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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 11 MARCH 2020 46 33
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 11th March, 2020.
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
TABLING OF REPORT
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I wish to bring to the
attention of the House that Section 12 of the Audit Office Act [Chapter
22:18] states as follows; any report transmitted in terms of Section 10 or 11 (a) to the Minister; or (b) to the appropriate Minister shall be laid by the Minister or appropriate Minister as the case may be, before the National Assembly on one of the seven days on which the National Assembly sits next after he or she received such report.
Where the Minister or appropriate Minister fails to lay any report before the National Assembly in terms of sub-section (1) within the period specified therein, the Auditor-General shall transmit a copy of such report to the Speaker of the National Assembly for the Speaker to lay it before the National Assembly.
On Friday, 30th of September, 2019, the Auditor-General submitted the report on the support of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises by Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation under the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, in terms of the Audit Office Act [Chapter 22:18].
In view of the fact that the relevant Minister has not tabled the said report within the specified timeframe, I therefore, lay upon the table the aforesaid report in terms of Section 12 (2) of the Audit Office Act [Chapter 22:18].
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: My question is directed to
the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. I do not see them here so I do not know whether I should direct it to the Leader of the House...
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. This is the umpteenth time that I stand to raise the concern of Ministers and Deputy Ministers who are not coming to Parliament. Section 107 is very clear. We have said this numerous times and nothing happens. The Leader of
Government Business is here and we implore him to take this message to the Head of State because some of these issues are very technical at the end of the day and we do not expect the Leader of Government Business to know everything. He ends up saying things in defence which really are not what we want to hear.
For how long can we continue like this? ZANU PF as a ruling party has got a lot of capable people and for them to be Ministers is not because they are brilliant, maybe they have better witchdoctors than others, that is how they are there. In terms of brilliance, ZANU PF has a lot of people with two thirds majority, why can they not have people who are capable and committed to changing their manifesto and the policies of this country? We cannot continue like this. The Leader of Government Business must take this message to His Excellency. The Speaker has written a letter to the President on this and nothing has happened.
Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga has brought these issues up several times. For how long, when the country is in this state, and we get no Ministers telling us what we are doing. Primary and secondary education is quite critical to what we are doing. Minister of Finance is not here. We just do not know what to do anymore. I think you also have not read those who are absent without leave, maybe they are there. Maybe you can then tell us those who are absent without leave, if not, we expect Parliament to take punitive measures against them so that this does not continue.
We cannot have a ruling party with two thirds pretending as if you have no people. We cannot continue like this. What action is going to be taken now that they did not even put in their leave of absence? Tomorrow they will all be at the field day where His Excellency will be, yet they are not invited. They will all be there. I know them. They like to have their faces being seen there, yet they do not come here. What will they be doing there, yet they have work to do here? They will be at the field day where they are not even going to be recognised or greeted. ZANU PF must stop having people who patronise. You must behave like Hon. Murwira – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Order, Hon.
Members. I hear you Hon. Mliswa. We are still waiting for the list of apologies from our Journals Office. I think it is coming –[HON. T.
MLISWA: Next question time, point of privilege yatichataura you are a let down to the President, a disgrace to the President who put trust in you and you do not even do anything. You are not the best in the country Zimbabwe. You are here because of n’anga dzamakaona.] – Order, Hon. Mliswa.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Like I said before Madam
Speaker, my question will then be directed to the Leader of the House. We know that the Minister of Education announced that the exam fees were going to be $15 but we also know that there is now another correspondence that seems to be coming that says that parents will pay $90 and Government $100. Can we actually hear what the position currently is, given that the deadline is finished and given the fact that if anything changes from the $15, it will mean that even teachers themselves who are teaching the children will not be able to get their own children to write examinations because the money that they are getting as a salary is not enough for them to be able to pay the exam fees. So if we may have an explanation Madam Speaker?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank the
Hon. Member for the question which I respectfully submit if she can put that in writing so that I can – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Madam Speaker, we now have a tendency of liking responses that are not productive. She gave a narrative that parents are being told to pay a certain amount and Government will pay a certain amount. There are calculations that were done to come up with that. There is a cost to education and whether you are earning $500 or not, there is still a cost to quality education. My request is if she can put that in writing so that Hon. Members can get a correct answer that will be directed to the Minister so that he can explain how they came up with that particular formula. I submit Hon. Chair.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: With all due respect Hon.
Minister, that question has two aspects to it. The first one is that Government announced that the examination fees are going to be $15. The Government has now changed presumptively, again. All we need is a statement that is coming up from Government to say what is the examination fee that they are now asking parents to pay because there is confusion. I am not sure
where the calculation is coming from. We just want a formal statement that comes from Government stating how much people are supposed to
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, when she asked the question, I had a figure of $90….
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: May the Minister be heard in
HON. ZIYAMBI: She said she was giving an example that it was $90 and parents are supposed to chip in. My submission Hon. Speaker was that there is a cost to education, whether you are earning a dollar or $10 000, there is a cost to education. The reason why I said she should put that in writing is because even on examinations, there is a cost to the production of material and having that particular examination done – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] Hon. Members are so ignorant – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - to the extent that they expect me – like what Hon. T. Mliswa has said, to have all the figures in my head, of the cost of everything. So I believe that they also need education. The Hon. Minister is the one who is supposed to come here and articulate what the cost is, I so submit – [HON. MEMBERS:
*HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
Thank you Madam Speaker. I do not think it is proper for the Minister to refer to Hon. Members as ignorant people.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Leader of the House,
may you please withdraw the word ignorant.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, it is not unparliamentary - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – [HON. BITI: Madam
Chair, you have made a ruling, so he has no choice] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Leader of the House,
may you withdraw that word.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, let me explain what I said – [HON.
MEMBERS: Withdraw, withdraw!]
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order!
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, you are in the Chair, I withdraw –
[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Through you Madam
Speaker, let me inform the Minister that as we speak right now, the deadline was last Friday for that payment to have been done. All we are asking for now is, if the Minister can come as a matter of urgency, address this House and inform the general public on how much they are supposed to pay. That is all we are asking for.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank
the Hon. Member for the request which is very reasonable and I will transmit the message so that the Minister can do that.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. The
rules of this House are very clear. Before we start this session, Ministers who are absent without leave must be mentioned so that we know. If they are not mentioned, we must know why they are not here; you then implore the Leader of Government Business and the Chief Whip of
ZANU PF to get them here. This Parliament can adjourn until all the Ministers are here – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear here.] – the Minister and the Deputy Minister of Education are busy sitting in their offices.
Today we must be serious. May this Parliament adjourn until all the
Ministers are here because there is no reason for us to continue with Question Time.
Madam Speaker, the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development is not here. There was a Monetary Policy today which he must respond to. We cannot continue like this, it cannot remain a circus. We expect you Madam Speaker, as a woman to put this House in order. May you please rule on that? I therefore move for adjournment until the list of the Ministers who are absent without leave is mentioned.
May we adjourn until all the Ministers are here. These are the rules of the House and Madam Clerk who is there knows the rules of the House. The names must be read. I use the rules to implore you to name all the Ministers and the Deputy Ministers. We cannot just be good in taking cars, having Aides and fuel coupons and you are not here to work for the people. That is a waste of taxpayers’ money. You are letting down the President every day, munoita bhora musango kuna President muchiti mo supporter President. Where is your loyalty? We are tired of this. The list must be called or else we adjourn. Question time only happens when Ministers are here. Let us adjourn, we cannot continue like this, taneta nazvo izvi. Ma Aides munawo, pay murikupiwa, chii chirikutadzisa kuti muuye…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Take your seat Hon. Mliswa.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have got a list of apologies from Hon. Ministers;
Hon. S. B. Moyo - The Minister of Foreign Affairs and
Hon. M. Ndlovu - The Minister of Environment, Climate
Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry,
Hon. K. Kazembe - The Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural
Hon. E. Moyo - The Deputy Minister of Primary and
Secondary Education and
Hon D. Marapira - The Minister of State in the Vice
President Mohadi’s Office
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, where are the rest of the Ministers? They must be here. We need serious business. We cannot be joking like this. We have travelled too far to come here busy wasting taxpayers’ money at this Parliament. Madam Speaker, where are the
Ministers who are not here? The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education has not been mentioned, he must be called. Parliament must be adjourned. He must find his way here so that he knows the answers of this institution. Madam Speaker, it is women’s month, use that to put this House in order. We must have authority over these Ministers. The
Constitution is very clear. This is a very important institution.
Education is critical right now, why are they not here. Finance is not here again.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. We
cannot adjourn the House. Hon. Members can ask questions to the
Ministers who are present. I am sure some of them are on their way.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, you cannot run the Parliament like that. Even the Minister of Defence who is the national chairperson of the Ruling Party, who is part of the presidium is here. What about those who are under her. We cannot run Parliament like that. You must answer to my point of order, which is why are the Ministers who are not on the list not here? It cannot be business as usual. I have the right for you to tell me what action you are going to take. The national chairperson is here, where are the other ministers, the deputy ministers who are not here? They are the ruling party. We cannot continue like this. The rules are very clear, if the ministers are not here, what charge are you going to give them? If it is contempt of
Parliament, let it be that. We are governed by the rules.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mliswa. I have
heard your opinion and I have already made a ruling. The chief whip has now gone outside of the House to phone the Ministers who are not in the House.
