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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 18 AUGUST 2022 VOL 48 NO 69
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 18th August, 2022
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to say as Parliamentarians, who were chosen in our different constituencies, we need to work for the country. Since you know that the Government is represented by the Executive, Judiciary and Parliamentarians, - it is my wish that when you are in Parliament, as Members of Parliament, Parliament must not say you are now getting this amount of fuel, changing each and every time. Parliament needs to put a notice on issues like that.
Sometimes you get $2, sometimes you get $5. The next day you hear that fuel is being collected there at a certain place and sometimes you find that you will not be having coupons. If I am representing my constituency, what does it mean when I am failing to represent it because I will not be having enough resources? May Parliament take note that Members of Parliament are struggling to represent their constituencies due to various reasons. Thank you Madam Speaker.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Nyabani but you were not clear on your issue. You did not clearly say what the issue is. You indicated that you are not aware of how things are operating?
*HON. NYABANI: Madam Speaker, there is an issue of PetroTrade coupons that expired and nothing was done about that issue. We were supposed to get a guarantee on how they are going to operate. May you please let us know of the proceedings when there is still time so that we take action.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Nyabani, that issue will be resolved by the Administration of Parliament. They need to alert you and tell you what is going on through various channels so that you are aware of what is happening and not beating about the bush.
HON. MOKONE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I rise on an issue of national importance. Two weeks back, we lost an icon in the arts industry and in the media industry by the name Cont Mhlanga.
Madam Speaker, Mr. Cont Mhlanga was not just a mere Zimbabwean. He played a very key role towards the contribution of the arts industry in this country from 1982 when he founded the Amakhosi Theatre Production. He then became a copyright; a producer. He groomed a number of young artists that we are seeing in this present day. At his death, as I am speaking to you, he was also a shareholder at Skyz Metro and at Ke Yona TV, the station that is yet to come.
To the surprise of many people in Matableland, Mr. Cont Mhlanga was not accorded any hero status. Madam Speaker, if I can juxtapose with the likes of Simon Chimbetu, the likes of Oliver Mutukudzi and Soldier Love, surely the work that Cont Mhlanga played in this nation cannot be swept under the carpet.
Madam Speaker, the people of Matabaleland are very disappointed with this move because of the role that he played in this country. He was only given a provincial status. So the people of Matabeleland deserve answers to this. They feel that the State assisted funeral that he was given was not enough. My prayer now Madam Speaker, is that the Government reconsiders its decision as regards to the hero status of Cont Mhlanga and if possible, if we can get a Ministerial Statement with regards to this. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mokone. With regard to the issue which you have raised, I think we will just convey the message to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage since you have said that you require them to come with a Ministerial Statement regarding why Cont Mhlanga was not accorded a heroes status. As to my knowledge, I am sure the people of Matabeleland or the people whom he was living with are the ones who were supposed to ask for the heroes status – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Oliver Mutukudzi was given a hero status because of the province where he came from – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – What I am trying to highlight to you is the process, I will ask the Hon. Minister to come up with a Ministerial Statement. You must know that the Ministry is not the one that gives the hero status – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – [HON. PHULU: In terms of the Act of Parliament administered by the Minister of Home Affairs.] – We will ask the Minister of Home Affairs to make a Ministerial Statement as per your request.
*HON. CHIKWINYA: My point of national interest is about school fees for Government schools especially noting that schools are opening on the 5th of September. Ministry of Education has allowed schools to charge in US dollars. Many people who send their children to Government schools are civil servants who do not earn much. Apart from civil servants, there are also people who live below the poverty datum line, hence they cannot afford to pay fees in US dollars, people like vendors, all informally employed and the Members of Parliament who are in this august House. I am worried that as parliamentarians, we have not received a Ministerial Statement or a circular from the Ministry of Education stating the payment of US dollars in schools. We hear this through news and political rallies but the surprising thing is that this is now being implemented in schools.
If it was a post Cabinet briefing, does it mean that this is now policy because we are yet to see the circular? I was asking that the Minister of Education brings a Statutory Instrument to this House that guides people on how schools fees must be paid. Some schools are refusing to accept RTGS equivalent, they want the whole amount to be paid in US dollars. If there is no clear policy regarding the payment of fees, we will face problems on the day when schools open.
Let me give an example; a school might charge US$400, if there are no plans for RTGs equivalent payment, it means that someone who would have paid at official exchange rate using parallel market rate would pay US$200 but those that will pay hard currency will pay US$400. So we must correct this disparity using a Statutory Instrument or a circular that comes from the Ministry of Education. I am asking that the Minister brings a Statutory Instrument or circular before the 5th September, 2022 or else what was there during the second term is the same rule that must apply in the third term. I thank you Madam Speaker.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Chikwinya, I will ask the Government Chief Whip to pass on the message to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of privilege Madam Speaker Ma’am.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of privilege?
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My point of privilege is; I do not question the ruling of the Chair but I do not think any Member of Parliament can leave their houses to come here so that they can be kicked out. I think we are adults and it is also difficult when you are not given a warning and suddenly you are told to leave. At times we ask questions which are very hard especially myself, I am very determined to bring national issues to the fore.
My being asked out of Parliament yesterday, I see it as a way to keep me quiet. If you look at it, I have records of being kicked out by Hon. Khumalo who was the Temporary Speaker yesterday. He did not give me a warning even the Hon. Speaker and yourself, to say Hon. Member please be quiet, all you say is get out. Now I think that he is protecting people who are supposed to be answering those questions. When I am out of here, the same question is answered yet I asked it. In terms of the Standing Rules and Orders, why would you continue talking about something when the person that asked the question is out? So it shows that the agenda was to remove me and then the Hon. Minister could respond in my absence. I am the one with the information and evidence. Who else is supposed to ask on my behalf? Does the Standing Rules and Orders give the power for somebody to be given the Power of Attorney by me to ask a question on my behalf? We must be careful because we are violating our own rules.
If I am taken out, I am taken out but the question still remains. What I would prefer is a Ministerial Statement from the Minister in terms of who Rusununguko is and what does Rusununguko have that benefits the country. The Commander of the Defence Forces himself, Lft. Gen. Sibanda, during the heroes’ holiday messages was very clear that we fought for this country for everyone to benefit. Ndosaka zvichinzi dzoserai zvinhu zvevanhu kune vanhu, ndiwo wanga uri iwomusimboti wehondo. Ndokumbirawo kuti haunganzvengwe nekuti maresources erusununguko ndeenyika. This is why it is said return things to the people because that was why the war was fought. Soldiers are becoming armed robbers because they are not getting enough money but if they get enough money there will not be any armed robbers. I am kindly asking for a ministerial statement to address all those issues.
There is an issue of Hon. Wadyajena that I brought to this House in terms of the allegations that he was facing. I am the Chairperson of APNAC Zimbabwe and in my individual capacity, I am the one who has also had the Privileges Committee set up over fictitious, frivolous and agenda setting on bribery which never the case, there is no way Parliament was supposed to come and report back on my request to say can you interrogate him. Now, he has been arrested yet we were slow, which shows that there are certain Hon. Members of this Parliament who are part of the syndicate because he was chairing a Committee which involves COTTCO. He was chairing FSG which has been giving money and has been doing transport.
So, how do people hold Parliament today, how do people hold the Government of the day and how do people hold the ruling party when they are protecting a chairperson? To me, it is this Parliament which is aiding corruption because I brought this issue up and it was not answered. As such, I move that he stands aside as Chairman of this Committee and the Chief Whip is here because he is pretty clear that he is implicated in many of the issues. If he is exonerated like I did, I did not go back because they knew that I would expose them more, he can go back.
So justice must take its course but for the credibility of this Parliament, we cannot allow to have him. He is the blue eyed boy of this Parliament and we know that, but at this time the blue eyed boy is a black boy. It is important that we follow the due process and respect this Parliament and if I were him, like I did, I stepped aside because of my upbringing and so forth. The credibility of this Parliament is critical and there are so many issues. I also have evidence on him with SFG giving him money and he never brought that SFG to that Parliamentary Committee yet they were an agriculture concern. So many issues arise and it is important that we are seeing Parliament to be acting on any corruption, just as swift as you did when I was accused of accepting a bribe, within 48 hours, a Committee was put in place.
At this point in time, with immediate effect, he must step down. It is the best practice even if the rule is not there. He has no respect amongst his colleagues anymore and unfortunately, the blue eyed boy for vakuru in this Parliament has fallen. I am sure he will fall with many others too because these transactions are quite serious. I have evidence and I will be providing the evidence to ZACC in terms of saying as Parliament, we cannot push for corruption and expose Ministers but we are in the forefront of it. People like Hon. Nduna were removed and so forth without evidence but here is the evidence and here are the allegations.
On another note Madam Speaker, the 200% which Government has reversed on reversing invoices is unacceptable. We need a ministerial statement on that. People in business borrowed money and when they borrowed money, suddenly it is 200%. That is unacceptable and we cannot go another phase again of making people poor. We need to respect business and we need to respect contracts signed and invoices given. You cannot reverse the invoice again. So we want a ministerial statement from the Minister of Finance, why they have decided to reverse the invoices and charge 200%. It is illegal.
