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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 16 AUGUST 2022 VOL 48 NO 67

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 16th August, 2022

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

TABLING OF REPORTS

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Section 12 (2) of the Audit Office Act, Chapter 22:18 provides that where the Minister or appropriate Minister fails to lay any report before the National Assembly in terms of subsection (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. 

I therefore lay before the Table the following reports by the Auditor-General for the Financial year ended December 31, 2021 on State Owned Enterprises and Parastatals and Finance year ended 31 December, 2021 on Appropriation Accounts Finance and Revenue Statements and Fund Accounts.

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that I have received Non-adverse Reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the following Bills and Statutory Instruments:-

National Security Council Bill [H. B. 2, 2021], Private Voluntary Organisation Bill [H. B. 10A, 2022] and Statutory Instruments Numbers 118, 118A, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132 and 133 which were published in the Gazette during the month of July 2022.

PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM MR. DANIEL MUSEKIWA AND MS. ALICE KUVEYA

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that on 28 July 2022 Parliament received a petition from Mr. Daniel Musekiwa requesting Parliament to protect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of youths with disabilities and ensure that youths with disabilities in Gweru receive agricultural land so that they can be self reliant.  The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development.

I also have to inform the House that on 25th July, 2022 Parliament received a petition from Ms. Alice Kuveya of Zengeza 5, Chitungwiza requesting Parliament to respond to its obligation to protect the Constitution by ensuring that it does not proceed to enact into law the Private Voluntary Organisation Amendment Bill based on the flawed process.  The petitioners have not met the requirements stipulated in the Standing Orders and the petition was deemed inadmissible.  The petitioners have since been informed accordingly.

LAUNCH OF THE TB CAUCUS

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that in preparation for the launch of the TB Caucus the Zimbabwe TB Caucus invites all interested Members to join the Caucus by registering their names with the secretariat.  Registration will take place from 14:30 hours to 16:00 hours in the Members dining hall for the next two weeks on sitting days.

*HON. TESESHE:  Thank you Madam Speaker. My point of privilege arises on the issue of accommodation for Members of Parliament.  We have been receiving calls from Members of Parliament who are being chased away from hotels - we are now sick and tired of this.  As Hon. Members, it is embarrassing for one to be turned away from one hotel to the next.  May there be an arrangement where people can be given sufficient funds to ensure that people are able to look after themselves?  In Uganda, Members are not provided accommodation but they are given sufficient funds for them to look for their own accommodation.

If Parliament cannot provide us with accommodation, we must be given funds to look for accommodation.  It is embarrassing moving from one hotel to the other as Members of Parliament.  For the four years I have been a Member of Parliament, this has been the most embarrassing year for me for failing to secure accommodation.  In Uganda, they are allocated 10 000 for accommodation and fuel and they are given their salaries so that they take care of themselves.  I thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Tekeshe, we have heard what you have said, it is demeaning indeed for an Hon. Member of Parliament to be turned away from a hotel where they will be expecting to get accommodation and where they are supposed to be respected as Hon. Members, and moving from one hotel to the other does not give them a good image.  I have taken note of that.

HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.

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

HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, I want to remind Hon. Tekeshe that he is one of the Hon. Members who sits in the Standing Rules and Orders Committee where the welfare of Members of Parliament is discussed. I am a bit disturbed that he is bringing this issue up, we have brought these issues several times, and they are the ones who represent us; we have given up and we have lost hope. You are part of it, the Speaker chairs it, the Government Chief Whip is here and the Minister of Finance is not to be blamed because you have never reported back to us that in your deliberations as the Standing Orders Committee, you are failing to do this because of the Minister of Finance.  Leave the Minister out. You must negotiate for us, we are struggling because of you, let us not find a scapegoat.  The Hon. Speaker chairs this Committee, we would like to know the state of our welfare.  We discussed these issues with the Minister of Finance the last time, I was there and we brought issues that Members of Parliament would rather have money to pay for their mortgages and those who want to stay in hotels must stay in hotels.  That decision was brought before you and you never took it up.  I do not know where the Minister of Finance comes in, we are just not well represented, that is the truth of the matter.  Hon. Tekeshe, with that venom, deal with those issues kudare guru ramunogara, you think makagara mushe saka hamuna basa nesu. That is the truth of the matter, we are tired over these issues. 

You have a better welfare, you have better cars and we do not get what we want. You are upgraded in terms of the cars you have, we have asked for a joint Caucus with the Government Chief Whip for our welfare and nobody listened to us.  So may God bless you, may the ancestors of this country bless you for not looking after those whom you must look after, I thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. T. Mliswa, your concerns have been noted. Please do not lose hope.

*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  This issue that is being discussed is a good one; if we take the South African example, you will observe that Government has built houses that are utilised by all Members of Parliament.  In South Africa, Parliament is in Cape Town and the Government buildings are in Pretoria.  Whenever they go to Parliament they go to Cape Town.  Upon arrival they have houses where they live, they do not use hotels, they have apartments, the houses do not belong to individual members but they are allocated to members for use during their term.  Namibia and Botswana is the same; instead of Hon. Members standing up daily raising points of order and saying they are not being looked after and being chased away from hotels; why not take the example of other countries?  They do not live in the same place for security reasons.  They are in different places for security reasons so that when there is an emergency, all Members of Parliament are not dead. 

Let us learn the good that other Parliaments are doing.  South Africa has accepted homosexuality and we cannot accept it but we take the good practices that they do.  The issue of the welfare of their Members of Parliament, we would want our Members of Parliament to have houses constructed and this will save us money, they are given money for their upkeep. The other option is to give them money so that they meet their own expenses. The hotels are very expensive; Members consume meals that are more than their salaries.  It is painful that for the four days that members live in a hotel the expenses are not even equivalent to their salaries.  Members of Parliament must be given the money in the form of salaries.  It is an easy issue, we are almost at the end of our term, we should get to a stage that those who are coming back will have houses constructed for them and the Minister of Finance will not have any headaches because each and every Member will have their own apartment.  This is what is happening in South Africa.

The houses that they have, some would not even want to get out of these houses and they will refuse to vacate because the houses are state of the arts apartments that are being constructed for Members of Parliament and they belong to Government.  The same applies to the Ministers; not a single Minister lives in his or her own house during the term of Parliament.  This is done so that Ministers can enjoy the same standard of living.  I am happy that the Minister of Finance is here.  I thank you. 

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Chinotimba.  Your concerns have been taken note of.  It is the same argument that has been put forward by several other Members.  The august House is going to look into this issue to see how best the plight of Members of Parliament can be improved in terms of accommodation. 

          HON. BITI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. Can the esteemed Minister of Finance who is listening present a paper to the House on those welfare issues?  Thank you.  

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TOGAREPI:  I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 1 on today’s Order Paper.

          HON. TEKESHE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.  

MOTION

FINANCE BILL: BUDGET DEBATE

          First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion that leave be granted to bring in a Finance Bill.

          HON. DR. NYASHANU: Thank you Madam Speaker. 

1.           INTRODUCTION 

 

1.1 Finance and Economic Development Hon. Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, on Thursday 28 July 2022 presented the Mid-Term Budget and Economic Review Statement to Parliament. The Mid-Year Budget Review Statement was meant to highlight details on economic developments during the first half of the year, progress on implementation of the 2022 National Budget and also to make proposals for realignment of macro-economic and fiscal policies to the National Development Strategy. Guided by indications of current performance and projected economic statistics, Parliament can consider proposals for necessary fiscal policy interventions to realign the policy thrust towards the broader macro-economic objectives and poverty alleviation.   

1.2 The statement comes amidst a cocktail of interventions that the monetary and fiscal authorities have enacted over the past couple of months, with a view to maintaining macro-economic stability. The economy is grappling with inflationary pressures, exchange rate fluctuations, erratic supply of key enablers such as electricity and water, deficiencies in delivery of social and other public services and slow implementation of value addition initiatives. The 2022 National Budget came at a time when the country is battling to contain the negative ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, which have extended beyond the direct health consequences, but has had negative social and economic impacts, thereby posing a big threat to decades of hard-won development. The Mid-Term Review is therefore timely as it presents an opportunity to the Minister to update citizens on the state of the economy, implementation of the monetary and fiscal policies and ultimately progress in the attainment on National Development Strategy1 objectives. 

1.3 The Minister of Finance and Economic Development requested additional spending of ZWL929.3 billion on top of the initial 2022 approved budget of ZWL968.3 billion, thus taking the new proposed budget for the 2022 fiscal year to ZWL1.9 trillion. The supplementary budget was unavoidable given the ravaging effects on inflation which stood at 256.94% year on year as of July 2022 .On a month on month basis, inflation declined from 30.7% to 25.6% in July 2022. The Zim dollar has thus depreciated sharply from the time of tabling the budget on 25 November 2022 to the time of reviewing the budget and requesting a supplementary budget on 28 July 2022.    The budget had therefore depreciated from the real figure of US$9.16 billion to US$2.33 billion ((US$1:105.67 at 26 November 2022 and US$1:  ZWL$416.29 as at 28 July 2022).  

2. COMPLIANCE TO LEGISLATION  

2.1 The legal requirements underpinning the preparation and presentation of this statement to the august House are provided for in Section 7 (2) (a) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) which requires the Minister responsible for Finance to “provide full and transparent accounts, from time to time and not less than annually to Parliament, indicating the current and projected State of the Economy, the Public Resources of Zimbabwe and the Fiscal Policy of the Government.”

3. COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS  

3.1 Credibility of projections  

3.1.1   The Committee observed that there have been subsequent developments after the presentation of the Budget in November 2021, both on the global and domestic front which have created enormous challenges for the economy. These include the Russia/Ukraine conflict whose spill-overs are being felt through fuel, food and fertilizer price increases and shortages globally. Locally, there was poor rainfall distribution in both space and time across the country after incessant rains in January were followed by prolonged dry spell in the first week of February to end of March. This led to failed crop establishment forcing most farmers to replant several times. Rampant market indiscipline, particularly on the parallel market also led to the depreciation of the local currency and rapidly increasing inflation. In response to some of these challenges, on the 7th of May 2022, His Excellency the President announced a cocktail of measures to restore confidence, preserve value and restore macro-economic stability.  

3.1.2 Depreciation of the local currency and the inflationary environment experienced during the first half of the year resulted in both revenues and expenditures performing above the original targets. The Committee is however not satisfied with the reliability of Ministry of Finance projections. The underlying assumptions on which the projections were based was wrong and as such, headline inflation steadily accelerated from 60.7% in January to 191.6% in June 2022 and has climbed to peak at 256.9% as of July 2022. The 2022 budget had projected annual inflation, recorded at 54.5% in October 2021 to decline and close at between 52-58%. The revised estimates therefore are above the original estimates by close to 100%  as indicated below:  

2022 original

Actual(June 30)

2022 revised

% change

Revenue incl grants

850.77 

506.6 

1740.0 

104.5% 

Expenditure

968.27 

534.5 

1897.53 

95.97% 

The supplementary budget is therefore 96% of the original budget. The Committee therefore calls upon the Macro-economic Working Group (MWG) comprising Ministry of Finance, RBZ and ZimStat to up their game in terms of improving on their forecasting. 

3.1.3 The growth rate of the economy has been revised downwards from 5.5% to 4.6 % on account of reduced output from the 2021/22 agricultural season, compounded by continued depreciation of the local currency and rising inflation. The Committee is concerned with the credibility of this projection given the fact that the 7.8% growth registered in 2021 was largely driven by agriculture which grew by 33.6%. In 2022, agriculture is expected to contract by 5% and this should be reflected in the overall growth rate as agriculture contributes significantly to the overall growth.  The economy also grapples with inflationary pressures, reduced aggregate demand and forex challenges 

3.1.4 The Committee noted that the statement failed to acknowledge that the surge in annual inflation is attributed to speculative pricing arising from forward pricing practice and adverse inflation expectations and continued arbitrage in the economy following the depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar against major currencies in the parallel market. The auction system has not addressed price indexing to parallel market. Credibility issues also creep in as economic agents recall the assurances they were given in the 2020 budget that monthly inflation was expected to fall to single digit figures from the first quarter of 2020 to close the year around 2% on the back of commitment by the Central Bank to fight inflation through implementing an active reserve money targeting programme (Paragraph 51 of the 2020 Budget Statement). 

3.1.5 The Committee has observed that inflation is now attributable to broad money expansion rather than reserve money. The 365% annual growth in broad money as at May 2022 was largely driven by increases of 316.9% and 286% in credit to the private sector and net claims on Government, respectively. Reserve money stock had increased to from ZWL$15.89 on the week ending 25 June 2021 to ZWL$33.6 billion as at 30 June, 2022, largely due to growth in statutory reserves. The Committee therefore welcomes the recent hike in the bank policy rate from 80% to 200% which is meant to curtail speculative demand for credit in the economy, which has been the main driver of broad money expansion.  

3.2 Budget disbursements – The Committee is concerned with what has selective disbursements to some MDAs while some perennially are underfunded as indicated on fig 1 below:  

 

Fig 1: Uneven disbursements, 2020 and 2021 

Source : MOFED

The Committee notes that although deviations from the approved budget sometimes can be unavoidable as they may result from inflation, however, uneven pattern in terms of MDA disbursements is a cause for concern.  This points to movement of resources across votes. The Committee calls upon Treasury not to move approved budgets per vote across the different votes without parliamentary approval. The Committee is also concerned with the uneven supplementary budgets wherein some votes got more than 100%  of the original budget while some like Parliament  got as little as 19% as indicated on Annex 1 

3.3 Tax Free Threshold- The Committee noted that Government is proposing to adjust the tax-free threshold from Z$25 000 to Z$50 000 and widening of the tax bands to end at Z$1 million where a marginal tax rate of 40% will apply with effect from August 1, 2022. The tax-free threshold on US dollar income has remained at US$100. There is therefore a disconnect in the tax bands for US Dollars and Zimbabwean Dollars given the volatile exchange rate. The Committee calls upon the Ministry to review these tax bands (ZW$) every quarter in line with inflation trends, exchange rate or Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) movements. It is important to note that government revenues increase significantly with advances in inflation, enough to exceed revenue targets. It is therefore prudent that government undertakes frequent adjustments in order to reduce the effects of bracket creep and a higher tax burden on workers. At current levels of prices, the Committee proposes a tax-free threshold of Z$100 000 in order to alleviate poverty of the Zimbabwean workers whose majority are now below the TCPL now estimated at Z$140 874 as of July 2022. 

3.4 Agriculture support-The Committee commends the Minister for proposing to set aside a Supplementary Budget amount ZWL$21.5 billion meant to unlock early delivery of the inputs to vulnerable households in preparation for the forthcoming farming season. This comes after the sector was affected by the uneven rainfall distribution, bottlenecks in inputs distribution and high cost of inputs, among other challenges. As a result, the agriculture sector is now projected to contract by -5%, from the initially projected expansion of 5.1%. The Committee calls upon the Ministry to urgently release the US$ 20 million SDR funds earmarked for development of irrigation schemes. The Committee noted that from the targeted US$145 million draw-down from the SDR during 2022, no amount has been drawn to date and this amount is now targeted to be drawn-down during the second half of the year. Realising that Zimbabwe needs at least two million MT of maize for both human consumption and animal feeds, Government should aim at irrigating at least 100 000 ha, channelling more resources to investments in irrigation development and rehabilitation as well as water harvesting and conservation (dam and canal construction) is the way forward in the face of unpredictable weather patterns.  