*HON. T. MLISWA: That is what you should have informed us.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you
Madam Speaker. I think you have ruled and Hon. Mliswa has made his point. We have several Ministers here. My plea is we have called those that are around to come. For the sake of progress, Hon. Members can field questions to ministers that are here while the others that are not here are coming. That is my request to you. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I agree with you Hon. Leader
of the House. Let us go ahead.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. Good afternoon Madam Speaker. How are you?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am very well, how are you.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: My point of order is that Hon. Ziyambi is wearing political attire. He is wearing the signature of Mr. Mnangagwa which is ANU PF. Parliament does not allow us to wear such things. Therefore, it is my submission that the Hon. Minister Ziyambi should remove the signature of Mr. Mnangagwa or we stop working until that has been resolved. Once you want to behave like that, I have a Chamisa T-shirt outside and I will come here wearing it. We will bring in Chamisa T-shirts and signatures as well because they are also there. He must remove that thing. If that is the case, we will bring loads of Tshirts from Chamisa which have signature and business will be at a standstill until Hon. Ziyambi removes Mnangagwa’s thing that he is wearing.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Once you have made your
point of order, may you please resume your seat so that I can make a ruling.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: Alright, I am seated here.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Sit on the bench.
*HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, I hear what the Hon.
Member is saying – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Zwizwai, I have heard
what you have said. I am not sure that if I were to conduct a body search, will I not find anything that identifies your party. Do you want me to throw you out?
HON. ZWIZWAI: Madam Speaker...
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: From the knowledge that I
have, the President’s signature is not a symbol of the Party. Let me say this, some of you are also dressed in red clothes.
*HON. ZWIZWAI Last time there was a ruling that was made before and it is compelling you, Hon. Mutodi had to remove that badge. The precedence has been set and the Hon. Speaker asked Hon. Mutodi to remove it.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: He has removed it, may you
take your seat so that we can proceed.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMETARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam Speaker –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. ZIYAMBI: For the sake of progress, I have removed it but
I do not think for the sake of progress banners should be displayed in
Parliament. A banner and a signature of the President is different.
However, it is very unparliamentary.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Minister for
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My point of
order is that for 3 weeks, we have not been seeing Hon. T. Khumalo.
We are concerned about the noise that is happening within the MDC party; in Masvingo and Bulawayo they are fighting. We thought Hon. T.
Khumalo had been attacked because we were not seeing her here in
Parliament. We want to thank God that she has come in this august House today. The noise that the MDC members are making right now is what they do outside this Parliament, they are noise markers. Here in this august House, they make noise so how can we move with such a group. I thank Hon. T. Khumalo for coming back – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
+HON. MATHE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is
directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. While I realise that Social Welfare is giving maize to the elderly, what is the Government policy on giving them cash for their groceries namely sugar, salt, soap and money to use for the medicals?
THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND
SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Madam Speaker. Anyone who is considered to be vulnerable and put on our social welfare roll is assisted in two ways; either through the distribution of grain or through cash transfers. When we do cash transfers to the elderly that is where they will be able to buy other things other than grain. So, we have two modalities of assisting the elderly - cash transfers as well as grain distribution.
+HON. MATHE: Are you giving them money for groceries? If so, how much?
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Hon.
Speaker, I have indicated that we have two modalities of helping the elderly and these have to be vulnerable elderly, some are not vulnerable and therefore, they do not receive Government assistance. Those who are vulnerable, there are two ways as I indicated, one is a cash transfer system and this is where they can get enough money to buy the things that she is referring to like sugar and the like. On the issue that she further raised of medical assistance, there is a separate scheme that takes care of the vulnerable and the elderly through a medical assistance programme.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question and I want to ask a supplementary question. It is talking about the elderly, especially for the people aged 70 and above. With the economic challenges that we are facing, there are no jobs; our money cannot buy and people are suffering. Would it not be possible Hon. Minister that Hon. Mnangagwa, who is 76 years goes on pension. I thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! The question
that has been asked by Hon. Zwizwai should not be answered. It is neither a policy question nor has it anything to do with the sitting of this
House. It has nothing that is relevant to what is happening in this House. I only want policy questions. Thank you.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is
directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. May I know the Government policy regarding the 2019 – 2020 marketing of cotton? Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON.
HARITATOS): Thank you Madam Speaker. I am humbly requesting the Hon. Member to be clear regarding the question.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. May the Hon.
Minister respond to the pricing policy regarding the marketing of cotton?
HON. HARITATOS: Madam Speaker, our responsibility as a
Ministry is the production of cotton. When it comes to modalities of payment, it does not fall within our Ministry, unfortunately. Therefore, I am not the Minister to respond to the Hon. Member’s question. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I have a point of order.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you. Madam Speaker
today the Minister of Finance and Economic Development issued a very clear statement with regards to the setting up of the currency stabilisation taskforce and I am not managing to identify him or the deputy in the House. This statement has far reaching consequences to the questions which are being asked by Hon. Members. I therefore propose Madam Speaker that because of the nature of impact from my reading to the extent that he says some of the measures are going to be implemented with immediate effect and they have a bearing on the exchange rate. I propose that the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development brings that particular statement for interrogation with Parliament tomorrow. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Chikwinya.
I hear your concerns. We will talk to the Minister so that he will bring the statement in the House. Thank you.
*HON. MACHINGAUTA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My
question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Matiza. Is it Government policy that motor vehicles belonging to political parties are now being registered under the Office of the President and Cabinet, for example, all the ZANU PF vehicles that are parked outside Parliament. Thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. ARCH.
MATIZA): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. It is not my knowledge. I will go and make an enquiry and come back and report to the House.
*HON. MACHINGAUTA: I heard the Minister saying that he is
not aware of that, he will go and find out. I also want him to find out that more than 270 ZANU PF vehicles are now registered under the President and Cabinet. Secondly, they are also not paying tollgate fees –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – may I be protected Hon.
So Hon. Speaker, I am asking through your office, that the
Minister brings a Ministerial Statement as regards the issue that he is going to investigate and then clarify to us whether they are under the
President’s Office and whether the vehicles were bought by
Government’s money or by ZANU PF.
Furthermore, the Hon. Minister should come and clarify as to whether duty was paid for those motor vehicles and how the Minister is going to correct this scandalous anomaly that happened. I am warning against corruption, therefore, I am asking for a ministerial statement.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon.
Members, I remember yesterday the Hon. Speaker said that in this House, our behaviour, the manner in which we carry ourselves should be very respectful and honourable. We should respect ourselves so that the world will see that we are serious and we are working hard. Today, there is live broadcasting, so if you ask your question the Minister will respond rather than to continue asking irrelevant things because you want to be seen on television. At the end of the day, the public will see that you are wasting time and tax payers’ money.
HON. MADIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is
directed to the Minister of ICT. What is Government policy regarding phinetex like Econet, CASSAVA Smartec that are operating in the financial systems in terms of protecting consumers from fraudulent activities in the face of accelerating digitalization?
*HON. MAFUTA: On a point of order! Hon. Speaker, we are seeing an Hon. Member wearing a face mask in the House, is he not feeling well or what is his problem?
HON. WADYAJENA: The Hon. Member is accusing me of
having corona virus. I do not know why she is saying that –[HONN.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY MINISTER OF INOFRMATION,
COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER
SERVICES (HON. PHUTI): Thank you very much Hon. Member for a
brilliant question. The Government is working on digital infrastructure mass supply and amongst various issues concerning this sector.
HON. PHUTI: Thank you very much Hon. Member for a brilliant question. The Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology is seized with work on the digital infrastructure master plan. These programmes are meant to ensure that such issues are addressed but let me hasten to say it is also imperative that we base such concerns on the coming into law of the relevant Act that is supposed to pass through this House as tabled by the President under the legislative agenda.
HON. MADIWA: I am asking this question because cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated. People are losing a lot of money through Ecocash. Just go out where Ecocash is registering its clients.
You will find old people queuing to be registered and there is no sanity Madam Speaker. They are asking for I.Ds of those old people without knowing that they are being duped. Yesterday I witnessed a lot of people at Econet who had thousands of money stolen through Ecocash. What I am asking is what is being done because cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated. To me, cyber fraud is more dangerous than terrorism.
HON. PHUTI: I agree that cyber attacks have become a serious concern but I want to believe that this is more of a comment that alerts us than it is a question. But I think I was clear Madam Speaker to say that there is a Bill that is meant to be tabled, I hear on Friday in this House, that is supposed to look into such because indeed cyber attack is an issue.
*HON. P. ZHOU: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands. A lot of farmers are coming to Harare to have their documents sorted out so that they can receive fertiliser, diesel and seeds at CBZ. My question is - what mitigatory measures is Government going to put in place to ensure that farmers’ plight are lessened so that they go to the nearest CBZ branch countrywide instead of coming to Harare?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER LANDS, AGRICULTURE,
WATER, CULTURE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON.
HARITATOS): I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question she has posed. Such problems were reported to our Ministry and we have taken the problems to CBZ who have said they are dealing with the issue by form of devolution so as to ensure that the banks at district level can cater for whatever savings, it is that our farmers regroup in order to save our farmers the long trips to Harare. The majority of our farmers are all over the country and it does not make sense for them to come and congregate in Harare, also bearing into mind the cost and the numbers involved. CBZ has assured us that everything is in order and is moving smoothly. If you come to our offices, you can meet us and we give you an update on the wheat crop.
*HON. P. ZHOU: I want to thank the Minister for the response but I want to say on the issue of diesel, in Midlands we are being asked to get fuel from Trek Kadoma, what is wrong with Trek Gweru or that in Kwekwe?
*HON. HARITATOS: Hon. Speaker, what the Hon. Member has
said is true. We have raised that issue with CBZ because it is having an impact on the service station in Kadoma. CBZ has promised to look into the issue for this upcoming wheat season.