I would like to stop by saying I thank you for your indulgence, pamwe pacho manditsiura mukati Hon. Mliswa, I will give you a chance to speak and so do not be angry. Asi kutsamwa kunobva kana musingatipe mukana wekutaura. Tinoboiler, vamwe tinokakamira, vamwe havakakame, saka hasha dzinobva dzawanda and hadzisi kungo tirigwa. Regerai nditaure nyange ndichikakamira, kana zvisina basa hazvina basa, ndizvo zvandinokumbira. Ndosaka ndakasarudzwa nevanhu kuti zvandataura zvine basa nezvisina basa vanongoteerera. When the term for voting comes, they will chuck me out. Ndinonzwa kana ndichivharwa nokuti kuzvipira hupenyu hwangu. To talk about soldiers, some of us cannot say it but my God protects me and there is nothing to fear but many of us cannot say it. So I also speak on behalf of the country. I am not pursuing Temba Mliswa’s agenda but I am pursuing the country’s problems. Thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, you mentioned about a ministerial statement from the Minister of Defence. We will let her know through the Government Chief Whip. You also mentioned about Hon. Wadyajena, unfortunately I cannot comment on that issue since the matter is before the courts. You also mentioned the issue of 200% for loans. You kindly asked about a ministerial statement but I think since we are in the process of the Finance Bill, you can raise issues like that since they work hand-in-hand. You can bring those issues when the Bill is being debated. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
Disorder in the House.
FINANCE BILL: BUDGET DEBATE
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion that leave be granted to bring in Finance Bill.
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): When we adjourned debate yesterday, 17th August 2022, I had gone through the first round of responses and then we ran out of time because we had to stop at 6:55 p.m. I will now continue with my responses.
Once again, I would like to thank Hon. Members for the robust debate on the Mid-Term Budget and Economic Review and Supplementary Budget Statement yesterday. Following from my responses yesterday, I wish to respond to other specific issues raised by Hon. Members during the debate. I want to start with some issues that were raised by Hon. Biti. The Hon. Member raised concern on the absence of a debt clearance strategy critical for resolution for the country’s debt burden. Madam Speaker Ma’am, Government has formulated the arrears clearance debt relief and restructuring strategy known as ACDRR that was approved in November 2021 by Cabinet and Parliament as part of the 2022 National Budget. The strategy outlines and explains possible debt resolution options including the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative and the non-HIPC scenario. To this end, the African Development Bank President has agreed to the Zimbabwe’s championing the arrears clearance and debt restructuring roadmap.
I now move on to some of the issues raised by Hon. Madzimure which I did not cover in yesterday’s response. Hon. Madzimure raised a pertinent issue on the alignment of the National Budget to the NDS1. Let me reiterate that our National Budget priority areas and programmes are derived from NDS1 in the first place and this was also the case also in 2021.
It is important to note that not all NDS projects and programmes can be implemented in a single fiscal year since the NDS1 is a medium term economic blueprint which will be implemented on a multi-ear approach. In that regard, Government is in consultation with all stakeholders including parliamentarians to identify priority areas to be implemented during each fiscal year for the five-year period. Hon. Madzimure went further to talk about inflation which he said was now about 580%. I would like to correct that assertion and indicate that according to ZIMSTAT, the official statistical agency, of our inflation stood at 256.9% as of July, 2022. I would also want to assure this august House that Government is making every effort to tame inflation and limit it to SADC benchmarks in the medium term. Already you have seen some good results from the recent principal measures on month on month inflation which is beginning to turn downwards.
I now turn to comments and issues raised by Hon. Mayihlome. Hon. Mayihlome raised concerns regarding banks that are generating the bulk of their income through bank charges or non-interest income. Let me say Government is also concerned and I am concerned with this development. We are engaging the banking sector in conjunction with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to correct this anomaly. To deal with this situation, we need to make sure that they move towards boosting their income through interest based opportunities as their core business and start lending more towards the private sector. In addition, consultations and engagements are underway to ensure interest rates on deposits are reviewed upwards to encourage deposits by the general public into our banking sector.
On the issue of Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) again raised by Hon. Madzimure, I would like to assure him that the Government always tries to ensure there is an equitable distribution of resources across our provinces. Every province has an opportunity to see an important road or a national road being attended to. Of course as we share these resources, we also take into account areas of desperate need. The current inter-Governmental fiscal transfer allocation for devolution funds are based on the agreed formula, which takes into account poverty incidences, it takes into account population size and also the infrastructure deficit in each of the provinces. However, consultations are underway, with the key stakeholders to review this formula so that it incorporates the base mix to ensure optimal equity is achieved.
I now turn to issues raised by Hon. Matangira. Hon. Matangira’s assertion is that Government should consider recommendations by Hon. Members from this august House. I wish to confirm that we do listen to suggestions from Parliamentarians. For instance, the issue of payment of farmers for grain deliveries was raised in this august House a few weeks ago. We have since adopted that suggestion, which is that farmers ought to be paid in Zimbabwe Dollars and USD. We have since put that in place and we are paying farmers in Zimbabwe Dollars in part and partly in USD. In addition, the Hon. Member raised the issue of subsidising the agricultural sector. Of note, several schemes are now underway to help our rural communities in agriculture. For instance, through the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme in irrigation development, dam construction, livestock research, afforestation, et cetera.
I think you also raised the issue of spreading the support to other crops, not just maize or cotton and we are beginning to do that, especially the issue of sunflower. In so doing, we can begin to have more cooking oil produced locally in the form of sunflower oil, including maize based cooking oil as well. So I agree with him on this one.
I also turn to questions raised by Hon. Sithole. Hon. Sithole highlighted the issue of late payment for school fees for teachers’ children. Treasury is engaging relevant institutions to address the late payment of fees going forward. I also want to assure Hon. Members that Government will continue to improve the welfare of this important constituency in order to improve the welfare of our teachers and our entire civil service in general.
I now turn to issues raised by Hon. Nduna. He raised few issues, I dwelt on some of them yesterday but there are few issues remaining. He raised concerns regarding aircrafts that were purchased from Malaysia which are not operating but continue to incur costs through maintenance because there are certain parts that need to be replaced even though an aircraft is not flying and is sitting on the ground. This is a very good point that he raises. I assure him that the Ministry of Transport is working on strategies to get those two aircrafts up in the air to make sure that they can begin to earn an income and cease to become a cost without any income receipt at all.
I now turn to issues raised by Hon. Togarepi. The Hon. Member raised the need for Government to introduce small instruments to mop liquidity in the market in the form of bonds but also to offer investors alternative investment instruments. Government is pursuing a number of instruments including bonds. Already we have issued bonds towards liquidation of legacy debt. Those bonds that are already being issued have what we call ‘over the counter bonds’. They are not tradable bonds but we have every desire to get them onto the market to be traded in the market. We are also going to be issuing a bond for US$100 million on Victoria Falls Stock Exchange transactions, which would be channeled towards infrastructure development in line with the 2022 National Budget priorities.
I now turn to Hon. Tekeshe. The Hon. Member raised the need to educate and avail gold coins to the majority of citizens, particularly those in rural areas. I am happy to report that Government is working on modalities for the issuance of smaller denomination gold coins to ensure the availability to wider population to all our citizens who may wish to hold such an asset.
Let me turn to issues raised by Hon. Mashakada yesterday. The Hon. Member raised a number of issues, some of which I have already responded to yesterday. He raised the need to protect purchasing power for civil servants salaries as well as to implement pro-poor policies. I wish to inform the House that 44% of the proposed supplementary budget is going towards civil servants salaries and pension payment specifically.
In addition, the proposed supplementary adjustment for the tax free threshold on local currency remuneration has been raised to ZW$600 000 up from ZW$200 000. Also, we have adjusted the tax bands to end at ZW$12 million from the current ZW$6 million above which then the 40% tax rate applies. The tax free threshold for bonus was also reviewed upwards from ZW$100 000 to ZW$500 000. This is going to increase disposable incomes, consumption spending and income for corporates as well. To protect the vulnerable, members of society - since he is arguing for that, the proposed total expenditure towards social benefits and subsidies account for 10% of the supplementary budget. So we have done something and added towards such social protection. Therefore, the supplementary budget is indeed pro-poor.
The Hon. Member, together with Hon. Sithole, Hon. Biti and others, expressed the need to address exchange rate volatility and inflation. Government has since implemented several measures to restore stability in the economy. Furthermore, Government is tightening public procurement processes to ensure value for money is realised through pricing and stable of payment for goods and services in order to manage liquidity in the economy. This even includes payment to contractors in part foreign currency and in part domestic currency.
The Hon. Members raised the issue of – this is again Hon. Mashakada. He raised the issue that the economy is now sluggish in its growth profile. I beg to differ. The projected growth like 6% in 2022 is good growth indeed in the face of exogenous shocks to the economy. The growth forecast of 4.6% is higher than the growth forecast for Zambia, which is at 3.8% and South Africa at 1.9%. These are some of the regional countries I had to mention.
On the issue of low capacity utilisation which the Hon. Member presented as below 35, again let me correct him. Capacity utilisation is not below 35%. This was well before we started instituting our reform programmes. Currently, capacity utilization, this is from the CZI estimate. It is 56.5% and we project this to reach 60.8% by year end. It is a major change in capacity utilisation. This speaks to increase in production and productivity within the manufacturing sector. With regard to dollarisation, I wish to advise Hon. Members that the general consensus among stakeholders is to maintain the dual currency regime. We have said that this will be so right through the NDS 1 period. So, we will not US dollarise in terms of adopting the US dollar as the sole currency. We will not do that.
Also Hon. Mashakada raised an issue regarding pensioners. It should be noted that Government reviews civil servants’ salaries together with that of pensioners. For instance, in March 2022, Government introduced civil servants cushioning allowances of USD100 with pensioners also receiving an allowance of USD50 monthly. Whenever we review civil servants’ salaries, we will also review the pensioners’ allowances.