3.5 Mining Royalties-The Committee commends the Minister for taking a bold move to ensure that the mining sector pays its fair share in taxes. The Committee noted that the sector contributed about 1.2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in direct taxes to the fiscus in 2021, a significant contrast to countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) which averaged 2% during the same period. This is coming amid reports of firming global mineral prices on the international market. Mining royalties contributed 2.65% of the revenue realised from January to June 2022. The Minister therefore proposed that the royalty rate on platinum, which was reduced from 10 % in 2015 to 2.5 % in conformity with a court judgement be revised upwards to 5%, which is in line with other platinum producing countries in Africa. The royalty rate of 5% will also apply on lithium with effect from 1 January 2023. The Committee also takes this opportunity to call upon stakeholders to fast track the amendment of the archaic 1963 Mines and Minerals Act in order to ensure that Zimbabwe benefits from its mineral resources. The colonial era, archaic piece of legislation was crafted in the context of repression of the black majority.

3.6 Agriculture mechanisation- The Committee is concerned that the MDFPRS remained mum on the several mechanization programmes which have been initiated by Government as quoted in the mainstream media in its bid to modernise the sector. The Committee understands that Zimbabwe is set to take delivery of 2300 tractors procured in 2021before the onset of the rains, after 700 have already been delivered.  The Committee also understands that Government is working on three new facilities for agriculture mechanisation. These will add on to the Belarus Phase 1, Belarus Phase 2, the John Deere Facility and the Bain/BancABC mechanisation facilities. Although these programmes are being administered through banks who on-lend equipment to farmers on an end-user-pay basis over tenure periods ranging from two to five years, the Committee is interested to know whether Government acts as a guarantor to the facilities. This comes after Government in 2015 disbursed farming equipment under Phase I of the More Food Africa International Programme valued at US$38.7 million which benefited A1 and communal irrigation schemes throughout the country. Parliament has however not been appraised of the performance of these facilities including the Phase II of the Programme valued at US30 million which was earmarked for 2017. Despite these heavy investments in agriculture mechanization through the Reserve Bank Mechanisation Programme launched on 11 June 2007, the $98 million Brazil Facility under the More Food for Africa Programme whose first tranche worth $38,7million was launched in May 2015, and the Iran facility among other programmes and the recent Belarus facility, the country is yet to make significant strides in achieving food security because of reliance on rain-fed agriculture. Any likelihood of poor rainfall in most parts of the country due to climate change could therefore lead to food shortage. There is therefore need for the country to prioritise climate mitigation and adaptation measures through investments in irrigation infrastructure. 

3.7 Devolution-The Committee noted the general low utilisation of devolution funds, to which the Minister in the MDFPRS said it reflects the need to speed up the development of a regulatory framework and clearly defined structures, including capacitation of personnel responsible for management of the funds and implementation of the project. To date, ZWL$7.1 billion had been disbursed out of an allocation of ZWL$42.5 billion under the 2022 Devolution Budget.  The Committee notes that the Ministry of Local Government is still to expedite the Provincial Councils and Administrative Amendment Bill. The legal framework has a role to articulate, define and clarify the powers, functions, roles and relations among the various governance structures. Although the Constitution broadly lays the foundation for devolution, there is urgent need for an enabling Act for accountability purposes. In the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) on paragraph 728, page 181, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has also correctly noted the need for a legal instrument to ensure accountability for the devolved funds. The Committee also noted the increase in devolution budget from Z$42.5 billion to Z$52.5 billion, which represents 3% of the revised revenue projection of Z$1.74 trillion. The allocation to devolution should be Z$87billion  for the budget to be in compliance with  the constitutional provision in Section 301 wherein the allocation should not be  less than 5% of anticipated revenue. 

3.8 AfDB Facility-The Committee is concerned with the silence on the African Development Bank (AfDB)’s offer for support to clear Zimbabwe’s US13.5 billion debt and the African Emergency Food Production Facility which Zimbabwe is set to benefit. The statement did not give an official position regarding what the media and the AfDB quoted as an undertaking by the bank to help Zimbabwe push for clearance of its $13.5 billion debt

3.9 Anti-Money Laundering  efforts-The Committee wishes to congratulate Zimbabwe for its removal from the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) monitoring in March 2022 by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) following successful implementation of policies and measures on the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/ CFT/PF) Framework. The Committee calls upon Government to continue capacitating the Financial Intelligence Unit and ensure its independence so that it can perform its mandate effectively. 

3.10 Budget Transparency- The Committee noted with satisfaction and pride the improved ranking of the country in the 2021 International Budget Partnership (IBP) Report wherein Zimbabwe is now ranked third in Africa after South Africa and Benin, and 41 out of 120 countries globally. The country scored 59 out of 100 in the 2021 International Budget Partnership Open Budget Survey (OBS), up from 49 out of 100 in 2019. The ranking for public participation however declined to 19 out of 100, from 33 out of 100 in 2019. This implies that Government should do more in providing the public with opportunities to engage in the budget process. Zimbabwe can further improve its score by merely publishing online the reports that different institutions are generating for internal use. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should include in the Annual Economic and Fiscal Review Report detailed actual outcomes for expenditures, comparisons between borrowing estimates and actual outcomes and comparisons between planned nonfinancial outcomes and actual outcomes. The Ministry also needs to improve the comprehensiveness of the Citizens Budget and Mid-Year Review. 

3.11 Forex Generation and Gold Coins-The Committee noted with gratification the 33% growth in merchandise exports in the first half of 2022. The Committee is however concerned that despite Zimbabwe realizing US$3 516.5 million in the first half of 2022, from US$2 649.7 million in 2021, the country still grapples with inadequacy of forex due to the confidence deficit which has seen people shying away from formal banking channels. Remittances to the country improved significantly, with a positive impact on the current account balance although the statement did not provide any figures. To provide investors with alternative tools for storing value, government introduced gold coins in the market on the 25th of July 2022. While this is a noble idea, the Committee is concerned that the coins are being sold at an overvalued interbank rate given that the premium (Gap between official and parallel market rates) is now over 90%.  The Committee therefore urges Government to investigate and ascertain whether the huge demand in gold coins emanates from the genuine need to store value or is linked to the huge  arbitrage opportunities created by the exchange rates misalignment.  

3.12 Banking supervision - Related to the above, the Committee calls upon the RBZ to strengthen its monitoring mechanisms to curb nefarious activities in the banking sector which fuel the parallel market. Punitive measures must be put in place for individuals and institutions found on the wrong side of the law. Regular compliance checks should be preferred to abrupt policy announcements and reversals which cause havoc in the market and are a source of the current lack of confidence. 

3.13 Intermediated Money Transfer Tax-The Committee welcomes the review of the IMTT Tax-Free Threshold from ZW$1,000 to ZW$2,500 for individuals and for corporates from ZWL$1,320,000 to ZWL$3,300,000 on transactions with values exceeding ZWL$165 million. This move is meant to cushion low-income earners and high-volume businesses. The Committee however, recommends revision of the IMTT minimum threshold to Z$10 000, if the tax relief measure is to make a meaningful impact on the lives of the people.  

3.14 Update on Taxation on mobile phones- The Committee is concerned with the lack of an update on the implementation and performance of the taxation on mobile phones which was introduced in order to curb tax evasion on new cellular telephone handsets which attract a 25% customs duty (but can be easily concealed). The 2022 budget introduced a levy of US$50 which is to be collected prior to registration of new cellular handsets by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). The Committee recommends that the levy be scrapped to encourage use of ICTs and government can recoup this forgone tax from increased use of cellphones on airtime levy and IMTT. 

3.15 Outstanding tax recovery mechanism-The Committee welcomes the efforts to enhance tax compliance through a temporary closure of operations for business that owe ZIMRA. This is being proposed following the realization that as at 30 June 2022, ZIMRA was owed ZW$23.05 billion and efforts to recover the outstanding tax debts have been hindered by the diversion of funds from company accounts that can be garnished by ZIMRA to other accounts not linked to the business or the proprietor.

This move should however be counter-balanced with the need to support business growth and therefore should be the last resort after exhausting all the other available remedies.  

3.16 Withholding tax- The Committee noted the proposal to hike withholding tax from 10% to 30% of the value of imported commercial goods with effect from 1 August 2022 in order to push non-compliant cross border traders to get their tax clearance certificates on time. The increase of the tax in a situation where close to 75% of the economy is informal will lead to a blanket increase in prices of goods and services to cover for the amount withheld for non-compliant suppliers. The Committee is concerned that this increase comes against the background of ZIMRA consistently failing to issue tax clearance certificates on time to various businesses and running behind schedule in processing tax rebates. 

3.17 Designation of ZIMRA as the Interim Ports Authority-The Committee welcomes the designation of ZIMRA to be the interim border controller while efforts to establish a Ports Authority to manage affairs at the border posts are underway.  ZIMRA will then ensure that only registered agents work inside the border. ZIMRA has to urgently ensure coordination of all agents at ports of entry which was lacking, thus leading to delays in clearing traffic and travelers. The Committee, in its report on visits to border posts undertaken in June and July 2019, had noted that the police and ZNA at some border posts were duplicating efforts by repeating searches that could be undertaken together under one roof and enhance border efficiency. With this additional mandate, there is need for adequate funding of ZIMRA to allow for system upgrades and smooth execution of its duties. In that regard, ZIMRA must be allowed to retain a certain percentage of the revenue for its operations. This will allow for ZIMRA to be adequately equipped with the proper tools of trade such as computers, scanners, drones, surveillance cameras and vehicles.  The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority will, thus ensure orderly, efficient and reliable port services while at the same time providing seamless service to Government in revenue collection. Realising that there is a risk of ZIMRA being both a player and regulator, there is need to speed up the process of establishing the Ports Authority which was mooted more than a decade ago.  

3.18 Zero rating of bricks The Committee noted with appreciation the zero rating of bricks meant to stimulate construction and housing development. The Committee recommends that the brick making industry be reserved for locals with a view to empower youths, in particular to venture into the brick making industry. 

3.19 SDR Allocation- The Committee is concerned that despite the Ministry of Finance undertaking to consult Parliament before the utilisation of SDRs, reports indicate that Treasury has already withdrawn US$280 million from the facility on 7 October 2021 and on 9 December 2021, with most of the funds going to the rehabilitation of the Harare-Beitbridge Highway and the remainder being allocated to COVID-19 vaccination programmes. The Committee recalls the response given by the Leader of Government business in the National Assembly in response to a question by Hon. Mliswa on 18 May 2022, that no disbursements will be made without consultation with Parliament.  The Committee therefore calls upon the Minister of Finance to consult Parliament in the utilisation of the SDRs set aside as contingency reserves. The Committee also calls upon the Minister to include a report on the utilisation of SDRs so far in his MDFPRS. Moreover, the Committee calls upon the Auditor General to thoroughly audit the utilisation of the SDRs. 

RECOMMENDATIONS 

  1. Treasury should improve on the releases and predictability of resources to MDAs. There is need for equity in the distribution of resources by MDA and programme. Erratic releases impede on the ability of ministries to achieve what they set out to achieve in their strategic plans and as reflected in the blue book. Payment runs should be quickly honoured and Treasury should not authorize budget releases not linked to the cash availability. 
  2. Where possible, capital releases should be once off so as to preserve value for money and facilitate realization of economies of scale.
  3. Constituency Development Fund budget should be disbursed before year end.
  4. Mining royalties should be aligned to the regional averages, to ensure that Zimbabweans benefit from the finite mineral resources.
  5. Treasury should honour its promise to submit to Parliament within 2 weeks, a report on the utilisation of SDRs. The Committee further insists on obtaining disaggregated data on SDR utilization. It is therefore directed that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development brings to the House a detailed report with disaggregated data on progress made so far with regards to deployment of SDR resources.
  6. ZIMRA must be allowed to retain 3% of the net revenue collected for its operations beginning 2022 fiscal year. This will ensure that the authority is adequately capacitated to pursue revenue enhancement measures and plug revenue leakages.
  7. Government should speed up the setting of a permanent Ports Authority in the same manner that the Airports Company of Zimbabwe (Private) Limited (ACZ) was established. ACZ was formed through the Civil Aviation Amendment Act, 2018 (No.10 of 2018) mandated to acquire, establish, develop, maintain, manage, control and operate airports. The Committee hereby directs the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to establish a Border Posts Authority by September 2023. He should however submit a statement on progress in this House by end of November 2022.
  8. The IMTT minimum threshold should be increased to Z$10 000, for the tax relief measure to make a meaningful impact on disposable income and on the lives of the people.
  9. There is need to speed up enactment of a legal instrument to ensure accountability for the devolved funds. As such, the Provincial Councils and Administrative Amendment Bill which is expected to clearly define roles, responsibilities and parameters for the three tiers of government to avoid duplication of functions should be fast-tracked and brought to Parliament by March 2023.
  10. The overdue Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill should be promulgated into law. This will in turn usher in the necessary processes for the amendment of the Precious Stones, and Gold Trade Acts to facilitate growth of the mining industry and the nation as a whole. There is also need to effect the cadastre system and employing digital technology in the mining sector so that there is constant surveillance of mining operations through the country.
  11. The Committee hereby directs that the Minister of Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement bring to the House, a statement on the operationalization of the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC). This institution was launched in March 2021 but to date, no meaningful support through this bank is being offered to farmers. Formerly, Agricultural Finance Corporation, which in turn was a transformation of the Land Bank which had been established in 1925, the institution was transformed into an agricultural development bank in 2003, earmarked to provide finance to farmers in line with the government's land reorganization strategy. Despite this, a financing gap in the country’s agriculture sector still remains despite the sector being touted as bankable and creditworthy, according to research. Research has also recommended for adoption of collateral substitution lending approaches that have been used by successful agriculture finance institutions in other countries.

             CONCLUSION 

Regardless of the difficult macro-economic environment exacerbated by exogenous shocks related to geopolitical tensions, poor rainfall patterns, the COVID-19 pandemic as well as limited external support, the economy is exhibiting some positive sentiments and is on its way to recovery. The Committee recommends that Parliament approves the 2022 Supplementary budget subject to the proposed amendments by the Committee. 

