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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 18 JULY 2019 45-70
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 18th July, 2019
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to advise the House that on the 25th of June 2019, Parliament of Zimbabwe received a Petition from the Zimbabwe Aids Network on the failure by
Government to contribute US$6 million to the Global Fund in order to access US$400 million from the International Health Fund to buy Antiretro viral drugs. The petition has been referred to the Joint Thematic and Portfolio Committees on HIV and AIDS and Health and Child Care respectively.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. NDUNA: I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 6 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. MADIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. DR. LABODE: On a point of privilege Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker, I once raised a point of privilege on the issue of the Global Fund, the one you have just announced - the petition. Does my point of privilege where the Speaker ruled that the Minister would come to Parliament and answer gets overruled by the petition now. This issue has been raised here twice and the Minister gave a response last time that he will respond and pay. Those were his words. He said he will pay and right now we are about to lose almost US$400 million because we cannot pay US$6 million – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order. May the Leader of
the House please help us to respond to the issue.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I did not quite
follow what she said.
HON. DR. LABODE: Madam Speaker, twice I have raised on a point of privilege that Zimbabwe committed itself to be part of the Global Fund. The Global Fund is a fund of many international countries that are bringing funds together. Right now, we are lobbying to get $20 billion to control HIV, Malaria and TB. From that US$20 billion, our share as Zimbabwe has been US$ 400 million. One of the things we committed ourselves to do is that we will meet our own counterpart in order for us to be able to get that US$400 million. We will produce our own share as a nation to show political commitment towards the fund, which was US$6 million. I raised it in this House and the Speaker instructed the Minister to come and respond. The Minister of Finance came and he said he would pay; and he said he had paid. Here we are now; we are desperate. I know there is a letter which has been written to the Speaker from the National Aids Council requesting something to be done as a matter of urgency. We have over two million people on HIV drugs and we do not spend not even one cent as a nation on HIV drugs, tinongomapiwa. We really need desperately to do something, US$6 million ngaitsvagiwe.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I acknowledge what Hon. Labode is saying. On Tuesday, I had an occasion of speaking to the Minister of Finance with my counterpart, the Minister of Health and he indicated that he had paid US$2.9 million but we then indicated that it is not sufficient. What is required is to pay the US$6 million so that we can access the benefits. If we do not pay, it means that we will not be able to get the ARVs as is being alluded to by Hon. Labode. He promised that he was going to look into it and pay the amount. I will follow up and advise accordingly. Thank you.
MONEY LAUNDERING AND PROCEEDS OF CRIME
AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 4, 2019]
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI) presented the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill [H.B. 4,
Bill read the first time.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
CORONER’S OFFICE BILL [H. B. 5, 2019]
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI) presented the
Coroner’s Office Bill [H. B. 5, 2019].
Bill read the first time.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON NDUNA: I move that Orders of the Day Numbers 1 to 34 on Today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day Number 35 has been disposed of.
HON. BITI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF HON. KASTON RINGIRISAI
HON. MAVENYENGWA: I move the motion standing in my
name that this House expresses its profound sorrow on the sudden and untimely death on Tuesday, 25th June 2019 of Honourable Member of
Parliament for Zaka East Constituency, Mr Kaston Ringirisai
HON. MURAMBIWA: I second.
HON. MAVENYENGWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for the
opportunity that you have accorded me to speak about a late Member of this august House, the late Hon. Gumbwanda. Firstly, I would like to thank the Speaker of Parliament, Clerk of Parliament and the rest of
Parliament staff for rendering assistance to the late Hon. Member. Hon.
Gumbwanda had a short illness but we also thank the hospital authorities for expediting and providing health care. We thank other Members of Parliament that we met like Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Hon. Sithole Hon. Maronge and others.
I would like to talk about Hon. Gumbwanda who was a man of the people. The Hon. Member was committed from the days of the liberation struggle as a mujibha. The Hon. Member operated from Zaka.
At Independence Hon. Gumbwanda worked for the Government of
Zimbabwe as a teacher until he was promoted to become a headmaster.
Eventually the Hon. Member joined politics and worked under ZANU PF as a district chairperson and councillor for many years. After the death of the Hon. Member, Members of Parliament from different political parties united together and attended the late Member’s funeral and this was appreciated by the relatives of the deceased.
I would also like to thank other outstanding Members of Parliament like Hon. Shamu from Mashonaland West who contributed over $1000 towards the funeral. I would like to thank other Members of Parliament from Masvingo who united and contributed some money which was given to the late Hon. Member’s wife. The contributions amounted to $2000.
I would like to say that as Members of Parliament, we are hard workers. However, what we get at times is not equivalent to the amount of work that we give to our constituencies. When there is death in a constituency or illnesses and other challenges, the Member of
Parliament has a big responsibility. I would like to suggest that
Government should assist Members of Parliament because the late Member had no car and he was using his personal car. After his death, we do not know whether the Hon. Member’s family is going to be given any car by Parliament so that the family has something to remember him with.
I would also like to say that these Members of Parliament like
Hon. Gumbwanda and the other late Members of Parliament, namely Hon. Mguni from Mangwe, and Hon. Tsvangirayii from Glen View since their deaths we have not seen any money going to their families.
Their monies are being eroded by inflation. I would like to say that those who are responsible for the welfare of Members of Parliament should make sure that a Member of Parliament is remunerated properly.
After completing a term, a Member of Parliament should be remunerated. I remember when I travelled out of the country, a certain Member of Parliament in South Africa was saying that after serving for a term, you are given R5 million and you can retire with a substantial amount. This I believe should be done in Zimbabwe also so that Members of Parliament be cushioned after their tenure because after their tenure there is no hotel accommodation.
I would also like to say and my last issue is that, regarding
Members of Parliament’s cars, these late MPs should be given their cars and if housing stands are allocated, I would like to suggest that their families should be given these stands, because most of them were bread winners. As breadwinners, they were using their personal resources to fund their activities as Members of Parliament. Thank you Madam
*HON. MURAMBIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
Let me first say good afternoon Madam Speaker. I am really worried because as Zaka we lost a father and as Zaka, looking at Hon.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. This is a parting
motion and I would like to urge Hon. Members to listen attentively, you can laugh but also concentrate on the motion.
*HON. MURAMBIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I
was saying as Zaka we lost an icon. All Members of this august House who came to Zaka will agree with me, because there were so many people at the funeral and everyone was talking about the good deeds of Hon. Gumbwanda. We did not lose an icon as Zaka only but as the whole province and as a nation because Hon. Gumbwanda had a lot of responsibilities and positions. He worked as a councilor, as a teacher, headmaster and eventually he became an Hon. Member of this august
House representing Zaka East. We lost a hero as Zimbabwe.
Furthermore, Hon. Gumbwanda worked well with others. He was a good team player and he had formed his own club with other Hon. Members of this august House. We had formed a club together with him so that any member of the club who had an event would invite other Members and we would contribute monies towards that event. As a club, we lost our hero and now there is nothing we can do about that because his time was up and God allowed it. It is really sad that after being an Hon. Member of Parliament, he is forgotten because after passing on, noting that he was a breadwinner and he passed on without getting his allowances and before getting his car. I would like to request that those who are responsible for the welfare of Members of Parliament should look at the issue.
Let me continue saying that, Hon. Gumbwanda invited us to his constituency and we saw a lot of his ambitions/projects which were beneficiary to the constituents of Zaka East. We saw a lot of things like transformers which are in Masvingo right now and were sourced by
Hon. Gumbwanda. He had sourced for boreholes for his constituency and they were in the process of being drilled and erected in different areas. As Zaka, as Masvingo Province and as Zimbabwe, I would like to say that we lost an icon.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for allowing
me this opportunity to extend my condolences to the family of the late
Hon. Gumbwanda and also to the Parliament over the passing on of the Hon. Member. As my colleagues have indicated, Hon. Gumbwanda has left us at a time when us the so called Hon. Members who occupy this Hon. House are exposed to humiliation of the highest grade that you can see in any society. Hon. Gumbwanda passed on during the week when Hon. Members started to be turned away from local hotels and they moved from hotel to hotel for accommodation to come and discharge their national duty. Hon. Members of Parliament were being turned away because Parliament has not been meeting the expenses that they owe to local hotels.
Hon. Speaker, let me just share with you as I share these condolences the humiliation that I faced when I arrived in Harare the day before yesterday to come and attend to the sessions of Parliament. On arrival, I went to almost four local hotels and I will not mention them. I went to the first hotel and asked whether they had accommodation and because they thought that I am just a private citizen who can be able to meet their expenses on their own, they told me that accommodation was available. The moment that I indicated that I am a
Member of Parliament and that I wanted accommodation on
Parliament’s bill, Hon. Speaker, I was told to wait a little bit. The person who was attending to me at the front office went to consult someone and came back in five minutes and told me, ‘I am sorry Sir, the accommodation is full.’ I left that hotel and went to another one and when I said that I was a Parliamentarian I was told that the quota for Parliament was full, we cannot take any more Parliamentarians. I went to the other hotel until I was accommodated finally at the sixth one.
That was close to 1a.m after midnight.
Hon. Speaker, when I was being turned away from hotels, there were guests and visitors who were coming even from outside the country, foreign guests and they were hearing that a Member of Parliament was being turned away from a Zimbabwean hotel because of nonpayment of hotel bills by the Government. That is the kind of humiliation that Hon. Gumbwanda left us with. At times I wonder whether it is worth to carry the so called title of being an Hon. Member, it is quite dishonourable. In terms of the law, Parliament is the one that allocates national resources. Theoretically, Parliament is supposed to allocate resources to the three arms of Government. However, Hon. Speaker, if you look at the way that the three arms of Government are treated, you will see that there is discrimination. Parliament is treated as if it is the poorer cousin of the three arms of Government, regardless of the fact that it is empowered at law to distribute the resources of the nation.
