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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 17 NOVEMBER 2021 VOL 48 NO 12
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 17th November, 2021
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM THE MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have the following apologies for leave of absence: Hon. Rtd. Dr. C.G.D.N Chiwenga, The Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. S. Kanhutu-Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce; Hon. Prof. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development; Hon. D. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities; Hon. Dr. E. Ndlovu, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. M. N. Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Hon. Sen. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services; Hon. Dr. S. G. Nyoni, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Hon. Dr. K. Coventry, Minister of Youths, Sports, Arts and Recreation; Hon. J. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans; Hon. Prof. Mavima, Minister for State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution - Midlands Province; Hon. E. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and Hon. D. Musabayana, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. Now that we have seed and fertilizer at our Grain Marketing Board depots, and there is need to carry these to collection points. There is a statement that was issued that no farmer is supposed to pay a single cent on collection of those inputs and a certain figure was given for transporters to transport the inputs to collection points. The transporters in our areas are refusing to take up the offer from GMB, citing that it is too low and they cannot afford to carry inputs to collection points on such figures. What is our way forward?
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank the Hon. Member for the question which is relevant because the rain season has almost commenced and we need inputs delivered to farmers. Government has taken the stance that this is a Presidential Input Scheme available to all 2.3 million households -1.8 million rural households and the balance peri-urban and in that, Government is going to provide transport from GMB depots to the respective wards. There are challenges in some wards and these are an exception.
The Hon. Member can avail those details immediately so that we can transmit them to the GMB. There are occasions where in Gokwe and last week in Zvimba and in Murehwa, where we heard this morning that transporters were unwilling to engage GMB to ferry the inputs. Last week, we were given 250 000 litres of diesel to avail to transporters so that they can move their inputs expeditiously. In cases where there is still insistence that the transporter is unwilling to move these, we have sent GMB trucks to assist so that no farmer pays for the transport.
In some instances, we have also noted that this is connivance between the transporter, GMB, Agritex and the councillor, where they get $2 to $4 per villager and then they give the transporter. The transporter is perhaps given $600 and the balance is shared. So that used to happen in the past and we want all inputs to be distributed by GMB, and Hon. Members to assist us in this regard by raising these issues wherever they occur so that we can solve them on a case by case basis. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. MUNETSI: May I get it clearly from the Hon. Minister that he is saying on top of the offer of money, they are also going to be given fuel?
HON. DR. MASUKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and the Hon. Member for seeking clarification because it is absolutely critical that we clarify the position that the contract is inclusive of fuel but the issue that was arising is because this is payable in Zim dollar. Transporters were raising the issue that the Zim dollar fuel is not available. We have responded by availing 250 000 litres to GMB to avail to transporters, which amount will be deductable from the total that is payable to the transporter. Thank you.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and good afternoon to you. I wanted to ask the Minister of Environment and Tourism and in his absence, I will direct the question to the Leader of Government business. Zimbabwe has a total population of over 100 000 elephants and the carrying capacity is 45 000, which means there is over-population. What is Government policy regarding the export of live elephants to other countries? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. It is very correct that the carrying capacity for our elephants has been exceeded. We really want to downscale and have a reasonable amount of our herd of elephants. As a country, we are constrained because of the international conventions that we are party to but we really believe that this is very unfair. We should be allowed as a country to sell off excess stock of our elephants; it is one of the areas that our Minister is seized with and we are pushing as a block, particularly as African countries.
Those that impose this ban do not have elephants in their countries and we believe that it should not be a blanket statement that applies to everyone else in the world. We must look at it region by region and look at it specifically looking at us here in Southern Africa, you find out that almost 50% of the elephants in the world are in Southern Africa outside Kenya - that is Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. We believe it is something that we must look at and continue pushing so that we are allowed that free trade. I thank you.
HON. MUNETSI: I have a supplementary question. Would it be of any effect if Zimbabwe as a country would pull countries which are giving us restrictions to sell our elephants? Thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. We believe in engaging and negotiating as opposed to pulling out. So, we believe that we must continue with our efforts to negotiate so that our position is heard. I thank you.
HON. TEKESHE: We are facing a challenge of human wildlife population. The number of elephants in Zimbabwe are so many. They have exceeded the desired number. I thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank him for his view which we are going to take to the Hon. Minister regarding the caring of elephants. I will take that suggestion.
HON. DR. LABODE: I was just thinking loud over these horns. If we were to get a company from China - because we know Chinese actually make medicine from these things and they are based here. We process them into whatever, is it not an end product which is different from a whole horn, would that also not be better? I know we cannot send it out but what if there is a factory here that is processing those horns? We cannot just keep piling them, putting them behind the speaker.
HON. ZIYAMBI: I want to thank Hon. Labode for the suggestion. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is still banned. What they are banning is what we are using as a raw material to come up with your end product that you want to export. Like I said, the best bet is to continue engaging as a bloc so that the ban is lifted and then we will be able to do like what she is proposing, if we are allowed.
+HON. M. NKOMO: My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. I want to know if elderly people who are not able to dig, are not into Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme can be given agricultural inputs?
The question having been translated by the Hon. Speaker.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Thank you very much for the translation. The clarity is very important; from a policy perspective, we climate proof agriculture to ensure household food security. In doing this, we have said no one and no place will be left behind. No household, no village will be left behind. So, the prerequisite of accessing these inputs is that you have done one plot up to five and you are given inputs that are commensurate with the number of plots you have done. But not to do a plot is also electing not to get inputs. However, there are orphaned, child-headed families, the elderly, those you have mentioned, they will get inputs when the inputs for that particular area are distributed, whether they have done plots or not. Then we request the local leadership and everyone to go back to the old traditional cultural issue of assisting our neighbours because they are the most vulnerable and they need food security more than ever.
In short, to get inputs, you should have done something and that something is first to be trained in the concept of Pfumvudza/Intwasa and secondly, rolling out at least one plot. Thank you.
HON. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. We are blessed to have you as our Speaker, you are multilingual. However, my point of order relates to an issue which you raised previously in this august House. We have got 16 official languages and all Members of Parliament are entitled to speak in a language that they choose. I am concerned that after the adoption of our Constitution in 2013, it is now eight years down the line. As Parliament, we have not implemented or taken measures to ensure that we have facilities which allow simultaneous translation so that we do not have a situation where the Hon. Speaker has to double up as an interpreter.
I just wanted to find out from your office Mr. Speaker, what has been done in order to address this issue so that any member who speaks in any language that he chooses, there will be simultaneous translation and all Members will be able to follow?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you for that observation. We were in a catch-22 situation to be or not to be. In view of the fact that we are moving to the new Parliament building, now to spend money installing such gadgets here and six months down the line, you again install new gadgets at the new Parliament, we thought it was uneconomic and that the Presiding Officers will assist from time to time with interpretation. All things being equal, I think by June if not earlier next year, we should be at the new Parliament building where all these facilities will be in place.