ANNEX 1 

 Original Budget 

Expenditure to 30 June 

%  expenditure

Additional  Estimates

 2022

Revised

Budget 

 %

Increase 

Vote Appropriations 

 ZWL$ 

 ZWL$ 

%

 ZWL$ 

 ZWL$ 

 ZWL$ 

Office of the President and Cabinet 

32,391.20 

35,823.00 

110.59 

47,155.60 

79,765.00 

145.6%

Parliament of Zimbabwe

14,615.10 

4,877.90 

33.38 

2,800.70 

17,415.80 

19.2%

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare

19,477.30 

9,654.10 

49.57 

34,897.40 

54,374.80 

179.2%

Defence and War Veterans

61,553.30 

46,345.70 

75.29 

71,515.60 

133,068.90 

116.2%

Finance and Economic Development

64,573.60 

48,192.20 

74.63 

127,673.70 

176,617.50 

197.7%

Auditor General

3,014.10 

534.50 

17.73 

1,059.60 

4,073.70 

35.2%

Industry and Commerce

3,879.50 

1,768.70 

45.59 

1,662.50 

5,542.10 

42.9%

Lands, Agriculture,

Fisheries, Water and 

Rural Development

124,049.10 

98,997.30 

79.80 

100,672.00 

231,819.00 

81.2%

Mines and Mining Development

3,020.90 

1,725.20 

57.11 

1,582.50 

4,603.50 

52.4%

Environment, Tourism and

Hosipitality Industry

3,711.40 

1,711.70 

46.12 

3,624.60 

7,335.90 

97.7%

Transport and

Infrastructural development

60,802.50 

29,881.30 

49.14 

46,507.40 

107,309.90 

76.5%

Foreign             Affairs           and

International Trade 

14,877.30 

3,193.00 

21.46 

3,848.00 

18,725.30 

25.9%

Local Government and Public Works

24,315.30 

13,069.90 

53.75 

12,743.40 

37,058.70 

52.4%

Health and Child Care

117,714.20 

31,819.10 

27.03 

62,210.50 

179,294.50 

52.8%

Primary and Secondary Education

124,070.00 

54,808.80 

44.18 

103,924.50 

228,994.50 

83.8%

Higher & Tertiary

Education, Innovation,

Science and Technology

Development

35,774.20 

16,144.10 

45.13 

35,036.10 

70,810.40 

97.9%

Women Affairs, Community,

Small and Medium

Enterprises Development

4,734.50 

2,374.10 

50.14 

3,139.00 

7,873.50 

66.3%

Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage

49,417.60 

32,159.20 

65.08 

61,077.10 

115,493.70 

123.6%

Justice, Legal and

Parliamentary Affairs

22,705.10 

11,118.70 

48.97 

18,187.10 

40,892.20 

80.1%

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services

2,652.70 

738.90 

27.85 

1,012.80 

3,665.50 

38.2%

Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation

7,844.10 

3,689.90 

47.04 

3,788.60 

11,632.60 

48.3%

Energy and Power Development

3,553.90 

2,823.70 

79.45 

2,369.70 

8,183.60 

66.7%

Information

Communication

Technology and

Courier Services

3,294.60 

1,274.90 

38.70 

4,793.70 

8,088.20 

145.5%

National Housing and Social Amenities

10,061.50 

2,392.60 

23.78 

6,894.70 

16,956.20 

68.5%

Judicial Service

Commission

5,445.80 

4,177.60 

76.71 

3,083.00 

8,583.60 

56.6%

Public Service Commission

22,572.10 

18,103.40 

80.20 

48,800.00 

71,552.10 

216.2%

National Council of Chiefs

671.00 

281.90 

42.01 

500.00 

1,171.00 

74.5%

Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission

403.90 

330.60 

81.85 

527.40 

931.30 

130.6%

National Peace and

Reconciliation Commission

441.30 

247.80 

56.15 

390.40 

831.70 

88.5%

National Prosecuting Authority

1,629.30 

938.10 

57.58 

1,518.30 

3,147.50 

93.2%

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission

913.70 

517.40 

56.63 

351.40 

1,265.10 

38.5%

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

11,632.80 

9,547.80 

82.08 

32,693.50 

44,326.30 

281.0%

Zimbabwe Gender Commission

497.60 

172.90 

34.75 

507.30 

1,004.90 

101.9%

Zimbabwe Land Commission

1,759.30 

1,175.80 

66.83 

4,688.40 

6,447.70 

266.5%

Zimbabwe Media Commission 

511.00 

181.10 

35.44 

238.20 

749.20 

46.6%

Sub-TOTAL

858,580.80 

490,792.90 

57.16 

851,474.70 

1,709,605.40 

          99.2%

CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY APPROPRIATIONS

Debt Service: Interest Bill

14,367.00 

3,487.40 

24.27 

3,000.00 

17,367.00 

20.9%

Pension

47,641.50 

31,572.70 

66.27 

62,628.90 

110,270.40 

131.5%

Transfer to Provincial

Councils  and

Local Authorities

42,539.00 

7,143.30 

16.79 

10,000.00 

52,539.00 

23.5%

Other Constitutional &

Statutory 

Appropriations

4,960.30 

1,510.20 

30.45 

2,149.80 

7,110.10 

43.3%

Total Expenditure& Net Lending

968,088.60 

534,506.50 

55.21 

929,253.40 

1,896,891.90 

          96.0%

I thank you.

          HON. DR. MUTODI: As a member of the Committee Madam Speaker Ma’am, I have realised that the Supplementary Budget viewed in conjunction with the volatile exchange rate, high inflation and increased interest rates, show that macro-economic factors affecting the economy were not accurately estimated. The Minister and his team did not do a proper job when they presented the Budget in the first place, putting forward figures which have turned out to be very little to cover the required payments that the economy is facing. This has seen us now reaching a trillion dollar budget. This has led to the erosion of savings, loss of confidence in the Zimbabwe dollar and extreme poverty among the generality of Zimbabweans.

The huge Supplementary Budget means that inflation, exchange rates and other macro-economic factors will continue to be on a sky rocketing trend and this is not desirable. The Minister is therefore encouraged to come up with robust ways of dealing with inflation. A proper plan for the estimation of the performance of  macro-economic factors in line with the foreseeable state of the nation. We know that the country is facing sanctions from the western capitals; we know that there is the Russian-Ukrainian conflict but this is not affecting Zimbabwe alone. South Africa, Botswana and Namibia are being affected but their economies are not screaming at the same rate as our economy is doing.

          We want to encourage the Minister to really come up with robust ways of addressing these issues as they are actually impacting on the livelihoods of ordinary Zimbabweans. I thank you.

          HON. BITI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  It is my privilege to join the debate on the Supplementary Budget that was brought in by the Minister of Finance on 27th July, 2022.  Madam Speaker, even though you are calling it supplementary budget, it cannot be a supplementary budget.  It is in fact a brand new budget.  A supplementary budget is an increase, 10%; 15%, you can call it a supplementary budget but when you have a 100% increase on the original budget, it cannot be a supplementary budget.  This is a brand new budget; a budget that is now raising expenditure by 100% to $1.9 trillion. 

In a country such as Zimbabwe, because we have been there before, in 2006, 2007 and 2008, once you begin to budget in trillions, you must know you have lost it.  You must know that you have now become an innocent by-stander to the economy.  You must know that you are no longer in charge of the economy.  Unfortunately, that is the predicament that my good friend, the Minister of Finance finds himself in.  The Minister of Finance brought a budget in November, 2021.  That budget was based on certain underlying assumptions that were made.  Those underlying assumptions were the following:

Number one, that we will have a predictable exchange rate.  Number two, that inflation will be stable. Number three, that we will have a decent rain season.  Number four, that there will be growth rate of at least 6%.  The concern is that the underlying assumptions made by the Minister were so far off the mark that hardly more than six months later, he has had to come to this august House to ask for a 100% increase in his budget.  So we question the legitimacy and credibility of all the processes that we are doing.  It is a waste of time that we are asked to sit here when the Minister is going to go and be off target by 100%.  This is the Minister who has cut his teeth on the mantra of surpluses.  So what it means is that before six months is out, this budget is already out by 100%. 

Bear in mind that we already have a Financial Adjustment Bill tabled in February, 2022 in respect of which the Minister is asking for condonation by this august House of over expenditure in 2019 and 2020 of $103 billion.  If you look at $103 billion for 2021 and for 2020, it actually means that he has been having a parallel budget that is more than the original budget.  The only thing that he has done in his favour this time around is, at least he has come to Parliament to ask for condonation.  Otherwise in the last years - 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, he has just been running parallel budgets and then seeking post condonation by Parliament through the Financial Adjustment Bill.

Our prayer now is that the Minister must respect Parliament.  The Minister must respect the Blue Book; the Minister must respect the Appropriation Bill that we pass as Parliament and live within his means, so that Parliament is not put to the embarrassment that it becomes a rubber stamp of excessive Government expenditure engineered by the Minister of Finance.

I come to the second point I have Madam Speaker.  What are the issues that are affecting our country at the present moment?  I will submit that there are seven key issues that are affecting this economy.  The first one is hyperinflation.  Inflation in Zimbabwe right now is the highest in the world.  Even with the reduced inflation of July, our inflation is still above 500% with month on month inflation more than 60%.  The definition of hyperinflation is when inflation exceeds 50% per month.  So we are back in a hyperinflationary mode but this is regrettable because less than 10 years ago, we had the second highest inflation in the history of mankind at 500 billion percent, only less than Hungary in 1956.  That is problem number one.

Problem number two; we have got the challenge of collapsed exchange rate. The parallel market rate is over 1: 800.  A few days ago it was 1:1200.  The third problem we have is disposable income.  Public servants are being paid paltry incomes which are not reflective of the reality out there.  The poverty datum line to survive in Zimbabwe, for a family of six you need at least US$800 per month, yet all of us including Members of Parliament, we are earning less than US$100 per month.  Most of us are earning 60 000 RTGs; 60 000 RTGs cannot buy you four loaves of bread; it cannot buy you four bottles of cooking fat.  It cannot buy you four bottles of mazowe. About 79% of our people are wallowing in poverty, surviving on less than US$1.20. 

The fourth thing is the collapse of the public service system.  Hospitals are closed, there are no drugs, there are no syringe machines, our people are dying of ordinary simple diseases.  Teachers have not been going to work for literally two years. 

Our next problem is the issue of public debt, the issue of arbitrage and that of corruption.  We are losing revenue of at least US1 billion a year in gold that is being smuggled out of Zimbabwe.  We are losing US$1 billion a year in respect of cigarettes that are being smuggled out of Zimbabwe.  We are now an economy run by speculators.  We are now an economy run by cartels; a few individuals that are controlling this economy and that are forcing this economy to overheat. These are the issues that we expected the Minister to address in his budget.  Regrettably, he does not address these issues, the issue of the exchange rate needed to be fixed and sorted out as a matter of urgency.  How do you sort the exchange rate - you sort the exchange rate by allowing the multiple currency regime to operate, which he has done but secondly, you allow the Zimbabwean dollar to float.  Remove the controls on the Zimbabwean dollar and let the market find a normal stability point in the market. 

I was in Kenya a few days ago, they have floated the Kenyan shilling.  The average exchange rate is 1: 6000.  Everyone knows that the Kenyan shilling trades at 1: 6000.  If you go into a Kenyan bank, they will ask you - do you want Ugandan shillings, Kenyan shillings, Tanzanian shilling, Euros or bond?  The Minister must float the Zimbabwean dollar so that there is currency stability in this country.  When you do that, when there is predictability and certainty, then you can budget.  The 2022 Budget was predicated on inflation of 35% but inflation right now is 600% yet the Minister knew this.  It was foreseeable because the black market was there but we also know that the biggest generator of inflation in Zimbabwe is actually the Government itself.

It is the Government that has been paying billions and trillions of dollars to contractors, particularly the contractors that are doing the Beitbridge – Harare Road.  Those contractors are being paid in Zimbabwean dollars and once they get their payments in Zimbabwean dollars, they push it on to Fourth Street.  When they put it on to Fourth Street, the Zimbabwean dollar collapses.  So an expansionary fiscal policy; an ambitious fiscal policy has created money in Zimbabwe.  On his own admission, broad money grew by 345% by May, 2022.  That means the printing machines are in overdrive Madam Speaker Ma’am, you create a crisis of over accumulation.  What is a crisis of over accumulation?  A crisis of over accumulation is when you have got too much paper money chasing too few goods. 

We go back to 2008, where all of us were trillionaires.  The last time the Reserve Bank Governor printed our own currency, it was a $100.000 trillion, which could not buy you two bottles of soda.  We now have our highest denominated note being a $100 note which cannot buy you a loaf of bread.  That is failure Madam Speaker Ma’am.  It cannot buy you chewing gum and that is failure.  The Government must stop printing money through an expansionary fiscal policy.  The Government must live within its means and eat what it kills.  It cannot kill a rat and spend money like it has killed an elephant.  That is the basis of the instability arresting this economy. 

Madam Speaker Ma’am, I come to the projection.  The Minister estimates that this economy will grow by 4.2%.  He says that this is a reduction from the 7.3% growth rate of 2021.  We know that the growth rate in 2021 was predicated by a strong agricultural season.  Agriculture contributed 36% to the growth rate of 2021, which was 7.3%.  In his own Budget Statement, he asserts that agriculture is going to shrink by

-5%.  So, if your anchor or mainstay of the economy has shrunk by -5%, where are you going to get the growth rate of 4.3%.  In our submission Madam Speaker Ma’am, the growth rate of 4.3% is not realistic.  It is not supported by any visible growth in the economy other than mining and must be reduced further. 

          One of the reasons why the Minister must reduce the growth rate further is that he has surrendered his authority and wisdom to the Reserve Bank, to number 80 Samora Machel Avenue, to John Panonetsa Mangudya.  Unfortunately for the Minister, Mangudya is going to lead him into total darkness.  This is what John Mangudya has done.  He has raised the rate of interest to 200%.  Madam Speaker, if you have a country such as Zimbabwe, which is prone to depressions because there is no output – I want to go back to the figures of 2020.  Our economy grew by -11.7% in 2020.  This is confirmed in the IMF’s Article IV Report of April, 2020.  The Minister himself in his letter that was leaked that he wrote to the IMF in April, 2020 actually estimated himself that the growth rate of 2020 will be -20%.  We know that it was -11.7% in 2020 and 7.3% in 2021. 

If you look from 2014 to 2021, the economy has been on a downward spiral.  In fact, if you trace the history of our economy from 1960 to now, the economy has been in permanent recession mode.  If you raise rates of interest, you are discouraging economic activity in the market.  You are preventing companies from borrowing because companies depend on working capital from the banking sector.  You are preventing financial intermediation and high rates of interest also do not make sense because we have got an in duplum rule, which says that when interest capitalises and reaches 1%, it stops accumulating.  A rate of 200% does not make sense both economically and legally.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, what high rate of interest does is that it starves the economy of oxygen and it causes the economy to go into recession or depression mode.  This is exactly what is happening right now.  There is a collapse in aggregate demand, economic activity and in buoyancy. 

You heard Hon. Members of Parliament saying they are being chased away from hotels, they have no money so the economy is shrinking.  It is strange Madam Speaker that in an economy which should be allowed to breath by the injection of money, the Government and its Central Bank is doing everything to squeeze the little economy that is there.  I want to say to my learned friend because he is very educated, much more educated than me that in a country such as Zimbabwe where less than 15% of the population is banked and where those that are banked are very minimum, there is over ZWL10 billion in the banking system owned by less than 12 companies such as Delta, Econet, Sakunda, Tagwirei, their cousins and so forth.  12 companies own the bulk of the money.  Where the country is under banked, your source of intervention cannot be monetary policy because Monetary Policy does not touch anyone.  We do not have money in Dotito, Chiendambuya, Tsholotsho and Nkayi, so the interventions that make sense must be supply side interventions not monetary interventions.  He has listened to John Mangudya, he is starving the economy of oxygen and he is making sure that the economy is now permanently stuck in default mode and depression mode.

I want to come to another thing Madam Speaker Ma’am which is the debt question.  Zimbabwe is struggling with a debt overhang.  Our debt overhang, the Minister puts the figures at US$14 billion.  We beg to differ.  We think that a sovereign debt of Zimbabwe is over US$30 billion.  We think that the Minister is under estimating and under stating the debt we owe to the African Import and Export Bank, the Republic of China and various private loans that we know the Government has contracted.  The problem with the debt question is that we do not see any plan by the Minister, yet the debt question is putting a premium on our development.  There are huge amounts of money that are at the African Development Bank.  President Adesina who was in this country has got over $40 billion on his high fives, agriculture, roads, water for poor countries such as Zimbabwe.  The World Bank has got over $75 billion for poor countries such as Zimbabwe.  We cannot access those monies because we have arrears which we need to clear – [HON. MEMBERS:  Sanctions.] – It is not sanctions.  We have got US$2 billion that we owe to the World Bank – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – We have got US$500 million that we owe to the African Development Bank.  We have got US$5 billion … [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections] – Hauna pekurara ipapa.  