Hon. Speaker, if you look at the Judiciary, the good part of it is that it is resident just next door to us – we are aware that the remuneration that judges get is way beyond what a Member of
Parliament can ever dream of getting. Let me say, for the avoidance of doubt, the salaries that these gentlemen and ladies are earning today as I speak, is far less than US$200. Above all duties that are stated in the Constitution, I am expected to discharge other duties of being a representative in a constituency. Hon. Speaker, the conditions under which Members of Parliament find themselves are deplorable, to say the
Hon. Speaker, it is not a matter of choice, about where I should stay when I am supposed to attend Parliament. This is what is supposed to happen, that is what the Government has said, that any Member of Parliament who stays outside Harare, once they are in Harare, they are supposed to be accommodated in a hotel at Government expense, that is not our decision, it is Government policy. That is an existing policy, but the humiliation that we face before we get the accommodation – at times we are supposed to start begging managers at local hotels for us to be accommodated. I do not think that is proper Hon. Speaker.
When it comes to tools of trade; at times when Members of
Parliament ask for vehicles, it appears as if they are asking for luxury.
Hon. Speaker, I travel 2 500 kms to and from Binga to Harare every week. What that means is that, every week my vehicle is cloking a mileage of 2500 kms. Every one of us here is aware of the nature of roads that we have in the rural constituencies, for example and you expect one Ford Ranger vehicle that is purchased by an Hon. Member through whatever scheme, to last for five years when that same vehicle accumulates about 10 000 in a space of four weeks. What it means is that, that vehicle, in a year, it would have gone beyond 130 000 kilometres. Therefore, in five years, you are talking of a vehicle that would have cloked about 600 to 700 thousand kilometres. Tell me what type of a vehicle can endure that kind of a mileage Hon. Speaker – [HON. MLISWA: Land Cruiser 200series] – [Laughter] – Hon.
Speaker, most of my colleagues, including myself from the previous
Parliament no longer have vehicles, especially those based in rural areas - because the vehicles cannot endure the terrain and bad roads that we have, including the distances that we travel.
Hon. Speaker, currently, most Members of Parliament in their constituencies are foot soldiers. In fact, on a sad note, I hear that one of the things that speeded up Hon. Gumbwanda’s demise was that at one time, he rode in an open vehicle at the back facing the savages of weather from Harare all the way to Zaka. Then you expect that person to be called Honourable who rides in an open truck. Hon. Speaker, you expect everyone else to respect with dignity the institution of Parliament when the Members who sit in that Parliament are not accorded that respect by the same Government of that Parliament.
Hon. Speaker, it is very sad that our colleague Hon. Gumbwanda had to go at a time when as Parliament, we are still being treated like the poorer cousins, especially by the Executive. Look at this Hon. Speaker, as I indicated in terms of the law, it is the duty of Parliament to allocate resources of this nation. Last year, Parliament sat down and allocated in terms of the budget; my understanding of a budget is that it becomes a law. Last year, this Parliament passed a budget and budgeted for a number of things that were supposed to be done for this House but nothing so far has been disbursed to this House. The reason is because the Executive and at times, even the person who will be the Minister of Finance and Economic Development thinks that they are superior than this institution. They look down upon this institution and as a result, what kind of oversight are you going to offer to a Minister of Finance who does not respect you?
Last year we had a budget that Hon. Members would get vehicles that were worth US$80 000, Land Cruiser V8 to be specific. The reason why those vehicles were chosen is not about their comfort, but their durability and robustness in the type of terrain that we have. However, Hon. Speaker, without consultation, the Executive took a decision and vehicles were chosen, it is not about their comfort. The reasons why those vehicles were chosen is because of their durability and robustness in the type of terrains that we have. But, without consultation the
Executive took a decision on their own, we are informed through Caucuses that Members of Parliament instead of getting those vehicles they should only get vehicles that are worth US$50 000.00, but who decides on behalf of Parliament when Parliament is supposed to be an independent arm of Government that decides on its own?
The question that I am asking Hon. Speaker is why we have allowed ourselves as an institution to be treated in this manner by the Executive. I might ask you Hon. Speaker as the leadership of Parliament on why you are allowing the Executive to ill-treat this institution. Do you not see Hon. Speaker that with that kind of ill-treatment that we are getting, it means that our oversight role is being compromised by those decisions that are being taken by the Executive?
Hon. Speaker, as I pay homage to my colleague that passed on, I say to this House, it is time that Parliament stands up. It is high time that Parliament says the law says this. It is high time we stand up against the bully behavior of the Executive. The Executive should not act as if it is a superior brother, a super brother to the other arms of the Government. I believe that the three arms of Government should respect each other and they should not interfere into the operations of the other like the
Executive is currently doing to us. It is my view that if we want to strengthen our institutions and democracy, it is high time we say no to this level of undermining that is coming from the Executive. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. MUSIKAVANHU: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving
me an opportunity to add my voice of condolence to a very dear colleague. Hon. Gumbwanda was a classical example of the term that says steal waters run deep. I remember clearly when we initially went over the initial process of selecting candidates within ZANU PF; I had the privilege of being housed in the same hotel room with Hon. Gumbwanda after His Excellency, President Mnangagwa had called us for a reconciliation talk amongst the candidates who had aspired to represent our party.
I remember clearly that night Hon. Gumbwanda took me as a son and at most as a young brother and in his soft spoken manner, he took me through the values of representing those who may not have a voice to do so. I will forever remember him for that. As if by coincidence, I also had a privilege of sharing this very seat with Hon. Gumbwanda. We
used to sit here together and him being older than me, he would make a point of ensuring that he would reserve a seat for me if I came after him and that taught me a very important message about humility.
Hon. Gumbwanda would never raise his voice when he was communicating. I want to believe that his modus operandi was at the centre of drawing all of us from the two main parties to be at his funeral. When we were in Zaka East on that day, the comradeship that we had across the aisle, is what I yearn for us to continue having as we represent those who sent us to Parliament. I would want to believe that if Hon. Gumbwanda were to be given an opportunity to rise back and spend a minute with us, he would advocate that we dwell more on looking for areas of commonality for the benefit of building our country.
I want to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga. I remember clearly when Hon. Gumbwanda passed away, we were there with some colleagues waiting to see him, not knowing that he had already departed this earth. I was struck by the passion that Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga showed because she was there as a Chairperson to the Committee that Hon. Gumbwanda belonged. I want to salute you Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga for demonstrating that capacity as a Chairperson to embrace and be there, notwithstanding our political ideological differences because at the end of the day, we are all Zimbabweans.
Let me take this opportunity as well to extend my sincere gratitude to Hon. Mavenyengwa, my colleague from Masvingo Province. He took the lead in coordinating us in rallying behind the whole team and that Hon. Mavenyengwa, may the good Lord bless you abundantly. You taught us what it means to be there for the colleagues that we work with. Sure enough, I want to believe that we all agree that Masvingo did not disgrace on that occasion. It is to a large extent due to the leadership that was conveyed by Hon. Mavenyengwa.
May I also take this opportunity to be on record to appreciate the effort made by Hon. Matuke for moving the motion within the internal system of our party to recognise the work that Hon. Gumbwanda carried out towards the liberation of our country leading to him being accorded the position of provincial hero status? I want to thank Hon. Matuke for taking that step. I also want to thank our Provincial Resident Minister Hon. Chadzamira for delivering a eurology that spoke volumes about the man that we were burying on that day.
I was sitting with colleagues from ZANU PF and from MDC and they were all clapping hands in unison, forgetting about our party differences. Thank you Hon. Chadzamira, even though you are not in the House today. You demonstrated what leadership means at provincial level. Hon. Speaker Maa’m, let me also take this opportunity, having expressed the appreciation the man that Hon. Gumbwanda was and the efforts made by the colleagues that I have mentioned that the sad thing about what we tend to do is that we have special days like today and once that day is gone, we tend to forget.
I would like to recommend seriously that we have within this House a level of appreciation of those who depart on duty where we have a record of posterity. A book for example that can be referred to by future Parliaments when they are sitting in the lobby there to say there was Hon. Java.Tsvangirayi, Hon.Mguni, Hon. Gumbwanda and other Hon. Members who have gone by and I hope in the process of reading from such a book, we will be able to draw lessons and inspirations on what they would have done for our country. I do not think it will take much from this august House. If we take a collective position, notwithstanding the contributions that the families may have, to have possibly the development of a standard tombstone that demonstrates clearly that here lies a Member of Parliament who served his country. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you very much for affording me this
opportunity to once again contribute to this motion of a fallen hero, the late Hon. Gumbwanda. Let me say that it has become a way of life now that every month there is a Member of Parliament who we debate on. What is important now is to debate on the circumstances that led to the death of Members of Parliament. The source of the death is what we want to talk about.
Madam Speaker, you are aware of the Welfare Committee that represents Parliamentarians. I will call a spade a spade and say they are absolutely useless. The Welfare Committee that represents Members of
Parliament is useless. It has failed to discharge its duties…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, I cannot allow
you to use that word – useless. Please may you withdraw it?
HON. T. MLISWA: I shall withdraw the word useless and say
they are dysfunctional. They are totally not functional at all because we can blame the Government but Parliament is an independent body. It is one of the three pillars of the State. Many a times the Speaker has attacked us for not contributing to the Budget. For the first time we contributed to the Budget according to what Parliament wanted and even surpassed that. We took into consideration the welfare of Members of Parliament from salaries. The salaries have not been reviewed. We took into consideration the allowances, they have not been reviewed. We even went a step further to also accommodate the staff of Parliament.
We spoke about the human resource which was less.
Hon. Members in this House, I want to take a minute to think. Parliament staff has been increased and nothing in our favour has been done. The clerks were hired but nothing was done for the Members of Parliament yet we are the ones who stood in this Parliament and moved the motion, contributed to the debate so that it is second in voting. It was never second. So you have got one arm of Parliament which is staff which is being taken care of and you have got the other arm of Members of Parliament which is not being taken care of. You are now creating a rift and a division. This is why I am saying what is the role of the Welfare Committee in this Parliament. The Welfare Committee is a Committee which is supposed to stand for Members of Parliament.