HON. S. NDLOVU: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance, in absentia to the Leader of the House. The question relates to the shortage of cash in the economy. Banks have set a maximum withdrawal of a paltry $300 bond per week. This has resulted in a situation whereby the few people who have cash are now selling it at a premium on the black market. May the Hon. Minister give us timelines of when the RBZ will intervene and in fact, make an upward review of the current withdrawal of $300 per week?
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA) on behalf of the
MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY
AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I wish to thank the Hon. Member for
the question and I kindly request that she puts it in writing so that a detailed answer can come from the RBZ. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: My point of order is that there is a limit of
$300 as a withdrawal limit and is Government policy. The question speaks to the realities of inflation and the demand for upwards of the $300 and that is purely a policy question, so the Minister cannot hide behind converting a policy question into a specific question. We request for respect as Members of Parliament because the answer is being awaited by the people who are queuing everyday to get $300 yet it is not even enough to buy six quarts of beer.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. S.
Ndlovu, please may you ask your question again.
HON. S. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is
now directed to the Leader of the House. The question relates to the shortage of cash in the economy. Banks have set a paltry $300 per week. This has resulted in a situation whereby the few people who have cash are now selling it at a premium on the black market. May the Hon. Minister give us timelines of when the RBZ will intervene and effect an upward review…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, order!
HON. S. NDLOVU: Madam Speaker, we want timelines on when
the RBZ will effect an upward review of the current withdrawal limits of $300 per week. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam
Speaker, the question was asked sometime and the Minister of Finance gave an explanation. I believe if Hon. Members are not happy with the response, they can put that question in writing so that he can come again and give another detailed explanation. I thank you.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker. Hon.
Speaker, I do not think that is the position of our Standing Rules and
Orders that if a Minister has not given a detailed response, then an Hon.
Member has to put that question in writing. That is not the position. The position is that the Minister should go on to explain and give the details without us having to reduce that into writing. That is an important question he has to attend to. If he does not know, it is not an offence for him to say I do not know, it is allowed. I think the Hon.
Minister should answer.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, as you can see
the Minister of Finance is not present.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Why does he have to pretend that he is an Acting Minister of Finance; he does not have to pretend to be. If he does not know, let them simply say there is no Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Speaker, the Hon. Member
was not listening when I spoke. He jumped to say that the Hon. Minister will bring a detailed response. I indicated that the question was asked and if Hon. Members are still not happy with the answer that was given then – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – they can put the clarifications that they need pertaining to the answers that were given so that he can come and clarify again.
Madam Speaker, you guided me that I should not use certain words but certainly we need to also go and read our Standing Rules and Orders.
We must also understand that in Government there is somebody who can stand in the place of any Minister. For lack of a better word, I put it that way, that the Hon. Member must go back and read so that he can be educated rather than come here to say disparaging words. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
When the Minister responded to the question, the environment was at a certain position. The environment was that the exchange rate was at 1:15 but now the environment has changed. The Minister is a lawyer, he knows that when circumstances change, you need to adapt to change. What the Hon. Member was saying was that $300 dollars is now equivalent to almost US$5, can the Minister consider increasing the minimum withdrawal?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is why the Leader of the
House has said that the Hon. Member must put it in writing so that the responsible Minister will come with the answer.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. When
we started this session, I rose twice on a point of order to say that Ministers who are mandated to run this portfolio are not here. I do not blame Hon. Ziyambi’s attitude because he is being bombarded with things which he is not responsible for. So he is being defensive in the process. I have said Madam Speaker Ma’am, that the Hon. Minister of Finance and the Deputy were not on the list of absent with leave. The same applies to the Minister and the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. We are reducing this Parliament to a circus. The monetary issues are critical to this country. The Minister of Finance is the only one who can respond adequately to that. So where are we going? The Chief Whip said the Ministers are coming, they are not here. Where are they? I am still asking the question. You promised us that they are coming and now we are about to finish Question Time. What is the point of us coming here, prepare and ask questions?
Madam Speaker, we cannot continue with the Leader of
Government Business all the time. You must protect him, you must feel sorry for him because he ends up saying things which are defensive and not factual. It is only the Ministers who are mandated - if the President thought he was good in finance, he could have appointed him the
Minister of Finance and Economic Development but he is not the
Minister of Finance. So why are we making him the Minister of Finance? This is turning into a circus, people think we are a joke, at the end of the day because permanent issues which are affecting people on the ground cannot be addressed by the Leader of the House. Where are those Ministers, I ask again? – [AN HON. MEMBER: Zvakwana, tazvinzwa.] – Where are the Ministers, I have a right to ask these questions according to the rules.
Madam Speaker, you read the names of those who are not here, what about those who did not put in their names to be absent? You said the Chief Whip was going there. ZANU PF, you are the ruling party and each opportunity which comes you must try to grab it. You are losing traction and the hearts of the people because you are not responding to issues that affect people. We are here for serious business at the end of the day. We do not dress in this regalia of the lion and hat like this to come and play games here. We have come here to ask serious questions.
We cannot continue like this Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker, your Chair can only be taken seriously if you are firm to these Ministers. You are the boss of these Ministers and they are not your bosses at the end of the day. You cannot worry about them because they are Cabinet Ministers. We are the House that has oversight over Government. This is becoming a worst of time, a circus every day. We cannot continue with this circus when we are busy suffering. People want answers on the ground, what do we say to them? You are supposed to phone them. Hon. Chief Whip, where is the Minister of
Finance and Economic Development? Madam Speaker, can you be firm – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - where are they? We cannot continue like this. If the President is not happy with dogs that he is hunting with, he must change the dogs and hunt with new dogs. A hunter must change dogs. There are many people who are capable of doing these jobs. It is a waste of time. We come here, the Monetary Policy was announced, nothing happened. Why are we here? The President is a hunter and he must hunt with his dogs. If his dogs are not able to bite, you change them as a hunter and you find those that can bite. There are so many of them who can do the job. We are tired of this. This country is dependent on non-production of results – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you
Madam Speaker. I want to acknowledge what Hon. Mliswa is saying and also acknowledge what Hon. Madzimure has said. Madam Speaker, I admit that circumstances have changed, that is the reason why I said, in trying to manage the economy and the inflationary pressures, perhaps if you put that in writing, the Minister will come and explain the measures that they are putting in place to ensure that the pressure is relieved from the members of the public. At the same time, the Minister will explain the measures that he is taking. This question was asked and this is a repeat question. I would want the Minister to come and explain the measures that he is taking in the management of the whole economic situation. I thank you.
*HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I am not at
liberty to force the Hon. Minister to respond to an issue that he is unable to answer. There is this predicament where if you go to the bank, you are given $300 and out of the $300, $150 is unacceptable to business and industry. Should one decide to take the money back to the bank, the bank will not accept it. As a result, you end up being short changed.
How are our people going to live under such circumstances.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you
Madam Speaker. I hear and appreciate what the Hon. Member is saying. That is the reason why I had humbly suggested that the question be written and be given to the relevant Minister so that a full response can be given. However, I appreciate that it is quite painful for a person who has received $300 to lose a $100 due to the fact that the notes are torn and industry and business is not accepting it. I will endeavour to find
out why our banks are neither accepting nor replacing our own torn currency. I thank you.
*HON. MATAMBANADZO: What is Government’s policy as
regards the resettlement of Cyclone Idai victims? I observed on television that they are living in temporary shelter in the form of tents. Why is Government not looking for farms nearby and relocate the people of Chimanimani that were affected by Cyclone Idai. I say so because we have become the laughing stock of the region as well as in China where I was receiving treatment. Binga also experienced the same challenge of floods. May I suggest that they be given new places which they can construct for themselves maybe twelve hectares or so that they can be able to produce crops and become self sustainable.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. M. CHOMBO): Thank you very
much Madam Speaker and thank you Hon. Matambanadzo. I appreciate your concern over those who were affected by Cyclone Idai. We tried our best by providing tents to the affected families so that they can have shelter. When you experienced such disasters, there are studies that are taken to ensure that the proposed resettlement areas will be safe. Again it is a challenge when trying to relocate someone from the area they have been staying for a very long period. However, we have acquired land at Nedziwa and we are going to peg about 600 stands for them to be resettled but there was some resistance because they were saying it is far away and there are no employment opportunities. I would like to thank the Minister of Finance for he has allocated money in the Budget for the affected families. Very soon you will start seeing progress on the relocation of Cyclone Idai victims.
*HON. MATAMBANADZO: Thank you very much Madam
Speaker. I would like to thank the Minster for the good response. My supplementary is that Minister, I can see that this problem is long overdue and our country is now a mockery because the Government is failing to find solutions to this problem. I travelled to China where I was being treated; they were saying that we are trying to lure donations and getting more assistance by delaying to solve our problems. We must give these people a new place to stay; Government is now being blamed because of the situation in Chimanini. We must not take long to solve this issue of Chimanimani. Ministers will continue to change without resolving anything. I thank you.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Madam Speaker, and I thank the Hon. Member for his question. The Government is doing something to make sure that these people are resettled. We have limited resources and a lot of areas that were affected by these floods. These are natural disasters that were not budgeted for. However, we will continue to help these people with the little that we have. This year we were allocated funds so that we build decent homes so that these people are resettled.
*HON. MURAI: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is
directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works.
I want to ask the Minister whether there is a budget to build schools...
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, are you
asking a supplementary question or a new question?
*HON. MURAI: I want to thank the Hon. Minister for her answer that they have identified suitable places to resettle the Chimanimani people. However, in Nedziwa, a place that you saw fit to resettle people, my worry is that it is one of the places that was affected by floods and a lot of people were killed. A lot of places in Nedziwa were affected by floods; can the Minister consider resettling people in other safe places other than in Nedziwa. People are refusing to move from Chimanimani to Nedziwa because of this.
*HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Member for the
supplementary question. Yes, most parts of Chimanimani area were affected by floods. People wanted to relocate to places near mountains but we did our surveys and we saw that it was not fit to resettle people there. In Nedziwa we found them places where there is high ground and our experts first went to assess the area and reported that it is a safe area and people will not be affected by floods.
*HON. SEWERA: My question is directed to the Minister of
Health and Child Care, in his absence the Leader of Government Business. In villages we have what we call primary care nurses. When are they going to be upgraded? I also want to enquire when the allowances of village health workers will be reviewed.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank
the Hon. Member for the question. These nurses have all what it takes to make sure that they upgrade themselves through education so that they obtain the necessary qualifications. If they attain the necessary qualifications, they will then be upgraded, as they are in the system already, they will be given first preference than their counterparts who will be coming from outside.
*HON. SEWERA: I also asked about the village health workers
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, be specific,
what is it about the allowances?
*HON. SEWERA: We are getting the information that the village health workers are getting US$14 and that there is an organisation that is assisting them with this amount. What is Government doing to make sure that they also take part in paying the village health workers?
*HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I will leave it to the Minister for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to respond whether there are employees that are being paid their salaries in US dollars, I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND
SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Madam Speaker,
my understanding is that this economy is running on mono-currency as far as the payment of all civil servants is concerned. I am not aware of any civil servant who is receiving remuneration in any other currency which is not the Zimbabwe dollar. Thank you.
*HON. ZENGEYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The Hon.
Member asked a good question. If you look at the economy of this country, you would observe that in the health sector, we have very few nurses that are employed because they are not being sufficiently paid.
So, the group of people that has been mentioned by the Hon. Member is assisting people in the communal areas. They are responsible for delivering pregnant women, they are also attending to HIV patients. They are doing it wholeheartedly and the Government should appreciate them so that they have a better life as the result of the services that they are offering. Thank you.
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Sorry Madam Speaker I was
distracted. I would appreciate it if the Hon. Member repeats the question.
*HON. ZENGEYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question to
the Hon. Minister is, these people are helping people in our constituencies. What is Government doing to reward them for the crucial job that they are doing?
*HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Madam Speaker, we always look at
the working conditions of civil servants. In January, we made a review on civil servants salaries and there is no category that was left out.
However, I do not think village health workers are part of the regular civil servants. Whatever they get might be just an incentive that comes directly from their Ministry. Thank you.
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Madam Speaker, I request that the Hon.
Minister does some research on the issue and come back to the House and give us a detailed report.
*HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Madam Speaker, if one is not a civil
servant, I will not have information about the specific person. Otherwise, if they are directly engaged by their Ministry, the question should be directed to the respective Ministry. My Ministry has responsibility over civil servants and in this particular case, the village health workers are not civil servants.
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you. Madam Speaker, I have
heard what the Hon. Minister said. However, in the rural areas, these village health workers are there and they are working. I request that Minister of Health and Child Care comes to this august House and give a
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon.
Mutseyami. We will ask the Minister of Health and Child Care to come to the august House and give a statement.
*HON. MUCHIMWE: Thank you Madam Speaker. My
question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. What is Government policy with regards to motorists who are driving vehicles that are not roadworthy?
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the HON.
DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 64.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam Speaker,
the Hon. Members wanted the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, to explain certain issues. He has come with a Ministerial Statement and perhaps issues that were being raised by the Hon. Members can then be addressed. So, with the indulgence of the House, can we suspend Oral Answers to Questions with Notice so that the Hon. Minister can present his statement and clarifications? I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
MESURES TO DEAL WITH THE INSTABILITY OF THE
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Madam Speaker, I am
delighted to share with my colleagues, Members of Parliament here present, certain measures that we, as Government have decided to take with the direction of the President at his instigation to deal with the instability of the exchange rate with a view to also stabilise inflation.
We have explained these recommendations, these pronouncements
to the industry, the financial sector and to the media and I see it proper that I should do it in this august House, to the legislators. First of all, the President has set up a Currency Stabilisation task force. This task force which is spearheaded by the Ministry of Finance, the Governor of the Reserve Bank, the Central Bank Officials, members of the monetary policy committee who are doing a sterling job and members of the
Presidential Advisory Committee - that is the composition of the Currency Stabilisation task force.
The task force will be chaired by myself, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and will meet at least once a week to review the conditions in the market, monitor the behaviour of key variables such as the exchange rate, inflation and ensure that the measure that I will outline below, are expeditiously implemented but also tract. The task force will put in place additional policy measures if necessary.
Let me now outline these measures; first of all…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Minister! Vehicle
ABL 4898 is obstructing other vehicles; please may the owner go and attend to it. I thank you.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: First of all, I would like to define the exchange rate system that we have adopted today going forward. It is what we call a managed floating exchange rate system. So far
Zimbabweans have not been having a transparency and effective foreign exchange trading platform for a long time. Consequently, official rates have not been effectively determined while a thriving parallel market has developed. To correct this anomaly, an electronic foreign currency trading platform based on the Reuters system will be immediately put in place.
This platform will allow foreign exchange to be traded freely amongst the banks and permit the true market exchange rate to be determined. The Bureau de changes will also participate on this platform through their authorised dealers. The trading rules for the Bureau de changes will also be enforced and refined but largely bureaus are being liberalized so that they can conduct wider range of business and transactions.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will continue to be a significant player in the market providing liquidity to stabilise the exchange rate where necessary. This mechanism will immediately be operational; all foreign exchange requirements will be available through the interbank market which will use a market determined exchange rate.
I now want to turn to the eco-system for this exchange rate system and that is composed of the commercial banks, the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe, the Bureau de changes and the Ministry of Finance and
Economic Development. It also includes the mobile banking platforms. Let me start with the commercial banks; the specific steps and measures being taken by Government and key stakeholders will ensure the success of this system as follows:- the interbank market will be operationalised based on the Reuters systems as I have said. All banks are invited to join the market. There is going to be a coalition of the willing, also the coalition of the understanding of the system; who will begin to use this system and the bureaus will join in. We expect all banks to use this system.
The banks will be what we call what we call the market makers and the Reuters system will generate a daily exchange rate at the morning or the a.m. but also in the afternoon or the p.m. mix. Banks will charge bureaus very thin margins on transactions which are routed through them as authorised dealers. That is the first category – the commercial banks.
The second category is the Bureau de changes are immediately liberalised as per RBZ rules and we will widen the scope of their services going forward, including the financing of imports.
Let me be clear; on imports we want to make sure that there are strict rules as to how these applications are handled between the Bureau and the authorised dealer if it is the Bureau acting on behalf of the authorised dealers. We do not want a situation where an importer goes to Bureau number one, two and three for the same request and it is circled three times because the system cannot track it and therefore foreign currency is externalised on fictitious imports. We have to deal with that. The Bureau will be market takers as I have said. They will trade the foreign exchange with a spread of 5% either way, so they are not price makers or takers.
The Bureaus will have a minimum float of US$20 000. They shall have access to physical cash available from the RBZ with daily limits.
Cash purchases can be paid for in Z$ at obviously 1:1 in terms of cash, RTGs or in US$ settled at the daily exchange rate. All Bureau requirements shall be demand driven. So the Bureau has to demand cash and it will not be a case of the Central Banks supplying cash. It should be demand driven. Bureaus can use excess US$ to purchase the Z$ cash from the RBZ as well.
Let me turn to the third player in the ecosystem and it is the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The RBZ as usual will monitor the daily exchange rate and intervene as necessary. It shall release foreign exchange into the interbank market based on a well defined foreign exchange rate stabilisation policy. It shall maintain a fully operationalised reuters trading desk in the trading room so that the bids and offers by banks on the reuters system can be monitored and influenced if required. It will also fine-tune the rules for the operation of Bureau De`Changes and carefully make sure that the policy of use of free funds is well-managed.
As you know, we started with the DFI fuel. We want to make sure that this is well managed and we will be announcing more rules to make sure that any arbitrary behaviour on DFI fuel sales is dealt with but also we are already using free funds to import wheat, cooking oil and other basic commodities for sale in domestic currency and not foreign currency.
The RBZ shall also release any surplus funds beyond what is required for servicing essential banks and other priority Government uses into the interbank market on a daily basis. It shall also provide the Ministry of Finance and the monetary policy community with precise data on a daily and weekly basis, of forex inflows and estimated amounts available for release into the interbank market.
The bank will also discontinue the use of letters of credit gradually and encourage all importers, including fuel importers to access foreign currency through the interbank market. In the interim, all letters of credit should be issued at the daily interbank rate. It will also work with major importance to access and smooth the forex demand. What we mean here is that if Company X needs $4 million, it cannot access that at one goal. Even if it can access it over two days, it should be spread around various players around banks. We know that large companies have more than one bank. They usually have at least three banks, so they should spread it around. We do not want a bullet demand or bullet payment going into the parallel market to be specific.
The RBZ will also work with the small banks that do not have significant importer clients to access forex from the interbank market. We do not want to create a dual banking system where small banks are shut out from the interbank market. It is the job of the RBZ to make sure that they are still in the game and help them along to access forex and play in that market.
I now turn to supporting measures on money supply, liquidity management and interest rates. To support the success of the new foreign exchange management system, the following measures have been put in place. It should be noted that all these measures are part of our de-dollarisation road map, so they will be introduced in a phased but time bound manner. Government is cognisant of the fact that the unrestrained increases in money supply are one of the fundamental causes of inflation and the depreciation of the exchange rate. Indeed, hyperinflation prior to 2009 was caused by precisely this factor. In view of this, the existing framework for fiscal monetary discipline will be reenforced as follows and this is what the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has to do:
- It will maintain a cash budgeting framework to minimise the fiscal In line with this call, it will be noted that Government has a cash surplus of $3,1 billion as at the end of February, 2020. Those are the facts and we will spend this money.