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order please!  Order Hon. Members!

HON. BITI:  Madam Speaker, we owe US$5 billion to the Paris Club of Lenders.  Our point to the Minister of Finance is that please come up with a debt plan.  At least Chinamasa had his Lima Plan, which may have failed …

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Biti, you are left with five minutes.

HON. BITI:  In conclusion, I urge the Minister of Finance to do the following things: 

  1. To have a credible macro-economic framework,
  2. To come up with a solution to sort out the exchange rate. In my opinion, please float the Zimbabwean dollar.
  3. Live within your means. Pursue fiscal prudence, pay civil servants including teachers and Members of Parliament in United States dollars, please fund agriculture adequately, please fund the social services adequately and deal with corruption and cartels. I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I just want to debate a little bit on the supplementary budget request by the Hon. Minister of Finance.  I have proposals as opposed to issues.

Madam Speaker, we have the Boeing 777s that are sitting at Air Zimbabwe which I think we spent US$65 million.  The Boeing 777s  are in the first or second generation of aircrafts.  The ERJ 145 which is a 55 seater aircraft can do wonders and it costs just less than US$5 million.  My point exactly is that if we continue to keep the Boeing 777s, they are only required by people who operate in air spaces that have conflicts which operators do not care if those aircrafts are brought down by missiles or otherwise.  Those people are there and they are looking for those aircrafts.  It is my thinking that if we continue to have them grounded as they are, they will continue to have parts that are replenished or replaced, irrespective of whether they are flying or not.  This is the danger that you have in aircraft or in the aviation sector.  So that is my first point.  Let us generate income using what we have to get what we want.

The second issue where we can generate revenue Madam Speaker, is the issue of the Ports Authority that has been eloquently, elaborately, effectively and efficiently put across by the Committee’s recommendation.  There is need Madam Speaker, to quickly and expeditiously computerise the Ports Authority.  The issue of ZIMRA, we have seen it in the previous archaic, moribund and antiquated way of collecting revenue at the tollgates and at the time, they were getting 10%.  It does not separate the regulator and the operator.

(v)HON. NDEBELE:  On a point of order Madam Speaker

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

(v) HON. NDEBELE:  Madam Speaker, could you kindly request IT to look into the issue of audio.  We can hardly hear Hon. Nduna.  That was the same thing that happened to the last part of Hon. Biti’s presentation, please.

HON. NDUNA:  Madam Speaker, the issue that I want to touch on is to both computerise the Ports Authority and I am happy that the report by the Budget Committee stipulates and directs the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to expeditiously man and computerise the Ports Authority in that the issue of vehicular transport and human traffic, if it continues to be amalgamated, we continue to have a log-jam and we continue to unnecessarily incur costs, especially if you delay those heavy trucks loaded with commodities that are supposed to go into the market.  A good example is if a 30 tonne fuel truck is delayed by 48 hours at the border post, the resultant effect when the truck lands to offload the commodity, the sugar, assuming it is sugar, is going to land at 4c more than it left the border post because of the delay of 48 hours and the same happens to fuel, 45c more.  So we could definitely save revenue by expeditiously making sure that there is a free flow of traffic - I mean a flow that is computerised.

I therefore also call upon the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to synergise on the systems to expeditiously have mobility of transport systems, and this issue is called Zimbabwe Integrated Transport Management System (ZIMTIS).  It actually integrates CVR, VID, ZINARA and RMT.  It integrates all the transport systems including the Vehicle Theft Squad (VTS) so that when police at the road block actually torches the licence plate of that vehicle it can give you a history and a plethora of issues including the amount of speed on a public service vehicle that the driver has been having one tollgate after the other.

We can utilise the infrastructure that we have in order for revenue generation and also reduce crime.  So besides the Ports Authority, there is need to have ZIMTIS established not any time more than today expeditiously so that we can make sure that we reduce revenue leakages, plug revenue shortages and all that using computerisation.

Thirdly Madam Speaker, the issue of the Mines and Minerals Act that has been spoken about by the Budget Committee, how we are losing revenue through that moribund and antiquated piece of legislation of 1951, is because there is no mention of the small scale miners in that piece of legislation whereas the small scale miners are expected by year end to produce 100 tonnes of gold in order to contribute $12 billion to the mines minerals economy by year 2023.  So looking forward, we will continue to have supplementary budgetary requests because there is illicit outflows of our mineral wealth. 

I call upon the Minister, as the gold finger, to expeditiously allow or request the Minister of Mines to bring to this House the antiquated piece of legislation so that we can shred and include the small scale miners, artisanal miners and we continue to contribute to the fiscus in a regulated manner.  Currently, they are using claims that are held for speculative purposes by large scale miners, whereas they are not observed and they are actually not given their right using the piece of legislation that is called the Mines and Minerals Act.

          Madam Speaker, the Minister of Finance has done very well in the transitional monetary stabilisation money policy – [HON. MEMBERS: Ahhhh.] – chiregerai kundikorekita ndikorekitiwe naMinister varipano.] – the TSP Madam Speaker, he has done very well.  I ask that the 2% that is charged on the transactions should not be charged to pensioners.  The money that they are receiving is quite a pittance and it is my hope and view that he is going to see reason not to charge the pensioners that 2% so that they get their money in a wholesome figure. 

          It is my hope that the current land redistribution exercise should not direct its effort to land ownership which is what is currently happening. People own vast lands and there is no utilisation. The current land redistribution should focus on land utilisation as opposed to ownership.  Currently, people go to their lands for weekend escapades and they are not utilising it.  When they die, that is the time that you get to see that there is vast land that has not been utilised because they want to be buried on those farms.

          Madam Speaker, I ask that the current land redistribution exercise, especially for the youths, should concentrate on the youths as a group and give them land both for subsistence and commercial purposes.  I am going to request, in my constituency, we have 10 000 young people aged between 18 and 22 and I request that the 500 hectares that have been earmarked for land redistribution does not go to individuals but to that group of youths and they get to use their minds in order for revenue generation, commercial purpose to partner, offshore financiers and make sure that we contribute and augment the fiscal benefits into the central revenue fund so that the Minister of Finance can holistically have monies coming from our youths, ubiquitous amounts of  land and copious amounts of water bodies.   In my constituency, there is John Binya, Masterpice, Backsley, Mupfure River, Mupfure Dam, Pool Dam, Cliffton, Suri Suri River and Suri Suri Dam, there is more than eight water bodies and we can utilise them using this financial modus operandi of utilising the land as opposed to just owning it.  I thank you Madam Speaker and I hope that these submissions which are positive proposals can do a lot of wonders for the nation and for the Minister of Finance.  I thank you.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I just want to contribute on the report on the Mid-Term Budget Economic Review.  The Chairman put it correctly in saying that there were cocktails of interventions for the improvement of social and public services.  The moment you use the word ‘cocktail’, it means that the original drink is not sweet, so you need to add something until you gain some taste.  So indeed, the interventions have been plenty. You are talking about the 929 billion which is required which takes us to nearly two trillion and we have to look at what we have also passed before, whether it has been disbursed or not.

          That is really important for Committees to report that the various ministries where you have oversight over, did they get money?  The last time we debated, 30% had been disbursed and not 100%.  So, why do we need a supplementary budget when you have not disbursed the first lot?  I do not know - ko sei muchida mari yakawanda iyo yekutanga yamakatenderwa musina kupihwa? I am failing to understand the logic of Hon. Members in wanting to support this supplementary.  Again, you are encouraging non-performance on passing budgets here.  It is a shame on you that you are not paying attention to detail in terms of that.  It exposes us because if there is anything, we should be asking the Hon. Minister what happened to the budget that we passed.  Did the money reach its intended purposes as allocated as per Votes?  If it did, then supplementary comes in. 

What is the definition of supplementary? Mothers you are here, supplementary milk means mukaka unonwiwa kana wamai usikukwana, munoshandisa wepowder, mwana akamwa here zvakakwana kuti muzoda wepowder       I am totally against this House constantly endorsing or rubber stamping issues which do not make sense. 

My question here is; why are you pushing for a supplementary when the budget allocated to different ministries was not disbursed?  The Portfolio Committees - what are their reports saying and what are they doing?  So clearly, there is an exposé of a Parliament which meets once in a while to endorse or rubber stamp things which are illegal.  The Public Finance Management Act itself is pretty clear that quarterly or monthly, there must be reports coming into Portfolio Committees. Once again, you are repeating the same mistake of not following the Public Finance Management Act and continuously we sit here and blame the Minister of Finance and yet we hold the keys to everything.  To me, it again exposes us as Parliament at the end of the day, even our own money that we are supposed to get; did we get the money?  You are crying foul that the hotels are not accepting you.   Shame on you but you passed the budget.  What have you done to just deal with your own issues?  You are busy talking about other people’s issues when your house is not clean.  Clean your house first and then go to the next house because it is embarrassing as Members of Parliament who passed the budget that you are saying hotels have not been paid for.   So when you were passing the budget, did you not factor that in?  At any point, did we as Parliament come in and say we have been allocated all our money and there is some money which has not come through, we need it so that we pay bills?  You make your bed and you lie on it, that is what English proverbs say - you make your bed as parliamentarians and you are laying on it. 

Let us not come here to rubber stamp issues from your caucuses just to pass things.  We are fed up of parliamentarians who make noise the last minute when you are going towards your end of term because you are now thinking of your suffering. When you came in here, who told you that there was cherry in this place -  there is no cherry in this place; I hope the nation understands that being a Member of Parliament is the route for being poor at the end of the day.  The people who were Members of Parliament during Rhodesian time were farmers who came with their land cruisers, park them here, got into 504s when doing Parliament business and during weekends, they go back in their land cruisers.  Now, because you are poorer, whichever witchdoctor told you that you will be appointed a Minister when you come into Parliament wronged you.  I think you must stop going to these witchdoctors who are lying to you because serving people requires you to be capacitated.  We now need that, not only intellectual but from a resource point of view and so forth.  So, it is really disappointing that the Caucuses that you have do not talk about your welfare and all that and you have got Chief Whips who should be looking into that.  

Going back to this point Madam Speaker, you have a situation where the Hon. Minister here talked about a surplus, what has happened to the surplus?  Many times we were told about the surplus, I did not see the Finance and Budget Committee talking about the surplus.  Where did it go?  You have the opportunity to invite the Minister to say Minister, we are short of money can you kick-in the surplus.  Why do we not follow up on things which are said here?  Where did the surplus go?  The report talks about SDRs, SDRs you are now spending money on roads rehabilitation yet the whole point was to have local contractors paying the local currency, SDR is not local currency, it is USD.  Now you are using USD to pay the local people yet we were pushing business for the local people to make money. 

Madam Speaker, the agreements were 50% would be USD and 50% would be ZIM dollar.  I go back to Government, being the chief culprit of inflation, you have contracted foreigners to come and work here, Chinese are not earning yern, they are earning ZIM dollar.  Madam Speaker, they go and burn that ZIM dollar to turn it to USD, they have no interest of investing here, they send it back to China.  All these dams which have been built have come as a result of cost where inflation has gone up, when inflation goes up, it haunts the innocent person.  The innocent person is the one who has suffered.  Look at the contractors who have been contracted.  How many are foreign and how many are local?  Let us look at the local ones, have they done well, have they not done well but the local ones end up falling on the wayside because they are trying to be very straight forward in their approach and they lose business because if you clearly run a business in this country using ZIM dollar, you will go broke.  If you want to use ZIM dollar for your health care, you die.  Foreign companies given the ZIM dollar, they burn it, they take out the local contractors and they are on their own.  So the USD is in fact working at the end of the day because they have got the financial muscle, they are not paying for any equipment because they are well resourced. 

What the Chinese have done for example in this country, is just coming with equipment.  I have never heard of anybody who has been loaned money by the Chinese.  I have never had of Government being given money by the Chinese but they are given equipment. Is the equipment money, is Zimbabwe looking for equipment? No, we are looking for money!  The last time the former President Mugabe was around when Ambassador Mutsvangwa was Ambassador to China, there was a rumour that we were given USD1 billion.  Did it come?  It did not come, it ended up ZANU PF nearly losing the controversial elections in 2008.  Where was the billion dollars-friend who does not give you cash? If our partners are China, why are we short of cash?  They are putting you in a Parliamentary building where you do not have money, to do what?  You want to be taken photos in that Parliamentary building when your children are starving, when we are not dealing with the local issues.  You need to go back to basics. 

Madam Speaker, there is the aspect of domestic resource mobilisation.  Zimbabwe is endowed with resources.  What happened to domestic resource mobilisation?   Where is the accountability of the resources in this country?  We are talking about 12-billion dollar economy in terms of mining, we are talking about small scale in terms of the minerals but the small scale farmers, while I agree with Hon. Nduna but they are a disaster in terms of environmental degradation.  The country is worn out, the farmers cannot look after cattle. The only wealth that an African man has is cattle.  Your cattle are your wealth and it is your moving bank.  But now, with all these portholes allover in the rural areas, we are now even losing our heritage and culture.  So where is the money going to come from for rehabilitating of all these holes which have been left which are killing our animals today? 

Madam Speaker, we are poorer by the day and to me it is important that we are able to look at the foreign direct investment.  The late S. B. Moyo came with a list of the foreign direct investments of countries and companies which said they were going to invest in Zimbabwe. Let us talk, how many of them have invested?  An agreement is not an investment.  How much money has come to the country from the foreign direct investment?   Not only that, we foolishly, stupidly abandoned the Indigenisation Act to appease foreigners.  The 10% for the local community is no longer there, the 10% for the worker went away, the 31% for the sovereign country went and now we are poorer.  We reversed a law because of the Finance Bill saying that no, they were not happy with that.  One thing that you cannot take away from the late President Mugabe – I was talking to my friend today was clarity, it is either black or white.   Inconsistency of Government policy, one minute the President whether advised or not, has got the Minister of Finance on the left and on the right he has got the Governor of the Reserve Bank speaking about the monetary policy.  Within a week, it is changing.  So, who advised the President on that?  Where are the technocrats?  Now we have a situation where there are saboteurs who seem to be in Government.  The Ruling Party must stop pointing people to be saboteurs when it is housing saboteurs within the Government offices and within the party.  Take a good look at yourself.  Who looked bad?  It was the President.  What did you do as Parliamentarians to bring people to talk about that statement, you did nothing.  So the enemy is within, the enemy has never been outside.  The enemy outside is well-known, is easy, he does not run away. 

We have got saboteurs who are bent on exposing the President by coming up with the wrong policy and then within a week, it changes.  What is that called, it is inconsistency.  No one invests in a country where there is inconsistency.  The Look East Policy by the Former President Mugabe was very clear, everybody understood it.  Those who wanted to come were invited to come and those who did not want to come did not come.   Then the reengagement started by the Americans, the Second Republic must not lie and say that they are engaging and reengaging.  The First Republic had the Americans and the British starting to work with us because there was consistency.  Madam Speaker, it is important to be consistent.  It is equally important and well appreciated to be consistently wrong.  You are wrong but you are consistently wrong, it is better not to try to be right yet you are making many wrongs.  We have a situation where you are not even consistently wrong.  We are always inconsistently wrong.  To me it is important that consistency of policy create confidence of the people, confidence in the currency, no one has confidence in the currency anymore because of inconsistencies which happen. 