Hon. Mashakada submitted that the Russia – Ukraine conflict is having no immediate significance to our economy. Madam Speaker Ma’am, the impact of the conflict is a reality. It has direct impact on our economy and this can be felt through something as direct as fuel prices. Naturally, these tensions have found their way into the impact on our fuel price through the FOB price. We had to take action to make sure that we mitigate against that. Government has responded by adjusting the fuel levy and also by increasing the blend ratio, especially for petrol and we see that in the last day or so, actually petrol prices have fallen further due to the impact of the fall in the FOB price plus the blending formula.
With regard to the loss of value of fixed income earners like pensioners, Government set up a commission of enquiry which resulted into IPEC developing a comprehensive framework for the compensation of these losses which were suffered prior to 2009. Government has since started compensating pensioners for the loss they incurred following the country’s 2019 monetary reforms. These compensation payments have already begun. Madam Speaker Ma’am, I must hasten to say if you know any pensioner who has not come forward to be compensated at least for the 2019 losses, they should do so. We have extended this compensation to depositors as well. I must say that for the depositors, we are seeing a very slow uptake in this compensation payment. I am urging everyone out there who lost money that was deposited to come forward to the DPC to receive their compensation.
Hon. Mashakada also raised an issue regarding economic transformation. That is exactly what we have been doing for the last few years under the NDS 1. We have seen transformation in the infrastructure space, road construction and dam construction. We are seeing slow burn transformation in the energy supply infrastructure sub-sector. We have seen even transformation in the management of public finances and it shows that we have now been upgraded in terms of budget transparency. We are now number three in Africa, after South Africa, Berlin and Zimbabwe. We have seen transformation all the way and we will see more going forward.
I now turn to an issue that Hon. Mashakada raised regarding support for investment in value chains, especially in the agro-sector and mining sector. I agree with him and we are supporting the sectors in that regard and we will accelerate.
I now turn to Hon. Sibanda. She raised the issue of financing of small scale miners. I think there is someone else who raised it but she certainly did. Let me inform this House that in the 2022 National Budget, they have set aside USD10 million of the SDR resources for the establishment of ten gold centres, one at least in each province to support small scale miners. The gold centre will offer transportation, technical services, milling services and a ready market for the gold that is produced. I must hasten to say that we expect the $10 million drawn down from SDRs to arrive in the next couple of weeks.
Hon. Sibanda also raised concern with regard to capacitation of our hospitals. The 2022 National Budget has allocated resources that ensure our health institutions are provided for with minimum standard equipment package for each level of care with contracts worth USD8.7 million having been signed and logistical arrangements towards delivery of the equipment is already underway. In addition, Government is constructing and upgrading various hospitals and clinics. We have got Lupane Provincial Hospital, Mpilo Hospital, Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital. Also, we are building additional mini hospitals. We have the first one built in Harare South. Please go there and view it. I urge Hon. Members to go there and see it. It is in Harare South in the Hopley area. It is a fantastic mini-hospital with state of the art equipment. It is amazing.
The next one is being built in Cowdry Park. It is now at roof level. I went to view it last week and it is well underway. The next will be built in Zvishavane. That is also going to start soon. After Zvishavane, we go to Runyararo in Chimanimani. After Chimanimani, we move to Hwedza and we then move to Umzingwane. We have a plan. We have 30 of these mini hospitals built systematically in the next few months.
I turn to Hon. Hamauswa. The Hon. Member proposes the adoption of GMO seed for cotton and sunflower in order to increase yields. Whilst it is not in the proposal, this has been brought before by others and it is also in the public media. However, we need real expertise on GMO material in the country. Let me say we are aware of non-GMO seed varieties out of India which can double if not treble our cotton yield and we are after procurement of that variety of cotton which is non-GMO. So, we like to hold fire on the acquisition of GMO cotton seed, not just yet. We have got an option.
He also raised an important point that we should support sunflower growing to support our cooking oil market and I agree with him. We will be doing so and also for wheat; we should do the same. We have already done so. In fact, for the first time in 20 years, this year we will be self-sufficient in wheat. We are going to produce at least 380.000 metric tonnes of wheat from the 78.000 hectares that have been planted. This is way above national consumption which is at 360.000 metric tonnes. We will not import a grain of wheat.
The Hon. Member rightly mentioned the need to give more support to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for voter education, voter mobilisation and voter registration. I am happy to say we have done exactly that. We have allocated them a budget of $32.7 billion which will go a long way in increasing the resource envelope and in this supplementary budget we have added an additional $5 billion to the Registrar General’s Office for mobile registration.
Madam Speaker, I now submit that leave be granted to bring in the second reading of the Finance (No. 2) Bill [H. B. 9, 2022]. I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. BITI: On a point of clarity. Can I have assurance that he is now going to have his Second Reading on the Finance Bill, that his response has nothing to do with the Finance Bill.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, this is purely a procedural issue. I have no problem with the presentation of the Bill but just a matter of the process and the procedure. The Hon. Minister has been granted by this august House leave to bring in the Finance Bill. My understanding is that any Bill starts with the First Reading and after the First Reading, if there is a non-adverse report with the leave of the House, we can proceed to the Second Reading. It is just a matter of procedure. That is why I am just raising Madam Speaker, so that we follow the correct procedures and the correct processes so that we start with the First rReading.
FINANCE (NO. 2) BILL [H. B. 9, 2022]
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE) presented the Finance(No. 2) Bill [H. B. 9, 2022]
Bill read the first time.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES OF EXPENDIDTURE
Second Order read: Committee of Supply: Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure.
House in Committee.
On Vote 1 - Office of the President and Cabinet - ZWL7 970 000:
HON. BITI: Mr. Speaker, my comment is on the structure of this supplementary budget; so the proper way to do it which has not been done in this Bill but which has been done; if you go to other supplementary budgets because you are asking for Parliament to approve for additional resources, the Bill itself must indicate the original allocation, the proposed allocation and the grand total so that when Hon. Members are debating they know the proportions of the figures that they are given. So I have a problem with the structural adjectival manner in which this Bill was crafted by the draftsmen.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. Chairman, all the Member is asking is that we should show the original allocation, the additional allocation and the total allocation in the Bill. Through you Chairman, I would like to seek condonation from this august House so that we can proceed. I am also happy to refer Hon. Members to Table 20 in my Statement on page 68 which has got the original budget column and then the supplementary request and the grand total which will then be the revised budget. If Members of Parliament could please look at this table but for the Bill, I am seeking condonation, I thank you.
HON. BITI: I have no problem going through the Bill as it stands, on the condition that when the Appropriation Bill is then published as an Act of Parliament, it complies with the law; it now has the three columns - if the Minister undertakes to do that and his draftsmen who are sitting there, then we have no problem. We do not want to create unprocedural and illegal precedence in this august House. I thank you.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Mr. Chairman, I am being advised by some technical experts who have asserted that the Bill is okay as it is, as long as in the Blue Book we show the original budget, the additional supplementary, that is the situation in the Blue Book and that is what I am being advised. So in this regard, since the Hon. Member has already agreed that we should proceed, I would like us to proceed, Mr. Chairman – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. MAVETERA): If you have got the supplementary Blue Book, all the information is actually contained there – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: There is no difficulty in agreeing with the Hon. Member that when the Bill finally is published, it should reflect the three columns. I thank you.
Vote 1 put and agreed to.
On Vote 2 – Parliament of Zimbabwe – ZWL3 319 000.
*HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Chairman, the Hon. Minister was here listening to the contributions of the Hon. Members. The task that Parliament has is a huge one. I want Parliament Vote – [ HON. MEMBERS: It is Vote 2.] – that is what I am speaking about. The amount allocated is too little, the worst thing is that the money is not being disbursed. Members of Parliament are now like destitute, you leave home with your bag and you are denied accommodation in hotels. Some Hon. Members do not even have any solution when they are denied accommodation from the hotels they are used to stay; when turned down they will have nowhere to sleep.
Mr. Chairman, our Parliament is the worst Parliament comparing it with all our neighbouring Parliaments. You yourself have travelled extensively, where have you seen Members of Parliament who are treated the way our Members are treated here in Zimbabwe? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – It is different from what used to happen during the colonial era because there were very few Members of Parliament, the blacks were not represented. . Members of Parliament have a lot of responsibilities and sometimes they leave their homes at midnight to come to Parliament only to be told that there is no accommodation. Shortage of accommodation does not apply to the Executive; if the Executive travel or go to Victoria Falls, they will be booked at the best hotels. We do not want to compete with them but it must be fair.
When Parliament employees leave Parliament on retirement, they will have nothing to live for. On our allowances, that US dollar that we earn, nothing is deducted as pension. Pension is deducted from the RTGS which is nothing. When a Member of Parliament leaves Parliament, we will be carried by scotch-carts going to hospitals. On CDF, if people in constituencies hear that there is CDF money, they will be after you. You have added just nine million when the money has been eroded by inflation by more than 300%. When we were supposed to get 11 million that time, it was equivalent to US$35 to US$40 thousand and now it is US$3000. Our projects are not going anywhere. Now you are saying we must go to our constituencies to show people what we have done for them, is there anything to show them? The Hon. Minister must be serious because these community projects have a lot of impact in our constituencies. DDF is not drilling boreholes, Members of Parliament are doing that in communities, and they are building clinics. Some Members of Parliament will end up stealing so that they do some projects in communities because they will be under a lot of pressure from the community. The CDF amount must be raised from 9 to 11 so that the figure becomes 20; it is better that way. Looking at the salaries of Parliament staff, I cannot name them but they are suffering. We cannot move around to where they reside but we really need to take care of them so that they stop stealing. It is not good for Members of Parliament. You find that some of them stay in Gletwyn because they use side hustles. Therefore, we need to do our things fairly so that we earn a good living. The Minister has a lot of sources like gold. Thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity. I would like to talk about the issue of jobs. If a person is sent to work, he needs a good working environment. May the Minister kindly take note of our working environment? We have people buying coupons outside Parliament. A lot of us parked our cars because we cannot afford to service them. Therefore, the funds you are allocating to us are not enough to fund our needs.
