that road $5 million and then you took $6 million and you allocated it from Mberengwa towards West Nicholson.
Minister, I am appealing to you to put that road in the budget. It is only 45 km from West Nicholson to Mberengwa. I thank you.
HON. DINAR: I will just concentrate on one page and one page alone which is page 181 where we are discussing rail and aviation infrastructure. My eyes are mainly on Air Zimbabwe. At the moment Madam Chair, we cannot even say we have got an airline neither can we say we have got a railway line. If the Minister provides only $294 million as capital grants for NRZ and Air Zimbabwe, honestly we are not going to do anything. For Air Zimbabwe to have investment or allow investors to come and partake in it, there was a legacy debt in 2018 which was US$385 million. There is no investor who is going to come and invest in Air Zimbabwe unless that US$385 million is taken over by Government.
My appeal is, Government should indeed take over the debt of Air Zimbabwe to allow investors to come in and invest. If we do not do that we will remain with one airline. Beginning of the year, we had around nine hundred employees. Now may be of course we have around seven hundred employees but we cannot have seven hundred and something employees manning just one aeroplane. So my small or big appeal is to say, can we have that debt taken over by Government as a matter of urgency. Thank you.
+HON. MATHE: Like I stated before, this was a clearly and intelligently crafted budget. On number 11, the Minister put infrastructure and transportation and he put about $2,8. The road infrastructure in the country should be separated and given different budgets. For instance, when we talk of provincial roads we put a particular allocation or certain amount because we know that each province has a road or two which have to be repaired or constructed because if we do that we will have a proper programme of monitoring and evaluation.
What I have noticed is that the amount you have allocated to these roads may not be able to pull through all the required roads. One
Member talked about the monies and we are saying roads are a very important infrastructure in a country. The economy and people’s lives depend on the condition of the roads. Many people have died without falling sick and this is caused by the bad state of the roads where we have accidents.
As a result, when we are talking of these budgets we are saying Minister, please add more money on to the road infrastructure especially when we look at the inter-metropolitan roads. They need to be looked at. I can also look at roads like Nkayi to Bulawayo road. These intermetropolitan cities and some of these roads are 33 years old and I wish the Minister would put more money on the road infrastructure so that he can repair and construct new roads in the provinces including the Nkayi to Bulawayo road.
HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Chair, I think the development of
any country is underpinned by the infrastructure that it has and the road infrastructure is very important. If you look at the road from Beitbridge to Harare, it has become a hazard to people who use the road internally but we also use it to import and also those vehicles that import goods to Zambia or to Malawi. We are in a danger of losing a lot of income as far as transport is concerned because very soon the construction of the Kazungula Bridge will be through and a lot of traffic to Zambia will opt for that road. That will seriously affect the amount of money that we will collect on that particular road.
Not only that Madam Chair, we have got other roads that need serious upgrading. If you do not have good road infrastructure you do not attract investment and this is a fact. I implore the Minister to increase the budget by another billion dollars. If he can increase by another billion dollars, what it means is that the work that is being done right now along the Beitbridge to Harare Road will then be speeded up.
When you speed up the road construction you are creating employment. There will be a hive of activity along that particular road. It is very clear, it is labour intensive and that little money that will trickle into our people’s pockets will stimulate growth in our economy. Such kinds of investment mean a lot in job creation. The moment you create more jobs obviously economic growth is also realised. I think and ask the Minister to seriously consider improving the budget under transport.
Lastly Madam Chair, the issue of Air Zimbabwe costs us a fortune to maintain the staff that we have at Air Zimbabwe manning only one plane. It does not make any sense. Look at how Victoria Falls is now being marketed. Air Rwanda is now flying direct to Victoria Falls. South Africa markets Victoria Falls as their own destination. Why - because they can make available efficient transport, even internal travelling. Kariba, we used to have Air Zimbabwe flying to Kariba and people had got used to using that. At the other time, we also had another plane that would take people from Kariba to Victoria Falls and it was a joy for the tourists. As far as Air Zimbabwe is concerned Minister, it is either we improve on the fleet or we cut down on the complement that we have at Air Zimbabwe. It does not make sense for us to maintain the level of the general manager, chief engineer and all other posts. We are simply milking the fiscus whilst we are providing nothing. Minister, if we can do that for Air Zimbabwe and do the same for the roads so that we create employment.