I have decided to self impose myself as the chairman of the Welfare Committee of this Parliament because I do not belong to any party. These Members are constantly whipped. At times when they are whipped, they forget that they have responsibilities which require money and not whipping. You hear leaders from both sides telling them you cannot take two cars, what will the public say. I faced the public attack on my own when I raised the $80 000 and I defended you. I was not doing it because I needed a car. I myself am comfortable and I have always driven Land Cruisers and I can afford any car but it was the office of the Member of Parliament I was fighting for and not the individual. The office of the Member of Parliament must be given the dignity and integrity it deserves for tomorrow and not for today. This
Parliament must make it clear that if you are to be said to be Member of Parliament that should change the office of Parliament. Let us not be in a career where no one wants to be there and say these are fools. We are seen as fools in this country yet we are there to deal with national issues. It is important that the office of the Member of Parliament is respected. You are hearing in this House – Hon P. D. Sibanda contributed to the fact that Members of Parliament cannot even access accommodation. They are seen having to loiter around in town. The reason why I equally move that the Land Cruisers V8 must be the car, it is the only car which is comfortable if you want to sleep in if they decide to sleep in there because there is no accommodation out there. You have a situation where Members of Parliament are constantly travelling and there must be a time where they rest.
I remember with my dear brother and colleague Hon. Nduna when he was the Chairman of the Committee on Mines and we decided to drive in his car, a Land Cruiser; it was a smooth ride. We drove for 12 hours nonstop. He had no driver because the car itself was comfortable. We arrived on time and did things on time. When we had to rest, we would rest. It is the comfort that makes you discharge your duties professionally, not the discomfort.
We had Members of Parliament addressing their constituency coming to Parliament, no wonder why most of them are asleep half of the time because of the cars which are not comfortable. We are told that we are sleeping. We are not sleeping on duty. They are sleeping because the car which they are driving is not a comfortable car. You have never seen a Minister asleep in this Parliament. Today we are talking about a situation where the Ministers are being given L200 series yet we are supposed to have oversight. How can you catch a thief when you are on a bicycle and a thief is in a Mercedes Benz? We are the ones who are supposed to be in the Mercedes Benz to catch the thief on the bike but it is the reverse.
We must understand that the allowances which are given to us and the Budget is passed are sacrosanct because you cannot reverse that. It is important that the Executive respects any ruling and Budget passed in this Parliament. In terms of allowances which Members of Parliament are supposed to get, if you calculate what it means today, it is nothing. We are always paid when there is inflation. I have never known since I have been in Parliament where we were paid when there was no inflation. In the last session, our allowances came when there was inflation. It is as if that the Government pushes for inflation to reward
Members of Parliament. We cannot allow a situation like that because Hon Gumbwanda and others who are late were borrowing money based on the allowances and what they have been promised by the Budget. We go and borrow because we know that we will be getting so much money because the Budget has been passed. And now they leave so much debt.
There are people who went and borrowed money because they were told that they would get a car worth $80000 and suddenly one makes a decision that the cars have gone to $50000. What does it make of the National Budget? What does it make of everything that we do here? If we did not realise that we are pawns, we are just being used to rubber stamp things for a few people who are benefiting and yet we are told that we are not working. How can you send a soldier to war without ammunition? We absolutely do not have ammunition. No wonder why you see that every election, 80% of Members of Parliament are out because one guy who was a korokoza makes money and starts to campaign and they lose and not because they cannot perform to war without ammunition. We absolutely have no ammunition, no wonder why you see that in every election, 80% of the Members of Parliament are out because one guy who was a korokoza makes money and starts to campaign with the money and they lose, not because they cannot perform. It is because they do not have the money to get there.
On a sad note, I hear and applaud the Members of Parliament who are going to bury others but the reason why others cannot go is because they cannot afford, not because they do not want. They have no fuel and they have no money. Hon. Shamu must be commended, but you know that he is also a businessman and not many Members of Parliament are business people. He can afford a thousand but none of the Members of Parliament with their salaries and allowances can donate a thousand. They would love to Mr. Speaker Sir, but it is because of the way that we are being treated and now because of that, we are divided and others who do not attend are probably said to not have a heart. However, let me speak on their behalf, it is because of the welfare of the Members of Parliament.
Now you will see ten are going to be buried and soon you will see two and you will see none, and there will be no Member of Parliament. I want to stand before you Mr. Speaker Sir and defend these men and women in here who are for this country and for national interest but they are just not respected and acknowledged because we have a system in this country that thinks that when you are a Member of Parliament, you are going to milk. What can they milk when they have no resources and no budget to even manage? It is those who are in control of budgets that are able to milk. Zimbabwe for a long time has been known to have Members of Parliament who are paupers. Why honestly in this day and era in the Second Republic are we still having that?
The reason why no one wants to be a Member of Parliament is that they look at the way we survive. You look at a Member of Parliament and there is no Member of Parliament who has ever been known to be successful after being a Member of Parliament. Hon. Mavenyengwa spoke about how in South Africa you are given R5 million after a term, it is not because of anything but it is to appreciate the role and the work that you did in representing the nation. This is something that we must learn. Members of Parliament here if you recall in the Eighth
Parliament, went to Kenya to go and study how Members of
Parliaments’ welfare was taken care of. We were told that they were given Land Cruisers, they have ten staff members and they are given $13 000 a month but why did they go there and come back yet we are not even there? It was a waste of money again. So, there is no point of even having a case study, of going to countries learning about the best practices for Members of Parliament.
Members of Parliament are not even supposed to be staying in hotels but they are supposed to be having their own apartments, because a Member of Parliament is somebody who must be respected and has their own private life too. Our lives are exposed at these hotels and we no longer have any dignity. We are seen as people who do all sorts of bad things but we are human beings. Have you ever seen judges living in hotels? They have security. The job of an MP needs security and we are not being respected.
We are said to be doing a lot of things, that we misbehave and do various things of an illicit nature, but we are human beings. We need security because no one is safe here but we are not given security and the judges are give security at their homes. We have not even asked for security. They are given drivers and they are given allowances. Why can Members of Parliament not be given an allowance to look for a house or a flat to reside in?
Not only that, Members of Parliament are not being given and this is a serious issue, and Members of Parliament you must hear this. We are said to be doing all sorts of things. It is important to respect the institution of marriage and because of that, we must be given our own accommodation where the wife is there but you are going on duty, and you are going back to see your families. How many people have time to see their families and yet we are told that we do illicit things? We must from today, Members of Parliament, push for us to have decent accommodation where you come with your wife and with your husband. You come and discharge your duties here and you go back. The working conditions are terrible. For a very long time this has been happening and nothing is being said.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we were in the bar having a drink with Hon. Murambiwa when he was discussing with other colleagues that we went there and so forth. They even said that maybe it is not good for Members of Parliament to keep going there because they are forcing him to talk and he is supposed to rest, but Members of Parliament had a heart. They went to see a person and so forth, and from nowhere a phone call comes, we were in there and we were told that he is no more.
I had just spoken to them as if I had prophesied to say when are we getting our cars? The reason why I talk about cars is that this is the only thing that a Member of Parliament has. The cars that they are driving from the party are not their cars and it is important that we are able to do
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me say that it is important and that the Welfare Committee introspects, self reflects to say that what is their role. If constitutionally we are meeting everything, we have the Constitution that we follow and you have the budget passed by this House and Parliament being number two but you still have the Minister of Finance and Economic Development single handedly making a decision to say that it will be $50 000. I want to ask this august House and the people who represent this august House – did that decision come from the Standing Rules and Orders Committee of this Parliament from the Welfare Committee? If it did not come from the Welfare Committee, why then are we allowing the Chief Whips to agree to what Government has said?
Who are the Chief Whips serving? If there was a vote of no confidence given in the Chief Whips, most of them would not survive this kind of behaviour. We expect the Chief Whips - and I am speaking on behalf of those who are quiet and cannot clap, because the walls and the corridors talk. The Chief Whip is sitting there and it is about time that he knows that as a Politburo Member of the ruling party, he has benefits which Members of Parliament do not have. They are given V8s and these Members do not have V8s. As such, can he allow and can he have mercy on them to enjoy a V8, just like he does. It is the only proper thing to do because a leader is one that carries his people so that they can be like him. A leader is not one that wants to be on the top and allow the others to be cycling whilst he is in a Mercedes Benz. People are watching and they will talk one day. These Members are disgruntled.
When you see them quiet, they are appreciating and they are not heckling. When they are against something, they heckle. This must be a lesson to the Chief Whip that they are talking silently. Silence is speaking. They might clap and go on the groups and say thank you chef tatenda but inside, they are saying something else. Allow us to be free and to be independent, especially on our welfare. I close Mr. Speaker by saying that the Chief Whips must go back in understanding that they are Members of Parliament and they must serve the interests of the Members of Parliament because they are sitting on a time bomb. Things are accumulating every day.
I was part of seeing how Members of ZANU PF decided to go against the former President, Robert Mugabe yet they are the very same people who said Mugabe chetechete. Let it be known to the leaders and the ruling party that you are creating a situation which will explode very soon. I share a lot with these Members. I was part of this party and I have never been in any party and I am saying that the time bomb is coming. May you respect them and may you give them what belongs to them. They spent a lot of money to be MPs. They campaigned with their money. As such, allow them to enjoy the five years with what is entitled to them. Thank you very much.
+HON. MABOYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I stood up to add my voice to the motion that was brought into this House about the late Hon. Gumbwanda. We used to stay in the same hotel at Rainbow and we respected him so much because he was a Member of Parliament who used to be a reserved man. As we speak, he passed on and we are so touched - some of us are emotional because we know that he left behind a family, wife, children and members of the constituency.
Today, as we speak, we want to put ourselves into his shoes and try to understand. Ask yourself a question that if it was you, what was your family going to do, how was your wife going to survive with the family? Our request is that, if Parliament could look at the issue regarding the Members of Parliament who pass on - Parliament should also assess what can be done and try to visit after the burial to see how the people will be surviving, especially the family of the deceased.