Funds are not enough but if you send us away empty handed, we go back empty handed. We travel various trips with Parliament staff and we come back midnight. Parliament staff travel late going back to their homes. What if you allocate them funds so that they buy cars so that they can move from point A to point B easily? We have a lot of constituency responsibilities. We cannot travel to constituencies because we are incapacitated. May you please help us because we are struggling with fuel and accommodation? Is it not easy for the Minister to allocate funds to the Members of Parliament so that they cater for themselves on accommodation? Why are you paying so much funds to hotels when we are suffering with accommodation? Give us the funds so that we look for accommodation for ourselves.
On the issue of CDF, I have 25 wards and Parliament is saying to me you must do one project in those 25 wards. I am a politician Hon. Minister - how am I going to allocate those funds in 25 wards? If I develop one ward, will I come back in the next Parliament? It is obviously no and this is the last time that I will be in this Parliament. So we need to do practical things so that we move forward.
We are on the ground and funds are not enough. How many Members of Parliament are dead; they are dying because of stress. They are not able to pay their medical bills. It is not because they will be sick but stress due to lack of funds. I am speaking on behalf of all the Hon. Members of Parliament. May you please increase our funds so that we can have a decent life? Thank you Mr. Speaker.
*HON. HWENDE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to speak about the issue of constituency offices. There is no support to allow MPs to have constituency offices so that they are able to meet people. Information centres used to be there back in the day. It will be prudent and essential if these are availed to Members of Parliament. We are moving around with constituency information in our vehicles. We have nowhere to store them, we have nowhere to sit down, establish and disseminate information from established offices.
The money that you have increased to Parliament, most of the Committees are failing to do their work because the money that would have been disbursed to Committees for them to execute parliamentary oversight roles is not enough. Our humble request is; may you increase resources so that we are able to execute our oversight role easily without hindrances? Thank you.
HON. PHULU: Thank you for this opportunity. I would like to add my voice to the question of the Vote granted to Parliament. I agree with all Members of Parliament who have just made their contributions that it is a matter which needs to be urgently looked into because it impedes the manner in which we can do our work and many a time we are unable to move and do some of the work including the Committee work that has been referred to.
I would like to point one important area and that is the area of the offices that MPs should be able to access in their communities and the personnel to look after affairs while MPs are in the House. The business of an MP is in this House to hang around the House reading materials whilst in the House for the entire week. An MP should not take phone calls every five minutes to deal with issues in the constituency. It is important for us to have people who work there and are adequately remunerated to do so. One day if we work on volunteers and people who sit in our offices without being paid, we are going to have a scandal of MPs being taken to the Labour Court for using people without paying them. I think it is an important area that we need to look into.
Furthermore, it is imperative that there is no organisation and I worked with CSO or any other organisation even in Government who would give you money like CDF without you having a bookkeeper or an accountant who is paid by the institution to look after this money. So, MPs have to work as accountants, carrying papers, going to banks and that kind of thing and that takes away from the MPs, the ability to contribute to the business of the House. So, these are issues that need to be looked into. Whilst we are in Parliament, there is no capacity to read your Bluebook – are you going to read it in the dining room or drive back to your hotel. We are asking that the Vote for Parliament be increased quite significantly. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to add my voice in that regard and emphasise that as Members of Parliament, we are not doing our jobs properly.
+HON. PETER MOYO: I want to speak in isiNdebele so that the Minister will understand what I want to say. The money that is being allocated to Hon. Members at Parliament is like they are not given anything at all. Parliament is part of Government but if you look at the Executive, they are able to carry out their duties without facing any challenges. If you look again at the Judiciary, they are able to carry out their duties without any hindrances. If you look at Hon. Members, they are incapable of doing their duties. Right now, we are going around the country as Committees to carry out our duties but it is unfortunate that the hotels are not being paid for. Again there is no fuel for Members of Parliament.
I should start by looking at the welfare of Hon. Members. Members of Parliament are earning US$100 per month. We are now a laughing stock. I suggest that for the remaining six months, you should allocate Z$1 million to each Member of Parliament so that we carry out our duties well because if you do not give us this money, some Hon Members are going to fail to come back to Parliament. Some Hon. Members from ZANU PF have mines and now they are using that money from the mines to carry out their duties in their constituencies. Some are campaigning using their own monies so that they come back to Parliament.
The issue of CDF has been buttressed by some Hon. Members. I am not going to repeat that. On duty free vehicles that you proposed, it isgoing to teach us to be crooks. Do not arrest us if we do things illegally because it is like you are offering us a free passport to pilot a plane yet I do not know how to fly a plane. I will look for someone to do that job for me. Hon. Minister, you have already lost out by offeringus that US$60000 duty free. That is money from Government. I am suggesting that if you had negotiated car dealers to give Members of Parliament cars in good condition, that will be much better because if you drive a car from Victoria Falls to Harare, it will breakdown along the road as we are already witnessing some of the Hon Members’ cars breaking down along the road. We are requesting from you Hon. Minister, that we should go to these companies and get vehicles which are in good condition and also you should pay these companies for we do not want them to get broke. This is the Second Republic we are looking up to. Do not teach us to be crooks.
For Members of Parliament who are living in Harare, we are suffering the worst for we are staying at our homes yetour colleagues are staying in hotels but you are not giving us anything at all. There is no allowance that you are giving us by using our homes where we pay electricity and water charges. We also want an allowance for that.
On the issue of diesel, we do not want these coupons from PetroTrade. Let us use Redan because they have service stations everywhere yet PetroTrade has only two service stations in Harare. In Mutare there is no PetroTrade and in Bulawayo there is only one. In Mberengwa and Gwanda there is none. We should increase the budget on everything that I have raised. I thank you.
*HON. TEKESHE: The issue of budget for Parliament is very shocking. When we go for break, this is the time which we are supposed to go for outreach programmes but we are being denied access to these outreach programmes because of insufficient funds. Hon. Members are failing to initiate these outreach programmes because of lack of funds. Parliament is the only arm of Government that operates differently from other arms. The manner in which it is dealt with financially is actually different from others. I do not have a Parliament vehicle because garages are refusing to entertain us. I went to Premier Garage, they said Parliament does not pay. Allow Parliament dear Minister to be funded. Members of Parliament are travelling in numbers of four or five. It is actually embarrassing. They are giving each other transportation from their constituencies. Even if you get in the car park, right here at Parliament building, you will hear that some of the cars are no longer in good condition but they were bought this year. Service for our vehicles is eating into our budget and we are left with nothing. It was better if you could get service for our cars.
How is it possible to say US$65 000 duty free, how can I buy a car worth US$60 000 when I am paid US$200? You are now encouraging corruption. Where are people getting that kind of an amount? People are now selling their certificates for US$10 000 so that they get something. If we look at Judges or the Executive – you are now creating an animal farm where other animals are more important than others. They are driving top of the range cars and we are being left to drive twin cabs, of which we are not getting the twin cabs. Dear Minister, this salary we are getting is too little. In fact there is nothing we are getting. It is our humble plea – we are the ones who pass these budgets but we are the lowest paid. The Ministers who do not do anything with regards to passing the budget are well paid and have good cars. I thank you.
HON. DR. MURIRE: Thank you Chairman. I rise to add my voice to what fellow Hon. have been debating on the supplementary budget by the Hon. Minister. I want to request the Hon. Minister to consider facts that are presented by Hon. Members when they are commenting or debating on the budget and not to use his own opinion. What Members are actually presenting are facts and not just rhetoric but facts. These are facts that guide the operations of Parliament.
Right now, I want the Minister to be aware that Parliament is incapacitated. Of the three arms of the State, it is only Parliament that is limping. So, I rise on a strong fact to say I have served Government in the Army, Public Service and I am a war veteran. If I compare my pension, the two pay slips, the pay slip that I am getting for pension is more than what I am earning here. I ask myself what I am doing in Parliament. I am raising this issue so that the Minister is aware that these Members who are here, yes politics is a voluntary activity. All these Hon. Members have joined some of us who are actually on voluntary work. However, voluntary occupation as it be, the Minister should also consider that there are some obligations that we carry which should not be regarded as voluntary.
The vehicles that we were allocated, mine for example, is now at 210 000 km because of the stretch of the constituency that I have to traverse. I have got my own vehicle so that I service the constituency because the one that I got from Parliament is almost now unserviceable. I can actually highlight that last week I went to Botswana, I got spare parts for 13 000 Pula in order to service the vehicle that I got from Parliament - that is repairing. Now, how do we expect Parliamentarians to service the nation on that background? Without an office, people come to my home travelling from about 80 km afar so that they can come and present issues that I should bring to Parliament; coming with questions that I should ask Ministers. When they come to my place they have to sleep there because I cannot travel to consult with them.
We have become disrespected in our constituencies because when the budget is announced, there is constituency allowance which appears in the Blue Book, but is never released. There are the hefty salaries that are announced but when it comes on the ground, that salary is meaningless. When we put all those things, the constituents expect that there is some money that MPs are given from Parliament. We are forced to become funeral undertakers. You cannot refuse because they expect that you have the money, so you have to attend to those activities.