+HON. M. MPOFU: Thank you very much. I would like the Minister to put more funds onto the road infrastructure. I will talk about particular roads such as the road from Kwekwe-Nkayi to Lupane. This is a very important highway. If that road is repaired and maintained, the country may save a lot of money. It can be the short-cut to Victoria
Falls and save about 2000 km if that road is maintained and repaired. We have many businesses which can be conducted using that road. We have timber products, methane gas and we will also have tourists who will be going to Victoria Falls. They will be greatly assisted by the short-cut that would have been created, hence I am asking you to add more money for such highways.
We also have another road from Bulawayo-Nyathi and Nkayi up to Gokwe. This one is the most important highways in the country. As you know, Gokwe is an agricultural hub. If the road from Gokwe to Bulawayo is tarred, there will be many businesses generated through such an exercise.
Minister, the monies which have been budgeted for these places should be released on time. The funds are released late and sometimes some of the jobs are half done and abandoned. When they are abandoned they face the vagaries of the weather, the rains and sun and all that is washed away. Hence I am saying Minister, please add more funds so that these roads can be repaired and maintained for the progress and development of Zimbabwe.
+HON. M. NKOMO: Thank you Madam Chair for giving me
this opportunity to add my voice onto what has already been said. I will also put my voice onto the maintenance and construction of the road infrastructure. I am calling upon the repair of these roads to be done on time instead of doing them when the rains have set in. At times we have known of some mechanisms such as pulling tyres over the surface of these roads which is not good enough. We have some important roads such as the inter city roads, the inter metropolitan artillery roads, the highways. Some of them have never been serviced for some time.
These include roads such as Bulawayo-Nkayi-Gokwe. For some time this road has had some stop-start maintenance procedures and this has been happening for the last three years.
We also noticed that we have tollgates in some of these areas. In some of the tollgates, the number of cars passing through can be counted and the amount collected through that. On some tollgates, there are simply roadblocks that are set up and ZINARA officers manning road blocks will be conducting business in the open. They are exposed to the vagaries of the weather and accommodation is tense. In some areas, some tollgates are up to world class standards and even officers will be working in comfortable and air conditioned offices. That is why I am saying let us treat all these tollgates equally because tollgates are there to help in the collection of funds and enhancement to the fiscus.
Let me now turn to transport both for goods and passengers. We are grateful for what the Government has done. To date, there has been some subsidy of buses under the banner of ZUPCO and we are grateful for that. People are paying fewer fares than they do on commuter taxes. This should be a short term measure. The task of transporting passengers and goods should be given to councillors or local authorities so that the Government is only left to concentrate on huge things.
*HON. SHIRICHENA: I want the Minister to add more money onto the road infrastructure especially regarding the road from Zvishavane to Rutenga. This road is very important in both production and economy of the country. It can be used by exporters and importers. The other important road is from Zvishavane to West Nickolson. We are very grateful because we have seen that this road is under repair. What is of great concern is that only a few kilometres are worked on this road...
*THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: It has been mentioned
already that there are roads that need repair and maintenance. Hon.
Member, we now need new contributions on new issues.
*HON. SHIRICHENA: I conclude my contribution by talking of roads in the Midlands such as in the Gokwe District. We know Gokwe is an agricultural hub of Zimbabwe. There are many economic programmes undertaken in Gokwe, hence we need to repair the roads so that transportation of products to and from Gokwe brings prosperity to Zimbabwe. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Chair. I have eight items – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Saka muri kuda kuti ndisataure? What are you saying? You do not want me to debate? Chimbonyararai. The first issue that I want to propose to the Minister is the issue of the money that has been reserved in the maintenance reserve account. If you can force the extraction of this money and utilise it for road construction and carriageway markings in the roads department to augment on the $2 billion budget that you currently have? So it is called the Maintenance Reserve Account that was supposed to be for PlumtreeMutare Highway, 821 km. The last time I checked, it was USD50 million, you can take this augment and complement the efforts of your carriageway marking in the road sector.
Secondly, in the roads sector, if you can have a modus operand that speaks to output based road construction methods as opposed to dealing with hourly based road construction methodologies. Hon. Magumise spoke about the labour based road construction method, these talks about getting paid for what you have done, you do not get paid for the hours you have spent at work but you get paid for the amount of work that you have produced in terms of linear kilometers.