A Member of Parliament is more of a breadwinner in the family and Parliament should take that into consideration on how the family survives after a Member of Parliament is deceased. We are talking about allowances and cars which we have not yet received. Try to put yourselves into the shoes of the deceased person who is more of a bread- winner of the family and also the constituents who will be looking up to him or her. The family looks up to the Member of Parliament, I am putting myself into the shoes of the late Hon. Gumbwanda. If it was my family, I am asking myself a question that, where would they be today.
Hon. Gumbwanda had a family, what is Parliament doing after his death. We do not know, it is a question that we are asking, maybe there is something that they are doing. We faced the same challenge when Hon. Mguni passed on, I do not think there is anyone who visited after the burial. It is my request that Parliament should go and visit those families after that, we are Parliament workers and Members of
Parliament representing constituencies and we also have families. When we pass on, the family remains behind and they need to survive. These are the things that should be looked into.
Hon. Rwodzi having passed through the Hon. Member speaking and the Chair.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Member, you
cannot pass through the Speaker and the Hon. Member speaking.
HON. MABOYI: We were pained by the sudden death of Hon.
Gumbwanda, he was a reserved person. I indicated that we used to share the same hotel and in the morning, we used to force him to talk because some of us love to talk. Hon. Gumbwanda was a reserved person but we would find a way of making him to talk. Sometimes he would find you seated and he would start talking. All that we can say is rest in peace and we say to those remaining behind, let us try to work this out to say, what happens to the family of the deceased Member. Thank you to all the Members who attended the burial for Hon. Gumbwanda, which is a very good cause. I am therefore asking that as Members of Parliament, we should see that there is something that we do after the burial. We should try, whether contributing or just visiting the family on how they will be surviving after the death of an Hon. Member.
I do not have much to say but I just want to say, we worked with
Hon. Gumbwanda very well. So many of us were able to pay their last respects but I am urging every one of us that, if one passes on, what is it that we are doing as Members who remain behind? I thank you.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker
Sir. I just thought that because my colleagues have all spoken, I thought I needed to also speak as somebody who worked with Hon. Gumbwanda. Let me thank the Hon. Member who spoke about what happened at the passing of Hon. Gumbwanda.
I just want to reiterate the same issues that people are talking about. For me Hon. Gumbwanda was a different Member of Parliament, the humility did not speak to the education and status that he had in life. Not only did some of us understand that this man had been a headmaster for a very long time and worked in very high places, but he was not one to bring an attitude about where he was coming from. In the Committee, he spoke, unlike what others are saying that he did not speak. He spoke but he would speak once in a while, when he spoke, it was always full of wisdom. He was not one who would enter the little discussions that people would come up with even as we travelled. However, if you
asked him when you are going around, for him to give either a vote of thanks or have opening remarks, it was always with such dignity.
My point that I want to raise is not about how we as Members of Parliament are treated, but I think it is about where we are as a nation. I think I raised this Hon. Speaker at one time. I was told by Hon. Members in the Committee that Hon. Gumbwanda was admitted at a particular hospital and I dashed there to see him. The image that I have and that has continued to haunt me all the time is that as I walked in this small, little room that Hon. Gumbwanda was in, he was unable to talk; there was no one in that room and yet his family and wife were seated outside. What hurts me more than anything else – I am not a doctor or a nurse but I know that basic things that happen in a hospital if you realise that your prognosis is that this person is about to die, you go to the family and tell them that things are not looking so good. These are the last moments where this man is having his last breath, please can you come and sit in the room. This is because we do not know what happens when one is dying and how scary it is, but at least what I know personally is that if I were to die, I do not want to die alone. There was no reason why Hon. Gumbwanda had to die in that small, crampy little room. There was no nurse who was running around; Hon. Speaker, I am scared of even saying out the hospital because when I go to that hospital I may be treated badly. That shows where we have gone as a country. I was asked by the Minister of Health and Child Care to write a letter about this hospital but I thought about it and said, I was there last week, if I were to get sick, these people would say this is the person who was talking about our hospital, but there was no doctor and there was no nurse. I saw him just ten minutes before he passed but there was no doctor or nurse. Normally when somebody is about to go, you can find by the movements that are in that place that this person is about to go.
He was on his own. I stood there and I was confused and I kept saying Hon. Gumbwanda, this is Priscilla. I thought I could get him to speak but he could not speak. I walked out and my typical mind of a human being, I thought perhaps if I take him out of this hospital and go elsewhere, he may get better, but I could see that his breathing was that of a last breath. I went and I phoned the Clerk of Parliament and I said I think we need to get Hon. Gumbwanda out of this place and get him to another hospital because I do not see what is happening.
The Clerk said to me that it is the relatives that have to tell me that. I said okay, I will go and try to get the relatives to talk to you. We organised the relatives and I said I cannot do it but you as relatives, go in and ask the doctor whether this is the best care that he can get so that we can see whether we can move him. This is the painful part. If I had not said to the relatives go and ask the doctor, they would have not known that Hon. Gumbwanda had gone. It was only when they spoke to the doctor that the doctor went into the room and by that time we were standing and that time I had gotten the Speaker, the wife was coming out and she was crying. Hon. Gumbwanda was gone.
I am saying if it had not been about asking them to go and ask the doctor, we could have been sitting outside and no one would have known that Hon. Gumbwanda is gone. We could have still been running around to see whether we can move them to Avenues or some ICU place. For me, it speaks to where we have sunk as a nation. How do we as a people forget that that is an Hon. Member a look at him just as a general Zimbabwean person. If this can happen to an Hon. Member, what about any other person who lives in this country – what is going on?
If our health system is gone, our own attitude as a people are gone, the only serving grace that I had and this is what I want to say to Hon. Members that let us create our own support system in here. Hon. Mguni died on his own in that hospital. Apparently somebody saw him sitting on a wheel chair and lifted his head and saw that it was Hon. Mguni because he had no identity and he had nothing. So, if you feel sick, the level we have gotten here is for you to just say to somebody next to you that you are not feeling well and please go with me because if we have this tendency of going to the clinic and say you ndirikunzwa kadzungu and you walk out, nothing happens.
I thought this is what we really need to talk about as to how we create our own system because the system does not exist anymore. We have no system and we are on our own but it also reflects where we are as a nation. Hon. Gumbwanda is gone but for me the message that became very clear is unless we set up systems ourselves, it will not work.
Lastly, when people pass on in this House, it takes a week for the advert to come out of Parliament and I just do not know why it takes that long to just say Misihairabwi has passed on and you do an advert and it comes out and we recognise that one of our own is gone. We were at the service with the Speaker just before he was taken because we were going to be travelling the next day. But, I just want to call on Hon. Members that if you have never thought that you want to be part of somebody and just be supportive, always think that it can happen to you, and for me that was the message that I got from Hon. Gumbwanda. I really want to say that may his soul may rest in peace. I thank you Hon.
HON. NDUNA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. N. NDLOVU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday 23rd July, 2019.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Order of the Day Number 36 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 37 has been disposed of.
HON. N. NDLOVU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC
ACCOUNTS ON COMPLIANCE ISSUES FOR THE MINISTRY
OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
- BITI: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts on compliance issues for the Ministry of Finance and
- NDUNA: I second.
- Speaker Sir, Parliament’s role is enunciated in section
119 of the Constitution, giving it power to ensure that provisions of the
Constitution are “upheld and that the State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level act constitutionally and in the national interest.”
With regards to the Public Accounts Committee, the Committee has unlimited oversight over all State revenues and expenditure. This power is restated in section 299 of the Constitution which reads as follows:
- “Parliament must monitor and oversee expenditure by the State and all Commissions and institutions and agencies of Government at every level, including statutory bodies, government controlled entities, provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities, in order to ensure that-
- All revenue is accounted for;
- All expenditure has been properly incurred; and
- Any limits and conditions on appropriations have been observed.”
Accordingly, Parliament in general and the Public Accounts Committee in particular has the responsibility to ensure that accountability and openness of the State through oversight of activities of the executive and its auxiliary bodies takes place. The purpose of oversight is to curb misuse of public funds, corruption and effect good practices. Parliament performs this duty through its oversight role and through the committee system.
The work of the Public Accounts Committee is to systematically sustain financial scrutiny of the executive and other arms of government, thereby ensuring financial accountability and transparency.
The Public Accounts Committee is one of these committees of Parliament whose key functions is financial scrutiny. In all parliamentary jurisdictions, the Public Accounts Committee occupies a unique position and enjoys a special mandate as a post audit committee. The Public Accounts Committee does not regulate or question policy. It is simply there to ensure oversight over revenue and expenditure.
In other words, the Committee’s mandate is broad. The Committee makes thorough scrutiny over substantive, procedural and legal processes relating to public expenditure. The Committee derives this wide mandate from section 299 of the Constitution.
The Public Accounts Committee is constituted in terms of Standing Order No. 16 of the Standing Rules and Orders of the National
Assembly which reads:
“Public Accounts Committee
There must be a Committee on Public Accounts, for the examination of the sums granted by Parliament to meet the public expenditure and of such other accounts laid before Parliament as the committee may think fit.”
In doing its work, not only does the Committee measure compliance arising from reports of the Auditor General or other reports but the Committee also looks at constitutional and statutory compliance in so far as it relates to financial and audit matters.
BACKGROUND TO THE ENQUIRY
In performing its duties, the PAC relies mainly on the annual statutory reports compiled by the Auditor General and its findings on the level of implementation of recommendations by various entities audited. In doing so, the Committee is guided by provisions of Section 119 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which provides as follows:
- Parliament must protect this Constitution and promote democratic governance in Zimbabwe.
- 2) Parliament has power to ensure that the provisions of this Constitution are upheld and that the State and all institutions and agencies of government at all levels act constitutionally and in the national interest.
- 3) For the purpose of subsection (2), all institutions and agencies of the State and Government at every level are accountable to Parliament.
Quite clearly therefore, ultimately the purpose of the Committee’s work as the Public Accounts Committee is to promote democratic good governance in Zimbabwe as propagated by the Constitution.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE AND
The Committee prioritised analysis of the Ministry of Finance and
Economic Development’s accounts on its work plan. This is natural, given the overarching supervisory role of the Ministry itself. In particular, the Committee was concerned since the Ministry had the highest number of non-compliance issues and this was shocking and unacceptable.