In addition to the CDF that you have talked about, we were advised it was pegged at US$55 000 when it was budgeted. I got mine when it was US$8 000. Like others have said, when you now go to the ground, you have told your constituents that you want to construct a clinic and then you only do a foundation, you are labeled a criminal.
That is simply why I rose to say my main point, Minister, consider facts that we are presenting. Let us commit ourselves Minister to say when we discuss we are there to support you, we are not there to criticise for the sake of criticising but to support the Ministry and yourself so that the economy can go forward. We discuss here, we agree, you accept but when you go out there you do a different a thing altogether. That is not good Minister.
I come to the aspect of tax exemption on vehicles. How do you expect me with US$190 to import a vehicle? Is that not instigating corruption? Minister, most of these Hon. Members, some I believe do not buy vehicles. They go and find somebody out there who wants to buy a vehicle and they sell the tax rebate. Then he gets $10.000 – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – This is a fact. The person who is actually enjoying the tax benefit is not the Hon. Member. It is somebody out there who has got money. It is my humble request Hon. Minister that when we agree on issues here that we debate, let us be serious about it. Let us implement it. If it is not possible, we tell each other that this aspect is not possible. We were promised $80.000 vehicles and we went out there hoping to get $80.000 and you came back and say I can only give you $55.000. That is being dishonest. I rest my case Hon. Chair.
*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you very much Hon. Chair. Allow me to make my contribution on this issue that is very true. I will speak of that which others have not spoken about. I would like to focus on “ubuntu.” What does it mean when we say Member of Parliament? What kind of person is that individual supposed to be? Wherever they go, they are supposed to represent the Government. We talk of the three arms of the State which are the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. We are under the Legislature but when we are paid ZWL65.000 and if we divide it using the official rate, it means we are getting equivalent of USD300. When we get hold of the money, we go into shops. Shops are saying USD1 is equivalent to ZWL1.000. If it is ZWL68.000, it means that I have been paid USD68. Where is the “ubuntu” from such element? If I give my spouse my bank card to transact, they are told there is no money in the account and they know she is the MP’s wife. How do I move around in the constituency? People’s dignity is based on the foundation in which we are glued on. There is nothing that moves forward without money. I will not say much because others have mentioned it.
In our constituencies, it is not easy for Members of Parliament. I feel sorry for those who want to come to our constituencies. Those who are there should continue doing their work because they are used to such situations. MPs in this Parliament were focused on development. Because of competition, they wanted the best for their constituencies. They are looking forward to get adequate funding for all that they anticipate to do in their constituencies. Indeed, people should be able to see those who are there for them to lift them up in terms of development. People should be able to assess. The CDF money that we got this time around is not enough to build a classroom block. How about you Hon. Minister of Finance? What is the state of your own constituency? Where you said you built a clinic, are you seeing the prices of building material? The constitution governing CDF says, do not start something new. I have built clinics that are at roof level using my personal funds. I want CDF funds to assist me in finishing these projects; ZWL 11 million is not enough. It is actually $9.000. It is my humble plea that the Minister assists us and say go and get cement from Portland at a cheaper price. He can even order the timber for us at interbank rate and the country will develop. In this country, Parliament is essential. This is where laws are made. Decisions concerning the concerns of all the citizens in our constituencies are made in this House. It does not matter where you come from but we are representing people. Representation is the paramount reason why we are here. Those who have studied finance and economics are the ones who should be going to the Minister to have discussions to say this American dollar that has been stopped by ZIDERA should be put aside so that money comes through. If we look closely at what we have, we cannot talk about MPs only. Even Parliament staff, they are crying every day. In the SADC region, we have UNDP as our close allies. Why can you not kindly negotiate with them so that we get financial assistance? With these few words, I thank you.
+HON. MATHE: Thank you Chairperson for the opportunity you have afforded me. I also want to add my contribution on the budget that has been put forward by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. The Minister said he has allocated funds to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development for road rehabilitation but the money allocated to roads is insufficient – [HON. MEMBERS: We are debating Vote 2.]-
If I am supposed to talk about Vote 2 only, let me do so. My colleague said we are now undertakers. The truth is that our vehicles are now down because of carrying corpses from one place to another and also people will be expecting you to contribute in terms of groceries. The money that the Members of Parliament get is not enough. There is a secret that I have to tell you Hon. Minister, I do not have any clothes or shoes that I bought using Parliament funds. Why, because since I got into Parliament, there are a lot of challenges coming from the people I represent. I have to donate to them so every time I have to make some contributions to funerals that happen in the constituency. Learners who have not paid school fees, their parents bring them to my home for payment of fees. There is no Member of Parliament who survives with money from Parliament. Mainly I have clothes that I get from people in my constituency as donations.
Hon. Minister, Members of Parliament get their groceries from the coupons. They sell coupons. What kind of a Member of Parliament is that who goes around negotiating the price of coupons instead of fueling his car? Chairperson, we travel at low speeds with our Prados because we are trying to save fuel. We travel at 60km an hour because we will be trying to save fuel because we are trying to live on money from coupons.
I wanted to come after 2023 but I asked myself what will be the benefit of coming here because I will be always spending my own money. It is also painful Chairperson because male Members of Parliament have nothing to give their girlfriends except the coupon. That is the only thing they have. They give these coupons because they are not accounted for at home. The salary is so insignificant that the Member of Parliament will go around saying I have a coupon. This is very bad for Members of Parliament given that we have a Minister who is a professor. I would not want to share with you how much other Members of Parliament are getting around the world because I know Hon. Chairperson that you know. It is so disgraceful that we cannot divulge our salaries to Members of Parliament from other countries. Some countries are getting from US$ 5000 to US$15 000.
Now coming to the issue of accommodation for Members of Parliament, this is so sad because we have to negotiate in order to get accommodation especially us as female Members of Parliament will end up being proposed love by receptionists at hotels because we always negotiate with them. Chairperson, we need our dignity as Members of Parliament. Parliament is paying around US$200 to hotels, why does it not give that money to Members of Parliament and we can decide where we want to go and stay?
Hon. Chair, one day I wanted to sleep at Holiday Inn but there was no accommodation, I went to Crown Plaza and I was told there was no accommodation. I nearly came to Ambassador Hotel but that was something that I did not want to do and so I thought of coming to Parliament car park to sleep in the car but then I thought let me not do that because of other reasons.
Honestly speaking, the Members of Parliament in Zimbabwe…
*HON. MATANGIRA: On a point of order. My point of order is that the Hon. Mathe should not leave out that today we were given our fuel in RTGS.
+HON. MATHE: We thank the Minister for removing us from buying fuel using RTGS coupons to USD. We are grateful for that and what I am thinking is that he cannot take us back to RTGS fuel because through interbank, the rate is being calculated at 500 RTGS but in reality it is at 1000 RTGS. We are so tired of being disgraced. At least on the issue of fuel, we are grateful that he has put us on USD and we are not moving back on that one. We cannot go back to being beggars. We cannot now go back and retake a programme we had discarded of going back to every garage and negotiating for fuel in RTGS. We do not want to go back to that and we are not going back to RTGS fuel, Mr. Chairperson. I thank you.
HON. PROF. MASHAKADA: Thank you Mr. Chairman. To be quite frank, I have been a Member of this Parliament since 2000. I have never seen the level of poverty visiting MPs as is in the current situation. Mr. Chairman, you can see that MPs are debating with passion and you can see the cross party nature of the debate; we are all singing one chorus, united that the Budget allocated to Parliament, to MPs and its staff is inadequate. Mr. Chairman, I sit in the Pan African Parliament (PAP) which is a continental body where we are about 250 MPs. We discuss our salaries and we are shy to disclose what we earn in Zimbabwe because the least paid parliamentarian at the PAP from countries like Zambia, Malawi and so on, least paid MP gets USD1000. Countries like Kenya, the MP gets about USD13 thousand, Tanzania USD8 thousand, South Africa USD10 thousand, Ghana USD12 thousand. I can go on and on doing this benchmarking but when you talk of Zimbabwe, you get USD100 or USD200. It reduces the honourability of the MP to nothing. The dignity of the MP is at stake. We are supposed to carry the flag of the country but the MP’s salary is pathetic.
Hon. Minister, we have got health insurance PSMAS which can only enable an MP to be admitted at Parirenyatwa Hospital or West End Hospital. You cannot afford to go to Avenues. You cannot afford to see a physician because you have to pay cash.
To this date, we have got MPs who have not received their vehicles and yet we are almost reaching the end of the year. Talk of the residential stands that have been talked about. MPs cannot have these stands because the Ministry of Finance is dilly- dallying. He is procrastinating and we are almost reaching to the end of our terms but there is a version of meetings and there is no progress. If you look at the type of transport MPs use when they go for outreach, they use kombis like transport from here to Victoria Falls. Musana unorwadza because of the kind of transport that the MPs use when they go for outreach. During outreach, they are not given allowances. They are working for nothing. They have no lunch, they have nothing. These are some of the issues that Minister you should take seriously. Yes, you gave 100% or RTGS but it is nothing. I have given you the benchmark and comparatives of what other African countries are giving their MPs. Together with our staff of Parliament, they also need to be accommodated. Thank you very much.
*HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Chairperson. In my view, in a democratic developmental State like Zimbabwe, this debate does not arise. If only we could acknowledge that we have 42 years of independence. We have got three arms of the State which are Executive, Judiciary and Parliament and that is where my democratic State comes from. We have got a live Constitution and the issue that MPs spend 1 hour 33 minutes debating about their salaries does not arise. It must not even be an issue to debate about. We had the privilege as MPs as well as you Mr. Chairman, of visiting other nations talking to other MPs and they do not have agendas involving their salaries. We have dispatched the Committee on Budget to Kenya. We have dispatched the Committee on Mines to Rwanda and we have gone everywhere in Africa and there is nowhere you will hear their MPs talking about how much they earn. They discuss about development. When we talk to them about how much we earn, it is very embarrassing, they even buy items for you because this is what we have been reduced to.