HON. NDUNA: My supplementary question is; in view of the fact that the Pfumvudza concept is now gone urban as of last week’s question time, where Government said they have now a policy to also give Pfumvudza to the urban dwellers, it is my observation that they had actually used other means of not ......
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, ask the question. The matter was accepted last week, so what is the question?
HON. NDUNA: In view of the fact that urban dwellers had used other means as opposed to digging holes to cultivate and excavate their one plot pieces of land, would it please the Minister to also apportion the Pfumvudza inputs support scheme to these urban dwellers irrespective of the methods they used in tilling and excavating their land Mr. Speaker Sir?
THE HON. SPEAKER: I do not know, I thought the Hon. Minister was so explicit in his response earlier on. I will indulge the Hon. Member and perhaps the Hon. Minister may be seeing another angle in terms of the supplementary question.
HON. DR. MASUKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. This just gives me an opportunity to provide additional information relating to Pfumvudza/Intwasa. The programme is primarily the land owned by 99% of the households, but as we move to the bigger plots and more were exploring the possibility for mechanical conservation farming methods. There are about 600 farms that will be selected for that purpose for this year. The local Agritex Officer will be able to ascertain whether the principles of Pfumvudza have been carried out because those are the pre-requisites for accessing these inputs; so there will be very specific local area judgments made.
May I take this opportunity to clarify that we do not give urban dwellers Pfumvudza/Intwasa, we give peri-urban farmers on what we call transcend urban cultivation. There are no policies on urban agriculture but on transcend urban cultivation because agriculture takes place in designated areas. These are agricultural areas and they are defined in terms of the statutes. Open spaces in urban areas are not for cultivation, they are intended for some futuristic use. However, in the interim, they can be used to cultivate crops to improve household food security. So, we call that transcend cultivation for which we have recognised as a Government that there is need to cushion the urban population so they too could cultivate those and be able to access the Pfumvudza/Intwasa inputs. I thank you.
HON. DR. KHUPE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Hon. Minister, prices of basic commodities have astronomically gone up beyond what many families can afford and it is very clear that as we move towards the festive season, prices are going to be increasing even more higher to the extent that even with bonuses, workers will not be able to touch and feel those bonuses. What measures are you putting in place to mitigate against these price increases so that at least people can afford to buy something even as they are going to be receiving bonuses? If you do not do anything, people will not be able to touch and feel those bonuses.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank the Hon. Member for the question on the galloping prices which are hurting the poor. It is certainly true but the causes have been largely the gap between the parallel market and the official rate. So, the first order of business is to tackle that gap between the parallel market and the official auction rate. We have put in place several measures. First of all, is to eliminate the gap that exists in the allocations on the auctions. We did that successfully this week where Treasury stepped in to clear the backlog making sure that there is certainty and credibility around the auction.
The Central Bank issued a statement yesterday attesting the fact that we had cleared this backlog as Treasury. The way we do it is not that we are handing money over to the private sector through the auction but rather we are exchanging the USD that we have that we collect from taxes for the ZWL that we need to settle civil servants’ salaries and other ZWL needs.
You have seen that we have increased interest rates to make it more expensive for the speculators to speculate. We are implementing other measures going forward to make sure that we reduce the cost of speculation and dampen the arbitrage opportunities that come with that.
On the simple cushioning front through this Parliament, we will be requesting an adjustment in the tax bands as I present the budget next week just to make sure that those who are at the lower levels in terms of salaries can be cushioned through a tax relief. We are also going to request that Parliament approves an increased social protection budget which covers things be it BEAM, health support for the vulnerable, cash transfers as well. We will be requesting an increased budget for the support for the vulnerable. So, we will try to attack this issue from different angles in terms of trying to meet the needs of the vulnerable from the price increases.
One thing that we could not do by the way, is price controls; that would be a disaster. It never works; we make strategies on the shelves. I think these kinds of measures that I have outlined are perhaps the best way to go as package of measures. I thank you.
+HON. PETER MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. People who are behind parallel markets are known, what is the Government doing about that? The Minister is aware of those culprits behind parallel market. I thank you.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Most of the culprits are known, some of them have been arrested. Certainly, the people are very cunning because they enjoy the proceeds so they continue with what they are doing but they are being arrested.
We have a law SI 127 which is helping us to do what we are doing so that we obey the law. It is not easy, some come to the auction and we would want to know who is receiving the money. Some come weekly, so we want to see whether there is no criminality which is happening around there. We are trying our best so that the law is implemented.
As we speak, it is one of the measures which we have taken that the law should be adhered to. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Hon. Speaker and good afternoon. Hon. Speaker, I would just like to supplement to the Minister - so long as our incomes are working on the official rate and our expenditure is on the parallel market, we have a serious problem and this is unsolvable until it is policed and enforced. I do not know why the Ministry cannot push that the monies taken from the auction rate are charged into the system at the rate they were bought because there is no shop in town that is not charging on the parallel rate. Can the Minister not enforce those companies that are accessing money on the auction rate to acquit their forms at that rate and not the parallel rate? I thank you.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank Hon. Markham for his question. He is correct in the observation that there are individuals, companies and others who source money from the auction at the auction rate that he sees published every week, but the prices that you find in their shops are different. They are parallel market prices and this is not on. We do not condone that. In fact, we are trying to deal with that. I agree with him that there should be better enforcement when it comes acquittals. Before the person comes back to the auction, there should also be a follow up and an audit. That is what I mentioned earlier. So I agree with him that we should enforce better. We will continue to do so. It is never easy. You know when there is arbitrary opportunity, often that tends to be shared through the ecosystem. So in terms of collusion of individuals and companies - it is happening. That makes it difficult to enforce the law through a single point and we have to attack the whole ecosystem if we want to succeed, but I appreciate his suggestion and his concern. We are concerned, I am concerned. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary to the Hon. Minister, where I come from, in particular the people in some areas have no access to information from the print and radio media, but I make sure I give them the Hansard after Parliament. Would it please the Minister to elaborate, espouse on the bonuses that are United States dollar based that you are going to give to civil servants which we saw in the print and in electronic media, as well as on television so that the people I represent can get to hear first hand from you?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Unfortunately, that supplementary question does not arise in terms of the price regime raised by Hon. Khupe. Please take your seat.
HON. GONESE: Supplementary Mr. Speaker Sir. In your response Hon. Minister, you have indicated that there should be better controls and also better investigation on those companies which would have accessed foreign currency at the auction rate. However Hon. Minister, there are individuals…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are now debating. Ask the supplementary question.