By coordinating all ministries in the management of public resources, the Ministry is expected to lead by example and supervise the functionality of the other Ministries. It is the Committee’s view that failure by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to
comply with requirements of the laws obliterates its ability to ensure that other Ministries, local authorities and parastatals equally perform their duties in conformity with the legal requirements.
In short, the Ministry of Finance is key to any government. It is at the nerve centre of the operations of government more than any other
Ministry hence its work and accountability must be beyond reproach.
The Committee studied the 2016 Audit Report by the AuditorGeneral, then the Follow Up Report on Recommendations made in the
2016 Auditor-General’s Reports on Appropriations and Fund Accounts and State Enterprises and Parastatals. The Committee also went through the 2017 Reports on Appropriations and Fund Accounts, State Enterprises and Local Authorities. In addition, the Committee received oral evidence from the Accounting Officer; Mr. G. Guvamatanga, the
Accountant General; Mr. B. Muchemwa and other officials in the
Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
The Committee was extremely disappointed by the lackadaisical
and indifferent approach of the Accountant General. At his first appearance, the Accountant General came alone, was late for the meeting and appeared totally lost. He failed to answer questions put to him and the meeting had to excuse him. The Committee expects public officials appearing before it to be knowledgeable, available on time, accompanied by departmental officials for any assistance and to equip themselves with adequate information as it relates to their daily duties and activities.
The Committee received evidence from the Accounting Officer,
Mr. G. Guvamatanga. The Committee was not impressed by his conduct.
The Accounting Officer availed himself at the Committee’s third invitation after failing to do so on two previous occasions. On one of the occasions, the pretext given for non-attendance was an internal meeting at the Ministry of Finance. It is the Committee’s strong view that Parliament represents the people of Zimbabwe and its work takes precedence over other engagements. Ministers, bureaucrats and government officials must respect the integrity and sanctity of
Parliament as defined in the Constitution. When he eventually appeared, the Committee was saddened and disappointed by his tone and demeanour.
The Committee found Mr. Guvamatanga obstructive and
defensive. He constantly made reference to the fact that he was new in the Ministry and all issues raised were legacy issues. Tongue in cheek, he sought to blame Parliament for not supervising the Ministry and not raising these issues during the affected period. The Committee wishes to remind Mr. Guvamatanga and anyone else that the State is permanent and that the doctrine of perpetual succession is part of our law.
The Committee was also saddened by the Ministry’s failure to submit on time, additional information requested. Even when the information was submitted, the Ministry failed to provide copies of loan agreements contracted on behalf of the state and the figures of external debts that were not brought to Parliament for approval, just to mention a few.
In addition to that, the Ministry has not given a satisfactory explanation as to why the 2019 Budget Statement was accompanied by two sets of Estimates of Expenditure (Blue Books).
Due to the prevalence of non-compliance to statutory and legal requirements, the Committee’s oral evidence with the Ministry concentrated on those aspects. The Committee is still to conduct a full enquiry on the maintenance of the Ministry’s accounts.
Having gone over the evidence, the Committee found that the there was an entrenchment of a culture of non-compliance by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development officials and indeed by other ministries in Government. Having found the above, the Committee concluded that in some instances, there was deliberate and wilful breach of the law and in other instances there was total ignorance of the law and negligence or indifference.
The Committee was, however encouraged by the Permanent
Secretary’s undertaking that he would review the Ministry’s processes, systems and people in order to determine the causes of the shortcomings in the Ministry and then implement corrective action.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
The following is the summary of the findings by the Committee:
- Non-compliance with the provisions of section 300 (3) of the Constitution in that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development failed to publish, in the Gazette loans contracted and guarantees issued by Government within sixty days of their conclusion.
- i) Non-compliance with Section 300(4) of the
Constitution in that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development failed to present to Parliament a report on loans raised and guarantees issued by the State and a comprehensive report on public debt.
- ii) Partial compliance with section 301(3) of the Constitution in that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development
failed to allocate a share of the national revenues resources to local authorities.
- iii) Non-compliance with section 305(5) of the Constitution in that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development failed to present in the National Assembly, additional or supplementary estimates of expenditure and additional or supplementary bills.
- iv) Non-compliance with the provisions of Section 23(1) of the PFM Act (Chapter 22:19) in that since 2014, the Accountant General had failed to issue warrants under his hand, authorizing accounting officers to incur expenditure up to the limits and for the purposes and subjects to conditions contained therein.
- v) Non-compliance with section 30 of the PFM Act (Chapter 22:19)in that Treasury failed to withhold funds appropriated to Ministries whose functions were assigned to other
Ministries and to allocate those remaining funds to that other Ministry or institution.
- vi) Non-compliance with section 33(3) of the PFM Act
(Chapter 22:19) which prescribes that the Accountant General
should prepare consolidated quarterly financial statements which should be presented to the National Assembly and the appropriate Portfolio Committee by the Minister.
- vii) Non-compliance with section 34(3) of the PFM Act (Chapter 22:19)in that the Accountant General failed to prepare consolidated monthly financial statements for the Accounting Officer to cause such statements to be published in the Gazette, within thirty days of the next succeeding month.
- viii) Non-compliance with section 35(3) of the PFM Act (Chapter 22:19)in that Accountant General failed to prepare for transmission to the Auditor General, the transactions of the Consolidated Revenue Fund and the financial position of the State within three months after the end of each financial year.
- ix) Non-compliance with section11(2) of the Public Debt
Management Act in that the limits for Government’s borrowing were not fixed by the National Assembly by resolution nor by means of a provision in a Finance Bill.
- x) Non-compliance with section 13(1) of the Public Debt
Management Act in that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development failed to comply with the requirements and condition for borrowings.
- i) Non-compliance with section 20 (2) of the Public Debt
Management Act in that the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development failed to propose and seek approval from the
National Assembly, the aggregate of the amounts to be guaranteed.
- ii) Non-compliance with section 22 (2) of the Public Debt Management Act in that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development failed to prescribe annual borrowing limits for each local authority.
- iii) Non-compliance with section 28 of the Public Debt Management Act in that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development failed to establish registries for registration of bonds and stock and to appoint registrars, agents and any other persons necessary for raising, issuing, management and repayment of State loans.
- iv) Non-compliance with section 29(1) of the Public Debt
Management Act in that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development failed to lay before the National Assembly statements relating to guarantees on any of the first seven sittings when the National Assembly first sits after the guarantees were first given under section 23(2).
- v) Non-compliance with section 30 of the Public Debt Management Act in that the Minister of Finance and Economic development failed to list and present to the National Assembly, monthly, quarterly and annual reports on loans and guarantees.
- vi) Non-compliance with section 36(4) of the Public Debt
Management Act in that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development failed to ensure that all relevant loans contracted were subjected to ratification by Parliament in accordance with the
DETAILED FINDINGSBY THE COMMITTEE
The following are Constitutional and legal requirements that were put to the Ministry officials, their responses and the Committee’s findings in detail. The Committee then provides its recommendation specific to each non-compliance and some general recommendations:
Publishingin the Gazette, loans contracted and guarantees issued by Government within sixty days of their conclusion
Section 300(3) of the Constitution provides that:
“Within sixty days after the Government has concluded a loan agreement or guarantee, the Minister responsible for finance must cause its terms to be published in the Gazette”.
The Accounting Officer informed the Committee that there were legacy issues with the gazetting of loans and guarantees. He indicated that since the coming in of the new Minister and himself only one loan had been contracted and the loan had been gazetted. He indicated that the Ministry was looking into the issue of loans that had not been published with a view to complying with the requirement.
The Committee noted that the total amount for domestic and foreign debt of $ 17,69 billion as at August 2018reported in the 2019 Budget Statement was different from $ 9, 230 742 461 billion reflected in the 2019 Budget Estimates. The Committee also noted that some external debts were improperly classified as domestic debt. Examples include China Nanchang Engineering, China Intel Water and Electricity and RBZ-/ZISCO/DUTCH, Mota Engel & HCCL Creditors and PTA
Bank among others. It was further noted that all the loans obtained/debts incurred should have been presented to Parliament for approval as these were acquired outside the budget.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development must cause the terms of loans contracted and guarantees to be published in the Gazette by 30 September 2019. This applies to loans and guarantees that were not previously published.
Presentation to Parliament of a report on loans raised and guarantees issued by the State and a comprehensive report on
Section 300(4) of the Constitution states that:
“The Minister responsible for finance must –
- a) At least twice a year, report to Parliament on the performance of –
- i) Loans raised by the State; and ii) Loans guaranteed by the State;
- b) At the same time the estimates of revenue and expenditure are laid before the National Assembly in terms of section 305, table in
Parliament a comprehensive statement of the public debt in Zimbabwe.
The Accounting Officer advised the Committee that the Ministry was currently compiling all previously contracted debt and checking on compliance in order to come up with a schedule depicting the correct position. He stated that there could have been oversight in the past but assured the Committee that he was fully aware of the need to comply with the provisions of the Constitution. Asked on whether his predecessor had willfully violated the law, the Accounting Officer indicated that he was not in a position to express his opinion before the conclusion of the evaluation process that Ministry was working on.
The Committee’s finding was non-compliance with section 300 (4) of the Constitution by the Ministry. The performance of loans raised and loans guaranteed was not reported to Parliament. The Accounting regarding non-compliance was unacceptable to the Committee A list of loans contracted were however presented with estimates of expenditure for the 2019 financial year.
Recommendations: The Minister of Finance and Economic Development must present the first report to Parliament on the performance of loans and guarantees in 2019 by 31 August 2019. He should present the second report for 2019 and a comprehensive statement of the public debt in Zimbabwe at the time the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the 2020 financial year are laid before the National Assembly.
Allocation of revenue between provincial and local tiers of the
Section 301(3) of the Constitution states as follows:
- (3) Not less than five per cent of the national revenues raised in any financial year must be allocated to the provinces and local authorities as their share in that year.