- We will project revenue and expenditure for the full financial year and announce the Treasury Bill issuances per calendar if such financing is required in the first place.
- Ensure that all Treasury Bill issuances for open market operations will be approved by the Monetary Policy Committee. I want to be clear on this. The Treasury Bills for what we call open market operations are not normal Treasury Bills for Government borrowings. These are Treasury Bills that the Central Bank issues to mop up excess liquidity in the market so that we stabilise the value of the currency. So they do not need any approval from the Ministry of Lands but just from the MPC, it is a normal monetary policy operation.
- Ministry of Finance will also smooth the expenditure disbursements so that large or lumpy Z$ payments are bunched which will obviously disrupt the foreign exchange market. We know what has happened in the past. We honoured as Government a payment to a contractor. The contractor found opportunity in the market with their compatriots and they pushed up the exchange rate trading in the power market. That has to stop. So all these payments will be smoothed so that we do not have a bullet
payment or demand on to the market and any deviation there will be strong sanctions and penalties from now on. Trust me.
- To underpin the use of the Z$ by implementing payment of all taxes, duties, fees and other Government payments in Z$ in a phased but time-bound manner.
Let me again turn back to the RBZ on these other supporting measures. The Central Bank will terminate the gold incentive facility once this reuters system becomes fully operational and we feel that the rates are converging.
Listen clearly now, from now on banks have to introduce a minimum interest rate for all deposits including trust accounts underpinning mobile banking wallets. This is to incentivise savings and to encourage the holding of the domestic currency. It is a serious anomaly that depositors do not receive any interest for their deposits. Where does this happen except here? It has to stop and we need a minimum interest rate. If this is not done, I will legislate an interest rate, a minimum deposit rate.
We will mop up excess liquidity being held by corporates and large holders of Z$ in the banking system by introducing and I am repeating here Mr. Speaker Sir, the open market operations corporate Bills with attractive features. There are additional regulatory measures to buttress this package of measures to ensure that the economic measures outlined above, certain regulatory changes will also be put into effect as a matter of urgency;
I want to turn back to the issue of penalties Mr. Speaker Sir. Our laws and enforcement regime are not as effective as they should when it comes to crime relating to foreign exchange and financial fraud. The current legal and institutional framework relating to curbing of trading in the parallel market is quite inadequate. Government will be reviewing all the laws and institutional frameworks in order to bring them into line with international best practice, more importantly to monitor the effectiveness of institutions tasked with implementing the laws. The statutes framework for legal foreign currency trading by which I mean penalties, will be enhanced to provide for a range of effective proportionate in order to be decisive in terms of this kind of behaviour, including more stringent criminal, civil and administrative penalties.
Let me now turn to mobile money platforms. While mobile money platforms have made a significant contribution to facilitating trade and payments in the country, they have also become an instrument which is being used by unscrupulous people, businesses to illegally trade foreign exchange and undermine the economic policy. The Reserve Bank is therefore currently reviewing all the regulations covering such platforms and in particular, it is intended to place a limit on daily bulk payer transactions.
On number two, we will ensure compliance with the 2% intermediated money transfer tax on bulk payers. What I have noticed is that we gave exemptions for bulk payers Mr. Speaker Sir, for social transfers, NGOs and so forth, things that are important for supporting the vulnerable in our society. There has been some non compliance for other bulk payers in paying the 2% money transfer tax and that has to be adhered to. This needs to be dealt with, we will enforce that.
Additionally, the daily returns being submitted by the mobile platforms to the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe need to be scrutinised very carefully by the Currency Stabilisation Task Force to ensure that all transactions are legitimate and are in accordance with the financial regulations that are in place.
Finally, I would like to state that as financial authorities of the country, it is our duty Mr. Speaker Sir, to understand a strong communications drive to explain all the measures we are introducing and their intended outcomes, otherwise misinformation from the social media begins to rule the day. I can assure you Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Members that Government is determined to show strong leadership as is being exemplified by our own President E. D. Mnangagwa. We work closely with all stakeholders to achieve exchange rate stability to reduce inflation so that by the end of the year we will put the necessary building blocks to achieve high rates of growth and poverty reduction and move closer towards achieving the goals of Vision 2030. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Hon. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the esteemed Minister of Finance and Economic Development for the Statement that he has just presented today which is a mere reproduction of the statement he read out this afternoon to members of the press.
Hon. Speaker, we predicted on the 13th February, 2020 that
Government was going to float the exchange rate but Mr. Speaker Sir, you can float the exchange rate or control the exchange rate as long as there is no productivity. As long as we are not generating sufficient exports to generate foreign currency which will in turn strengthen our local currency, it is a worst of time. The growth rate in 2019, according to the Minister’s own figures, were a disastrous minus 6.9%. Most bodies like the IMF, World Bank; the growth rate was minus 12%. In 2020 because of the unhappy rain season, productivity and growth rate will still be below at least minus 8%. So there is no productivity.
The second thing Hon. Speaker Sir, you cannot float the exchange rate if there is no free market of the exchange rate of foreign currency itself. As long as you have got export surrender requirements and as long as the Reserve Bank is capturing huge amounts of money that exporters are producing – in a few weeks time Hon. Speaker, the Tobacco Auction Floors are going to open. You know, I know and we know that the Reserve Bank is doing everything possible to capture the huge chunk of money that is going to be due to those tobacco farmers. So if you have got a restricted supply of foreign exchange, and an unfree market, you cannot expect a floated exchange rate to take place.
What is going to happen Hon. Speaker, is that the rate which today is trading at 1:40 is going to get to 1:100 very soon. Shortages are going to increase particularly shortages of fuel and electricity. We say to the Hon. Speaker, your move is going to hurt the poor because the poor including us Members of Parliament, our salaries have already been devalued to the extent that the rate is going to shoot up tomorrow from 1:40, 1:50 and to 1:60. Our pensions are also going to be devalued because pensions are expressed in ZIM dollars when everything else has not been indexed in US dollars.
Thirdly Mr. Speaker Sir, inflation is going to shoot up. As I am talking to you right now, the price of ten kilogramme of roller meal is now around $200, by the end of the week it will be around $400. So I urge the Hon. Speaker to take into account the fact that a currency is a function of two things. It is a relationship between your exports and your imports. As the current case right now, we have got a deficit in our current account, to every dollar of foreign currency that comes in as export earnings; four dollars are going out as imports. The equation is not balancing.
Again Hon. Speaker, a currency is a function of confidence. There is no confidence in my brother, the esteemed Minister of Finance and Economic Development. There is no confidence in the Reserve Bank and Dr. John Mangudya. This move could have a chance if you were going to shut the Reserve Bank and chase away Dr. Mangudya. You know him, I know him; it will not work. So I just want to say to my esteemed friend that; do the right thing, repeal 33/2019 and 142/2019, allow the two currencies to co-exist. Let the market settle on the exchange rate. Encourage productivity, eliminate export surrender requirements, budget deficits and the rogue printing of money by the Reserve Bank. Hon. Speaker, I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. CHIKWINYA: Allow me Mr. Speaker to share my
displeasure as has been shared before that the Hon. Minister should have availed himself during question and answer time. Anyway, I want to thank the Leader of the House for giving us this opportunity. Mr. Speaker, I want clarifications on the following, what is the Reuters system and how does it work? I am sure I am going to be having the burden of explaining to my constituents, therefore, I would want the Hon. Minister to be able to explain that.
The second issue is that in simplified terms, can the Hon. Minister explain to us what the current measures are with regards to the intermarket exchange rate? Does it mean that the exchange rate has been liberalised to the extent that the market forces are going to determine its value, in simple language?
Thirdly, the Hon. Minister speaks of time bound. He is saying these measures are going to be implemented in consideration of sometime bound, what is the time? Lastly, he speaks of the gold incentive facility which he is going to terminate. Did I hear him correct to the extent that he is envisaging a situation whereby the 55:45 retention scheme is going to be terminated? I just want clarity on that extent because there have been concerns that we are not remitting enough gold to Fidelity because the miners are finding displeasure in the 45:55 retention scheme. Therefore, they are surrendering their gold to the black market.
As I sit, may the Hon. Minister find time on a good day, perhaps not today, what is the value of declaring that Zimbabwe has a surplus cash of ZW$3 billion yet we have an abundance of shortages of basic commodities? On a good day, may he be able to tell us the rationale to declare a surplus of cash when our parents, relatives and us are queuing daily to access the same cash. May I take this opportunity as guided by the Leader of the House, as you answer me, this was not in your Ministerial Statement of course but we had raised concern that there is one of the principles of cash shortage? First, you have set a limit to $300 per week. Because of the new dynamics in the market, the $300 is now too low regarding the pricing regime out there. When are you going to review the same? Secondly, people are being given cash which is defaced, some which is torn and some which does not look nice in the hands of the banks or the business person. It does not look new, it is frail and old. Business is rejecting this money, banks are also rejecting this money but they would have given you the client. If I am given $300 for example and $150 is defaced, it means I am going to use in essence $150 and I am left with your papers which are useless to me. What is the Government policy with regards to banks accepting that money back or business accepting that money for the purposes of transaction? I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I have two points of clarity. The first one Mr. Speaker is the issue of termination of incentives. It is my thinking that the incentives were going to the gold buyers as opposed to the gold producers. Would this then mean that the monies that were incentivising the gold buyers as opposed to the producers will now be directed as an incentive to the producers? If it is so, if he can say it, it is my view that it is applaudable because the person that is producing, the hen that lays the golden egg is supposed to benefit.