When a President issues a statement, he is the number one citizen, he is the last person to speak at the end of the day and everybody holds onto that.  It is important that we look at the aspect of agriculture.  Farmers right now are holding onto their maize because of the price metrics, importation you are paying USD280, your local farmer you are paying USD90 plus RTGs which probably is worth 120 dollars per tonne.  We have seen local farmers holding on to their maize, why are we not prepared to give our farmers money yet we are prepared to pay the foreign farmers.  There seems to be people who are bent on seeing farmers not doing well, not sustaining themselves because they are making commissions from the deals of maize. Pane macuts avanowana macommision, saka zvirinani akasabhadhara murimi akashungurudzika asamire futi, voramba vachiimporter. You cannot suffocate a country because of corruption, that is what is happening. You go to the aspect of farms and sales, the title deeds. There has got to be tenure in terms of farms and 99 year leases, and offer letters are not required. The Minister of Finance is a banker and there is no offer letter which can be withdrawn. However, once you leave ZANU PF and take the farms, not only that, they kick you out of the party and they take the farm. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -

          So which bank will do that? I am an example of somebody who left ZANU PF and they came and invaded my farm. Fortunately, the former President said you have kicked him out of ZANU PF, so allow him to have his farm. The Vice President then, E. D. Mnangagwa sent Ziyambi Ziyambi who was the Chairman to go and remove the people in 24 hours. I am an example and so no one should argue. You pay land with politics. When you leave ZANU PF, which banker will give money when you know that you are a politically polarized country? When you leave the party you also want to go for the family, dogs and everything. We must know when politics talks and when the economy of the country is important.

I also want to talk about the issue of rainfall. Everybody knew that we were facing drought – where was the cloud seeding? We all were told about cloud seeding and we are crying that there was a drought. How can we have drought when cloud seeding is there? I am glad that the Deputy Minister of Environment, Hon. Rwodzi is here. You were not in the Ministry then – why did you not cloud seed? You told everybody we are cloud seeding and you went to Scotland for climate change. You come here and you are prepared to see a drought yet you have the mechanism of cloud seeding. Do not tell us things that you are not going to do because you get us excited about cloud seeding. Where did we see any cloud seeing? There was no cloud seeding. So to me, if you do not adapt to the current climatic conditions in the world, it becomes very difficult to sustain the economy. The portfolio needs to look into that. 

          On the platinum, when things were bad with COVID, the platinum classes went up. Are we not a platinum country and being a platinum country, the price of platinum went up; the price of resources went up and the price of gold went up. We are sitting with a gold refinery. There are other miners in this country who are taking gold to Dubai to get it refined yet we have a refiner. They are taking this gold corrupting our own leaders. The leaders are prepared to give them the million dollars yet we were losing US$100 million. So where are we going as a country, endowed with the resources which are there when we are busy selling resources?

          The Chinese are here and you can talk about Manhize. Manhize is going to attract USD20 billion per year in exports but what is in it for us – nothing and for that you have given the Chinese to build the Parliament, the airport on a project which is USD20 billion. The furnaces which are coming for Manhize are as long as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Two thousand hectares of industry and 50 000 jobs, the contractors there are not Zimbabwean contractors but they are Chinese contractors who are busy abusing our people again. Where are we going?

          A mine is opened in Bikita and the President goes there, they do not feel shy, our children are being abused and people are crying. You cannot talk about your good economy if the labour practice in the country is archaic, punitive, and abusive by other foreigners. God, where is Mbuya Nehanda to protect us from such things? Now, we are looking for spiritual help because men have failed us. What else can people do except to look up to God and our ancestors? That is where we leave it to.

          I want to conclude by saying that there must be legal instruments that protect our people. The chairman of the Committee said that you create all these nice names like AFC, Agribank and yet there is no money to give to the farmers. So why are they being paid to be in those institutions? The only good thing I want to talk about which people did not realise and I am going to share with you, is that the economy is going to stabilize not because of any architectural work but the coins have come in and the role of the coins is to mop up the ZWD.

          The Minister of Finance will smile because it will mop up the ZWD and the Government has decided not to pay ZWD to the contractors. So ultimately the good news is that while Hon. Biti and many of us talked about dollarization, it has come but Government will not announce it. You shall be paid in USD because Government is no longer paying contractors in ZWD. So I would like to commend the Minister of Finance for following what Hon. Biti and others like myself used to say that dollarize; you have come with it behind the scenes and Hon. Minister, I can tell you that the economy is going to stabilize because of that. Keep on doing the gold coins – we are not asking how much gold is in it because you are buying from us. That is for another day but they are going to mop up the entire ZWD. Thank you for bringing that strategy and I think in a way, God did talk to you about using gold in hedging our currency. Thank you.

          HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me an opportunity to add my voice to this Mid-Term Budget Review.  I want to comment the Minister for coming up with the Mid-Term Review and in general, the budget is welcome. Nevertheless, I have a few issues that I want to bring to the attention of the Hon. Minister that need to be seriously looked at. The first point that I would like the attention of the Hon. Minister is the issue of banks having the bulk of their income on non-interest income. I think we have a problem and I thought the Minister was going to look at incentives as to how the economy can bank money.

          People are not just banking money in this country and even the money that goes into banks currently is largely from Government payments, other contractors or salaries to civil service and no one out there in the informal sector is taking the money into the bank. How do we intend to incentivize the economy to the bank so that at least banks earn most of their income for interest instead of bank charges? I think the community or the nation is over-burdened by banks where you put your money into the bank like USD100, and if you go back in three months time, you owe the bank more money. So people have no incentive to take even RTGs or USD, the banks are really blood-sucking the population.

          The other issue Hon. Mliswa laboured on this point and I will just touch it in passing – the impact of local and foreign investment. I thought the review was going to dwell on this at length because we have been expecting anxiety that at least the Diaspora policy would mop up some funds that are currently coming through the informal systems into the investment sector such that those funds are available for investment. I do not believe that this country is really starved of money but I believe what we are starved of are the right incentives for this money to go into the right sectors such that investment is promoted.

          Thirdly, I was a bit disappointed Madam Speaker Ma’am, that four years down the line, the Hon. Minister is still talking about diligence on parastatals. Parastatals are blood sucking and they are such a drain to the economy but up to now, we do not have results. We are not seeing parastatals being privatised. We are not seeing action in that area. We are still doing due diligence even for departments like the Zimbabwe Traffic Safety Council. What are we really looking for? We need to be more serious in that area.

          On the issue of ERRP, yes we appreciate what is happening on the Beitbridge to Chirundu corridor but take a moment to pause and think about other parts of the country, what has been the impact of ERRP? Not very much, it is not visible. We need to spread the cake to the larger parts of the country instead of just concentrating on a few areas. Everybody expects to benefit like what the President says that no one and no place should be left behind in development.

          I come from Matabeleland South Province which is the poorest in the country but if you look at the devolution allocation or the formula that is used to allocate devolution funds, you find that Matabeleland gets very little in terms of devolution. The formula should be the other way round. Look at who is better and bring everyone up to the same level. The formula that is being used does not take into account that in Matabeleland South, that education infrastructure is dilapidated. It does not take into account that Matabeleland South does not have ICT, it does not take into account that there are no roads in Matabeleland South and it does not take into account that Matabeleland South is in want of irrigation. All those things can only come through devolution funds because the money for Rural District Councils is just not there. The population is very sparse and they contribute very little towards rates. There is need for a review there.

          The digital economy is doing very well in the other provinces but in the dry and mountainous parts of the country, it is still a pie in the sky. When you are talking of digital economy, people wonder what we are really talking about because they cannot access basic communication services. They cannot access internet, transactions and ordinary messages. The basic communication is not available. These are things that are very nice to talk about in the budget but it is a pie in the sky because we do not have network.

          Well done Hon. Minister for exempting clay bricks from paying VAT because it will give incentives to the construction industry but perhaps you could have considered reducing the VAT on cement products as well and not just the clay. We applaud you for that.

          On the issue of sports facilities, we saw you on television the other day when you were watching cricket in Bulawayo and you remarked that you were going to give rebates to companies that invest in sports facilities but I did not see this emphasised in the Mid-Term Budget. I wonder whether it is coming in 2023. If you look at countries like Botswana and Malawi, how they performed in the last Commonwealth Games, Zimbabwe is nowhere near that standard. We are not investing in infrastructure for sports, whether it is at schools or youth centres. Our stadiums are dilapidated. Why not create incentives for diaspora companies to invest in sports infrastructure? I thought this should be considered maybe in the next budget.

          There is need to offer incentives to regularise the informal sector. The informal sector has spread virtually to all sectors of the economy and there is no motivation for anyone who is in the informal sector to formalise. We need to regulate the informal sector. I have seen it in the illicit financial flows when we were looking at the gold sectors for example. Most of the gold in this country is being smuggled. Fidelity will lie to you Hon. Minister to say they are buying gold. They are buying maybe 10% of the gold. The rest of the gold is being purchased by individuals and smuggled out of the country. We need to create such incentives that Fidelity is empowered to be able to buy gold and pay prices which are comparable if not better than those that are paid by private buyers.

          Transfer pricing is another issue, particularly in the mining sector which you should seriously consider. What measures are we putting in place to ensure that transfer pricing is reduced? The Budget Committee did welcome the issue of royalties on mining because the country will benefit from what we have. I want to echo the point that was raised by Hon. Mliswa about local contractors and local material - too much investment by big companies on equipment, labour and materials, what are we doing to incentivise or even to make sure that on tenders, those who use local resources get better opportunities to get Government contracts?

          With those considerations, I hope Hon. Minister, you will relook at some of the issues that we have raised. I rest my case and I thank you.

          *HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for allowing me to add my voice on the Budget that was presented by the Minister of Finance. Firstly, I want to thank the Minister that he has seen it necessary that the Budget be supplemented. If the way we talk and debate here in Parliament is the way we govern our country, we would be much developed. We need not point fingers at each other. When such things are implemented, we begin to point fingers at each other, accusing one another of what should have been done. Where are we when the Minister is planning and crafting the budget? It is because we are divided. Some are across the Zambezi River and some are on the other side. Why can we not work as a united force and not look at the issue of who is in power? We should not be partisan when it comes to governance issues. We should not look at who is governing but consider the nation of Zimbabwe first. 

          I want to add that everything that is done is because of what has been put on the table. I remember in 2009 when Hon. Biti was the Minister of Finance; he used to say ‘let us eat what we kill’. Today we want to feast on an elephant and yet we only caught a mouse. Have we looked at the amount of money that is available for the Supplementary Budget?  As I proceed, I am saying that the country is ours as Africans and if that country is ours as Africans, I do not see the reason why those on my left cannot go and see the Minister of Finance and assist him with ideas so that we sift and see the way forward.  We can go and present our suggestions or recommendations to the Minister.  If we leave him to do everything and he brings it here, it is not for us to say the Minister failed.  Some of these things need to be considered.  We are building our nation and a country is built by its own native people.

          On the issue of agriculture, Minister, I do not know globally how much interest rate is charged on the loans that will have been taken. If we look at Command Agriculture, the farmer is being charged an interest rate of 70%.  If we look in the SADC region, the prices of inputs are heavily subsidised, which means people should be able to make decisions using their mental capacities not their stammers.  What we request is that inputs must be subsidised.  For those in the rural areas, if they fail to buy fertiliser, it means there is no sustainability and there is poverty.  If a rural farmer cannot afford fertiliser because of the high interest rate, what we would have done is to engage in farming of poverty and hunger. 

          So I am suggesting that we should come up with measures, especially through your Ministry to put measures in place in terms of reduction of interest rates so that farmers can engage in productive farming.  I also want to urge the Minister that if inputs could be acquired around this time so that they are timely distributed and also those who do not have money can sell their domestic animals to buy the required inputs.  We are told inputs are there but are not yet ready for distribution.  We are going to wait until November, when it rains.  When distribution takes place, we are going to start asking what is the definition of order, and it is going to lead to disorder.  The result there is no order.

          People will be already in the farming season and no one will buy the livestock so that one can buy fertiliser.  My request is that fertiliser and other inputs are available during this period so that people get their inputs in time.

On the mining sector, it seems it is organised.  The Hon. Minister realises that there is money in the country and some have said that there is illicit gold flows.  Where will you be Zimbabweans where you have seen these illicit mineral flows?  When you see this, be the whistleblowers, so that it comes to the attention of the authorities.  As whistleblowers you will be able to safeguard our wealth.  So if the minerals are ours – you are talking about corruption and you are quiet when you see corruption taking place, it means you as an individual are also corrupt.  Name shaming is done by those who are not educated; those who are learned will not do that.   However, there are means to bring those who do that to shame as learned people without necessarily naming them here.

          I wish those who are on the other side of the House can come and we work as a united force.  If you look at the Israelites, those who went to spy slept in homes of people who did not believe in God but they were blessed by God.  Those on the left and on the right direction are not working together. Probably the opposition direction has the ideas that can build this nation.  I do not know what we can give them so that they are aware of the fact that when we are in this House, we should not look at which party you belong.  Let us build our nation.  My request is that all those on my left, if only they could come together with us so that we work on the same issues and address the issues as a nation.  I thank you.

          HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the report and the statement that was presented by the Minister, in terms of request for Supplementary Budget. I want to begin by thanking the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance and also the recommendations that they put forward so that the Minister can make some concessions in terms of advice from the gurus in the Finance Committee.  Having said that, I think you know that those who have spoken before me are gurus in the finance but I hope and trust that I will also be able to draw some meaningful conclusions in terms of my input because things that have been said by the other Hon. Members here really make sense.  I hope and trust that the Minister will also be able to get some kind of information that will assist in modeling the kind of budget that will be presented come November.

          The biggest question that I wanted to ask the Minister, he is not here, I know the technical people are here to actually take notes.  I think also interfacing is important when you speak when one politician is actually looking at you.  I wanted guarantee and assurance from the Minister in whether, after his proposal has actually sailed in this House, will he not, in the next three months, come back again for further request.  I ask this important question in view of the fact that even when we adjourned the debate after his presentation, I am worried that due to inflation and other issues out there, the Budget may not even meet the demands in terms of the request.  Getting into the presentation Madam Speaker, the Chair of the Committee mentioned that $280 million has already been spent by the Ministry on the SDR.  I worry that this is mistrust in terms of getting to approach and talk to Parliament when something is already utilised.  The Constitution is clear. Section 302 insists that the Ministry has to approach Parliament first and we give them the mandate to proceed when borrowing.  If this culture persists, there is mistrust and we will not be able to account for what the Ministry will have taken before they come to the public. 

          I want to agree with the statement by Hon. Biti on the comment that he made that this is a brand new Budget.  I see that on almost every item, there is a supplementary, which means there is shortage in every other aspect. I speak as a mother, as a woman and somebody who represents people in their communities.  I wonder whether by the time we approve this Supplementary Budget, whether it will be sufficient -  the disbursement will begin, but the money will not be adequate.  That is another issue that the Minister needs to note. 

          Madam Speaker, I speak with passion because this is my constituency.  There is urgent need to improve the welfare of our civil servants, more urgent than before.  Hon. Biti touched on it but I speak with information that you have qualified, committed men and women who have worked in the civil service as our employees of Government.  The monies that they receive are not even adequate enough to take them from the workplace to their homes.  Their children are the ones who are being chucked away from school.  I am talking of nurses and anyone who is in the civil service.  I worry because I did not see any alternative in terms of how the Minister will improve the working conditions of the civil servants.  This is a critical constituency.  We have lost about 10% of our civil servants to neighbouring countries, South Africa, Mozambique, et cetera to be paid in Kwacha and Metical because our own currency cannot sustain them.  We cannot lose the human resource.  We have quality training and our institutions of training give best results in the region.  I worry that if we continue in this trend, the country is losing its own resource in terms of human resource.  We need to urgently address the conditions of service for the civil servants. 