The Accounting Officer stated that the Ministry had allocated resources for provinces in the 2019 Budget and therefore, complied with the provision. He further stated that the allocations to local authorities were provided for in the Public Sector Investment Programmes (PSIP).
The Committee concluded that the Ministry had partially complied with the requirements of section 301(3) of the Constitution in that
US$310 million had been committed to provincial and local tiers of
Government in the 2019 Budget. It was noted that since the new Constitution came into effect, the Ministry had not been complying with the provisions of section 301(3).The amount allocated constitutes 5% of the expected revenue of US$ 6 199,3 billion. To the extent that the Budget Estimates do not show the specific allocations to local authorities, the Committee did not come across evidence to suggest that the Ministry had fully complied.
Recommendation: The Minister must fully comply in the 2020 Estimates of Expenditure by explicitly indicating the amounts allocated to local authorities.
Supplementary estimates for excess expenditure for 2016 and
2017 financial years.
Section 305(5) of the Constitution provides the following:
If the money appropriated to a purpose under an Appropriation Act is insufficient or if expenditure is needed for a purpose for which no money has been appropriated, the Minister responsible for finance must cause an additional or supplementary estimate to be presented to the National Assembly, and if the National Assembly approves the estimate the Minister must cause an additional or supplementary appropriation Bill to be introduced into the National Assembly providing for the necessary money to be issued from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.”
- The Accounting Officer explained that he was trying to understand the law and come up with the necessary structures to ensure compliance. He acknowledged that there could be issues that had not been handled properly and agreed that there was need to regularise them.
On the 2018 budget deficit amounting to about $ 2,5 billion, the Accounting Officer stated that he had not been in a position to seek condonation before verifying the amount.
The Committee noted that the Ministry had not been complying with section 305 (5) of the Constitution that requires the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to present additional or supplementary estimates. The Committee observed that failure to comply with the provision was a serious non-compliance and undermining of Parliament and the budget process. The table below shows the revenues and expenditures for the years 2014 to 2018 and the budget deficits for each year.
Where there is continuous over expenditure outside the budget, it makes Parliament’s budget process a nullity, an exercise in futility and pointless. It is the Executive itself which prepares an annual budget with estimates of revenue and expenditure as required by the law. Therefore, it is only logical that Government must comply and respect its own framework and budget. The efficacy of public finance management and indeed the control of the Consolidated Revenue Fund is only made possible if Government lives within its means and complies with the approved appropriations and relevant legislation.
Recommendation: Government must at all times adhere to the approved budget. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development must as a matter of urgency bring to the National Assembly, bills seeking condonation of all the unauthorised expenditure incurred since
- Such condonation must be sought by end of 31 August 2019.
International conventions, treaties and agreements
Section 327 of Constitution provides as follows:
An international treaty which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority –
- a) Does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been concluded by
- b) Does not form part of the law of Zimbabwe unless it has been incorporated into the law through an Act of Parliament;
An agreement which is not an international treaty but which -
(a) has been concluded by the President or under the President’s authority with one or more foreign organisations or entities; and (b) imposes fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe; does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament.
The Committee noted that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development has not presented to Parliament some of the agreements concluded by the President or under the President’s authority. It is clear that when a debt is not approved it is null and void. It is only a matter of time before an alert citizen sues the Government of Zimbabwe.
Recommendation: The Minister of Finance and Economic Development must present all unapproved international conventions, treaties and agreements to Parliament to ensure due process has been complied with. Presentation of the affected conventions, treaties and agreement should be done by 31 October 2019.
Accountant General’s Warrants
Section 23(1) of the PFMA provides the following:
- “The Accountant-General shall, subject to this Act, by warrant under his or her hand, authorise accounting officers to incur expenditure up to the limits and for the purposes and subject to the conditions contained therein”.
The Accountant General informed the Committee that warrants had not been issued since 2014. He stated that he was finalizing warrants for the 2019 financial year. In answering the question on how he had been monitoring excess expenditure in the absence of warrants, the Accountant General stated that he had been monitoring excess expenditure against the provisions made in the Blue Book.
The Committee’s finding was non-compliance to section 23(1) of the Public Finance Management Act by the Ministry. It was noted that an entity cannot spend without a warrant which authorizes and indicates the amount to be spent. Members observed that warrants also act as audit instruments for money spent by each entity.
The law is very clear on that ministries can only spend and votes can only be utilized under the authority of a warrant. Where expenditure has been incurred in the absence of a warrant, it means that expenditure is unauthorized, null and void. The failure by the Accountant General to issue warrants since 2014 is a serious breach of the law. It means the expenditure has been incurred illegally and surely this is unacceptable.
- The Secretary should put controls in place to ensure that
Government operates within the limits set by Parliament.
- The responsible authority should take appropriate disciplinary action against the responsible officials in terms of Section 85 to 87 of the PFM Act (Chapter 22:19 ) within two weeks of the presentation of this report.
- The Minister of Finance and Economic Development must present to the National Assembly by 30 September 2019 a report assuring the House that retrospective warrants will be issued and future warrants issued before expenditure is incurred. Withholding of appropriated funds
Section 30 of the PFMA states that:
- may withhold from a Ministry any remaining funds appropriated for a specific function if that function is transferred to another Ministry or any other institution; and
- Shall allocate those remaining funds to that other Ministry or institution.
The Accountant General explained to the Committee that when Ministries are merged the Ministry should get a note on the merged Ministries. He stated that the Auditor General had not been notified of the transfer of funds after the merging and demerging of Ministries without giving reasons for the non-compliance.
The Committee noted that Treasury was non-compliant with section 30 of the Public Finance Management Act relating to withholding of appropriated funds. The response presented by the Ministry was unacceptable as pronouncements on government portfolios were always made. The following changes were made when a new
Cabinet was announced.
- Ministry of Defence merged with the Ministry of Welfare for War Veterans, War Collaborators and former political Detainees and Restrictees.
- Ministry of Finance and Economic Development merged with the Ministry of Macroeconomic Planning and Investment Promotion.
- Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development merged with the Ministry of Small and Medium
Enterprises and Cooperative Development.
- Ministry of Home Affairs, merged with the Ministry of Rural
Development and Preservation of Culture and Heritage.
- Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development merged with the Ministry of Lands and Rural
- Ministry of Industry and Commerce now housing the department of Economic Empowerment whose Ministry was abolished.
- Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting services merged with the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services.
- The Committee found the Accountant General’s explanation regarding the appointment of a new Cabinet unacceptable. When His Excellency, the President makes ministerial appointments, the appointments are gazetted. There is no basis for anyone to profess ignorance. Therefore, the Committee found lack of merit in the
Accountant General’s excuse. Ignorance as an excuse is unacceptable. If one is ignorant, one should not find himself fit to hold that position.
Recommendation: The Accountant General should timeously give guidance on accounting for funds when there are changes in Ministries.
There is need to be pro-active rather than sit and wait.
- Preparation and tabling of quarterly financial statements
Section 33(3) of the PFMA prescribes:
(3) “The Accountant-General shall prepare consolidated quarterly financial statements and shall submit such statements to the Secretary, for presentation by the Minister to the National Assembly and to the appropriate Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, within sixty days of the end of the respective quarter”.
The Committee notes that when the Accountant General appeared before the Committee he apologised for failure to prepare financial statements in the past but undertook to timeously produce his quarterly financial statements for 2019, due in March 2019. The Committee noted with regret that once again, he failed to produce the first quarterly report in June 2019.
The Accountant General stated that when he joined the service, the office was five months behind and since then he had been working hard in order to catch up with the monthly reports. He indicated that he had completed the monthly report for November 2018 and was finalizing the report for December 2018. He stated that he had not produced quarterly financial statements. The Committee observed serious non-compliance with this legal requirement.
Preparations of financial statements are a core-function of the Accountant General. Only he has the mandate and obligation to prepare the consolidated financial statements. The Committee found it totally unacceptable that the Accountant General was not capable of executing his core mandate.
Failure by the Accountant General to prepare financial statements as required by the law puts Government into disrepute. It questions the values and principles of good governance which is a founding value in the Constitution. [See section 3(1) (h)]
The Committee does not forgive nor condone the Accountant
General in his failure to prepare financial statements as required by law.
It is a serious indictment against him and his office. If the Accountant
General’ is not able to carry out his tasks, therefore, surely those in authority must rectify the anomaly through appropriate remedies.
- The Accountant General must prepare consolidated quarterly financial statement for the first and second quarter of 2019 for tabling in the National Assembly by the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development and submission to the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development. The due date for tabling and presentation to the Committee is 31 August 2019.
- The responsible authorities should take appropriate disciplinary action against the Accountant General within 60 days of the tabling of this report.
Consolidation of annual financial statements
Section 35(3) of the PFMA provides as follows:
“Within three months after the end of each financial year the Accountant-General shall prepare and transmit to the Auditor-General, in such detail as the Accountant-General, after consultation with the Auditor-General, considers necessary, statements of accounts showing the transactions of the Consolidated Revenue Fund and the financial position of the State on the last day of that financial year”.
The Accountant General reported that he had not prepared the 2017 statements in time and that the statements for 2018 would be submitted for audit by March 2019. When advised that the 2017 report did not have supporting statements, the Accountant General indicated that the statements were still to be obtained from the relevant Ministries. The Committee observed serious non-compliance with this legal requirement. The preparation of transactions of the Consolidated Revenue Fund and position of the State is a critical and core function of the Accountant General’s Office clearly provided in the Act.
Recommendation: Timelines should be complied with to facilitate audit of the statements.
Preparation and reporting of monthly financial statements Section 34(2) of the PFMA stipulates the following:
“The Accountant-General shall prepare consolidated monthly financial statements and shall submit such statements to the Secretary, who shall publish such statements or cause them to be published in the
Gazette, within thirty days of the next succeeding month”.
The Accountant General stated that statements for Treasury and for the other Ministries were not being published on time. He indicated that the statements were however published once they were completed. He did not explain the reasons why the accounts were not being published in time.