HON. GONESE: Hon. Minister, what happens to those companies which are not able to get all their requirements at the auction rate as a result of which they claim to have purchased some of the currency on the parallel market and some on the auction rate? How do you deal with that situation in terms of the policing and the controls that you have alluded to Hon, Minister?
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: What we are policing is really around the foreign currency that we have provided. It is a lot easier to do that. That is what we follow up on but if individuals are doing blended pricing and so forth, again we want to understand it but really we want to make sure that our foreign currency is not a contributor to parallel market prices that we see prevailing. That is really our main concern and it is much easier to prove that than blended prices or the other prices, but the issue of enforcement is never easy at all.
We have FIU, the police, we have ZIMRA to an extent, we have all the law enforcement agencies out there but people are still managing to escape. Those are the facts. It just shows you how difficult it is especially if the incentives and the arbitrary profits are being distributed among many beneficiaries, then everyone has an incentive to cover up for each other. It is never easy, but we will continue with the hard work especially around the sources that we would have provided ourselves through the auction. I thank you.
(v)HON. WATSON: My question is in connection with the theft of cables, the ZESA electricity conducted cables. Large areas of the country have no power because the cables have been stolen. ZESA themselves do not have the capacity to replace the cables. Residents have replaced cables and those too have been stolen. What is the Ministry of Home Affairs and the ZRP going to do? What plans do they have to curb that theft?
HON. ZIYAMBI: I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Indeed, we are faced with the problem of theft of copper cables and the Minister of Home Affairs brought an amendment to the Copper Act to ensure that we put in place stiffer mandatory sentences to curb the theft of these cables as a deterrent measure. Over and above that, we believe communities must come together to assist our law enforcement agencies. Sometimes it is very difficult to police the whole electrical line and if communities come together and assist in apprehending these criminals, it will go a long way in ensuring it will also act as a deterrent measure when the thieves know that communities are now assisting the law enforcement agency to ensure that we protect our property. The Minister is going to steer the Bill that will bring in mandatory stiffer sentences to ensure that it acts as a deterrent measure. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: I am glad that the Leader of Government Business is the one tasked with enacting laws. Would it please the Minister meanwhile to withdraw the licences of copper operators seeing that we do not produce copper and their mining field is the ZESA cables?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Actually, that is what is happening. The Minister of Home Affairs has suspended issuing new licences and is tightening up to ensure that those that have them comply. Once you are caught and it is proved that you have been stealing copper cables, naturally the Minister is cancelling those licences. So, indeed those measures are there but we need over and above that, to come up with deterrent mandatory sentences and our communities to come together so that we fight this evil. I thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business. When are we likely to see provincial councils fully operational?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): We had already initiated the process of ensuring that provincial councils start working by coming up with a Bill here in Parliament, the Provincial Councils Bill. What then happened is that we then passed Constitutional Amendment (No. 2), and it entailed us withdrawing that Bill and ensuring that we bring in a Bill that is consistent with the amendments we made. That Bill should be reaching Parliament before the end of this year so that by the first quarter of next year, the provincial councils must be operational.
We are mindful that this year when budgets for provincial councils are made, these must be disbursed to councils that will be in operation. Our target is that as we start a new year, we should be able to have passed it the first quarter of next year so that they can become fully operational. I thank you.
*HON. SEWERA: I would like to direct my question to the Leader of Government Business. There are illicit brands of alcohol which are being sold literally for a nominal fee. I am wondering whether they are coming through the official channels or black market channels. What is going to be done about that?
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for such a pertinent question. The answer is that indeed there are such illicit brands of alcohol which are a cause for concern, which culminated in His Excellency creating a taskforce to deal with such alcohol so that we prevent our children from this vice. These illicit drugs and alcohol are coming through the black market channels and this is being done in an illegal way. It is being sold illegally. The challenge is that we request or implore the public to assist police officers by tipping them if you are aware of where such alcohol is being sold, and indeed alcohol cannot just be sold without a liquor licence.
If you are a shop owner and if you are selling food, you are required to be given a licence by the Ministry of Local Government to sell liquor. For those who sell liquor, the Ministry of Local Government is there to give licences. If you sell illicit alcohol, then your licence will be withdrawn. Through Government programmes, we need to come up with ways of curbing such illicit drugs. I thank you.
HON . CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Minister for his response. Since the packaging of that alcohol makes it easy for youngsters to afford, why can Government not put in place measures that make it mandatory for distilling companies to package in such a way that the alcohol is not affordable? Can the Government come up with such a policy?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMETARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Actually Madam Speaker, these are illegal illicit brews, so we cannot set a price on something that is illegal. What we want is to get rid of all those illicit brews. I thank you.
(v)*HON. KASHIRI: Thank you Madam Speaker, I wanted to know from the Hon. Minister whether it is possible to have a policy to close all such companies that are making illicit brews? I thank you.
*HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker and I thank the Hon. Member for the question. This is exactly what we are saying that all those found selling or brewing these illegal brews that are harming our people, if they were in business of selling alcohol, if we catch them doing this, we will cancel their licences. We also want to introduce deterrent prison sentences for such practices. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question is that some of the people involved in these illicit commodities seem to be aligned to the law enforcement agencies especially where I come from. We are still looking at means and ways to effect citizen’s arrest. Would it be possible Hon. Minister for the resident, in particular where I come from, to expeditiously without fail, effect citizen’s arrest and mete instant justice to the people who have killed the youths in Chegutu West Constituency and in particular Zimbabwe in general in Ward 25.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker; I hear Hon. Nduna’s concerns and his appetite to ensure that we mobilise members of his constituency to arrest those that are in the business of brewing elicit beer. I agree with him the moment you notice that someone is doing this, apprehend him and hand him over to the police but do not beat them up. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker. I see the lockdown has been extended on level 2. My questions pertains to cross-border travel, this particularly pertaining to the figures that are coming up from the Ministry of Health and Child Care that we are losing one person a day and we have got about 45 new COVID-19 cases. My question is when are we going to lift the ban on cross-border travel because it is going to have a serious impact on retaining diaspora and on Christmas bookings et cetera? I stand corrected but I believe we are the last SADC country to still consider opening our borders in view of the Christmas holiday, of the economy and informal sector. Surely this must be taken into account, I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question wherein he is asking when we are opening our borders, if I got him correctly. Madam Speaker, our borders are open but there are conditions for entering just like what is happening in all countries across the world. Our citizens can come, if they do not have a COVID-19 certificate; because you are our citizens, we will quarantine you. If you are a foreigner there are requirements. For citizens, we request that you have a COVID-19 PCR that is less than 48 hours that you took at least 48 hours before you travel. That has been the requirement if you want to come to Zimbabwe. We had imposed stiffer requirements from those that were coming from India but we have now relaxed because we noticed that the Delta variant is now prevalent in our population; we have relaxed. Our borders are open but there are certain conditions that we believe must be satisfied upon arrival for you to be allowed entry. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: I might not have put it correctly but I am talking about road borders not airport -hence, I mentioned the regional countries around us have opened their borders and also diaspora and the informal traders. These people do not travel by aircraft, I thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker, our road borders are open and the conditions are exactly the same, I thank you.
HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development. What has the Government put in place to protect our newly constructed roads throughout the country from some careless road users who might damage the infrastructure?
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I would want to also thank Hon. Mutambisi for that wonderful question. The Hon. Member has raised two very important points, one to do with reckless and negligent users and the second one to do with the issue of maintaining roads. Hon. Madam Speaker, I am quite grateful to the advent of the Second Republic. For those who remember, we used to have the Maintenance Unit for our major roads and they had been abandoned for quite some time. However, through a Cabinet decision again, in particular His Excellency then directed resuscitation of maintenance units. The essence of maintenance units is to maintain the roads after rehabilitating and reconstructing our roads, and we also need to make sure that we keep those roads in that state.
As we speak, we are busy mobilising maintenance units so that after constructing a road, we then need to come and make sure that we do not have potholes and cracks developing on those roads. We are saying we would also need to beautify our roads. By beautifying, that is where we are also having the drainage system, solar system and the flowers themselves. This is the exercise that we will be partaking but I want to thank the Hon. Member that yes, it is also a responsibility of the citizens to make sure that we maintain our roads and we leave the roads in the state they were as we are rehabilitating them. Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Would it please the Minister to first and foremost deal with the expeditious completion of the 821 kilometres Plumtree-Mutare Highway in terms of signage, carriageway markings and roadside furniture as he has alluded to? The issue of carriageway markings is what is hampering most of the roads that have been completed long back in terms of travel. Would it please the Minister first and foremost before those signs are plundered, to make sure that they are completed, premised on the contract that has already been completed?
HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker, let me also thank the Hon. Member for the question and also to concur with Hon. Nduna that Mutare-Plumtree Road, the road which is topical, that yes it has some sections that need to have signage. The Hon. Member is aware we have adopted a similar programme across the SADC region in terms of signage, where we are saying you have to be compliant to the SADC protocol in terms of signage. This is exactly what we are going to do and to ensure that those obligations are actually met and for all other roads that we are rehabilitating.
Yes, it is true carriageway markings are important, especially as we are approaching the rain season, we make sure that we move with speed. Last week we started marking our roads and you will see the face of Harare changing since we are busy marking the roads. We have just started and we will continue with that trajectory.
HON. L. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I have heard what Hon. Nduna has just said. I am from Matabeleland North where there is the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road which has spent 41 years without completion. May it be the first preference?
HON. MHONA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I also want to thank the Hon. Member for that very important question. As I am seated here, I am sitting next to Hon. Prof. Ncube who was once in the Matebeleland region and he talked about this particular road. I am also glad to advise the House that we started working on this road in terms of the procurement. So you will be seeing us rehabilitating that road and putting the bridges that were the missing elements – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – When we say the President is a listening President, we mean he listens to your problems and takes action.
*HON. RAIDZA: My supplementary question is to do with overloading. Do we have plans to erect weighbridges on our roads? Heavy trucks are damaging roads, do we have plans to put systems so that we make sure these trucks that pass through this country carry proper loads?
*HON. MHONA: It is true that we do have people who are reckless when it comes to use of the roads. We are going to put weighbridges on roads that pass through mines and some of these areas. I urge you to spread this information that we should follow roads rules. Thank you.
*HON. SEWERA: Thank you Madam Speaker. On the issue of roads, I wanted to know the problem with traffic lights because some of them are not working and you find vendors who sell juice cards controlling cars. When will you solve this problem?
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): I would like to thank Hon. Sewera for the question. It is true that as Cabinet Ministers, it is our responsibility to solve the different challenges that are faced by the people of Zimbabwe. Some of these challenges fall under a different Ministry. For instance, when looking at traffic lights, we know that we have city fathers who are in the Ministry of Local Government. So we expect our municipal authorities to fix traffic lights. This means that at times some faults might be ascribed to be the responsibility of the Ministry of Transport yet they fall under municipal authorities.
For instance, ZUPCO buses do not fall under the Ministry of Transport but under the Ministry of Local Government. I am not blame shifting because we are Government together. It is important to understand that there is a Committee that was formed by His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa, which is responsible for putting order in our transport sector. I believe that the Ministry of Transport is one of the line ministries that are found in that taskforce.
So, I would like to promise you that regarding the different traffic lights which might be a burden to municipal authorities, we will take the onus upon us to fix such traffic lights and for those who are not trained to control traffic yet since controlling traffic is a risk, not only to them but to other road users. I would like to thank you Hon. Member but I would like to implore each and every one of us to take responsibility. After this august House, please may we give each other time to solve such issues and we are going to work on the traffic lights. I thank you for raising that point. Thank you.
(v)HON. BRG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question to the Hon. Minister of Transport and his counterpart in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is; we are just eight years before Vision 2030 and the pace at which we are rehabilitating our roads and putting tarred roads in the country means that in some provinces, that Vision 2030 will not be realised. What measures are there to make sure that all provinces get tarred roads because in some districts, we do not even have a single road that is earmarked in the next $2 billion? So I am worried that Vision 2030 will arrive and we will be left behind and yet the President’s mantra is saying no one should be left behind. Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker and let me thank Hon. Mayihlome for that follow up question. I did not hear clearly some parts of the question but I understand he is talking about some of the roads being tarred across the country to say what is the plan in place. I concur with him that the bitumen type of tar that we use is very expensive. As we are speaking, we also have other players in the industry who are coming up with alternative products especially to suit roads from our rural constituencies so that we do not usually grade our roads each and every year. This is something that is underway as we speak, through our Research and Development Department in the Ministry, to see exactly how we can rehabilitate our roads using other alternative products.