The second issue Mr. Speaker Sir, I would still want to know what further measures have been put in place by the Monetary Policy to make sure that the only tradable commodity that brings us forex which is gold and other resources continue to thrive and continue to be produced in ubiquitous amounts as opposed to thwarting that industry completely by de-incentivising it. What measures are there in place further to the 55:45 percent? Are there measures that would up the scale in terms of exchange rate on the 45:55 that Government would have put in place in order that the artisanal and small scale miners and everybody that is in the gold production sector can see reason to increase the deliveries; aware that this is the only tradable commodity that can store value, that
is currently giving us what we have now, so that we use what we have to get what we want.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much
Mr. Speaker Sir. Mine is around what has been said around the exchange rate; just to understand what that means, I hear you are saying the Bureau De changes will operate five percent plus, what rate are we talking about? If I go on google now, the one that is shown is your Old
Mutual one and it is already on 50, which one are we talking about? Are we talking about the 18 as controlled by RBZ or are we talking about the real rate as indicated currently in terms of our market?
The second one is to do with the issues of social protection, given what has happened with the floating of the rate. For example, one of the things we were talking about this afternoon was the issue around examination fees. Is Government going to say, given the budget that has been increased, they are going to put certain resources directly to ensure that we are not increasing the burden to people. This floating rate will literally take off any money that people have as disposables in terms of their salaries.
The last one is to do with the cost of fuel. If we are going to be floating the exchange rate, what is happening in terms of the cost to fuel? Are we going to continue as Government giving a subsidy? For example, we know we are at $18.50 in terms of what you get at the pump but given where we are now, by tomorrow we will probably be at $40 in terms of the exchange rate. Is Government now saying they will subsidise fuel at $18 yet the real cost per litre is going to be $40. How is that going to operate? Thank you very much.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, it is the first time that I really do not know what to say but it is like I am in a bus. The economy of this country is like you are in a bus and it has no driver and you are just praying that it does not overturn. If it stops, you do not even know whether it is fuel, whether you are going to get there or not. You are just praying yet there is no driver. You are hoping that if it overturns, you will also survive and keep going. There is absolutely nothing to talk about this economy. We can come up with different terms, Havard...
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can you seek
HON. T. MLISWA: You know Mr. Speaker Sir, the economy is
like a river where it is flowing. Allow the water to flow. Allow it to dictate its direction. Do not try to divert the water because that diversion is not as powerful as the main river. At the end of the day, it will have a direction. What I am talking about is liberalisation. Clarity is sought, you have got the Monetary Policy Committee at Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. You have got the Currency Stabilization Task Force, how many of these are we going to have? We have got the Reserve Bank which is the monetary authority, so it oversees all these but we keep on setting up all these task forces and all that. To me, what is it that the
Monetary Policy Committee have done and failed? Why are we going to the Currency Stabilization Task Force again? You have got the issue of the interbank, Hon. Speaker Sir, the rate is at 40 and the interbank is at 18, there is no way any of us here can really say it has worked, it has not worked. I think what this does is it gives an opportunity to really say when I got into this office, I never thought things were this bad or things were like this – [HON. BITI: But they were better.]-
Now we have a situation where the rate is going up and there is no control. Statutory Instruments are the order of the day, every day there is a Statutory Instrument, it has never achieved anything and it creates panic. The moment you put these stabilisation task forces, there is panic already. You have a situation where the gold facility, let me say this, you have removed incentives. Why are you giving one Indian who is from Kenya, Pastor Paul incentives and not Zimbabweans? Who has instructed that? What is so special about an Indian from Kenya getting all incentives for gold? The gold buyers of this country are now being told to give him, who is in it Minister, who has done that? That answer I want to know. Are you the one who gave the only Indian that incentive where he is given foreign currency and yet you are expecting the local people in this country to buy gold using RTGs which is impossible?
So, to me this is where the problem is, there is a monopoly again in gold. We have a system of monopolies, we have a monopoly in gold and cartels all over. I would like to know on that. Why are you limiting people from getting their money from banks? We were told that there will be money in the banks, Mr. Speaker Sir, there is no money in the banks up to today. The queues are still there, we have liberalised people to go and get any amount they want from the cash point and we are not doing that. If you go to Nigeria, no matter how bad the rate is, when you go to the automated teller machine, you still get their Naira and if you go to Ghana you still get their currency but to us, there is still no cash but you are putting a limit – [AN HON. MEMBER: Aaa murume akoniwa uyu.] – Why are we then putting a limit when the cash is not there?
Finally, Mr. Speaker Sir, the tobacco farmers were supposed to get their 50% incentive but they never got their money. The production which we were talking about can only happen if we are incentivising our farmers. This Government is paying more for maize than giving their local farmers. They are prepared to pay RTGS400 or RTGS375 per tonne yet you are paying the farmers less than that. Which economy can produce when the farmers are being paid less yet we are prepared to pay more for GMOs yet our own farmers are not incentivised and we are not giving them what they are supposed to get.
So, how can we talk about production at the end of the day? Gold is the same again where the Indian, Pastor Paul is getting the foreign currency and the blacks are getting RTGs? Finally, there is absolutely no ways, I do not know where this is coming from, the Minister is somebody who when he came in everybody had hope, I do not know with the fellow colleague Ministers who are here even in Cabinet or ministries; are you getting what you are supposed to get? I then ask what is the point of Cabinet being there talking about monetary policy because the Cabinet is not even doing anything. There is nothing that we are getting, we are hopeless Mr. Speaker. We are hopeless as a people and as Members of Parliament. On our own salaries, you are the people who introduced interbank rates. Why are you not giving us our salaries at interbank rates? We have no issues with that but still you do not. For how long can people suffer like this and surely when is God going to come? We do not even know when he is going to come again. I thank you.
HON. WATSON: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I will be very brief.
Could the Minister please clarify why he is setting limits to the bulk payer of Ecocash for example? Export businesses whose foreign currency he relies on, use bulk payer to honour his need for cashless transfers of salaries and wages particularly to farm employees and rural employees who do not have access to bank accounts. What is the rationale? He talks every time about reducing inflation. I have asked him and the Reserve Bank Governor, inflation is supply and demand and foreign currency is in short supply, there is no doubt. Many things are in short supply. Until you can resolve that imbalance in all the situations of supply and demand, how do you actually expect to control inflation? I thank you.
*HON. MURAI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to understand from the Minister of Finance and Economic Development that, as people are suffering in this country and are at the stage that we have now reached that it is now uncontrollable; when do we expect him to resign because that is the only solution? I thank you.
HON. MUSHAYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Hon. Minister as a woman from Kuwadzana, there is the inter-market rate, there is DFI and there is free funds. Why not just bring back the dollar so that we understand what is it that we are dealing with?
Secondly, given the situation that is in this country particularly in terms of salaries for civil servants, what is it that you are going to do to make sure that after the interbank has hit inflation rate, you are going to increase their salaries and make sure they can just afford to live above the poverty datum line. Thank you.
HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my first question
Mr. Speaker, I heard the Hon. Minister saying the Monetary Policy Committee has done a sterling job and he introduced this Committee around September 2019. Five months down the line, he is getting another Committee, what sterling job have they done? They were meant to do stabilisation of the exchange rate and he is creating another Committee on top of a failed committee. On a serious note, what sterling job have they done, especially with regards to inflation? Let him say, in September inflation rate was this, in November it was this and in December 2019, it was this, to-date. I think it is very important so that he can then justify that NPC committee has done its job well.
Secondly, is there no conflict of roles? NPC is going to be a subset of the currency stabilisation committee. Why? Is there no conflict of roles there? The Minister is talking about free funds. Who has the free funds? Are they not the cartels who have the free funds? Can he explain where the free funds are and how much is in the free fund vote? On the issue of DFI, here is mono-currency and on the other side we are talking of free funds that are in forex. Is there no policy inconsistency there? We are saying let us expedite mono-currency and on the other side we are talking of free funds in forex.
Hon. Speaker Sir, the Minister is talking of interest rate of bond notes. Of course it is welcome, like you said where have you seen this.
He has been the Minister and has been presiding over this failure. What is the interest rate of zero? This is because you are putting an interest rate on a zero, so the answer is zero. Maybe he can clarify on the issue of putting an interest rate on a bond note which is failing. Surely, I thought it was going to give hope to say the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is giving a Ministerial Statement and he was going to review the maximum withdrawal of $300. He is saying nothing about that. I think he needs to give us a timeline on when he is going to review the maximum withdrawal. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker. My point
of order is that the Minister is brilliant but these are about ten questions. It is only proper no matter how brilliant he is, we also have a memory we would want to seek clarity. I think if he answers this bit, the rest can come in so that there is an impact. No matter how brilliant he is, we are not as brilliant as he is. Hon. Biti’s possed a plethora of questions.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: The Minister has informed me
that he wants all the questions – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. T. MLISWA: No, no. It is impossible because he has a memory. The reason I am saying this – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order please. May the
Hon. Minister respond to the questions?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir. I thank the Hon. Members for their questions. Let me start with questions and comments from Hon. Biti where he said that in the statement and in the measures I did not deal with the supply side or the productivity side. That was not the intention, actually. If I can explain …
HON. SARUWAKA: Point of order Mr. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. SARUWAKA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I have been trying to
reconcile what Hon. Mliswa said about the brilliance of the Minister. Can he please withdraw that because it is not really showing in the manner he is managing the portfolio – [Laughter.] – He cannot be a brilliant Minister with these results. Can Hon. Mliswa withdraw –
[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. T. MLISWA: I think Mr. Speaker Sir, I said no matter
how brilliant. The decision is yours whether he is brilliant or not.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you once again Mr. Speaker
Sir. Let me start with the questions and comments from Hon. Biti. He commented that I did not focus on production, perhaps supply side.