          Madam Speaker, the living wage has to be paid to all civil servants.  We need decent wage to civil servants.  We need meaningful debate in terms of dialogue when we talk about the workers.  The Tripartite Negotiating Forum has failed to produce results in terms of engaging with Government.  Nobody is honest enough.  We agreed in this House and we put an instrument where the three parties have got to meet but nothing is coming out of the negotiations.  I wonder what the problem is because at the end of it all we pay money.  I speak to the Minister of Finance, not because I do not know that there are other relevant Ministers but when it comes to money, it then comes from the Ministry of Finance.  There is urgent need to enforce the TNF Act into action.  Government has got to commit itself and coordinate the meetings in all earnest.  We are sick and tired of getting workers on strike and workers issuing statements of ultimatum because Government is not paying heed.   With that call Madam Speaker, I would want to thank those who have spoken before me and also the Minister for actually coming.  “Wachemera pane vanhu arikuti ndioneiwo mundinzwe mundibetsere.”  I want to thank him for coming public, “kuti imiwee, zvandakakumbira paye hazvichakwane, saka ndauya kwamuri ndimi munokwanisa kuti mundipe.”  I hope and trust that at the end of it all, it will suffice that we will be able to have something chinobatsira kuti nyika yedu ive inofambira mberi.  Mazvita.

          HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I also want to add my voice to this issue of a supplementary budget presented by our Hon. Minister.  I would like to start by saying the supplementary budget is highly necessary considering our needs, both as Government and Parliament as such.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, it is highly noted that we do have challenges that we have to fight together, the main challenge being the issue of inflation.  I think all our presenters and contributors have been talking about this.  It is a devil that has to be harnessed so that we can end up with a country that is economically viable. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I also want to point out that as a way of trying to make sure that whatever monies we have put to good use, it is necessary that we also ensure that when we have got projects that are to be completed, such projects have to be completed in time.  It is sad to see that a contractor may be given a road only to come there, there is equipment and nothing is done because the contractor claims they have not been paid.  It is necessary that payments are done in good time. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, in areas such as BEAM, you find that some schools are failing to run because their BEAM funds have not been disbursed in time.  Also, the fees that were meant to be paid to teachers’ children were paid late.  By the time the fees were disbursed, the teachers had lost hope.  Some were beginning to ridicule them and say we thought we were going to be liberated this way but unfortunately, you were not getting the money.  Mr. Speaker Sir, we are happy that something has been done but we want our people to appreciate the work that we do in good time. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I have got a very nasty experience in my constituency and nearby constituencies where you find people have said tools down to cotton growing because they discovered that payment of cotton was not done in time.  In some cases, up to this day, some farmers did not get their payments as far back as 2019.  That has actually demoralized them to the extent that they have said tools down.  In my constituency and other constituencies I am talking about, cotton is actually their breadbasket.  If they do not grow cotton in that area, then those farmers are not going to succeed.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I just want to end by saying a lot of good work has been done and we have to applaud that. We have to applaud what the Government has done in terms of infrastructure.  A lot is being done and it is necessary then to ask for a supplementary because we are aware that in previous governments, we have actually been seeing very little being done but still supplementaries coming up.  So in this case, this is a worthwhile move. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, I also want to applaud the Government for introducing the gold coins.  We hear those money changers are beginning to lose their business because of the effects of the introduction of the gold coins.  We hope more and more of such measures are going to be implemented so that we see our people prospering and also becoming more economically viable as they go towards vision 2030.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for recognising me to contribute to this debate.  Mr. Speaker Sir, because some of the issues have already been stated by other Hon. Members, I am going to restrict myself to five key issues.

Firstly, the challenge we have faced in this Government, in the Treasury from 2018 up to now, is the question of failure to actually come up with proper assumptions and I think it has already been stated that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development from 2018, all the assumptions on the inflation, assumptions on the exchange rate and assumptions even on the annual growth have all been wrong.  There has never been a year the Ministry has actually done a proper thing.  In fact you will realise that from 2019, we passed a budget in this august House, of close to eight billion and do you know what the Ministry did?  They went and spent 6.8 billion behind our backs, which is about 85% of the budget that we had passed.  That year Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Minister was actually beating his chest and saying that we have got a surplus.

In 2020, we passed a budget of around 76 billion RTGS and guess what Mr. Speaker Sir - the Hon. Minister went behind our backs, behind this Parliament and spent more than 100 billion which is more than 135% of the original budget that we had passed in this august House.  I want to quote the President, Hon. Mnangagwa when he was talking to Mr. Guvamatanga - “in other countries like China, you will be beheaded but luckily we are in Zimbabwe where the President does not like the death penalty”.  Mr. Speaker Sir, even though the Auditor-General has not yet audited the 2021 figures, we know for sure that there is going to be another condonation.  A lot of money was actually spent, but what we find difficult is that when the Minister came with his Permanent Secretary, they actually told us that they had moved from what used to happen.  They assured us that they were going to make sure that there would not be any disregard to proper public finance management principles as enshrined in Chapter 17 of the Constitution and the Public Finance Act, but unfortunately things have not happened.

Then having said that Mr. Speaker Sir, I bring to you another issue that is heart breaking.  In 2009, you will recall that Zimbabwe was given 262 million SDRs or close to about US$400 million.  Do you know what happened Mr. Speaker Sir?  The economy felt that something had actually been put into the economy.  Hon. Biti was the Minister of Finance.  You could actually feel that there had been an infusion of money into the system.  Guess what, we were given 962 million which is close to a billion and that billion, it is as if there is nothing.  You cannot even feel anything.  You talk to people in Dzivarasekwa, they do not even feel it.  They did not even feel that we had received 962 million or a billion in United States dollars.  Nothing Mr. Speaker Sir, and one will have to ask what happened to that money.

There is another issue which the Hon. Minister has also not done us good.  The Hon. Minister came to this august House not once, not twice but thrice.  He would stand up and say as a country we have budgeted, we have set aside, we have got US$119 million from our own resources for COVID vaccines and accessories and he would actually boast saying we are using that money to pay.  He would come into this august House and he would say we are busy, we are using our own money to do the Harare-Beitbridge Highway, but guess what? When your Committee asked the Hon. Minister to tell us what has happened to the SDRs, we are now being told that the SDRs money has been put to the highway where the Hon. Minister was busy saying no, we are using our own public resources to do the road.  We were told that some money in the SDRs have been used for COVID when we have been told - and it is in black and white in his budget presentation in the past two years, where he would say that we had actually used our own resources to procure vaccines from China.  So what is happening there Mr. Speaker Sir?  We do not understand what the Hon. Minister would also be saying.

The third issue Mr. Speaker is the question of disbursement.  There are certain departments, ministries that we know where monies are disbursed sufficiently but look at the oversight entities, look at Parliament.  Parliament, up to the time the Mid-Term was actually done, we had received less than 40% and the Auditor-General had only received about 17%. We can say the same of the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission, but just shift it Mr. Speaker Sir and then you will realize; go to the OPC and see the percentage.  Almost close to 87% of the budget has been disbursed to them.  The question Mr. Speaker Sir is, we understand and we appreciate that Treasury has got competing demands, but what we expect is that Treasury should actually be fair and there should be equity in the distribution of the national cake rather than to have a situation where we have a continuous bias year in year out.  It does not make sense.

Still tied to the Parliament is the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), Mr. Speaker Sir and I speak on behalf of all Members of Parliament in this House. Do you know all members submitted projects that they wanted to do in their various constituencies?  It is now difficult or impossible to complete some of the projects.  The timing of that is actually very dangerous, we have got only one year to go to the next elections.  Every Member of Parliament has got a desire to contribute to the development in his or her constituency.  I note from the supplementary budget that the Hon. Minister has put an extra $2 billion which translates to around $9.5 million per constituency to add to it.  Whilst it is a good gesture, the only thing that we require is that this money, little as it is, let this money come as urgent as yesterday so that the project that we have been undertaking as Members of Parliament should actually be completed.  If those projects are not completed, Members of Parliament that are going to lose whether in their primary elections are going to cry and blame the Hon. Minister that he actually contributed towards that.

The fourth issue is to do with the debt, debt management is actually problematic, and last year the Hon. Minister told us that the forex debt was standing at more than 14 billion. In the Mid-Term he told us that the forex debt is 14.2 billion.  If you look, there is nothing in his statement that showed us that he had actually paid a certain amount or capital of any debt that has actually reduced the amount from $14.2 to $13.2 billion.  Worse still, this figure of $14.2 billion, in our view, is not wholesome. We know Mr. Speaker Sir that there are certain guarantees and certain amounts that are owed by State enterprises that had been allowed or assumed by Government which are not included in this debt. 

If you check on the $1.3 trillion domestic debt, I will submit to you Mr. Speaker that the global compensation was done in US dollars, 3.5 billion but guess what, it is included in the $1.3 trillion.  If you do mathematics using the current rate, you realise that there is a chicanery that is being played and it is not good for this economy. 

We know the Hon. Minister told us that there is good to be arrears clearance debt relief restructuring led by the ADB President, Dr. Adesina.  Here is the problem.  Before we even talk of the high level forum; we need as Zimbabweans, first and foremost, to be honest to each other.  We need an engagement where Parliament, the Executive and civic society, we come together and agree on the state and nature of our debt.  Without doing that, we will actually be selling hot air outside. It is not going to happen that this high level forum will achieve anything.  We came from there; we know the challenges.  Do you know the Hon. Minister, in his maiden speech - [HON. BITI: 1st September, 2018] - he talked nicely we are not going to move to episis, we are going to do this.  What has happened Mr. Speaker Sir?  Nothing; right now do you know if you go to Government departments and Government ministries, they owe huge amounts of money?  This $1.3 trillion is just probably a third of the amount of money that is owed.  I can actually tell you just a good example of Parliament of Zimbabwe.  The reason why Members of Parliament are being chased away from the hotels is because Parliament owes a lot of money to these hotels, not only to hotels but to other suppliers.

That debt is not included because we are still doing cash budgeting.  If we had actually moved a step in the process towards the episis, by now we could actually be somewhere. Admittedly, we understand that we are supposed to be fully fledged by 2023 but there is no progress in the various ministries or in the State enterprises, nothing. We are actually not moving.  Go to local authorities, there is nothing that is happening towards moving to a more transparency mechanism of reporting. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, finally I want to talk about the issue on the tax free threshold.  The truth of the matter is that the people that are earning RTGS - [HON. BITI: Including Members of Parliament.] -  all of us here Mr. Speaker, we are carrying the burden of this economy.  Do you know that out of the money that we earn, we end up having to carry the burden in this way, firstly we are highly taxed.  Secondly, out of the tax that we pay, the amount that we get, we are supposed to then pay the 2% tax.  If you go to various shops and informal market, people demand US dollars.  Ask all the civil servants even employees here at Parliament where they lodge because some of them do not have houses; they are asked to pay in US dollars their rentals.  Everything is actually being paid in US dollars.  Our people are carrying the burden, the people that we believe should actually help in making sure that the economy of this country is turned around are getting peanuts.  In trade union, there is a saying that says ‘when you pretend to pay your employees, they also pretend to be working’ this is why you find the level of corruption is high.  You wonder why a lot of things that could actually be harnessed at the shop floor are going unchecked because the people that are supposed to do the work are not happy. 

The Hon. Minister has told us that he has actually moved tax threshold but look at the gap, we will be submitting that we need to re-look into the figures so that we do not continuously over tax our people.  We deserve a country that has got civil servants that are better remunerated. Do you know there was a time when we grew up being a child of a nurse or teacher was something that people will just give you respect for; to just know that your parents work in Government was actually an honour.  Right now, makorokoza, mahwindi now make more money including everybody who failed form 2 and ordinary level actually make more money than people who have PHDs and Masters who are in Government, let us give them a break.  Let us pay them fully in US dollars.  I thank you.

HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker for allowing me to debate on this subject of the supplementary budget.  I want to thank the Minister for bringing this supplementary budget which is a normal practice in many countries that when they face additional demand for funding from various government agencies, they propose a supplementary budget.  In my view, the supplementary budget came out of such demand from ministries and Government agencies - but for me, also I see it as coming from the general price increases.  In my view, I think the Minister had budgeted for enough resources to look after Government expenditure but those resources were eroded by inflation.  I think inflation in some areas was difficult to predict.  So when you get to a situation like that, it may then disrupt or distort what you have budgeted for that period. 

Mr. Speaker, in my view, the Minister was just responding to a situation or was forced by the situation to come up with this supplementary budget which I think was very necessary and we definitely applaud him for that so that that we cater or deal with the issues that were budgeted for this financial year.  Without coming up with this supplementary budget, it means many of these expectations will not be looked after.

  However Minister, I also want to say we also need to aggressively come up with measures to deal with inflation, which in my view is the main source of your coming up with a supplementary budget.  I have been looking at this issue and may be when replying to our comments you would correct me.  Where somebody is giving a service to Government, you pay him 100 million RTGs today and tomorrow morning that money is not in the account, where has it gone to?  What measures have you put in place to protect inflation in terms of that money chasing the fewer US dollars in the market? 

Mr. Speaker, after we have come up with a good measure to deal with funding for the development using our own resources, the same people we are paying using RTGs are running away from our currency. They go out there to give pressure on the US dollars and create this situation where your ability to then fund the budgeted expenditure is then disrupted.  As we come up with this supplementary budget, what measures are we putting in place because that money is coming back to the market and increasing the availability of the ZIM dollar and maybe this will force the rate to go haywire?  What measures have we put in place that as we get this supplementary budget, it does not add to the inflation push that is there at the moment? 

Mr. Speaker, we also want to mobilise domestic investment.  What are we doing? Have we totally said because of the macro environment that we are in, we no longer want to see things like bonds because these instruments are not there?  People only have money largely as the assets and they are now forced to go for the US dollar.  We have not created other instruments in the market so that people can have different assets in order to keep their wealth. What are we doing in our planning as Ministry of Finance as we are faced with different pressures on our ZIM dollar and the general welfare of our economy? 

Mr. Speaker, because of this inflationary environment, there are many people who are going to suffer if we do not manage that side that I have been talking about.  Now that we are bringing this money, which is very necessary and which we have no choice but to deal with, if we are going to meet all the objectives that we have set for ourselves for this period, we should put measures.  If we do not manage the inflation side, it means retired people are going to have their pensions eroded.  When we want to do something, we increase the economic activities but if inflation is not managed, it may destroy this.  I think Hon. Biti would know what happened to some of these institutions when he was the Minister of Finance.  He also allowed some institutions to cannibalise and destroy other people’s investments.  You remember Renaissance Bank, when it took money from NSSA, First Mutual and the Timber saga, it destroyed people’s assets and today we have poor people who were contributing to pension funds but they have nothing. 

So when you hear some of these people talking; you think they are saints, they are holy people but they also presided over the destruction of people’s assets – [HON. BITI:  You have left out Barbican.] if you were there, then you are in complicity. I strongly urge the Minister that in his well thought-out approach in coming with this supplementary budget, he also finds safety nets for our low income people and different other people who are going to be affected should the inflation take another direction. 