I can give you an example that on average a road would cost USD1.2 million per kilometre. One might say you are rehabilitating eight kilometers and you would hear another one saying - how can you celebrate to do eight kilometres, but if you do your numbers, by rehabilitating eight kilometres, that is almost close to USD9.6 million. It is not something that you can just pick from the street. Remember we are tapping from the fiscus and so, we are finding alternative methods of rehabilitating our roads so that they are sustainable and durable. This is something that we would also want the general citizenry to appreciate how we construct these roads. Thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you for giving me this opportunity. Would it please the Minister to bring to the House a catalogue of roads that have been constructed from scratch, in particular in the Second Republic and in the ERRP so that it can give us an opportunity to proffer solutions as to how the longevity of the roads can be preserved and also proffer and give other roads, in particular Chegutu/Mubaira Road or other roads like Chegutu/Chakari Road that can be included in the ERRP so that it is wholesome? Would it please the Minister to bring in a ministerial statement that encompasses the catalogue of all the roads that have been constructed, rehabilitated and maintained in the same period, in particular in the Second Republic so that we can give some solutions if it pleases the Minister?
HON. MHONA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Let me thank Hon. Nduna. If you go through the Ministry, one of our core values is to be accountable and we are accountable to the people of Zimbabwe. You do not need to be apologetic but you need to demand that kind of a compendium to say how have we used the money, who has constructed that road, how many kilometres and at what cost? So, this is exactly within our purview and I will be glad to present the same to the august House to say this has been done in the Second Republic. We have rehabilitated so many kilometres and we will table the same. So, I assure you Hon. Nduna and the august House that this is something that has to be demanded and be tabled. Thank you.
HON. KARUMAZONDO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement. Hon. Minister, can you inform the House when you are expecting the deliveries of rig machines for drilling the boreholes in the country? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL RESETLEMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): I thank the Hon. Member for the question. The question for the provision of water and water being a human right is critical to the Government of Zimbabwe and it is in this vein that we put up a plan to drill the 35 000 boreholes in 35 000 villages, 9 600 boreholes at 9600 schools, 1800 boreholes for youths in wards. The first two of these supper drilling rigs arrived on Friday. I expect the remainder, 48 of them to arrive before the end of the year.
May I take this advantage of having been asked this question to say that the President of the Republic will be launching this programme shortly. I thank you.
HON. TEKESHE: My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. There is an advert which was flighted talking of service stations which are going to be using RTGS. I would like to know if the adverts are from the Minister’s office and if so, when are you likely to have that fuel in RTGS?
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MUSWERE) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT: Thank you Madam Speaker. That information is not coming from the Ministry of Energy and Power Development. Currently what is being developed is a framework whereby ZERA is working closely with the Central Bank and fuel suppliers and distributers to come up with a list which will then be published by the Ministry of Energy and Power Development. I thank you.
HON. TEKESHE: Zvinongoratidza kuti Ministry iyi haisi yavo…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Tekeshe, can you withdraw that statement!
HON. TEKESHE: Hon. Speaker Ma’am, I withdraw. I just want to know if these service stations are not accessing money from the Government foreign currency programme. It looks like everybody is selling their fuel using USD, if so, why do you continue paying them when the Minister of Finance and Economic Development refuses that our currencies are not going to be dollarised. We are going to remain with RTGS and yet people are paying USD to access fuel.
HON. MUSWERE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I am sure I responded to the question that modalities and frameworks are being developed currently. Last month, ZERA flighted an advert inviting fuel station owners and distributers who would like to participate in ZWL fuel supply facility. So far, 57 fuel station owners and distributers have responded and the first tranche of 15 distributers and fuel station owners are now working with ZERA and RBZ on modalities to ensure that it is water tight and that there are also conditions that should be attached to the distribution of the ZWL fuel facility. Part of those conditions includes the fact that all these fuel station owners should allow the National Fuel Management system to be installed at their service stations. Furthermore, the conditions also include the fact that there should be weekly reports, monitoring and evaluation in terms of the ZWL fuel facility.
This facility has been developed to take care of the motoring public, the farmers, Government ministries agencies and departments and also key strategic government contractors involved in dam construction et cetera. So, we are now working on the final piece of the modalities to ensure that we rollout the ZWL fuel facility. I thank you.
(v)*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker, my supplementary question is how many months is it going to take us working on modalities whilst people are suffering? We raised concerns over this issue when we were in Victoria Falls. We are not young children who can just be fed porridge, we are adults and Zimbabwean citizens who are using the local currency. It would be better for the Hon. Minister to tell people the truth with specific dates and within a certain time frame. It is important for us to have a specific timeframe than to continue speculating. This is affecting a lot of people who continuously hear about modalities that are being worked on.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We have heard you Honourable.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. DR. MUSWERE): Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Chinotimba for his question. What I would like to assure him and this House is that before the end of this month, the Zimbabwean dollar fuel facility will be fully functional. I thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: My supplementary question to the Minister is that it is a good point you are making, but I would like to ask how you are going to manage the fuel prices of diesel because people will end up selling the diesel you gave them with Zimbabwean dollars for United States dollars.
HON. DR. MUSWERE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I think I indicated that part of the modalities and the conditions for any fuel station owner, the Ministry of Energy and Power Development through ZERA, will be in a position to deploy the National Fuel Management System. Currently, the Fuel Management System that we have is called Matsimba and that is one of the conditions that if you apply for this particular Zimbabwean dollar fuel facility, you should also accept the fact that the National Fuel Management System should be installed at this particular garage. In addition to that, there will be a financial monitoring mechanism. That is the framework I was talking about Madam Speaker, that ZERA will have the authority and access to receive weekly reports at each and every fuel station that will have participated in this facility. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, my question goes to the previous RTGS 20 litre fuel coupons received here and also in the public that were sold to the public. A lot of those coupons have not been able to be remitted and they are now charged at 2:1. In other words, for a 20 litre coupon which you paid for you are now getting 10 litres. Is the Ministry aware of it and how is he going to solve this issue of people still sitting on old RTGS coupons? Thank you.
HON. DR. MUSWERE: Madam Speaker, I am sure that this is a specific question. What I will need to get from the Hon. Member is the specific company and particular organisation which sold these RTGS coupons and which particular organisation at the same time is dispensing 10 litres instead of 20 litres, then we will task our machinery to deal with the particular issue. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you. I am sure Hon. Markham, you have taken note of that.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. What is Government policy regarding reclamation of disused mine pits, those that would have been mined by companies and artisanal miners? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHITANDO): Madam Speaker, I will talk about the existing provisions of the law and then I will also talk about plans to enhance the provisions of the law. In terms of the existing provisions of the law, before any miner or mining activity starts, there are two processes which have to be fulfilled, the citing of works plan and secondly, environmental impact assessment which amongst other things addresses the issue of the environment and how it will be addressed on completion of the mining activity.
Having said that, Government recognises that there are potential loopholes or areas which need strengthening to ensure that environmental obligations are fulfilled and to that extent, the proposed amendments to the Environmental Management Act has a number of very specific provisions and obligations in terms of the requirements of all mining activities to undertake rehabilitation as and when mining takes places and completion of mining. I thank you.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: I want to thank the Hon. Minister for his response. When can we expect the amendment to the Environmental Management Act?