Hon. Minister, this is going to reduce the monies that you are requested to allocate for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development because you are cutting down on the hours that are being spent on issues to do with standing time. There is actually a provision in roads manuals that caters for equipment that is idle, broken and that is not being used - that should be a thing of the past. Let us go back to the basics and pay for output; this is going to save you a lot of money.
In terms of Air Zimbabwe, already Hon. Banda has spoken about the taking over of Air Zimbabwe debt. The two hundred million that you have…
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Nduna that has
already been dealt with, let us speak of something else.
HON. NDUNA: The debt that is on Air Zimbabwe is about a billion United States Dollars. It is my clarion call that cleaning out the balance sheet, it is currently under…
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Nduna, may you
please leave the issue of Air Zimbabwe?
HON. NDUNA: No, you are out of line. It is under the administrator as we speak…
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Nduna, I think we
are not agreeing.
HON. NDUNA: You do not want me to talk about Air Zimbabwe?
Okay I will not talk about the 200 million; I will talk about enhancing Air Zimbabwe. Hon. Minister, an ERJ is an aircraft that takes 50 people and on the Zimbabwe Airways we have got an ERJ in the country. A second hand ERJ costs USD1, 5 million, in its five years of life; it can recoup that investment second to none. It can be used for domestic traversing of the airspace and it is the quickest plane that you can employ in order to make sure you revitalise and revamp the Air Zimbabwe industry here in Zimbabwe.
It is my view therefore; we have 26 pilots out of the 15 million population that we have in the country and the lowest pilot who is a captain globally is paid USD12 000. They are all trying to man two aircrafts, 737 and 767, if you expeditiously; just employ 1, 5 million, you will have two ERJ’s in the country and they will optimally- the current crop of the fourth generation of pilots before we use them.
Secondly, we have got hangers that speak to and about servicing of Boeing Aircrafts. Those hangers, we cannot wish them away, they were a regional hub for servicing Boeing Aircraft. We can revitalize them by going into a joint venture or PPP with Boeing Aircraft. Ethiopian Airways did it and we can also do it; we can maybe get 1% from all undertaking or from all the usage of Boeing Aircraft. Servicing them here but belonging to Boeing and making sure that we have got a joint partnership and PPP with Boeing. We do not need any monies but we needa policy shift. In 2014 of the Cabinet decisions, it was stated that we need all Ministers and Government officials to buy Air Zimbabwe tickets. We cannot buy Air Zimbabwe tickets if it only goes as far as South Africa or Johannesburg but you can now get Air Zimbabwe tickets if Air Zimbabwe rejoins IATA. So, the amount of money that is required…
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: On a point of order! Hon. Nduna was the
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development. He should have said that during that era when he was chairing the Committee. As of now, Hon. Nduna is out of tune, he is simply wasting our time. I was talking to the Minister of Finance and he said we need to investigate what was done by that company called G5 which was responsible for construction projects in this country. The G5 had informed the nation that they had dualised our highway. Therefore, Hon. Nduna cannot teach the Minister now when he was supposed to have told G5 to follow proper channels of communication since the company operated during his time.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Nduna, may I
guide you that this time is for analysing the figures that are in the Blue Book, not to debate. We want constructive analysis of the figures, whether you want the figures to go up or to go down. This time is not for debating.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Hon. Chair for your protection. The re-engagement of IATA is very key; monies should be…
THE TEMPORARY CHAIR: No, we are not debating IATA; we
want you to lead the Minister in connection with the figures that are in the blue book.
HON. NDUNA: Yes, it is there in the Blue Book.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIR: Do we have IATA in that blue book?
HON. NDUNA: Is it not there Hon. Minister? I do not why everyone is angry with me. Take a step back, take a deep breath and at least allow me to proffer solutions. Can somebody give me the blue book? Anyway I will leave the IATA issue.
The issue in your budget that you have put in 100 buses at zero duty, I ask that you increase the number of buses for the bus operators to 500 because each of the transporters is bringing in more than 100 buses each and there are more 25 bus operators. In this you will grow the economy and you have no need to allocate any further resources than $2 billion to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development if you increase the number of buses at zero duty that you are allowing into the country to about 500.