In 2017 Mr. Chairman, we closed this Parliament, that is the 8th Parliament. Parliamentarians were earning USD2100 for an ordinary backbencher and chairpersons were earning USD2300 but Minister Mthuli came and reduced the salaries. The final nail on the stroke was in October of 2018 when things started going haywire. Instead, parliamentarians were being social care officers in their constituencies. We were now paying for coffins. The headlines tomorrow are going to be bad. We have put our dignity at stake. They have said they are going to be blind to tomorrow’s headlines which are going to say MPs were demanding their welfare but we want to settle this matter once and for all so that we focus on developing our nation.
The first challenge I want to give Hon. Prof Mthuli is that before we pass the budget, we want a schedule that shows the conditions of the Executive, Judiciary and also Legislature because we are the same. If we are three equal arms of the State, therefore our conditions of service must be the same. So we want to see our conditions of MPs, Executive and the Judiciary. The Minister gave Ministers housing loans to the tune of US$500 000, Deputy Ministers got US$350 000 and because he knew MPs were going to raise the issue, he gave them an insignificant duty free certificates for US$60 000 because he knows no MP can afford to buy a vehicle worth that much. So Ministers, because they are MPs enjoy the US$500 000 and also the duty free. They are the only ones who have benefitted in terms of the housing scheme and duty free certificate.
Hon. Prof. Ncube, we are political animals all of us and if we do not tell each other the truth, we are going to have a revolution from the inside. This will not affect him but His Excellency because he is the one who appointed him. I heard from ZANU PF Member of Parliament that the President asks why Parliament is not making any demands and that he bought Parliament two buses while he was still Speaker of Parliament? We are not benefitting much because we are afraid to approach him when he has been an MP and Minister, and so understands our issues very well but someone is blocking us from accessing all that. The problem is not the Presidium or the President but it is with the Minister who does not take our concerns to the President. For people to be happy and praise his leadership, they are supposed to be given adequate CDF. When people show appreciation for getting a clinic through the CDF, they are not only praising the MP but also the President. On the other hand, when people do not get enough in their constituencies, they insult the MP and the President because people do not have adequate funds. So, the Minister is being a catalyst for all the insults that are being given to the President.
The other issue that I want to dwell on is the Speaker of Parliament. This week he is not here because he is travelling and I am following up on all his meetings. I notice that most of the Speakers of Parliaments are not attending these meetings but they send their subordinates to attend and here it should have been Hon. Mavetera or yourself but our Speaker is there because he is looking for money. His salary cannot be increased if our salaries are not increased. If we are to get a reasonable increase, then the Speaker will also get something meaningful and he can stay home. If you see Hon. Mliswa misbehaving, it is because he knows the Speaker of Parliament is away looking for money. Help us so that our Speaker can minimise his travels and stay home.
I came here late because I was researching in the library. I am my own office assistant. There is a requirement by the CDF office that we must put progress reports, minutes and everything. There is no area that develops without bureaucracy and that is why the Government has Permanent Secretaries, Directors up to the lowest level of office orderlies. There should be secretariat to support our Government. As policy makers, I should be told that in Mbizo there is no tar and this is why we have streetwise debates without any facts because we have no support staff to prepare structured debates, quoting Standing Orders properly.
With support staff, a Member is enlightened as an example that Order Number 96 was misquoted by the Speaker yesterday during debate and is applicable in such a scenario. We need office assistants and you promised us in our first induction at Pandari but up to now, there is nothing. I do not blame Hon. Mthuli Ncube on that. It is because he does not have a constituency, so he is not rooted in the problems that bedevil us as Members of Parliament.
We might take the whole day, so let me give proposals. My first proposal to the Minister is that because of the realities of our economy, the CDF that you are giving us in the accounts is not getting to us as it is because of inflation. The money comes after three or five months towards next year’s budget and it will be equivalent to US$1 000. It is my humble request that we lock the USD value of that amount so that when we withdraw it, nothing will have changed to be able to recover the US$8 000. When we started issuing CDF, it was equivalent to US$8 000 but most of us withdrew when it was now at US$3 000 or US$4 000. If we had locked value, we would have been paid at the prevailing rate that day. We understand the challenge of late payments but let us have the modality and mechanism of locking the value. So, even if we delay paying, on the day of payment, it will be paid at the prevailing exchange rate.
Secondly, if we can have office assistants in our constituencies, we will be able to manage somehow. We can talk to our local authorities in the meantime to get temporary shelters.
Lastly, if it was possible to have both Chief Whips in agreement that we adjourn for today, to enable the Minister to go and rethink this budget. We should not be forced to pass this budget today without agreeing on the issue of Vote Number 2 and we can come back Monday or Tuesday and be able to pass a realistic budget. We do not want to pass a budget on the basis that it is a process which was supposed to be done. That is my proposal and I submit.
HON. MUSAKWA: On the issue of the second vehicle, can the Minister consider giving loans to MPs on the basis that the second car is used by all government departments in the constituency because they do not have transport. It can be used as an ambulance, used by school inspectors, lands Agritex officers when they want to do anything and even the police to look for criminals. Please consider that, as that car is more of a government vehicle than the MPs personal vehicle.
*HON. MLAMBO: Thank you Hon. Chair for giving me the opportunity to contribute. I drive more than 500kms to Parliament. I became an MP in 2000 and came back in 2008. We were earning US$2000 and our allowances were paid every two weeks. We would get our monies directly from the RBZ and that money would allow us to do certain things and things were going on quite well. I just got a call from my child who is doing medicine saying he needs US$400 for fees. I sweated because I do not know where that money is going to come from. Hon. Chairman, I do not know how you expect us to live. I tried the coupons but I got the PetroTrade coupons and when I asked how much I will get for a coupon, I was told US$22. We are living a hard life not befitting of Hon. Members of Parliament. Hon. Minister Mthuli, I think that whenever you shall become a Member of Parliament, you will then understand that our concerns were not misplaced. We have serious problems in our constituencies because they have already been stated. Our Minister is a Professor who carries out researches, he should know how a person survives. If one is to survive on a US$100 to US$180 per month, how do you expect that person to live. There arises my question. It is my plea that this issue must be quickly looked into and attended to so that people can earn a proper living and people should not steal. You give me papers to import a motor vehicle when I have less than a thousand dollars in my account. How do you expect me to go round it? I still have 10 months to go so please ensure that you have rectified our concerns so that MPs who are your responsibility are in a better position. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank You Chair, I just want to add my voice on Vote No 2 because it speaks to the core of Parliament, both operations and Members of Parliament. I will not belabor the point that has been touched on ad-infinitum from across the divide by Members of Parliament in terms of their welfare. I seek just to say also look at the welfare of the staff of Parliament by adhering to the ethos and values of our initial request that you give Parliament its budget sum either quarterly, monthly or annually then we dictate how we are going to use the money. It is going to see Parliament look at their welfare independently as they are acknowledging your gold-fingerness. It is important that the staff of Parliament, according to the conditions of their contracts and service, be observed. I know for a fact that some of them have 10 to 15 years’ service but their terms of contracts say every five years they should get a Parliament vehicle. However, they do not have three vehicles for the three five year contracts that they have had with Parliament. I ask that you look at that closely by giving Parliament their voted amount.
Secondly, there is the issue of the gold coin that the Minister has introduced. That panacea or antidote has made sure value can be stored in that Vote No 2. So the Minister should not have any challenges in disbursing the whole budget for Parliament. We will store value in the gold coins that you have given to us. So, the issue of hyper inflation and loss of credibility on the RTGs does not arise. So the issue of the gold coin, I ask you to complement it this way. Produce a platinum dollar including also a diamond dollar so that those with paper money can come and complement your budgetary support by buying the platinum dollars that we are using here in sync with the gold coin.
Thirdly, I want to also just talk about the things that are supposed to accrue to Members of Parliament. I am lucky that I was there in the 8th Parliament, together with the Members from the 7th Parliament who did not receive their stands and those stands are still outstanding to date. I ask that the issue of stands, it speaks to the issue of the heart of our welfare as Members of Parliament. We now have to get monies from our own pockets in order to subsidies our Parliamentary business because our welfare has not been taken care of, the stands in particular. How do I propose that you expeditiously and effectively get enough to finance the stands?
There is what is called the Community Share Ownership Trust; they should have an Act of Parliament that directs some of that money, may be 15% to the coffers of CDF of Members of Parliament in those constituencies that have Community Share Ownership Trust – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Members, order please.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Hon. Chair for your protection. I would go further to say a proposal I have made for the coffers to come from the Community Share Ownership Trust, according to Section 13(IV) of the Constitution, everything should be supported at law and there is law that supports you Hon. Minister. May you direct part of that money so that 15% goes to the constituencies that reside in those Community Share Ownership Trusts.
Here is my last contribution for Vote No. 2, the issue of salaries has been spoken about, and it is the issue of vehicles. Hon. Minister, I ask you to forego the duty on vehicles that are being purchased by Members of Parliament as a third vehicle. I ask that you actually prevail in your institution in order that the second vehicles get to the Members of Parliament. It happened during the tenure of Hon. Biti, and it can happen again. Hamungakundwe nava Hon. Biti, he was just a pseudo Minister of Finance but you are a proper Minister of Finance and it is my thinking that with that school of thought, you can prevail over this issue. It is not humongous; it is just but a pittance, see it in your here Hon. Minister, to favour the Hon. Members of Parliament who have not said everything that is bedevilling their operations. I thank you, the people of Chegutu West Constituency; I thank you including the Chairman Lameck , Patricia Nyamadzawo and Sarah Chikukwa.