The Committee noted serious non-compliance on the preparation and consolidation of financial statements as provided for in sections
33(3), 34(3) and 35(3). It was noted that the Accountant General had not been performing his core business and this omission amounted to serious undermining of Government and had implications on compliance with the legislative requirements by other Ministries.
The Committee noted that there had been partial implementation of the provisions of Section 34(2) of the PFM Act in that monthly figures were published up to March 2019. The Committee urges the Accountant General to keep up the momentum and ensure that there are monthly publications of consolidated financial statements.
Recommendation: The Accountant General must prepare all consolidated financial statements for 2019, which are due and the
Secretary must publish them in the Gazette by 31 August 2019. Thereafter, statements should be up to date in both their preparation and publication.
Preparation and reporting of quarterly financial statements by other Accounting Officers
- Section 33 (1) of the PFM Act provides as follows:
“Every director of finance shall prepare or cause to be prepared quarterly financial statements of the Ministry concerned and shall submit such statements to the accounting officer in that Ministry and the Accountant-General, within fourteen days of the end of the respective quarter.”
During the oral evidence received by the Committee, it was clear that other finance Directors were not complying with the provisions of Section33 (1) of the PFM Act (Chapter 22:19).The Act obliges finance directors to prepare financial statements to be forwarded to the accounting officer in their ministries and to the Accountant General. It is key for sound financial management that finance directors prepare these financial statements to help the Accountant General to prepare quarterly consolidated financial statements.
Recommendations: The Committee urges the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to enact regulations accompanying the PFM Act (Chapter 22:19) to create obligations and penalties and to sanction those who do not comply with the law. The regulations must be published by 31 August 2019.
Preparation and reporting of monthly statements by other
Section 34 (1) of the PFM Act (Chapter 22:19) provides as follows:
“Every director of finance shall prepare or cause to be prepared monthly financial statements of the Ministry concerned and shall submit such statements to the accounting officer in that Ministry and to the Accountant-General, within fourteen days of the end of the respective month.”
As observed with quarterly financial statements, the Committee noted that a number of finance directors were not complying with section 34 (1) of the PFM Act (Chapter 22:19).
Recommendations: The Ministry of Finance and Economic
Development must publish regulations to the PFM Act by 30September 2019. With the enactment of regulations that create obligations and penalties, all finance directors who fail to comply would be sanctioned.
Borrowing powers and limit
Section 11(2) of the Public Debt Management Act provides that:
“The aggregate of the amounts that may be borrowed in terms of sub-section (1) in any financial year by way of loans shall not exceed the limit fixed by the National Assembly, which limit the Minister may propose to the National Assembly for approval by resolution or by means of a provision in a Finance Bill”
The Committee was informed that Government borrowing in 2017 amounted to $14.6 billion or 66% of the Gross Domestic Product which stood at $ 22 billion after rebasing of the GDP. The Committee was informed that the percentage for 2018 was not yet available as the
Ministry was waiting for creditors’ statements. The Accounting Officer informed the Committee that an External and Domestic Debt Management Committee, provided for in the Act, had not been established until recently. He stated that the Committee had not sat for the past fourteen years.
For a country such as Zimbabwe which has faced many years of an unsustainable and crippling debt, public debt management is of crucial importance. Not only that, it is so important for Government to exercise prudent debt contraction policies as well as strict compliance on debt contraction limits defined in the law. In addition, there must be strict compliance with constitutional provisions relating to Section 300 of the Constitution. The Committee, therefore, urges the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to be scrupulous and diligent in both debt contraction and debt disclosure.
The Committee places on record that it experienced difficulties in getting from Government, the full disclosure of Government debt. Different figures popped up in different documents and sometimes in the same set of documents. For instance, figures of debt in the budget statement for the 2019 budget was $17,69 billion but in the budget estimates the figure had$9, 2 billion. The Committee requested a consolidated statement of debt. This was belatedly submitted to the Committee. The Committee attaches hereto, as appendix A, the statement which reflects yet another figure for public debt.
Quite clearly a lot of work needs to be done in the Public Debt
Management office. More importantly however, it is the Committee’s strong view that the work of the Public Debt Management office is compromised because it is a department of the Ministry of Finance. The
Committee’s view is that an independent standalone board be
established by an Act of Parliament just like ZIMSTATS was established by an Act of Parliament.
The Committee’s finding was that Government had been noncompliant with section 11(2) of the Public Debt Management Act by exceeding the borrowing limit of 70% to GDP, before rebasing of the Gross Domestic Product figures. The table below shows total debt figures from 2014 to 2018 against the Gross Domestic Product and the corresponding debt to GDP ratios after rebasing.
Total debt (bn)
Debt to GDP
The Committee noted that Parliament had not approved by
resolution or by means of a provision in a Finance Bill the aggregate amounts that would be borrowed in any financial year by way loans.
Guided by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) debt
to GDP threshold of 60% of GDP, the Committee recommends that
Parliament sets a limit of 50%for the 2019 Budget.
- The Ministry of Finance should comply with the laws of Zimbabwe and bring before Parliament the proposed limit for 2019 borrowings by31 August 2019.
- The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development must create a Public Debt Management office which should be an independent organ of the State regulated by a separate Act of
Process of raising loans
Section 13(1) of the Public Debt Management Act provides the following: “The Minister may, when so authorized in terms of section 11, borrow money, subject to sub-section (3) upon such conditions as he or she may fix.”
The Act requires that prior to borrowing money the Minister shall:
- a) Ensure that it is in the public interest to do so; and
- b) Ensure that it is consistent with Government economic and financial policies and the medium term debt management strategy; and
- c) Satisfy himself or herself that the Government has or is likely to have, on current projections, the financial ability to meet all obligations under the loan, including future loan repayments; and
- d) Consult the Attorney-General and obtain in writing from the Attorney-General an opinion approving the legal aspects of the loan agreement.
The Accounting Officer informed the Committee that the condition
for the Minister to satisfy himself that government has or is likely to have on current projections, the ability to meet all obligations under the loan was not met. The reasons given for the non-compliance was that Government was concentrating on clearing arrears to creditors. The
Accounting Officer pointed out that consultation with the AttorneyGeneral to seek his opinion on the legal aspects on loan agreements were not done because the External and Domestic Debt Management
Committee had not been constituted.
In the testimony before the Committee, the Committee was not satisfied with the process through which debt was contracted. The Committee was also disturbed by the multiple sources of debt contraction in Zimbabwe. It is the Committee’s view that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development must be the sole debt contracting agency. The Committee was disturbed to note that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in particular was contracting huge amounts of sovereign debts without any respect to the laws of the country.
The Committee’s finding was serious non-compliance with section 13(1) of the Public Finance Management Act in contracting debt without due diligence.
- All future borrowings by Government must comply with the requirements prescribed and satisfy the conditions set in the Act.
- The Minister of Finance and Economic Development must amend the Public Debt Management Act so that the sole contracting agent for debt becomes the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, acting on behalf of His Excellency, the President and subject to the Constitution.
Powers to give guarantees
Section 20 (2) of the Public Debt Management Act stipulates the following:
“The aggregate of the amounts that may be guaranteed in terms of sub-section (1) (a) in any financial year in respect of indebtedness or other obligations raised, incurred or established, as the case may be, shall not exceed the limit fixed by the National Assembly, which limit the Minister may propose to the National Assembly for approval or by means of a provision in a Finance Bill.”
The Committee was informed that the limit was not sought from the National Assembly as dictated by the Act. The Accounting Officer indicated that the current limit was 70% of the Gross Domestic Product.
The Committee observed that the Ministry of Finance and
Economic Development had been breaching section 20(2) of the Public
Debt Management Act by not seeking the National Assembly’s approval of the aggregate of the amounts that were guaranteed in any financial year. Guarantees given are contingent liabilities to the State, therefore they impose fiscal obligations on the State. That being the case, guarantees must be treated in the same manner as ordinary debts. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development must, therefore, comply with the provisions of Sections300 and 327 of the Constitution and Section 20 (2) of the Public Debt Management Act.
Recommendation: The Minister of Finance and Economic Development should propose a limit that can be guaranteed for the financial year 2020 by 30 September 2019. The National Assembly should consider the proposal and approval should be done by 31
December 2019 or through the approval of the Finance Bill for 2020.
Borrowing by local authorities and public entities
Section 22 (2) of the Public Debt Management Act provides as follows:
“The Minister shall after consultation with the Minister of Local Government prescribe an annual borrowing limit for each local authority based on its capacity to repay and such other consideration as the Minister may determine.”
The Committee was informed that borrowing limits were not set for local authorities and consultations with the Ministry of Local Government were not done. The Ministry officials explained that instead, before a local authority borrowed, due diligence would be carried out to assess the entities’ ability to repay the loan.
The Committee’s finding was serious non-compliance with section 22(2) of the Public Debt Management Act by not consulting with the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for purposes of prescribing an annual borrowing limit for each local authority. The Committee found out that borrowing powers are academic and that borrowings by Local Authorities can hardly sustain their expenditures. The Committee proposes that Central Government should be the principal sponsor and driver of capital expenditure by
- The Minister of Finance and Economic Development must conduct consultations with the Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing and prescribe annual borrowing limits for
each local authority applicable in the 2020 financial year by 31 December 2019.
- Local Authorities should be allowed to engage other financiers on the principle of private public partnerships (PPP) and Built,
Operate and Transfer (BOT)
Other powers of Minister
Section 28 of the Public Debt Management Act provides the following:
“The Minister may –
- a) establish registries for the registration of bonds and stock;
- b) appoint registrars, agents and any other person necessary for the raising, issuing, management and repayment of State loans for the doing of any act which, in terms of this Act or any agreement relating to a State loan, may or shall be done by the Minister, registrar, agent or any such other person.”
The Committee was informed that registries were housed at the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The Committee noted that there was non-compliance with section 28 of the Public Debt Management Act in that the registries should not be housed at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The Committee felt that even when the registries are housed at the RBZ, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should have maintained its own debt
Recommendation: The Minister of Finance and Economic Development should establish registries housed in an independent standalone institution.