That was not even my intention. I had no intentions of doing that. What I did was, in the budget Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Member will recall that in the budget that I presented for 2020, we spent a lot of time talking about productivity, growth and job creation. That roadmap has already been set. What we are doing today is something different, which is to deal with the efficiency and effectiveness of the foreign exchange pricing system. It is very clear, directed and it is very narrow.
The second point is on the supply side and productivity side. He is well aware that this country has no shortage of foreign currency in terms of the quantum of supply. In 2018, our export proceeds were about $6.4 billion, in 2019 we had almost $7 billion, which is almost equal to the demand. So, the supply of forex is not the problem. The problem is the system that allocates prices in foreign currency and that is what we are fixing.
He made another comment regarding gross rate of -8% in 2020. Our projection is the gross rate in 2020 is a +3%. It is premised on a more accommodative fiscal policy and on a more accommodative policy regarding the supportive productive sector. It is also premised on a slightly better rainy season compared to last year. It is also premised on better energy supply, we have said all those issues have timed out. Who expected coronavirus? Who knows the exact impact? We will look into that but we are expecting a positive rate of growth. If you look at the projections from the IMF, they have a projection of 0.8%; not -8% as purported by the Hon. Member. The Hon. Member is projecting a rate of growth of 2.7% and we are projecting 3%. The AFDB is projecting above 4%. Those are the projections by experts in this business.
Coming to the comment that free market does not exist, we have got to surrender and so forth. I said the whole discussion here was about creating a freer market on the exchange rate. So I do not understand what the objection is when in fact we are doing exactly what he is commenting on. He tried to argue that indeed the parallel rate is causing inflation. We have already stated this and everyone knows this. Here is stating the obvious and that is the obvious that we are trying to deal with by stabilizing the exchange rate so that it does not feed into inflation.
HON. BITI: Hon. Speaker Sir, we ask that the Minister responds to the issues that are put to him, not the issues that he recreates and then answers himself. The point we made is very simple. The floating exchange rate or a liberalized exchange rate will not work if there is no productivity. Every figure, every statistic, the economic intelligence unit for instance, put our growth rate for 2020, to minus 13%. So, there is no productivity in Zimbabwe, how is it going to work. Number 2, the floating exchange rate will not work if the supply of foreign exchange is not free, the Reserve Bank is taking people’s money through export surrender requirement – it will not work. So, our basic point is that, do not disturb people’s money, just repeal 142, 33 and dollarize. Can you answer that question?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): l must say I have
understood the questions very well and I was dealing with them one by one. The comment that was also made was that there is a current account deficit; the implication is that perhaps we have failed to control this. I want to make it clear that we do not have a current account deficit. In fact, if you look at the IMF reports, they indicate that last year we had a current account surplus and I have explained this before this august House.
Let me then switch to the questions and comments by Hon. Chikwinya who wanted to know about the workings of the Reuters system; this of course, is very technical-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon.
Members those who are not satisfied with the Minister’s answers, there is going to be a second round. Can you allow the Minister to proceed?
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Let me go to the question by the Hon. Chikwinya about the technical workings of the Reuters system but first of all let me say I invite him to visit our authorities and see for himself how it works and ask all the questions. He is free to do that. However, it is a system that will allow banks to put in place bids in terms of the quantum demand of their foreign currency at whatever price and that is feasible to all. Those on the other side, who are suppliers of the forex, can then respond, then you have got that bid, you can see what price it is in terms of the bids and the offers. You can also see what quantum of forex is being demanded on both sides of the screen. I am just simplifying it but the Hon. Member is free to spend time with the Central Bank; you are allowed to do that, it is your Central Bank after
You asked about time bound and so forth; definitely in terms of phasing the USD payments for Government fees and so forth, we are looking at a period of 6 to 12 months to phase these payments into Zimbabwe dollars.
On the gold incentives which have been asked by several
Members, however, I think Hon. Chikwinya, you mixed up two things. One is the surrender requirement issue of 55 to 45 and then the gold incentive, those are two different things. On the gold incentive; this is an incentive which was mentioned by Hon. Mliswa to gold traders and not producers and this is what is being terminated for the reasons that were eloquently explained by Hon. Mliswa.
Hon. Chikwinya is very unhappy that I mentioned that we are in a positive cash balance for February; I mentioned this to let him know that we are not in deficits. We have left the era of deficits and these resources will be spent on our people, health, education and roads. We have created the strength and the muscle to spend responsibly on our social services and our citizens.
On the cash limits; I agree with him and I also agree with those who have raised issues around the cash limit, that should be reviewed and I will speak to the Reserve Bank to make sure that we can review so that our citizens can access a higher level of their cash to deal with the inflation challenges.
On defaced notes; again I have taken note to make sure that the Central Bank can assist with this. New notes can be used to replace the defaced notes.
I am going back to comments by Hon. Nduna on gold incentives that we are terminating this gold incentive as a support for the middle man, the traders. Will replace it with a more productive form of funding which is gold fund that can really support and capacitate producers. That will work well in this regard but also make sure that there is one trading system. This fund will also capacitate the gold centres which will be used for procuring this gold through Fidelity and we strengthen Fidelity Control System.
Those reference to the old Mutual rate by Hon. MisiharabwiMushonga; this is not an official rate, we are aware it is out there, it is a result of taking advantage of the frangibility of the stock and trying to compare what the prices, domestically compared to internationally in trying to then deduce an implied exchange rate for the Zimbabwe dollar from that. That is just an analyst job who analysis and then post that rate; it is not an official rate. I have often said that this rate really does not reflect reality on the ground and in fact it overstates the exchange
On social protection fees; she is right to point out on this issue that; remember we put a cap on these examination fees so they remain affordable and as Government we provide the resources to keep these fees affordable and subsidized especially for our rural folk.
On the floating rate, it is not just a floating rate but a managed rate to make sure that it does not run away unnecessarily, it does not over price the risk premium. The problem with a freely floating exchange rate is that it overprices the risk premium and therefore overstates the exchange rate as is the case right now.
Hon. Mliswa was clear about what he thinks, perhaps is the overlapping jurisdiction, the task force, the MPC RBZ, the issue here is to facilitate coordination on a specific issue which is currency stabilisation. That is why we created this board to coordinate the MPC/RBZ/PAC on this currency stabilisation. It is necessary; I can tell you that the few times we have met it has been very productive. This has worked very well. Then on the gold incentives, I will not say more. He has said it all and that is what we are correcting. On cash limits, I will not say more.
On tobacco, he said that the tobacco farmers have not received their United States dollar component of the payments, I thought they did. I will check on this, but also we want to make sure that since the season is coming the farmers get their fair share of their produce.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. This is what even Hon. Watson was saying that the tobacco farmers who are the small scale farmers have no bank accounts, so where was the foreign currency going to go to? It is not on ecocash, it is not anywhere. They were never given their money. We had preferred a situation where those who do not have bank accounts are given cash at the floors. I just thought I would enlighten you on that.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: On a point of order Mr.
Speaker Sir. Minister, I think you left out the issue around the fuel subsidy. What is going to happen given the fact that we are at 18? Are you going to continue with the subsidy or are they going to continue having changes around the cost of the fuel depending on where we are floating?
HON. M. NCUBE: Again, I want to thank Hon. Mliswa for clarifying that issue. It is my understanding that the tobacco farmers have bank accounts. They were assisted to open two bank accounts - one nostro account and the other domestic currency. So their respective payments could be made into those current accounts. If there are any farmers who do not have bank accounts, we must assist them to open bank accounts so that they can be banked rather than remain unbanked. It is not good that they remain unbanked. They should be netted into the financial system.
On the important question around fuel, I do not want to speculate as what will happen to the fuel price. You know what happens when you speculate, but all I can say is that we will endeavour to price fuel at the fair market price of fuel. That is all I can say without saying too much lest it starts running away and we complain about the inflation again.
Looking at the limits of bulk payers and so forth, we have to limit this so that we make sure that those who are making such payments do not end up playing in the parallel market or when they do then it has a huge impact on the parallel market. That is the reason that we are doing this, but also we want to make sure that those who were not exempted from the 2% intermediated money transfer tax should comply and pay the tax.
I think Hon. Murai – it is women’s month, so she opened very well
as a woman from Kuwadzana and we applaud – [Laughter] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Mr. Speaker Sir, it is Hon. Mushayi, a woman from Kuwadzana. I am pleased that she emphasised that it is a woman from Kuwadzana. It is after all a woman’s month, but the point she raised was that she said Minister, bring back the United States dollar. Let me explain. She already has an FCA account.
HON. MUSHAYI: I do not.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: If she does not, she is allowed to have an FCA account where she can keep United States dollars. She is also allowed to keep United States dollars under her pillow or anywhere. So in reality what we have is, we have the United States dollar being held by our citizens but we have said that in terms of transacting in the shops, convert those dollars into domestic currency and transact. Chii chakaipa ipapo? Hapana chakaipa apo – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Honourables, order
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: There is an Honourable Member who repeated the comments around the task force and I think I have responded to other Hon. Members that this is necessary for coordination and for us to focus on the specific issue of currency stabilization. I think that it is going to do a sterling job, Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you.
HON. MUSHAYI: Hon. Speaker, the Hon. Minister did not deal with the question that I asked about increasing salaries for civil servants.