Mr. Speaker, I want also to thank the Minister and the whole financial system when they came up with the gold coin approach.  I think it has come up with some form of panacea to our problems but let us defend it, we do not want in the short term to see what we have achieved now being affected.  We should be able to defend a good policy that we have put in place so that it is not abused because as we sit, those people who are keen on doing corrupt things and so forth, they are looking for ways to defeat your gold points, so we need to come up with a strong policy. It is a good policy and I think for the past three weeks, we have not seen the black market raising its head. It is just stagnant at the moment. This is critical especially when you are coming up with this supplementary budget. For it to have the intended effect, it means we should have some stability so that what we are trying to solve can be solved. If inflation comes in and they start abusing the measure that you have put in place, then the supplementary budget may lose steam and we do not benefit because the intention is that the supplementary budget must really assist your effort to see us achieving what we set ourselves to achieve for this year and I want to thank you for that.

          I hope in the process, for example the issue of CDF, Members of Parliament in their efforts in using CDF - if you go in the rural areas, you will see good projects that have come out of CDF but because prices went up, they could not finish some of these projects. So when you came up with the ZWD 9 billion, is it good enough to ensure that those projects are finished for the good of our people or not? I also want you to look around that because for me, some say you are coming up with a new budget but I think it is just mitigation against inflation. What you were doing is to deal with areas which you could not satisfy using the current figure which has been eroded.

          Now you want to bring in more money and the things that you wanted to do are still the same and you have not started new projects that need this money. You are still going for the same projects but inflation has destroyed the capacity of the value of your money to deal with those projects. So let us find ways in trying to protect that which you are giving us so that we achieve the intended objectives. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. MARKHAM: I just like to say I have great concerns about the supplementary budget and I do not believe a 100% is supplementary. My issues are the credentials which were covered by Hon. Mushoriwa. However, even in the recommendation, there is no solution for the four or more exchange rates we use in this country. We are divorced from reality if we have more than one exchange rate. The crux of the matter also lies in this bulk payment which goes on at Fourth Street. We all know about it but the Reserve Bank and the Ministry know about it in a certain way and it has been going on for four years;  we are worried about it and it is too late, we missed the boat.

          We have been talking about the currency and there is no solution. That is my concern but we do not address the people. We do not address the civil servants and we do not address the problem of the pensioners. One of the major defaulting ministries, the Ministry of Local Government, we do not even have a Bill to control 5% of the National Budget. Agriculture, if I tell the Minister now that the money sponsored since 2015 to fund agriculture would have paid his ex-commercial farmers bill three times over, and over 10 billion dollars has been spent in Command Agriculture and Pfumvudza as support and what have we got to show for it?  We are still calling for support on today’s budget.

          My fourth point which I have an issue with is the debt crisis that we face. Yes, the Minister talks of payments but they are not even payments in reality. I just want to focus on five areas. We have already talked about them but I would like to draw the attention on the issue of the cause for the supplementary budget. The overriding ministries that have overspent - the OPC and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development; the OPC has 143% and the Ministry of Finance is way up but Parliament is at 33% and yet we are the oversight body.

          We look at those that underspent - I believe this is done so that nothing changes. Look at the Auditor-General who oversees corruption.  Look at the land issue which is a burning issue in this country yet the Land Commission has received 21%. A new Ministry which is not even mentioned, the Ministry of Housing needs capacitation to get to a situation where there are computers, offices, et cetera. This year it only received 23% of its budget yet it is the cornerstone of the Government’s election policy on housing. If you delivered 23%, so the electorate that you have spoken about, I think it has done much. That is the major issue I have with misallocation of the appropriation budget. I say misallocation because you were shifting budgets from ministry to ministry to those that you deem needed more, and obviously Parliament is one of those because we are oversight.

          I would want to go onto my second point of the commercial farmers. I bring up the commercial farmers that on Thursday we had the supplementary budget, the next day he was going to meet the commercial farmers and it became very clear that the ability of the Government to raise the money which was due, 50% of the 3.5 was due four days later could not be raised no matter where they looked.

          So in my view, the Minister has signed an agreement which he will not bring to Parliament, which he hides behind confidentiality. Four days later he was supposed to pay 1.75% and this supplementary budget is mute on the issue of that debt. It is mute on the requirement to pay because it does not matter where we borrow the money from, we still have to pay back. That gives me an issue that we are now signing agreements so long as it says a promise of money in the end and we have no intention of fulfilling the agreement.

          My third issue is the debt crisis which Hon. Biti mentioned about 30 billion. I congratulate the Minister for bringing a supplementary budget but the 2015/2018, what is euphemistically called the Financial Adjustment Bill for 9.6 billion has stalled. Of that 9.6 billion, for those people who doubt my figures on agriculture, 54% was spent by the Ministry of Agriculture and it is totally unaccounted for. If we read the Auditor General’s Report, year by year, it has no movement, not in simple terms but it says no movement. So since 2015/2018, the Ministry of Agriculture spent 54% of the budget which they cannot even account for. We go to the next Bill, the 2019/20, again seeking approval after the event by Parliament of I do not know how many millions – Z$103 billion.  If you add all those up; plus the funds, plus the AfriExim Bank - we end up at $28 billion. We have not included all the money that we borrowed from the Chinese – some of it yes, but not all of it. In the report by our Committee, we have Belarus, we have Agricultural Mechanisation Support Programmes, how much do those add up to? We have no intention to look at the debt and find out how we are going to support and pay it back. Without that trust, we have a major issue.

          I would like to go to my fourth point which is my hobby horse, which is what is referred to in the Budget as Inter Governmental Fiscal Transfer, that is, 5% of the Budget which Government allocates to local government. My concern is that we do not even have a Bill controlling 5% of the National Budget. One man can do what he likes with that Budget. The figures do not add up, if we are supposed to get 5% of the Budget, why is it only $10 billion of the Supplementary Budget put aside for that? If you look at last years figures, City of Harare got less than 10% of the money allocated in the Budget. I can assure you this year it is exactly the same. These disbursements are hovering around 10%. So why did we budget for it? I will tell you why. My biggest concern with the Supplementary Budget we have to go back to the Pre-Budget Seminar. This is a tick-the-box exercise.

          We had the Pre-Budget Seminar and all the Committees sat down with the Ministries and decided what we wanted. We submitted to Treasury and Treasury came back and said that is how much we have got. We catered right back to exactly what he wanted. In fact, we were told what they wanted. We ticked the boxes and we got ready for the Budget. Six months later, they are coming to say we need double. We ticked the boxes. We did not do anything - because of COVID, the Budget last year ran through one evening session with none of the major players available. For all our debate in this House, not one recommendation from a Member of Parliament was considered in that Budget. There was no change. In fact, the Blue Book was printed before the debate. So, why are we here?

          On my last point, I have to cover the civil servants, particularly the teachers and the nurses and I will tell you why. Hon. Mushoriwa talked about ‘if you pretend to pay someone, he is going to pretend to work’. That is the exact situation with the bulk of the civil servants, particularly those in the teaching fraternity. We have had three years of no teaching of our children. BEAM, there is late disbursements, teachers no salary. COVID interfered, yes, but we have not solved the problem. Nurses, doctors and teachers - people we trained in this country are being stolen to work for other countries because we cannot pay them. My question is, why do we not bond the people that we educate? If you become a doctor, you have to work for us for years because you got subsidised education. We are educating people who are going to the West, China and SADC. We are losing everyone but we do not change. We give the same reasons, yes we must do this, open makorokoza mines and buy agricultural land and do this and that. Nothing happens.

          In my humble view, we are doing too little too late. Every time we come to this House, it is too little too late. It is like the commercial farmers’ deal, it is too little too late and will not happen. I thank you.

          HON. MADZIMURE: I just want to remind the Hon. Minister that his Budget is meant to address issues that Government has set itself to do. When the Minister came in 2018 he started by introducing TSP which was meant to stabilise the economy and use it to introduce another strategy which is NDS1 that you always hear everybody from Government referring to and use the NDS1 to start making steps towards achieving Vision 2030. Therefore, the Budget itself must answer the objectives of NDS1.

          If you look at inflation, it should have been stabilised by TSP. It is now above 580%. What has happened? The Budget Statement does not respond to that and give answers to what has happened. Where has the Minister lost it? What is that he is supposed to do to take us back to his objective? As far as inflation is concerned, the Minister wanted a single digit figure. A single digit against 560% that is a monumental failure and the Minister must explain what happened. Because of that, the objective of the NDS1 has been missed.

          According to the Minister’s statement, there is no mention of sanctions as a factor that is affecting his desire to see Zimbabwe progress as a nation. Therefore, it is not a factor. Going back to inflation, Zimbabwe is not an island. Zimbabwe has all these other countries around it.  He even mentioned the destabilisation of the world order in countries like Ukraine but this does not affect Zimbabwe alone. It affects every other country. If you look at the average inflation figures on the global market, it is around 8%. Zimbabwe’s inflation is 580%, where has the Minister lost it?

          When you try and look at how the Minister will expect the civil servants to survive under those circumstances with the inflation above 580%, if you then calculate it mathematically, you cannot compensate the civil servants what they were earning when we were in December debating the Budget. Whatever we are going to increase does not make any sense as far as the earnings of the civil servants are concerned.  As everybody else has discussed a lot of these other issues, my concentration is on how the Minister expects us to move towards Vision 2030 under such economic situation.  We have got no chance at all – [AN HON. MEMBER: Remove sanctions] – Those who have got memory, we debated some of the issues, especially the issue of sanctions in this particular House. As far as I am concerned, this is not an issue.  This is also not covered in the ZANU PF Manifesto.  The ZANU PF Manifesto actually declared that they were going to provide two million houses within these five years.  They promised two million jobs within these five years and these are supposed to be provided for through a budget.  What is there in this budget that will create employment?  What is there in this budget that will give accommodation to our people?

          Only last night, the Minister of National Housing was saying they are going to provide 224 000 houses up to 2023.  When you look at the budget, up to today, the Ministry has only got less than 24% of its allocation.  How is he going to deliver?  Doctors and nurses have been promised houses, flats and everything.  Within this budget, what is there that is going to be given to those ministries for them to construct the flats – nothing.  When you hear them vachitaura, hanzi zvakanaka zvokunaka zviye izvi.  Vision 2030 inogara ichitaurwa pangoshama munhu muromo, Vision 2030, but Vision 2030 ka ine mamilestones.

          Mr. Speaker, I just want the Minister to reflect, especially on his maiden speech in this House in 2018, what he promised and what is happening today.  As Zimbabwe, we are going through the same circle of 2007/2008. Mu Zimbabwe tinongo tenderera sevhiri richingo dzokera paranga riri.  This is exactly the situation that we have, Chinamasa as Hon. Biti is saying, he now appears to be an angel as far as running the Finance Ministry is concerned.  He was just a simple lawyer who had not even run a business but he performed much better. 

          I tell you Mr. Speaker, the real issue is how this budget is impacting the people on the ground.  Those people, pensioners are getting 5000 RTGs.  Last month, our vulnerable; the old people got 1 500 RTGs in their accounts.  What do you do with 1 500 RTGs.  The whole Ministry of Labour paying out 1 500 RTGs, it is an insult to our people.  Why can we not just pay US$20, it is much better.  However, as far as the Minister is concerned, zvakarongeka. I watched him being grilled by the teachers, him and the Minister of Labour.  They could not respond to their questions and concerns.  They have got no solution whatsoever.  This is what is frightening; there is no solution; there is no clue whatsoever to stop the rot.

          The Minister is here to answer and I would be so glad to hear the Minister telling us that the three tier exchange rate that we have, I am going to stop it this way, not putting the gold coins on the market and expect anything to move.  How do you expect a person whom you are giving, for example police officers $48 000 RTGs to buy a coin that cost US$1 876?  Ten Members of Parliament can put their money together and can still not buy a single coin. Even the Government Chief Whip who is enjoying more coupons than anybody else can still not buy that coin.  They drive well around, the Chief Whips and Chairpersons. 

So, I expect the Minister to tell the people or Zimbabwe that from tomorrow, I am going to manage the exchange rate this way because all the other measures he has put in place have failed.  The Minister must tell the people of Zimbabwe that as we go towards Vision 2030, from tomorrow this is the value they are going to realise from their savings because I am going to put these measures in place.  From tomorrow, this is how I am going to preserve your contributions towards your retirement.  These are the issues that the Minister must address.  From tomorrow, this is the real growth rate, et cetera

          The GDP, if you just want to see how the country is growing, you look at the lifestyle of your people.  The lifestyle of our people has not improved, especially during this tenure of the Second Republic.  You can only see evidence of improvement of the people’s lives through their lifestyles.  Are they sending their children to school; are they accessing health facilities; are you affording them good roads; are you affording them clean drinking water?  This is the evidence of real growth, not yepa TV; not yepa rally; not yepamuromo kungoti zvakarongeka.  Things are not well.

          So I implore the Minister to seriously consider that he also wants a legacy.  He must leave something for the people of Zimbabwe.  Who do you expect to volunteer to be the Minister of Finance to take over from him?  No one would want to do that.  Unless achingova zvake mukorokoza anongodavo mari because the situation that we now have is not attainable.  It cannot work.  It cannot continue at this particular trajectory. Weare going the same route; the same circle yatakaenda na Gideon Gono.  Very soon, the moment they start paying the contractors, the exchange rate will be 1: 1 500. They will still have to pay them.  Writing circulars to say we are not paying and the like is a joke.  You still have to pay and when you pay, the consequences will be seen.  There is no measure – this is why I am saying the Minister must tell us how he is going to deal with those issues.  In the Budget Statement, there is nothing that points to the fact that he has dealt with that particular matter.  Kumbomira kuti handimbokupi mari yako asi ndichakupa mari yacho, ndinenge ndakangoi mirirawo.  What I was  supposed to do with it, the same way of taking it kunana Fourth Street is the same thing that they will do.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          (v)HON. S. BANDA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for also giving me this opportunity to contribute to this debate.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I would want to speak on two issues.  I want to look at the real value of the Budget over the past couple of years.  If I go to 2017, the Budget had an equivalent value of $3.87 billion.  In 2018, it rose to $5.07 billion. In 2019, it went up to $6.1 billion.  In 2021 Mr. Speaker Sir, because of issues of currency, the Budget in terms of US dollars went down to $4.9 billion.  In 2021, when we were preparing for the 2022, when the Budget was presented, it looked like it had a nominal value of $5.3 billion.  If you now look into the Supplementary Statement, you realise that the value of that Budget was actually $2.23 billion.  Now we are trying to add another $2.3 billion so that ultimately we have got a Budget which is worth $4.69 billion. What it now means Mr. Speaker Sir, is that the Budget that we have now is much less than the Budget that we had before 2018.  For the period 2018 to 2020, the Budgets that have been there are more than what we have now.  It means that the economy has shrunk.  That is something that we have not been told.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the real value of the Budget despite this 100% increment in the nominal Budget, is still way below what we had in 2018, 2019 and even in 2021. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the 2022 Budget was double that of 2021 yet we are also now doubling the 2022 Budget.  In reality, we have not even doubled it, we have actually shrunk.  We passed a Budget which was too little.  When we tried to raise it, that was shot down.  We really urge the Hon. Minister to listen carefully to what people will be saying when they are doing their budgets.  That is my first issue Mr. Speaker Sir.