Lastly, the issue of computerisation of the toll plazas is going to give you much more than you have currently. You are currently having about RTGS $200 million coming from there annually. You can double that figure by computerisation of all the toll plazas as has been alluded to. So, it is my humble request to you to just foster E-governance so that you plug revenue leakages and enhance revenue generation and you can get a lot out of the monies generated there to cover the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development in its modus operandi and in its budgetary requirements. Hon. Chair, I request that the bar be closed.
HON. MARKHAM: I just like to point out on the budget pertaining to ZINARA that the audit report from the Auditor General shows that the cost of collection on various things which include Number Plates, licence fees, the Limpopo bridge and so on – all these collection fees being run by ZINARA in a JV and by a partner. The cost of collection is between 16% and 18% plus VAT to the JV partner plus
ZINARA paying all the costs. The cost of collection across the board is 38% and that is 38 cents in every single dollar that we collect is going to these people and that was an unsolicitated bid. That alone will push up the income by a third if we sort out that mess which as far as I am concerned is illegal.
Just as a matter of fact, the regional average for toll collection is between 3% and 4%. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Mr.
Chairman. Again I thank the Hon. Members. It is certainly true that a road is an economy and certainly investment in the road infrastructure is critical and equally we need Air Zimbabwe to fly and that is in support of the tourism sector which is a low hanging fruit.
On the debt assumption for Air Zimbabwe, that is currently under consideration. The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural
Development has written to us with the support of the company and we are debating it to see how best to do it. Again on Air Zimbabwe, we are expecting basically four aircraft. We have the two from Malaysia that we have paid for. The Ministry of Transport and infrastructural Development has indicated that they are likely to be in the country by the end of the year. Then, we have the one that is already here internally, the big one. Then the fourth one is the Umbrae that was brought into the country a few months ago. So, four aircraft in total and
I told that there is maybe another one that we could lease from a neighbouring country which is somewhere in Africa. So five aircraft is quite a bit to really kick start Air Zimbabwe. One sense is that the strategy really is to get the equipment in place – that is the four or five planes in place in the country and begin to then re-launch Air Zimbabwe from there.
I think in terms of commercialisation, of course the intention is to make sure that the operation is commercial enough so that there is business to do in terms of moving people and tourists around. So, I am hopeful that Air Zimbabwe will take off in earnest in 2020.
Then on various roads, we have West Nicholson, Mberengwa road, Kwekwe-Nkayi, then Nkayi-Bulawayo and we have noted these and we are going to get the PSIP in an infrastructure plan to see how we can move things around but all within the budget. We do not want to increase the budget but we think that it is adequate.
Then on the Beitbridge-Harare road, again there was a request for having a more budget and so forth. But we have now secured the budget in the first place. So 5% of the fuel levy has been ring fenced to support this project and there is a good project from the six contractors who are on the ground basically widening the road to twelve and half metres across and basically doubling its width before we move on to the dualisation procession in future. So there is good progress and revenues are well ring fenced and I think that the current budget levels are at the right levels for the completion of this exercise.
Other Members have said that we need some policy shifts in the air transportation sector. We have noted this but these are not budgetary issues as such but they are policy issue ideas. The computerisation of toll plazas, again this is noted.
Then on the increase in the number of zero duty rated buses from 100 to 500, but also let us be careful about protecting the potential domestic industry for manufacturing buses. Yes, we should open up, we have done it and we are doing it but also, let us allow for the domestic industry to also be resuscitated and make some of these buses locally.
Then on the issue of ZINARA, I was not privy to the details of some of these contracts that were mentioned by Hon. Markham, but these are things to continually look at and see whether indeed Government has a fair deal or not. However, I do not know the full details and I am hearing this for the first time, but really we have noted all the comments. We know that a road is an economy and there is need to also refocus on rural roads. I agree with that especially the feeder roads – that is what the inclusive part of road construction when we have a tarred road with enough feeder roads to make sure that the local community is part of that road economy. This is noted and again, I promise that we will disburse this budget on time to the Ministry so that they can get on and provide the infrastructure that we need. I thank you Mr. Chairman.