+HON. S. SITHOLE: Thank you Hon. Chairman for giving me this opportunity to add my voice in supporting the other Members of Parliament. In Ndebele they say the truth is painful but does not destroy good relations, the same with Shona; they say the truth is painful but does not destroy good relations. What we are talking about today is about our families’ lives and also the lives of the entire nation. We cannot execute our duties effectively if we do not have enough resources. This means that even the Government cannot perform its task effectively. A director in any Government Ministry has a vehicle that is serviced by the Government but a Member of Parliament’s vehicle is his responsibility to service the vehicle. However, Members of Parliament are given a salary of US$90. We travel long distances ranging from 600 to 1000km. This means that our vehicles are supposed to be serviced twice in a month. This is very challenging, and all of us are seeing the challenges that the economy is facing. We are here not to fight but to deliberate on how we can develop our country. Hon. Chikwinya has spoken the truth which I thought everyone would understand and we give you Hon. Minister the opportunity to go and redraft your budget. If you look at both the political sides today, they are not happy, they are complaining.
We are asking that the Chief Whips must unite and give you another day where you can come after redrafting your budget and present it again. We cannot be repeating the same thing over and over again becausewe will end up using a language that appears as if we are insulting you or we are undermining the way you are performing your duties. Hon. Murire and Hon. Chikwinya have already said that the Hon. Minister should be given time to go and redraft his budget since it does not meet the needs of the Members. I suggest that the Hon. Minister be given time to go and redraft the budget because as it is, people will keep on pin-pointing you and end up stressing you. We are Hon. Members but there is nothing that shows us that we are Hon. Members. How can you call yourself an Hon. Member who does not have a salary? If you look at the salary that I give my farm worker, it is even impossible for me to say the amount that I pay to the farm workers. I pay my personal assistant USD500 per month but I know it is impossible for you to believe. We are kindly asking the Chief Whips to have the caucus and also to meet the Minister to go and redraft his budget. We end up using unkind words as if the Hon. Minister is not a Member of Parliament, hence he is treating the Members of Parliament in this manner. It will appear as if we are undermining the dignity of the Minister and his appointment by the President. However, this is very wrong, yet he is a respectable Member of Parliament appointed by His Excellency. Finally, I suggest that the Chief Whips have a caucus and allow the Hon. Minister to go and redraft the budget and bring it back to this House again. I thank you.
(v) HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Chair for giving me this opportunity to debate...
HON. NYABANI: On a point of order Hon. Chair. The Hon. Member is not putting on a jacket.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your point of order. Hon. Sibanda, you can proceed.
(v) HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Today we are debating a supplementary budget which is not all the budget that was set up in the beginning of the year. What is most embarrassing is that we have domestic matters, the ones that are charged in terms of our law with the intent to allocate resources to every department and every citizen of this country. It is embarrassing...
(v)HON. GANDAWA: On a point of order Madam Chair. Please can you allow the ICT personnel to mute other Hon. Members who are not debating so that we hear the Hon. Member who is speaking? So many people are open on platform and we cannot hear correctly Hon. Sibanda’s submission. Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, that is in order. I am sure the ICT personnel will be able to do that.
(v)HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Chair. I was saying it is highly embarrassing that the legislature, the allocator of resources in terms of our law, is today debating this supplementary budget and in the presence of the Hon. Minister. When you hear the legislators concentrating only on one Vote, in my view, that would be a dereliction of duty by the legislators that we have to discuss about the budget of Parliament only and the welfare of us as leaders of this country.
The fact that Hon. Members have to concentrate only on the budget of Parliament is a sign that there is something wrong in our economy. In fact, it is so wrong; it is like you have got someone that is a shame, one who is cooking, one who is serving and they think only about themselves and they do not think about everybody else. What has created that situation? It is the nature of our economy as it seems.
Madam Chair, three days ago I met a civil servant who is in his late 50s who has diligently served the Government of Zimbabwe for over 30 years and he said to me, CCC you are my hope because I am about to retire and as I am about to retire, I do not own a house, I do not have a decent home, I have no savings and I am insecure about my own future. This is the nature of the country that we are currently representing.
Members of Parliament are privileged because they have got the opportunity to interact, and debate with the Hon. Minister in his presence. The civil servant that has been doing work for this country does not have the same privilege. The youth of our country who have completed college and are unemployed are suffering but they do not have the opportunity like I do to come and debate these things that we are currently debating.
The vendor in the market who is everyday suffering from lack of business – the business people, when you hear Members of Parliament talking about their welfare, know that the economy of the country has sunk to the lowest level than can be expected. While my brother Hon. Chikwinya requested that the Hon. Minister should go back, sit down and think before he comes back to address Parliament, in an ordinary normal country, that Hon. Minister should have resigned right away now. He should have resigned before he brought that budget because he has failed.
There is no way that he can talk about surpluses, there is no way that he can talk about economic growth, and the welfare of people is not reflecting that...-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Sibanda. I am the one Chairing, Hon. Nyabani. Can Hon. Sibanda debate on Vote No2? If you are not going to debate on that, I am going to unmute you. So can you debate on Vote No. 2?
(v) HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, that is what I am debating about.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: I said if you are going to digress, we will be able to remove you and you will not be able to debate. So can you please go ahead and debate on that.
(v) HON. P. D. SIBANDA: But where have I digressed and may you give me guidance Hon. Chair?
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: It is a point of order which has been noted. I could have missed because I did not hear what you said. There was the point of order which was raised by Hon. Nyabani and I have to guide you that way. [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Can you please debate on Vote 2.
(v)HON P. D.SIBANDA: Hon Chair, if I may ask you. What are you ruling on when you did not hear the point of order?
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Can you please debate on Vote 2 because we are not going to talk about our party affiliations. I understand that is what you spoke about. I think it is good for you to just speak as a parliamentarian.
(v)HON P. D. SIBANDA: Is it a secret that I am CCC? Is it a secret that you are ZANU PF.?
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Sibanda, is that what we are talking about? Can you please debate on Vote 2? If you do not have anything else to say, then you just have to keep quiet.
(v)HON P. D. SIBANDA: If you do not want me to debate then that is fine. You cannot tell me that I am out of order.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Do you still want to debate or not? Your time has finished. Thank you.
*HON. MASENDA: My contribution to the Minister of Finance is that when we passed the Budget in November last year, there were projects that were allocated to Ministries to undertake in various constituencies but what we are getting from them is that there is no funding of these projects.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Is that Vote 2.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I want to thank the Members of Parliament for their robust contributions. I want to make a few points then I will make a suggestion at the end. Parliament was allocated about Z$15 billion in the Budget for 2022 in November last year. So far, the budget utilisation is about 33% which is about Z$5 billion. The issue is not so much the resource envelope but the rate of utilisation and the rate of disbursement. The average rate of utilisation across Government is 52%. Parliament is below the run rate for the rest of the institutions of the State. The issue is not the resource envelope but the utilisation rate and the cash releases.
On the issue of CDF, CDF works best if it is utilised along devolution funding. CDF can never be enough but when you combine with devolution funding, then you get somewhere. I am aware of districts and local authorities where that combination has worked very well. I can single them out. When Hon. Matangira was speaking on TV on Thursday last week, I was very impressed with his constituency. It has turned out he was using his own money. I thought he was using devolution funding but that is okay. The point is that there are star performers among these Members of Parliament in terms of both CDF and devolution funding. The expectation is that Members of Parliament should be involved in the selection of projects under devolution funding. They should be involved in the structures on the ground and some of them are not. Those are the facts.
Someone made a comment that I am not a Member of Parliament. I am a Member of Parliament. My constituency exists. It is the whole country. On the issue of salaries for Members of Parliament, we made sure that Members of Parliament got a higher salary adjustment than the rest of the State –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] I am not mentioning the figure – [HON. HWENDE: He is insulting us]-
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: You cannot create your own answers – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]. The Minister can only give you his answers and not your answers.
HON. MASANGO-CHINHAMO: On a point of order. I think we agreed here as a House that the Minister goes back. If he wants to respond to us he should respond about the fuel coupons and not anything else. I thank you. – [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections].
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon Members! We need to be very clear here. The procedure is that the Hon. Minister is supposed to be given an opportunity to respond. So, we need to follow procedure – [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Members! Hon. Members, may we please follow procedures respectfully. We are supposed to follow procedures and protocol. Hon. Members, can we kindly allow the Hon. Minister to respond. Yes, you have got concerns; you can never have concerns when you have your own answers. May we allow the Hon. Minister to respond to the issues that you raised. Hon. Minister, you have got the floor.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you Hon. Chair. The Hon. Members of Parliament, through the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO) and the Chief Whips, requested that they be put on a contributory pension scheme. Government has acceded to that and I have written to the Speaker of Parliament saying that Members of Parliament should be on a contributory pension scheme – [AN HON. MEMBER: The Hon. Minister is not connected.] - I will repeat. A month ago, Hon. Members of Parliament requested to be put on a contributory pension scheme which is similar to that of civil servants. We have agreed to that and extended that benefit to Members of Parliament. Government will contribute 80% and Members of Parliament contribute 20%. That is a request that we have agreed to and we think that is a very important contribution indeed.