It was not dealt with.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order please. Hon. Minister
there seems to be something that you left. Can you respond to that? *HON. MUTSEYAMI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you Mr. Speaker. The Hon. Minister left out an important issue on tobacco farmers. Most tobacco farmers come from the rural areas and they do not have FCA accounts and they also do not have access to mobile banking facilities. Minister, please listen so that you hear where the problem is. This issue concerns the welfare of those farmers in the rural areas. They are suffering.
When the small scale farmers engage in tobacco farming they are affected by the issue of mobile banking and foreign currency accounts. Your Ministry should give them 50% of their earnings through tobacco sales in United States dollars and the rest is given in bank notes but they are not being given this money. Instead they are given RTGS. When they go to buy things in shops they are then charged 30% after having worked so hard.
HON. T. ZHOU: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order please. You can go
*HON. T. ZHOU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I think the Hon. Speaker made a ruling that Hon. Members were not allowed to use their cell phones to record proceedings in the House during debates. Hon. Saruwaka was using his cell phone to record what was taking place in the House– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
*HON. KARENYI: What about Minister Mutodi who is recording proceedings using his cell phone? Right now, it is on the table and he is recording.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: To cut a long story short Hon. Minister,
my plea is that let us get rid of the suffering that the tobacco farmer is experiencing. The 50% that you are paying him as RTGS, the tobacco farmer is not getting value for money out of that because before he or she uses that money, he or she has a loss of 30%. You should correct that anomaly. Over and above that, you are giving him 50% United States dollars in the form of RTGS and you are using interbank rate which is at Government rate. The interbank rate when they buy from the shop is half of what he is realising on the streets. That should be redressed. He wants to pay for the chemicals that he paid at a higher premium and he also wants to pay the workers. You are not taking that into consideration as regards the tobacco farmer. You are seriously oppressing him/her. I thank you.
HON. MOLOKELA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I really feel sad as a citizen of this country because when we are discussing matters of the economy or finance, we are discussing issues that are affecting everyone in this country. What I have heard this afternoon so far is not addressing – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members there.
HON. MOLOKELA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I was saying, when we are talking about issues of finance and the economy, we are talking about everyday issues that affect everyone in this country including us as Hon. Members. So when we are discussing these issues, we must get serious and the level of lack of seriousness that I have seen this afternoon is really shocking. Do we discuss issues of finance out of a context of reality on the ground or not? What I want the Minister…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, what is your
HON. MOLOKELA: I wanted the Minister of Finance to explain why it is possible for people outside; if you go down the road 300 metres near Meikles Hotel, we have got fellow Zimbabweans who have got wads of cash. I wanted the Minister of Finance why it is possible, with the $300 bank limit that we have, to have those people on the ground? Why is it possible, where do they get that money from? If he is the Minister of Finance, why is he clueless on the source of the money because they are brand new notes? I have seen brand new notes from those people. I wanted the Minister to clarify that.
Secondly, the Minister of Finance should explain why it is possible for Zimbabweans to pay in US$ when all the rules and regulations and the salaries are in RTGS. Where do they expect an ordinary Member of Parliament like me to have money in US$, how do I get that money? As things stand right now, the only source of that money is on the parallel market. What I am worried about is, there is a gap between where the Minister of Finance is and where the people on the ground are. The only reason why the Minister is coming up with statutory instrument after another, task force after another is because he does not seem to understand what is happening on the ground. The only way forward for the Minister of Finance is to resign immediately – [HON. MEMBERS:
Hear, hear.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. TSVANGIRAYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, sometimes – I am actually very short right now…
Hon. Molokela having been speaking at the top of his voice
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Molokela, order please –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. TSVANGIRAYI: Mr. Speaker [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, order please [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Members, order please.
HON. TSVANGIRAYI: Mr. Speaker, thank you for the time you have given me. Hon. Members, I would like to point out that, remember how people are struggling. I am sure all of us have been to our Committee hearings and we have been around the country and seen how much people are suffering on the ground and they are expecting solutions from this House. However, this kind of behaviour is not going to get us anywhere [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. TSVANGIRAYI: Mr. Speaker, I am not here [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chief Whip, can you
remove Hon. Molokela from that side. Hon. Molokela, go that side.
HON. TSVANGIRAYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I believe the Speaker of the House said it once, please let us act honourably. I need to say a point here. Mr. Speaker, I did not come to Parliament for partisan business, I came here because there are serious issues in this country. I am hoping that maybe once I am speaking [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, order please.
HON. TSVANGIRAYI: Because the issues we are discussing are very serious Mr. Speaker [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member there, order
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. MATEWU: On a point of order. Mr. Speaker Sir, we expect that you show this House, you cannot sit there and leave them to make the noise [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Please act like a Chairperson; you are the Chair today, act like a Chair. You are the Speaker, you cannot leave – do not put your candidate business in here and leave them do what they want [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Sit down [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Members, order please [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. S. SITHOLE: Mr. Speaker, I want to make sure that these opposition people, when they are asking questions to the Minister, they must not ask questions whilst they are fighting. When they are behaving like that, we are going to give an order to say the Minister must not answer them. You are not the majority in this House. We are the majority as the ruling party. We cannot be treated by the opposition like this. The Minister cannot answer more questions from racists – people who are given questions by the Americans. I am appealing to you Mr.
Speaker to take your position and chuck them out - [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order please. Order! Hon.
Members order please. I asked the Chief Whips to assist me and they did so. Can we proceed?
HON. TSVANGIRAYI: Thank you for defending me Mr.
Speaker - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Right now, I
am sure ....
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, order please.
HON. TSVANGIRAYI: Right now Mr. Speaker, I am pretty sure
that the President is waiting for the report that the Minister will have from Parliament. I was saying I do not come to Parliament on issues of party agendas. I am here so that we fix the country - [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, order
please. Hon. Member, I will chuck you out. Order Hon. Members. Let him proceed please - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
Can you allow the Hon. Member to finish please?
HON. TSVANGIRAYI: I know that there are sensitivities when I come up and speak. I like to use analogies when I speak. When you look at the country right now, you will see that the President is the coach, the Minister here is our striker and the rest of us - [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Allow
him to finish.
HON. TSVANGIRAYI: The rest of us in here are just players.
The Ministers are playing the ball and they are passing it to the Minister.
We are all giving the Minister guidance...
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Zhou, I will chase
you out. Can you be orderly?
HON. TSVANGIRAYI: When the party leadership or Parliament
gives the Minister guidance, it is sort of giving him the ball to just score but then when he does not score, everyone else suffers because of that. I am shocked sometimes when the Minister comes in here and he pats himself on the back saying how good of a job he is doing but if you look at the situation in the country right now, I do not think we can say that a good job is being done.
Let us be honest with ourselves sometimes – people are waiting outside there for a response and guidance from us but we are going out there and just telling them lies. There is no fuel, there is no money at the banks - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your clarification?
HON. TSVANGIRAYI: Mr. Speaker, let me say it. The Minister is saying there is budget surplus but we are not seeing the essence of that budget surplus. I am hoping that when the Minister goes to the head of state and says President, this is what is going down in the country, he is telling the truth because right now we are not seeing that on the ground.
That is all I wanted to say. When we come here, let us speak the truth,
HON. TOGAREPI: On a point of order - [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Speaker, it has been said that the Hon.
Member has finished debating. The issues that we are discussing here should not resemble a rally. I just wanted to say that … – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
Hon. Tsunga having stood up to pose a question.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. KHUMALO): Order,
order Hon. Member, may you sit down. Let the Hon. Minister respond.
Hon. Minister may you respond please.
* HON. PROF. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank Hon. Mutseyami for his question where he said that there are tobacco farmers who do not have FCA Accounts. What we are going to do is to assist them in opening FCA Accounts so that we can deposit their money. He also said that we are paying others in RTGs and that there are conmen who are cheating them when purchasing goods.
HON. MBONDIAH: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir, with all due respect Hon. Chair, FCA accounts cannot be opened just like that – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - It is not easy to open an FCA account for someone who is coming from a rural area like
Chiendambuya or Zhombe to come and open an FCA account. There
are serious requirements that are needed. The Hon. Minister must take us seriously. We are not children Hon. Speaker. Thank you. – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. KHUMALO): Order,
order Hon. Members please! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Hon. Members order, order!
*HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Mr. Speaker Sir, if I may proceed. The Ruling party as Government will assist them in opening these accounts. As Government we have such authority to do so.
I will now switch to English in responding to the next question since it was asked in English. The review of the $300.00, we will certainly look into that – that has been overtaken by inflation and that is a very valid point. The same Hon. Member asked a question about where these free funds are coming from. Frankly, free funds are from everywhere and everyone. Frankly, we do not have to know where they are coming from. He mentioned that perhaps it could be from cartels – I do not know but what we want to do is to put in a policy that will allow for the use of free funds in specific areas such as fuel, grain imports and so forth because we did not think that it was important for us to know where these free funds are coming from.
However, if we suspect that these free funds are being sourced from illicit and money laundering activities, certainly we will act within the law and with the Financial Intelligence Unit whose job it is to help us act on these kind of cases.
Then there was a question from Hon. Member of Kuwadzana – I do not think that she is here. She asked me a question regarding civil servants salaries. I must say that we continue to support our civil servants on the issue of their perks and living standards and we have negotiated to increase their salaries by 140% so far. I have been before this House to say that we always stand ready to keep negotiating and cushioning our civil servants – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - In the last few weeks, the Public Service Commission, I must say, legally it is their duty to do so, have mentioned that they are going to introduce a scheme that is going to support civil servants by making sure that they can now borrow going forward at affordable interest rates and not the sort of interest rates that loan sharks are charging. All that will go a long way in cushioning our civil servants. I thank you.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND
TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA), the
House adjourned at Three Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.