I did not mention the roads that are missing from my list, let me add Insiza South road because I read all the others which have been included. Also, there is another project which I know about and it is a bridge connecting Mashonaland East and Manicaland. I cannot remember the bridge now but I have asked my staff to include it. These are some of the key projects that I think we ought to prioritise and we will certainly do that.
HON. MATHE: On a point of order Mr. Chairman. May we kindly have a second round of water to all of us here? We are all thirsty and we see water going in corners and corridors. Thank you.
Vote 11 – Transport and Infrastructure Development - $3 209 178
000 put and agreed to.
Vote 12 – Foreign Affairs and International Trade - $1 385 435
000 put and agreed to.
Vote 13 – Local Government and Public Works - $1 779 784 000
(a) put and agreed to.
Vote 14 – Health and Child Care - $6 567 317 000 put and agreed
Vote 15 – Primary and Secondary Education - $8 526 233 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 16 – Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology
Development - $2 890 889 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 17 – Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium
Enterprises Development - $503 976 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 18 – Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage – 2 818 169 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 19 – Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs – $825 513 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 20 – Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services – $409
799 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 21 – Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation – $330 187 000 put and agreed to.
On Vote 22 – Energy and Power Development – $525 604 000;
HON. MARKHAM: I would just like to point out to the House and I have pointed out to the Minister and we pointed out at the PreBudget Workshop, one issue that is overlooked in power and energy which is a quick fix; it is the waste to the energy programme which could fix most of our urban areas. This has been ignored throughout the whole budget. Please can some attention be paid to waste energy? We have a major issue with our waste disposal; I think they can supply us with a lot of energy.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): It is noted Hon.
HON. SANSOLE: We spend a lot of money on energy imports. I think the Minister needs to consider the cost of bringing on line our thermal power stations like Harare, Bulawayo, Munyathi which are not operating at full capacity, I think we need to spend money on those. It will save us a lot in terms of imports of electricity.
Vote 22 – Energy and Power Development - $525 604 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 23 – Information Communication Technology, Postal and
Courier Services – $114 560 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 24 – National Housing and Social Amenities $227 853 00 put and agreed to.
Vote 25 – Judicial Service Commission - $328 070 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 26 - Public Service Commission - $1 500 000 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 27 – Council of Chiefs - $27 200 00 put and agreed to.
Vote 28 – Human Rights - $26 680 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 29 – National Peace and Reconciliation Commission - $31
200 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 30 – National Prosecuting Authority - $72 000 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 31 – Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission - $71 550 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 32 – Zimbabwe Electoral Commission – $91 200 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 33 – Zimbabwe Gender Commission – 25 000 000 put and agreed to.
Vote 34 – Zimbabwe Land Commission $163 100 00 put and agreed to.
Vote 35 – Zimbabwe Media Commission $13 000 000 put and
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. Chairperson,
there is an issue under Vote 5 that needs to be properly recorded. If you recall, I agreed that we increase the budget for the Auditor General’s Office by $20 000 000. That 20 000 000 will come from the unallocated reserves of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Let us make that adjustment accordingly for the two Votes. - [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order please Hon. Members.
Order please, order! Chief Whip order please - [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.]- Hon. Members please.
Main Estimates of Expenditure reported with amendments.
Bill ordered to be brought in by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development in accordance with the Main Estimates of Expenditure adopted by the House.
APPROPRIATION (2020) Bill [H. B. 22, 2019]
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE) presented the
Appropriation (2020) Bill [H. B. 22, 2019].
Bill read the first time.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have received a non-adverse
report on the Finance No 3 Bill [H. B. 21, 2019] from the Parliamentary
Legal Committee. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: order Hon. Members. May I
ask the Minister to present the summary of the Bill.
FINANCE (NO. 3) BILL [H. B. 21, 2019]
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. Speaker Sir, I
thank you very much. I now present the Finance (No. 3) Bill [H. B. 21, 2019]. Mr. Speaker Sir the Bill seeks to give effect to the fiscal measures that I announced to the 2020 National Budget Statement delivered on 14th November, 2019- [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members please order!
May the Hon. Minister give a summary of the Bill and then he reads it for the second time.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill seeks to give effect to the fiscal measures that I announced through the 2020 National Budget Statement delivered on 14th November 2019, and in particular avail relief to tax payers through adjustment of tax rates as well as to enhance revenue generation capacity, taking into account the recent economic developments.