HON. CHITANDO: The principles for the amendments of the Environmental Management Act were passed in Cabinet in early October and they are now with the Attorney-General for the drafting of the proposed amendments and then due course will take place.
(v)HON. KASHIRI: In view of the disused mines of which most of them have got mercury deposits which pose a danger to livestock and humans in the communities, seeing that Zimbabwe is party to the Minamata Convention on the usage of mercury, how far have we gone as a country in terms of adhering to the convention?
HON. CHITANDO: I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question which I will answer in two parts. Firstly, whilst awaiting the amendments to the Act, the Ministry of Environment announced some initiatives which where necessary to undertake and intervene in the rehabilitation of some disused areas where the miners are no longer in place, which are old mining activities.
Secondly, there is a new initiative which again the Ministry of Environment is running with, in terms of compliance and the Minamata Convention.
HON. NDUNA: We have numerous dams that have been developed outside the dams that we have already that were planned from disused mine shafts and open cast mine areas. Would it please the Minister to bring into Parliament a catalogue of places which have adhered to the Environmental Impact Assessment Report that you would have received at inception or at the beginning of the operations of those big large scale miners and small scale miners so that we can interrogate it with the hope of making sure that there is adherence on the ground in the places that we come from because we now have dangerous places and it is a copious amount of them?
HON. CHITANDO: Probably, I may need some clarity from the question by the Hon. Member, whether he is referring to environmental impact assessment of all mining locations or of certain selected mining locations because if you are talking of all mining locations, you are probably talking of over 30 000. What exactly would the Hon. Member wish us to zero in on so that at least we can respond accordingly?
HON. NDUNA: I will just narrow it down to three big players in the mining industry. For chrome, it is ZIMASCO and secondly, platinum being centered on ZIMPLATS who seem, to a larger extent, to be adhering to the ethos and values and the gold sector, in particular the pith, core and heart of my argument is RioZim who in my view, if we can narrow it down to those three, we would certainly get to the heart of this challenge.
HON. CHITANDO: Again, if I could seek further clarity from the Hon. Member to say chrome – does the Hon. Member refer to all chrome concessions or only ZIMASCO concession and on gold specific to RioZim only? If I could get that clarity.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, I advise you to put it in writing so that the Minister will bring the response.
HON. BUSHU: My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, if he may please address the House regarding acting positions in the Public Service.
THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): I am assuming that the Hon. Member is saying that there are quite a number of positions where people act for too long, maybe Acting Director or Acting Chief Director and the like. From 2020 into 2021, we have been affected by COVID-19 in terms of filling those positions but we have seen quite a number of positions being filled since the relaxation of the COVID-19 protocols. We would like to hasten to say, that process of filling those positions affects performance of the specific positions because people who act may not have the confidence and authority to act as they should. I am glad that we have seen quite a movement in terms of filling those positions but we need to hasten the pace. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Would it please the Minister to say how he hopes to navigate Section 316 of the Constitution that deals with agreements and contracts for substantive members in those positions; in particular, the accounting officers, which states that their continued existence and holding of that office is premised primarily…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, please may you go straight to the point.
HON. NDUNA: Yes. It is premised primarily on the exercise and functions and the issue of whether they perform in that office. How does the Minister hope to navigate the area around Section 316 of the Constitution as it relates to those that are in an acting capacity?
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Hon. Madam Speaker, I am not sure I got the sure purport of this question because if there is reference to the accounting officers, to my understanding, there is no accounting officer who is acting. All the accounting officers are substantive and have their performance contracts that are discussed within the Ministry itself but which they sign before the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet. So the performance accountability of accounting officers is not in question at all but as I indicated, the issue of acting in lower positions is also of concern and we would like as much as possible to fill up those positions as quickly as possible so that those accounting officers have subordinates they can work with who can then contribute to the overall performance of the Government department or the Ministry. I thank you Madam Speaker.
Questions without Notice were interrupted by the HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
BOREHOLES DRILLED UNDER THE COMMAND WATER HARVESTING PROGRAMME
- HON. MACHINGAUTA asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development to inform the House how many boreholes were drilled under the Command Water Harvesting Programme throughout the whole country and with specific reference to Budiriro Constituency.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, FISHERIES AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I thank the Hon. Member for the question. Madam Speaker Ma’am, there is no Command Water Harvesting being implemented by the Ministry. However, the Ministry is aware of the acute need to enhance water availability for domestic, industrial and mining use, for cattle watering and irrigation throughout the country.
Initially, four priority boreholes were targeted in each constituency and a total of 411 boreholes were drilled since November, 2017 across the country. Additionally, 152 boreholes were drilled by ZINWA under the COVID-19 and drought interventions in 2020.
Madam Speaker, the new thrust by the Government under the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy and National Development Strategy 1, is to provide a borehole in each village by 2025. So 35 000 boreholes are planned in 35 000 villages. In addition, 9 600 boreholes for schools are also envisaged. Urban areas such as Budiriro will be considered under the Water Programme under the purview of the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.
The District Development Fund (DDF) under the office of the President and Cabinet also drills boreholes. The Government is under the process of procuring drilling rigs to augment the capacity of both ZINWA and DDF to drill boreholes to meet this expanded target for ZINWA and our Ministry primarily for the rural areas, for rural development. I thank you Madam Speaker.
DEBT OWED TO ZESA AND RECOVERY MEASURES
- HON. I. NYONI asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to inform the House the amount of debt owed to ZESA to date and the measures taken to recover the money owed.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MUSWERE) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The total debt owed to ZESA as at 30 September, 2021 was $15,888,834.158.27 of which the US$ component is US$63 813720.01 and the ZW$ 8,952, 632,167.73. Madam Speaker, I would like the House to take note that ZESA has since started implementing mitigation measures to recover the amount owed. There are various credit control measures that are being utilised by the utility in debt collection, which has seen collections increasing.
Currently, the revenue collection index is at 93% for the third quarter of 2021, being an improvement from 87.7% for the second quarter of 2021 and 119% for the month of September, 2021. Part of these measures Madam Speaker is;
Prepaid Meters, the clients on post-paid and load limit are gradually being enrolled onto the prepayment metering platform where debt is managed through a minimum deduction per month.
The utility is anticipating to unlock 100 000 prepaid meter facility that would enable it to clear the remaining post-paid meters and thus manage the debt through prepayment vending.
For clients already migrating to pre-paid metering, the debt is being recovered through the pre-payment meter at a minimum rate of 50%.