On the constituency visit allowance, we admit there were delays in releasing resources for that. In the CSRO, we have since discussed this matter and agreed that releases be done and have been done. Releases are in accordance with the size of the constituency. Those with large constituencies should get a higher visit allowance. I am very happy to give you the actual breakdown. There are three categories on that.
I want to end on the issue of the second vehicle allowance, then I will make a suggestion. Madam Chair, I was approached by Members of the CSRO requesting the issue of the second vehicle duty free allowance. Initially we have proposed as Treasury a duty free allowance of USD40.000. Two Members of this House were sent to me to say Minister “ishoma.” We mulled over it within Treasury and we agreed to raise it to USD60.000 and that is where we are. What Members are asking for is something new but we responded as requested.
Finally Madam Chair, there is an issue that has been raised which I think is very important and I agree with the Members where they say look, maybe for accommodation we ought to be given allowances and we find our own accommodation. This is basically a kind of structural issue in terms of the welfare of Members. It is not about the resource envelope. What we are discussing in this vote is the resource envelope, not the structure of the emoluments and the welfare aspect for the Members. I think let us be clear. Usually that structure is worked out in the CSRO. Minister of Finance does not come to Parliament to talk about that specific detail, “aihwa, inobva kuCSRO.” That is how it works.
Finally Madam Chair, I propose that we defer this discussion on this vote and we can move on to other votes – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I will come back to deal with this vote once we have made the proposal. We intend to increase the envelop, so we will see where to virement from, maybe the unallocated reserves, maybe from other areas but I will come back to the House on that. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order Hon. Chair. My point of order emanates from the response by the Hon. Minister, with particular reference to coupons for constituency visit allowance. We will be doing a disfavour to ourselves if we allow the Minister to misrepresent facts in Parliament. Only three constituencies were paid 200 litres; Chiredzi East, Chiredzi West and Hwange. The rest were paid 120 litres yet we are supposed to be categorised into large, medium and small. Everyone else was put under the same category except for the three constituencies.
Number two, the Minister implies that we have been given our constituency visit fuel up to the time as agreed to in the CSRO. No, we were only given for one month, which is this previous month yet the agreement was supposed to have been backdated to January and has not been given. So, we will be doing ourselves a disfavour and I feel as if the Hon. Minister is showing disrespect to us if he does not give us facts as they are. If he is incapacitated to pay for the remainder of the months, then he must say so that we have only paid for a month, and we are going to pay others at an agreed time with Administration – that is number one.
Secondly, in his response, the Hon. Minister said that CDF is best used in conjunction with the Devolution Fund. I have an official letter from Kwekwe City Council, because of the accounting principles, they need to account for devolution funds on their own and CDF is supposed to be accounted for on its own. So you cannot mix a particular project to say we bought this sanitiser for $2.00 – a dollar coming from CDF and the other dollar coming from devolution funds. The CDF constitution does not allow; it has to be a stand-alone project that is accounted for to Parliament. So I think we must be able to tell each other the truth.
On the issue of tax rebate for the vehicles, - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Minister, precedence set by the Hon. Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Mudenda, is that if a particular matter has been discussed in Parliament and requires research, the House adjourns. We did that when you presented this budget, we wanted to debate but the Hon. Speaker said no, go and research first and come up with factual debates to the Hon. Minister. You must also be able to do the same, go back and consult your staff.
The issue of $60 000.00 could have come from Chief Whips. Their assumption was, we were going to get vehicles but it has proven that it is impossible. What we need are proper vehicles that can be given on a turnkey. We cannot be given $60 000.00 being tax rebate that we cannot use and you have seen that, we failed to use them. How many have been remitted to your office – none, I want to believe there is nothing. So, please be practical.
We understand that the $60 000.00 was paper money; it was going to be floating. You are not producing money as it is but an NP3 vehicle from Faramatsi Motors is USD27 000.00 without duty. So we would have cut from $60 000.00, that is my proposal. So I believe Hon. Chair, can you allow the Hon. Minister to go and reflect on what the Members of Parliament said, come back on Tuesday, all of us on a fresh note and we debate going further.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Members, the Hon. Minister has given a suggestion here … - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, Order Hon. Members, can we please have a conversation here? The Hon. Minister is saying we leave Vote 2, we proceed to Vote 3 and others. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – No, but that is what he is saying ayehwaka, Hon. Members ayehwa! Order Hon. Members.
HON. S. SITHOLE: Hon. Chair, I disagree with the Hon. Minister. When the Hon. Minister is saying there is a big, medium and small constituency, to me, the Hon. Minister must give the same category for all constituencies and not to say big, medium and small how?. Thank you.
HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order Madam Chair! Madam Chair, if we are going to adjourn, we have to adjourn the entire business of the House. We have two options; it is either we adjourn now and allow the Hon. Minister to go back. We cannot do Vote 2, suspend it and proceed to Vote 3 because there are certain reasons depending on the position the Hon. Minister will come with though there are some things that will be used to do the other votes that are ahead. So it is not possible for us to leave Vote 2 and proceed to Vote 3.
We are not selfish Members of Parliament. We want to make sure that we vote every vote, vote by vote. Our position is simple, let the Hon. Minister take a break, consult and come back on Tuesday and we debate.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: The response that we have there is - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
*HON. MADHUKU: Do you want me to sit down? Hon. Chair, I heard as if the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders discussed these issues as well as fuel. I am a member of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders and I am unaware of that. Maybe they sat during my absence. It is my plea that such issues be looked into, we are suffering, no such issues were discussed; maybe this was done during my absence. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): The Members of Parliament have raised many issues regarding their welfare and they have said that they want these issues to be looked into. We will look into them.
What I had proposed is that we adjourn debate on this Vote now I am suggesting that we adjourn debate and adjourn the House. I thank you.
Committee of Supply to resume: Tuesday, 23rd August 2022.
HON. MOKONE: On a point of order! Thank you Mr. Speaker, my point of order arises from the fact that it seems like PetroTrade coupons have already been issued but my worry now is that there is no fuel at PetroTrade. For me to leave Harare and go to Gwanda where I stay which is almost 700 km, there is no PetroTrade in Gwanda, so I do not how I am going to move out of this place.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order! Order Hon. Members.
ADJOURNMENT OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Hon. Speaker, I mover that the House do now adjourn. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER [HON. MUTOMBA]: Order Hon. Members - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order Hon. Members. I do understand and appreciate that there was a point of order that was raised in connection with the fuel but the position must be very clear to you. This is Parliament Administration department - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order Hon. Chikwinya. I think you must have seen the conferment that was going on, to and fro. They were trying to find out how they could respond to her point of order which is a genuine one. It is not the Hon. Minister’s responsibility to respond to that. That will be interfering in other people’s duties. This is the job of the Chief Whips - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. With all due respect, administration comes from policy. So implementation comes from a certain pot. The Minister of Finance is responsible for disbursing funds to Parliament which they then administer. So there has been a major policy shift. We need to interrogate why we had moved from Petro Trade to Redan. It was on the realisation that Petro Trade is valued in RTGS. You have now taken us back from a USD fuel component to an RTGS fuel component. That was an agreement that was done at SROC level to move away from the RTGS fuel component to a USD component. Therefore, the fundamental can only be coming from the Minister of Finance who has given Parliament, not the USD to implement and administer but the RTGS. This is why it bounces back to the Minister of Finance. Did you give Parliament the US dollars to pay for Redan fuel coupons which are US dollars. If he says yes, then we let him go and we aim our arrows at the Parliament Administration and say you were given US dollars, why did you pay for RTGs fuel. That is my point. So, he has to respond to the effect that did he give Parliament US dollars for them to buy Redan coupons? That is what we want to know.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. The issue being raised is very important. The policy is that Members of Parliament should get their fuel. That is policy and it is still in place. The issue of where they will get their fuel is an administrative issue. If Parliament wishes to procure their fuel from a US dollar source, we will gladly give them US dollars. There is no problem at all and we have always done that. There is no impediment at all. It is an administrative issue not a policy issue. I thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you. With all due respect Minister and the Administration of Parliament, I heard about the PetroTrade fuel last night circulating on the groups and I thought they were just rumours. Then today it got very intense and I phoned the Clerk, he could not answer then I phoned Zvamada who is a director here and I even quoted some of the discussions by Members and sent them so he could get the Members’ feelings. The director then said it was not the Administration’s issue but they were called and advised that from now onwards, they buy fuel from PetroTrade and Genesis. So, I think the issue, like the Minister is saying, is maybe we invite Parliament Administration tomorrow. I think the issue of me talking to them and getting unqualified feedback would give us more problems. I think we deal with Parliament Administration and if they have a challenge, they will invite whoever gave them that directive.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - Order, order Hon. Members. I think the Chief Whip has been so clear, succinctly clear and there is no other answer that can satisfy us.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Mr. Speaker Sir, I propose to this august House that we adjourn the House to tomorrow then we have a debate or try to have an understanding from the Parliament Administration as to what is really going on and then staff from Treasury can also be called in to ensure that we all understand what is really going on. Government policy is to give Members of Parliament fuel. Let us have the meeting at 10 o’clock a.m. tomorrow morning.
HON. TOGAREPI: Hon. Members, the advice that we are getting from Administration is that if we adjourn to tomorrow, Administration cannot address Parliament but if we adjourn to whatever date, we can then agree here, maybe prior to the adjournment, that all Members will meet at 10 a.m. in the Government Caucus. Administration of Parliament and officers from the Ministry of Finance where the instruction came from will be present, then we address the issue.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE), the House adjourned at Sixteen Minutes past Six o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 23rd August, 2022.