The opportunity is also taken to amend other Acts having fiscal, financial or investment implications. In summary the Bill provides for the following; a youth employment tax in order to support job creation and youth employment. The Bill seeks to introduce a tax credit for corporate that employ additional employees of less than 30 years of age in any year of assessment. On a personal income tax in order to provide relief to tax payers and stimulate aggregate demand, the Bill provides for new bands according to which rates of personal income tax will be calculated. The Bill thus proposes to review the tax free threshold from the current $700 to $2 000 and further widen the tax bands to a maximum of $50 000 above which income is taxed at a marginal rate of 40%.
On the balance tax threshold the Bill also seeks to review the bonus tax free threshold from $1 000 to $5 000 on your severance packages in order to safeguard the value of retrenchment packages. The Bill seeks to review the money taxable portion of retrenchment packages from $10 000 to $50 000 or a third of the package to a maximum of $80 000.
On deed motoring benefits, Mr. Speaker Sir, in line with review to personal income thresholds the Bill also seeks to review the value of deed motoring benefits in respect of employment in order to reflect the real value of the benefit accruing to employees.
On the intermediated money transfer tax Mr. Speaker Sir, the intermediated money transfer tax provides for a maximum cap beyond which the transaction value is a flat rate in terms of the tax rate. This
Bill seeks to review the flat intermediated money transfer tax from $15
000.00 to $25 000.00 for transactions with value exceeding $1 250 000.00. This Bill also proposed to exempt from the tax certain transactions involving social transfer payments made to vulnerable members of the society by development partners accredited in terms of the Privileges and Immunities Act.
On appointment of representative taxpayers, in order to enhance compliance in the administration of tax by non-resident persons that trade goods and services through electronic commerce, this Bill seeks to compel such taxpayers to appoint a person domiciled in Zimbabwe to act as its representative taxpayers.
On allowable interest deductions on foreign currency denominated debt, the Bill is proposing the following Mr. Speaker Sir, that interest is a business expense which is tax deductable. This Bill, however, seeks to disallow interest expenses incurred on foreign denominated debt due to the use of an exchange rate which is above the interbank rate.
On withholding tax on contracts Mr. Speaker Sir, in order to promote tax compliance, a taxpayer without a valid tax clearance certificate is subject to a 10% withholding tax on sales. This Bills seeks to exempt grain delivered to GMB and gold delivered to Fidelity Printers and refineries.
On venture capital funds Mr. Speaker Sir, Venture Capital Funds are increasingly becoming a source of development finance. Venture capital financing is thus already exempt from tax. This Bill seeks to include additional features or conditions to the exemption status in order to minimise opportunities for abuse.
On value added tax Mr. Speaker Sir, this Bill seeks to reduce the VAT standard rate from 15% to 14.5% - this is by half a percent in order to stimulate aggregate domestic demand. Furthermore, the Bill seeks to amend the definition of Input Tax to include imported services.
On capital gains tax Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill seeks to compel tax payers who would have transacted in foreign currency to settle tax obligations for capital gains tax in the currency of transaction.
On royalty as for the diamond sector Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill seeks to review the royalty on diamond from a rate of 15% down to 10% of gross revenue in order to promote investment, exploration and extraction in the diamond sector.
On customs and excise duty Mr. Speaker Sir, goods and services imported into the country are usually quoted or priced in foreign currency. This Bill seeks to ensure that duty shall be assessed on the value converted to local currency at the selling rate for that foreign currency as designated by the Commissioner in consultation with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
On the reward for information Mr. Speaker Sir, the current legislation provides for a monetary reward for information that results in recovery of revenue. This Bill seeks to exclude penalties and interest from the definition of revenue which are charged at the discretion of the Commissioner.
Finally, on amendments to the Reserve Bank Act Mr. Speaker Sir, this Bill provides for the establishment of a Monetary Policy Committee and specifies the functions of the Committee in relation to monetary policy management – that is really putting the legal rules in place through an insertion in the Bill. Furthermore, the Bill seeks to amend the Exchange Control regulations to enforce the use of the Zimbabwe dollar for domestic transactions. Mr. Speaker Sir, I now move that the Bill be now read a second time. Let me move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 12th December, 2019.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE), the
House adjourned at Twelve Minutes past Nine o’clock p.m.