          Let me go to the issue of exchange rates which we cannot run away from when we are talking about the Budget.  In November 2021, when the Budget was being announced, it was ZWL 968.3 billion and the rate at that time was ZWL 105.69.  Now, when the Supplementary Budget is coming into play, it is almost the same amount.  The rate has now shot to ZWL434 using the official rate.  If I am going to use the parallel rates, it will be something else.  What we realise is that there has been a change of 410% in terms of the value of the Zimbabwe dollar. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, when we have a supplementary budget, we need to look at the fundamentals.  How do we stop this paralysis? This calls for discipline in the nation.  This calls for honesty and integrity and it calls for dialogue of all stakeholders in this country, whether it is business, church, youths, et cetera.  Everyone has to sit down and we have to be honest.  There was a time when we had the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and it almost worked.  For about six months, we thought that the economy had stabilised.  Mr. Speaker Sir, all that flew out because we are not one.  We need to go back to oneness. Let us not manage de-dolarisation.  Let there be self re-actualisation and re-activation of self dolarisation.  Let the currency do what it wants to do.  If we try to micro-manage it, it will never work. 

In another school of thought, they say that you can allow each bank to start its own currency. Let us say CBZ starts its own currency, POSB starts their own currency, Standard Bank does the same and the currencies start fighting on the market on their own; here we are saying let us not use foreign based currencies.  We are using our own Zimbabwe based currency.  Each bank can start its own currency.  When those banks start fighting using market forces, at the end of the day, the universally accepted currency will become the global currency accepted in the country.  There will be no risk of loss of sovereignty because it will still be in the country.  That is another option that the Hon. Minister can look at. 

Lastly Mr. Speaker Sir, I just wonder, exports rose from $3.5 billion in the first half of the year from $2.6 billion in 2021.  Now, the Minister in his Statement has projected that exports are going to rise to $7.3 billion from $6.4 billion in 2021 for the entire year.  Where are exports going Mr. Speaker Sir?  It is not enough to solve our liquidity crisis where we just put in 10% of the GDP, which is around the $3.5 billion that we are talking about.  Can we not take part of it and put it into the market so that money can circulate more? 

Mr. Speaker Sir, on salaries, I appreciate what has happened that if you look at the supplements, you realise that the Public Service Commission had an increment of 178%, the Auditor-General has been given 33%, Foreign Affairs 26%, Health 50%, Youth 50% and the Ministry of Finance is at 198%, almost 200%.  Originally they had a higher amount and now they have given themselves almost 200% increment.  Mr. Speaker Sir, that has to be looked at. 

Let me come to Parliament.  This Parliament which approves …

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA):  Hon. Banda, I think you seem to be repeating quite a lot of your points.  We are very much interested in hearing your new points that you would contribute so that the Minister can respond.  The Hon. Minister is not writing any points from you because a lot of points you are raising have been raised already.  Please come in with new ideas.

 (v)HON. S. BANDA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, in terms of the Parliament budget, the Parliament budget was at 19%.  It is the lowest budget across, so I wonder because this is what Hon. Mliswa was speaking to, to say this Parliament is just being looked at with disgust and disdain. Honestly, this budget has to be reviewed upwards.

          Lastly Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of salaries.  I just want to comment and say that I think there are departments of certain ministries, for instance in the prison services.  You will find that there are some junior officers who are earning more than their seniors ever since these adjustments were effected.  I urge the Hon. Minister to also look into that.  With these few words, I come to the end of my contribution.

          *HON. TEKESHE:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  I do not have a lot to say because it has already been said but I would like to comment on the issue of gold coins.  Gold coins are only known in Harare, in the offices of the ministers and by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe but outside Harare, they are not known.  If the Hon. Minister wants it to be a successful story, may he kindly task officers in different provinces to explain to people what gold coins are and their importance and a lot concerning them.  The elderly are selling their livestock in rural areas using Bond notes instead of gold coins because they do not know about them.  If you educate them about gold coins, they may be able to earn some and keep them. 

          Again, the Government is not realising that jobs are scarce.  Since a lot of people are unemployed, they are now vendors.  Instead of harassing and beating them, how about you collect tax from vendors.  Vendors have a lot of funds and only the police and municipal officers are benefiting from those funds.  They are collecting and spending money from vendors, money that is supposed to be Government tax.  May the Government formalise vendors and collect tax from them so that we benefit as a country.

          Moving on, another issue is on corruption, corruption is rampant.  We heard others saying that China and Rwanda had a huge turn around but in Zimbabwe, that will never happen because corruption is starting from the leaders going down to the lowest officer in the ministry. Recently, a young minister was arrested but the leaders were also responsible for that corruption.  During the COVID era, there was corruption because we received $600 million.  We moved around the country with Public Service searching for the $600 million but only one person testified that he had received ZWL300.00.  We do not know where those funds went to, and no action has been taken to get those funds back.  They are never taken into account.  We just take money and continue requesting for Supplementary Budgets whilst doing nothing about corruption.  May Government have policies on zero tolerance to corruption?

          In China,  a former mayor of the ruling party was sentenced to death because of corruption but in Zimbabwe, we protect each other because we are leaders. We continuously spend funds and continue saying supplementary, supplementary.  Banks were closed because they were broke … - [HON. BITI: Banks like Barbican Bank!] -  For instance the one being mentioned Hon. Minister but no one was arrested. I do not know how many banks were closed and I do not know how many banks were broke.   We will continuously argue about supplementary budgets, the exchange rate and the market but the biggest problem is that of corruption.  The Minister clearly indicated that he was not able to settle debts because of Bond notes.  He was not able to settle the debts when we were using USD but managed to settle the debts when Bond notes were returned to the market.  How is that possible if you are not responsible for the parallel market?  Our biggest problem is that of the parallel market.  We are crying over the parallel market but the Government is fueling it.  How will we overcome it because the Hon. Minister is clearly indicating that they were not able to settle debts when we were using USD but managed to do so when we were using Bond notes? This means that they are the ones selling United States Dollars.  This is why when money changers are arrested, they return to the streets after a short period of time and you wonder with the experience of our local police how that is possible.  They do not clear that because there are leaders involved.  

If we look at Command Agriculture Mr. Speaker Sir,  Command Agriculture is now a private sector but they are engaging Government officers like AREX officers.  Why are we included in Command Agriculture since it is now a private sector?  The owner is making money in Command Agriculture because their salaries are being paid by the Government.   Hon. Minister, you need to take a close look on that situation.  Why do you continue to pay AREX officers if they are employed under the private sector?  Let them do the game and fund themselves and stop disadvantaging us.

My last contribution is, Hon. Minister, you spoke about the Supplementary Budget among other things but it is now 40 years after Independence.  Our elderly are not benefiting anything tangible and they are clearly indicating that they would benefit something during the Smith regime.  Why not give them something?  I wish we could debate advocating for funding for the elderly and vendors as a supplementary.  We would gladly approve it… - [HON. TOGAREPI:  Smith akapa chembere mari kupi?  Mave munhu mukuru Chief Whip musadaro] - Mr. Speaker Sir, with all due respect, we did not interject during the Government Chief Whip’s debate.  I never said anything, if you protect the Chief Whip, you are killing the country.  You are too protective over issues that do not require protection. Chief Whip, my respect for you Mhofu is fading.   How can you do this to me? 

You are killing the country by protecting what is not supposed to be protected…

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA):  Hon. Member, you are now moving in the wrong direction.  You were on the right path with fresh points but you are now missing the point. 

*HON. TEKESHE:  I have never interrupted him like what he is doing.  I may start doing the same today to anyone who stands up to contribute since it is a habit in this House. 

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Please address the Chair and stop focusing on what he is saying.

*HON. TEKESHE:  We need to tell him the truth Hon. Speaker Sir.  May Hon. Togarepi please inform the House as to where the $600 million that was meant COVID relief went to?  Masks were being sold at USD28.00.  Please do not do that, you are destroying the country.  I thank you.

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Tekeshe for introducing new ideas and contributions.  I urge those Hon. Members whom I am giving the opportunity to debate to come with new contributions and ideas not repeating.  Actually for those who are here, please check to see whether the Hon. Minister is taking notes, if he is not writing, then it means that your points have been raised before.  So please stand guided.

 (v)HON. CHIBAYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the debate.  Allow me to start contributing on the issue of the civil servants welfare.   Hon. Speaker, a hungry person is an angry person and we do not expect good results from our children because of the teachers at school.  We also do not expect good services from our nurses and doctors if they are hungry - the same applies to our security agencies.

          We have heard that the issue of school fees is not resolved, parents are being asked to pay in USD while the budget showed that workers will have a marginal salary increase in ZWL.  How will civil servants pay for school fees?

          On the issue of road construction – we have got a road in my constituency which runs from Mkoba 12 turn-off to Mkoba 17.  Contractors were on site for only two days, I think this issue was also raised by Hon. Matangira. This means that these contractors were not paid.     The same goes for the road from Gweru to lower Gweru, that road is now almost a year without any activity.  People from my constituency, those from lower Gweru and Woodlands are now finding it difficult   to travel to their homes.  My recommendation is that the Minister of Finance must provide adequate funding to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

          I want to conclude my debate by supporting what has been said by Hon. Tekeshe.  Hon. Speaker, you are aware that according to the Auditor General’s Report, works of corruption were exposed especially on COVID-19 funds and no one was arrested and you can tell that the money was used by the elite, those at the top.  We want action to be taken on this matter.

          HON. I. NYONI: I am going to touch on a number of issues that were raised by the Minister on the Mid-Term-Statement. According to the Minister’s Midterm Budget Statement, the banking sector continued to support the productive sector of the economy from loans. 

The Minister presented a pie-chart and on the pie chart, loans for the productive sector that were used for production in various industries were about 77, 73% while loans for consumptive purposes were 19% and the balance was for others. 

          We recall not a long ago the interest rates were increased to 200% and this included interest rates for the areas in the productive sector.  How is the productive sector expected to increase production in such a punitive interest rate?  Is it not possible for the Minister to come up with policies that excludes the productive sector from such high interest rates?

          I also would like to suggest that we have got schools as well, they borrow money from the banks to sustain their activities.  We have got the health sector, they also borrow money to sustain their activities.  The Minister should consider that these sectors are excluded from the punitive 200% interest rates.

  I am very much aware that the 200% came up because the Minister was trying to reduce borrowing for speculative purposes but then these people in the productive sectors are not borrowing for speculative purposes, they will be borrowing for manufacturing.  Schools particularly in my constituency in Bulawayo East; we have some private schools that were surviving through borrowing while they wait for payment from parents.  They have also been affected by this 200%; it becomes very difficult to run their schools.

          My second point is on the issue of the Poverty Datum Line, according to ZIMSTAT Report recently, that was 22 July, 2022, the poverty datum line was pegged for a family of five at ZWL115 000, that is ZWL23 000 per person.  The review on the tax free threshold according to the Minister’s Mid-Term Budget is ZWL50 000.  However, this figure is far much below the poverty datum line figure.  My suggestion is that perhaps the Minister could re-look at the figure and perhaps put it in line with the poverty datum line figure.

          Lastly on ZIMRA – we are all aware that ZIMRA is a very important part of the revenue collection for the Government.  Huge part of the revenue is collected through ZIMRA.  Could it be possible that ZIMRA is capacitated so that the leakage in revenue collection is closed?  This can be done in terms of capacitating ZIMRA in terms of manpower, equipment, and financial capital.

          Let me also buttress my support on the Budget and Finance Committee which submitted that ZIMRA be allowed to retain 3% of the total revenue they collect.  In addition to that, I am very much aware that on commercial imports, ZIMRA retains ZWL1300 and that converts to about USD2.50.

Last but not least, on the payment of import duties particularly the import VAT, import duty, import duty prime which is imported on commercial duty in particular, according to the ZIMRA tariff, there are luxury items that pay duty in foreign currency. Other items such as spares, raw materials pay in Zimbabwe dollars but we have seen situations whereby companies would not be having the Zimbabwe dollars. Can there be a consideration that if they have got the foreign currency, they be allowed to pay the duty in foreign currency? We know at the moment the Zimbabwe dollar appears scarce in the market. Some companies are holding on the foreign currency. We have several that are based in my constituency who have come up with queries that they have been refused by ZIMRA to pay duty in foreign currency for those items. That is my submission Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you.

HON. MOKONE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I am not going to be long because most of the issues have been alluded to by the people who presented first. I am going to buttress on the issue of digitisation. May the Minister kindly consider this programme? Zimbabwe is amongst the few Southern African countries that has not digitised fully. May the Minister kindly disburse more funds towards this programme?  May the Minister also look into the issue of having ICT in schools and allocate more money to the ICT Ministry so that they carry out the internet programmes across the country?

The last issue is on gender sensitivity of the Budget. There is need for this Budget to address the issue of education. There has to be sanitary pads in schools and more money has to be given to the education sector so that they buy sanitary pads for the girl child in schools.

Lastly, on the issue of disbursement of funds, Hon. Mushoriwa spoke about it but I will buttress upon it. The ministries that falls under our ambit are complaining that the funds are being disbursed to them very late. These days with the inflation in the country, if you give them the funds late, it means that they will not carry out the programmes they wanted to. My plea to the Ministry is, may the funds be timeously disbursed so that ministries achieve their mandates without hiccups? Thank you.

          HON. PHULU: I think the last two presentations are evidence that sometimes the people who speak last can bring some very valid points. I only have one point and will ignore everything in my notes because everything has been covered. It relates to the intention on the part of the Minister to increase import duties for malaichas or people who import informally where they do not have tax clearance certificates. We can see that it is an attempt to capture a certain market and we are saying, look we are increasing the margin to 30%. I do not know whether in so doing, under normal circumstances yes, I think it is an incentive for people to formalise, have companies and tax clearing certificates but malaichas do not have companies and are not formal.

By their nature, malaichas are informal but you need to consider what an integral part they are to the economy. If you go to rural Plumtree where I come from, those malaichas are actually doing part, if not a large part of the work on behalf of the Ministry of social welfare. They are looking after the elderly. They are a life blood and I think that 30% is too much. It will choke them and when it chokes them, the people who suffer are the recipients of those services that they offer. We think that there should be an amnesty of some sort to those people as they continue to offer an important service. Yes, we must try to encourage them to pay duty somehow, but certainly without choking and taking them out of the game altogether. That is my plea.

I will speak about it again Mr. Speaker when we come to that clause in the Appropriation Bill. That is the one thing and perhaps another thing that I just want to underline is when a nation is in trouble, the economy is not doing well and people are hungry, we need to deal with their psychological issues in terms of mental health. The issue of sporting facilities is key. A lot of the new townships that we have and by new townships I mean built after 1980; they do not have sporting facilities and clubs that match the township that were built before 1980. Does this say that our Government post-independence does not put much importance on recreation and creativity on the part of our young people? We ask that this is something that needs to be looked at seriously to ensure that there is land allocated for those activities and money budgeted. It is a fence, a shade and that is it.

A lot of countries do well in sport when they are in classes. You look at Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon and all the countries, even countries at war. They still do well in terms of sports and a point was raised in that regard. I think when our country is in crisis, this is when we should see our budget actually reflecting that we need to deal with mental health issues. We are tired of njegus in our constituencies. The young people are drinking to the point of death. I received a phone call yesterday that one of the young people in my constituency is in hospital. I enquired why and they said it is njegu and so it is a serious crisis which we think the budget can also show. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. Speaker, I thank the Hon. Members for their robust debate and with your permission, I now move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 17th August, 2022

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE), the House adjourned at a Quarter past Six o’clock p.m.  

 

 

                                     

 

 

 

 

 

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