The second measure is the smart metering. Mr. Speaker Sir, the House should be advised that the utility is currently in pilot phase for smart metering with 2 455 meters currently in place and with 900 meters already installed. These smart meters are meant to manage the large and medium capacity customers. These smart meters are also being inserted with sim cards to enable them to communicate with the back-up system in the office and enable credit control measures to be effected timeously and remotely.
The third item is the timeous billing and dispatching of bills. The utility is endevouring to ensure that all customers are billed and the bills are dispatched timeously.
Number 4 is the payment plan. Payment plans are sometimes entertained with defaulting clients and strictly monitored to ensure that they fulfill the obligations.
Number 5 is the stop orders - farmers are being placed on stop orders where payment is received on the delivery of produce mostly through GMB.
Number 6 is client engagement, the defaulting clients are being engaged telephonically, virtually, physically as well as through other mediums in order to urge them to settle their bills.
Number 7 is the disconnection, the withdrawal of supply is utilised as a last resort where a client has failed to honour a payment plan.
Number 8 is meter separation, the strategy is mainly focusing on institutions who initially have a bulk meter and are not paying. The downstream individual clients are then placed on prepayment metering set off.
Number 9, the House should be advised that the debt for parastatals and local Government entities are being set off.
Number 10, the defaulting clients are being submitted for blacklisting if all avenues fail. So far 28 955 customers have been submitted for blacklisting.
Number 11, litigation, this has been employed as one of the last resort in order to ensure that ZESA recovers.
Number 12, the widening of payment auctions, the utility has widened its payment options from banking halls to the use of ICTs. Through ZETDC self service portal, clients are now able to inquire and pay their bills using mobile financial services.
Number 13, the lobbying of key sectors, the utility is also lobbying with key customer groups such as CZI, ZNCC, farmer organisations, et cetera in order to urge their members to settle their bills. Thank you.
(v)HON. I. NYONI: ZESA is being owed quite a substantial amount of money which would put the parastatals in good state if the recovery pace improves. Can the Minister inform the House the major debtors to date?
HON. DR. MUSWERE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The major debtors are local authorities, mining houses, other Government institutions, primary and secondary tertiary organisations, individual farmers, Government parastatals and other exporters.
HON. NYONI: Can the Hon. Minister give us a list?
HON. DR. MUSWERE: I am not sure about the list that he wants. I thought I had explained that the major contributors including local authorities, I am not sure, is it the individuals that the Hon. Member is interested on or the local authorities? Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Honourable, can you clarify your question?
HON. I. NYONI: We need the names of the local authorities, mining houses because I understand mining houses are making a lot of money but they are failing to settle their debts.
HON. DR. MUSWERE: Since this is quite specific, I would urge the Hon. Member to put his question in writing so that we can respond accordingly. Thank you.
REPLACEMENT OF TRANSFORMER IN WAVERLY KADOMA
- HON. CHINYANGANYA asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to inform the House when the transformer in Waverly, Kadoma is going to be replaced since people have been living in darkness for quite some time.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MUSWERE) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The response is that we would like to draw the House’s attention to the fact that the point in question requires 200 KVA transformer to replace the vandalised one and the utility is currently working on developing specifications for this particular transformer. However, there is an order that was placed by the utility for the transformers and it is expected to be delivered before the end of December this year 2021. It is from this order that the Waverley transformer will be allocated. Thank you.
REPAIRS AND UPGRADING OF MAWABENI-MBIZINGWE-OLD BULAWAYO ROAD
- HON. BRG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House:
(a) Why the repairs and upgrading of the Mawabeni–Mbizingwe–Old Bulawayo Road end at a council boundary instead of connecting to the Old Bulawayo Road thereby bringing full economic benefits to the corridor as a whole;
(b) When will the upgrading of the Beitbridge–Victoria Falls Road commence.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MADIRO): Mr. Speaker Sir, as you may be aware, the Government in February, 2021 declared the state of all our roads a national disaster thereby initiating an incentive to the operationalisation of the 2nd Phase of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2. Under ERRP 2, the Government is targeting to rehabilitate 10 000 kilometres of roads countrywide. This initiative has seen the rehabilitation of major roads and highways throughout the country and efforts continue in a bid to ensure achievement of world class roads infrastructure in line with the National Vision 2030.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in terms of subsection (1) of Section 5 of the Roads Act, Chapter 13:18, the department of Roads shall have the power to construct, maintain and rehabilitate any regional primary and secondary road in accordance with road programmes approved by the road administration. Subsection (2) of Section 5 of the same Act states that, ‘every local road authority shall within the area of its jurisdiction have power to construct, maintain and rehabilitate every urban or tertiary road or road which is not a regional, primary or secondary road in accordance with road programmes approved by the road administration’.
The Mawabeni/Mbizingwe Old Bulawayo Road is 49 kilometres long with 24 kilometres under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development as it falls under the definition of a primary road, whereas the other 25 kilometres is under Umzingwani Rural District Council. The observed repairs and rehabilitation works are on the 24 kilometre section under my Ministry and terminate at the council boundary.
Beyond this boundary, the maintenance of the road is under Umzingwani Rural District Council in terms of Section 5 of the Roads Act. Notwithstanding these provisions, I concur that rehabilitation of the entire road is of paramount importance. To that effect, and in terms of Subsection (4) of Section 5 of the Road Act, wherein I may in consultation with the Road Administration, direct a local road authority to construct within such reasonable time as I may fix, any urban or tertiary road within its area of jurisdiction. My Ministry will superintend Umzingwani Rural District Council to timeously maintain its part of the road so that there is uniformity of road conditions beyond the boundary.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the second part of Hon. Mayihlome’s question was for the Minister to establish when the upgrading of Beitbridge/Victoria Falls Road would commence. In response, the Beitbridge/Victoria Falls Road Rehabilitation Project is being undertaken under a Public-Private-Partnership arrangement. What this means is that there is to exist a cooperative arrangement between the public and private sector built on the expertise of its partner which best meets clearly defined needs through the appropriate allocation of resources, risks and the wards. This entails a procurement method where Government invites the public sector for a contractual relationship in order to design, construct, finance, manage and take the operational risk of the public sector infrastructure facilities – in this case road infrastructure.
Public-Private-Partnerships are increasingly seen as a mechanism to develop infrastructure on a cost effective and sustainable basis and if properly managed, PPPs have a potential to unlock the much-needed financial resource to fund public projects. The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development has appointed a project proponent who is currently on the ground undertaking the feasibility study and the financial arrangement will be submitted to the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency for their consideration and approval.
There is considerable progress and the project is on track. Allow me to share timelines of major milestones on the project. By December 2021, there will be the submission of the First Report of the Feasibility Study. By end of February 2022, the Final Report of the Feasibility Study will be submitted. Approval processes and financial closure will be done in not more than three months. Finally, by June 2022, construction will commence on the same road. I thank you.