Disclosure of information concerning loans and guarantees Section 29(1) of the Public Debt Management Act compels the Minister as follows:
“Where a guarantee is given the Minister shall lay before the National Assembly a statement relating to that guarantee on any of the first seven sittings when the National Assembly first sits after the guarantee is first given under section 23(2)”
The Ministry officials submitted that there was no evidence that the Minister had tabled in the National Assembly reports of guarantees made as required by the Act.
The Committee’s finding was non-compliance with Section 29(1) of the Public Debt Management Act for not laying before the National
Assembly guarantees given by the State.
Recommendation: The Minister of Finance and Economic Development must lay before the National Assembly a statement of all guarantees given in 2019 by 30September 2019. The guarantees should be treated as national debt.
Monthly, quarterly and annual reports on loans and guarantees
Section 30 of the Public Debt Management Act compels the
Ministry to list guarantees given in terms of section 23 (2). It also provides for the list of guarantees during the financial year or during a particular month and the cumulative national position and that the reports be laid before the National Assembly at least bi-annually by the
Minister within sixty days of the end of the period concerned.
The Ministry argued that section 30 of the Public Debt
Management Act had been partially complied with. It was revealed to the Committee that the Ministry did not have a list of the amounts guaranteed except the total amount for all the guarantees. The total was however not mentioned or submitted to the Committee.
The Committee’s finding was non-compliance with section 30 of
the Public Debt Management Act.
Recommendation: The Accounting Officer should bring before Parliament the full listing of the guarantees from 2014 to date by 30
September 2019 as per the laws of the country.
Reporting to Parliament on Loans Contracted
Section 36(4) of the Public Debt Management Act provides as follows:
“The Minister shall ensure that all relevant loans contracted under this Act will be subject to ratification by Parliament in accordance with the Constitution.”
The Accounting Officer submitted that the loans contracted by the
Minister had been ratified by Parliament and the instrument of
ratification served as part of the conditions precedent for those loans to be made effective by the creditor
The Committee’s finding was partial compliance with the requirement to report all loans contracted to Parliament. It was noted that some of the loans were presented to Parliament but not all of them. The Committee noted huge borrowings from AFREXIM Bank as recent as May 2019, various Chinese loans and the Diaspora Infrastructure
Development Group loan. The Minister disclosed to Parliament that Government owed $1.6bn. Of concern is that the loans have not been brought to Parliament. We therefore urge authorities to comply with the laws.
Recommendation: The Minister of Finance and Economic
Development must present all loans contracted under the Public Debt Management Act to the National Assembly for ratification. All loans must be presented by 30 November 2019.
REVIEW OF STAFF PERFORMANCE, PROCESSES AND
SYSTEMS IN THE MINISTRYOF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
After going through the legal provisions, the Committee proceeded to analyse the processes, staff issues and systems in the Ministry and made the following findings:
That Non-compliance was willful as there was no respect of Parliament and the law. This was unacceptable to the Committee because of the consequences. Non-compliance by the Ministry undermined public administration in Zimbabwe and the functioning of a modern state. It also undermined transparency and accountability. The Committee recommends that disciplinary proceedings be undertaken in terms of section 87 of Public Finance Management
Act Chapter 22:19.
That there was a problem with the person of the Accountant General. The Committee did not believe that he knows what he is supposed to do as defined in the Public Finance Management Act.
(preparing the country’s accounts and providing oversight to accounting officers in other Ministries). There was also non-compliance by Accounting Officers in other Ministries with regards to publishing their own financial statements.
That the Committee had evidence on the incompetence of officers in the Debt Management Office given that the figures for domestic and foreign debt disclosed in the Estimates of Expenditure for 2019 (produced twice with the same error) was $9.230 billion against a figure of $17. 282 billion indicated in the Budget Statement. In addition, there were some items were reflected as domestic debt when they were foreign debts and that the last transaction of external debt recorded was for 2015 yet there have been external debts contracted after that period.
That it was not sufficient for representatives of an institution to apportion blame to the past. System failure could not be attributed to changes at Minister and Permanent Secretary levels if bureaucrats do their jobs.
That in the last few years, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development had the most audit qualifications notwithstanding the fact that the Auditor General had been indicating areas of non-compliance that needed to be addressed.
That that the PFM system depends on people so much, which must not be the case in this era of information communication technologies (ICTs). The system is known to be self-producing and only requires the human hand when there has been a system breakdown.
That the Committee had also noted that the Accounting Officer was not enforcing compliance with the requirements of the laws. To address that challenge, the Committee recommends that from July 2019, the Accounting Officer for Finance and Economic Development should hold regular meetings with officials in the Ministry to check on compliance issues.
To enhance transparency and accountability in the use of public resources, the Committee recommends that from 31 August 2019, the Public Finance Response Unit be operationalised and the head of the Unit be at Principal Director level, reporting directly to the Minister on non-compliance issues and giving regular reports to the Public Accounts Committee.
That audit Committees in Ministries perform their duties and work closely with the Auditor General. The Accounting Officer should only have influence over them in their administrative issues. The Committee recommends that the PFMA be amended to recognise the
independence of the audit committees by 31 December 2019. In addition, the regulations for the Act should also be published by 31 December 2019.
That Parliament, particularly the Public Accounts Committee and Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development should vigorously play their roles to ensure that Government, through the Ministries comply with provisions of the law in the discharge of their duties.
That the behavior of the Permanent Secretary was not consistent with the expectations of Members of the Committee who felt that he was disrespectful, an example being his reference to the Chairperson as former Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
During the Committee’s inquiry, it became evident that part of the challenges was that Government had not fully implemented egovernance as well as use of modern electronic platforms. Government including the Accountant General’s Office was still to migrate to the use of International Public Sector Accounting Standards. The Committee recommends that implementation processes be speeded up to aid in the improvement of financial management in the public sector and doing business in general.
CONCLUSION: The Committee noted that over the years, the Auditor-General had been issuing fantastic reports and recommendations which were not followed up or implemented by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. The Committee hope that the recommendations contained in this report, once adopted by the Parliament shall be implemented.
On the Committee’s part it shall be its duty to follow up on
compliance of its recommendations. It is in the best interest of our country that there is transparency and accountability around public resources. It is also important that those who are entrusted with public funds do so diligently, openly and with great respect to the Constitution and laws of the country.
If they do so, then they will be friends of the Public Accounts
Committee. If they don’t, then the Public Accounts Committee will continue to come after them.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. A lot of issues have been dealt with and completely ventilated but the point I seek to address is the issue of re-occurrence and non-adherence to the reports by the Auditor General. Hon. Speaker Sir, our Committee on Public Accounts has a pre-defined trajectory and speaks to and about issues of the
Auditor General’s Report. It is a post-budget Committee which seeks to interrogate the framework of the compliance issues by line ministries.
When a fish starts rotting, it starts from the head; the person we are interrogating today is the Finance Ministry which is the gold finger in military terms. He is the owner of the purse and the one who distributes it; for as long as his house is not in order, he is certainly going to disburse venom to the other line ministries or parastatals. So, it is prudent to interrogate the manner in which the Executive carries out its mandate, in particular, this gold finger that we are talking about.
Further to this Hon. Speaker, I want to applaud the Auditor General, Mrs. Chiri. She is now on another second five-year term on her mandate because of the Public Accounts Committee and this whole House which recommended her to continue on her mandate and she was re-appointed. It is my clarion call and fervent hope that the adherence to these Auditor General’s reports takes route immediately and starts at the top with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to also say further to the reports that we have been given as a Committee of all the local authorities, and also the 2018 reports that that speak to all other parastatals, we are going to be interrogating all the forensic audits that have ever been carried out in
Zimbabwe. Already, we see that they are numbering up to about 16 and
I will touch on all of them: Air Zimbabwe Forensic Report, ZISCO Steel Report, ZESA, Forensic Report, ZBC Forensic Report – I also want to say, there is going to be interrogation on the National Social Security
Authority Report, the Net One Report, ZINARA Forensic Report, The
People’s Own Bank (POSB) Report, the National Railways of
Zimbabwe Forensic Report, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority IT Forensic Report, The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Forensic Report, the Allied Timbers Forensic Report, the Cold Storage Commission Forensic Report, the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Youth
Games Forensic Report and the Grain Marketing Board Forensic Report.
Mr. Speaker Sir, our trajectory is pre-defined and it is only fair for people to know that we are coming there because our reports are the ones that are championed by the Auditor General. So Mr. Speaker Sir, these reports are going to see the gnashing of teeth by the AuditorGeneral. So, Mr. Speaker Sir, these reports are going to see the gnashing of teeth and be the centre for evidence based evaluation in terms of financial management systems.
My last point will be, according to the recommendations, findings and summary, we need to adhere to the principles of making sure that we uproot all the dead wood. With a country that is endowed with so many people numbering 15 million, there is no need to continue to recycle dead wood. It is not the Ministers that have a challenge but it is the middle management and the accounting officers. It is time that we see them go because we have seen them come. According to the Bible, it actually says, “the year King Hosea died, I saw Heaven”.
Because of the subsistence and the tabling of this report that is pregnant with a lot of consistent and very prudent issues, we should see the going of the middle management and we see some new blood coming in that is quite effective, efficient, vociferous and active in carrying out their mandate. We have a lot of graduates out there and the issue of e-Governance was completely and effectively ventilated here by my Chairman of that Public Accounts Committee. We do not need to continue on the path of collusion, corruption and nepotism.
Let us carry out our mandate using coordination, more coordination and networking. We do not continue on the path of BBC which is ‘born before computers’. We now need to embrace technology so that we are not archaic, moribund, rudimentary and antiquated in our way of carrying out our day to day modern day mandate. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to completely ventilate the issues that are key in the Public Accounts Committee Report. I thank you.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I now move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. S. SITHOLE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 23rd July, 2019.
On the motion of HON. NDUNA, seconded by HON. S.
SITHOLE, the House adjourned at a Minute to Five o’clock p.m.