HON. DR. KHUPE: My supplementary question to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development is that whilst these processes are going on in terms of feasibility and so forth, what are you doing to make sure that those roads are passable because the truth of the matter is that there are so many potholes yet these are busy roads, the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road. I thank you.
HON. MADIRO: I want to take the Hon. Member’s valuable suggestion and proposal that whilst the processes I have outlined in terms of feasibility study, financial closure and so forth, the bad state of the road be attended to. We take that suggestion as it is. I thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: When you look at the timelines that the Hon. Minister is outlining, is it an indication that there is no capacity in this country? Can that time frame be reduced to half or even quarter of that length? What is causing so long timelines to do such small projects which can be done overnight?
HON. MADIRO: Thank you very much Hon Speaker Sir. With due respect to the contribution by the hon. Member, it is true that it is the wish of the Government and the people of Zimbabwe that the roads are fixed in the shortest possible time. I think we need to take care of the need to ensure visibility of such huge projects in terms of the feasibility to establish the business sense and the resources to be undertaken under such big projects.
The timelines have been affected to a great extent by the COVID-19 lockdown because feasibility also involves the need to take statics of the volume of vehicular volumes through that particular road. Given the lockdown which the Hon. Member is aware of, it was not possible to get the correct statistics over a very longtime and that affected the timelines as you would require them to be done. So, it is clearly because of the intervention of the situation which was beyond the control of the Ministry and the partners. I thank you.
COMPLETION OF INSTALLATION OF THE MZOLA BOOSTER IN LUPANE WEST CONSTITUENCY
- HON. M. KHUMALO asked the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to inform the House when the Ministry will complete the installation of the Mzola Booster in Lupane West Constituency which has been outstanding since 2017, in view of the absence of communication network which adversely affects the entire Lupane Constituency and in particular schools and other institutions.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. DR. MUSWERE): Mzola site is under MBB3 development and works on the site are scheduled to start beginning of December 2021. The site commissioning is expected to be commissioned in the first quarter of the year 2022. I thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that Orders of the Day, Number 1 to 8 on Today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day Number 9 has been disposed of.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Ninth order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential speech.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SAMSON: Thank you Mr. Speaker for affording me this opportunity. I want to support the motion and I want to put emphasis on the speech that was given by our President, His Excellency E. D. Mnangagwa. I want to talk about a few things he mentioned.
I want to talk about the issue of the road transport network, especially the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway. It is a road that has undergone rehabilitation and is now at an advanced stage and very different from the way it was before rehabilitation. Also, that those who have dams that have been built in our nation, especially considering Tokwe-Mukorsi as one of the dams that were built and it assists in improving the lives of the people in the different communities that they live in and it also provides water for irrigation.
So we can see that with what the President has said, people have improved livelihoods and also the issue of unity that he mentioned, that when people are united there is development because development cannot take place where there is no peace.
I want to also say that on the issue of the livelihoods of the people and the settlement of people in different areas, the way people are settled has enhanced their sources of livelihood, especially when looking at the Pfumvudza Project, people are being given Presidential inputs so that they can contribute towards the food security of our nation. Once there is food security, there will not be any money required to buy food from outside the country.
With those few words Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the President for those words. I thank you.
(v)HON. MUPONORA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for allowing me to add my voice to this important debate on the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency, Cde E. D. Mnangagwa.
Let me hasten to say that the address was made as the nation was and is still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, but this did not deter the Government from implementing strategies meant to achieve a middle income economy by the year 2030. On this note, it is imperative that I commend Government for coming up with programmes that ensure economic growth, though a bit retarded due to the effects of the pandemic.
Agriculture-wise, the introduction of the Pfumvudza Programme, coupled with good rains experienced over the 2020/2021 farming season meant the country experienced food sufficiency after such a long time. However, it is important that we ride on this wave of bumper harvest and ensure that inputs are delivered in time. I am therefore happy to commend Government for the early delivery of Presidential inputs to farmers in rural areas, including Mt Darwin North Constituency.
Let me move to the education sector where Government needs to be commended for ensuring that all schools are manned by qualified teachers, but in Mt Darwin North Constituency, most schools are under-staffed. Most teachers are shunning schools due to poor infrastructure in terms of staff accommodation and learning space. I therefore recommend that Government comes up with a schools’ infrastructure development programme.
In order to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, Government came up with e-learning in schools, but in rural schools such as in Mt. Darwin North, this has been an anathema as there is no access to technology. I therefore urge the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to construct information centres in all rural constituencies.
His Excellency highlighted the strides Government is making to ensure availability of electricity. It is important that Government invests in solar energy. Mt. Darwin North has vast areas to put up solar farms, and electricity fed into the national grid because the sun is 24/7, 365 days of the year. It is also important to ensure that ZETDC is capacitated to ensure that they are able to maintain the available power lines as some in Mt. Darwin North turned into white elephants due to lack of use.
On infrastructure, Government is doing very well in terms of road construction but there are roads such as Mt. Darwin-Mukumbura Road which were under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and have not been completed. They seem to be neglected. It is important that such projects be completed in order to improve trade within SADC. On the same note, infrastructure destroyed by Cyclone Eline way back such as Tsenga and Nyautande have not been rehabilitated.
Government has also excelled in dam construction and must be commended for this endeavour However, we have the drought prone Dande Valley which has poor catchment sites and water can be drawn from Zambezi River. This can turn the valley into a green belt.
Once again Mr. Speaker, thank you for affording me the opportunity to add my voice to the State of the Nation Address.
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 18th November, 2021
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the House reverts to Order of the Day, Number 2 on today’s Order Paper.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
RESTORATION OF MOTION ON THE REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE ON THE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE HELD WITH THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE ON THE NATIONAL PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA ON THE ORDER PAPER
HON. SHAMU: I move the motion standing in my name that the motion on the report of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on the Virtual Conference held with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Republic of China which was superseded by the end of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament be restored on the Order Paper in terms of Standing Order No. 77.
HON. MUNETSI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
RESTORATION OF MOTION ON THE REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE ON THE 2020 FIRST, SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH QUARTER BUDGET PERFORMANCE REPORTS FOR THE MINISTRY ON THE ORDER PAPER
HON. SHAMU: I move the motion standing in my name that the motion on the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on the 2020, First, Second, Third and Fourth Quarter Budget Performance Reports for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade which was superseded by the end of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament be restored on the Order Paper in terms of Standing Order No. 77
HON. BUSHU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
On the motion of HON TOGAREPI seconded by HON TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Thirteen Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.