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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 18 NOVEMBER 2021 VOL 48 NO 13

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 18th November, 2021

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  There is a request by the Hon. Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs to make a Ministerial Statement.  Can you proceed Hon. Minister...

          HON. NDUNA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker.  I rise on a point of privilege.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  You have a point of privilege, please proceed.  Next time, can you give due notice to the Chief Whip, that is the route.

          HON. NDUNA:  Yes Mr. Speaker Sir, I am obliged.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  You seem to be lost as well. 

          HON. NDUNA:  I just wanted to fill up space on this side Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise on a point of national importance.  It is twice, I have risen on this issue.  Your Chair Mr. Speaker, the last time, gave guidance that I needed to ask that as a question on Wednesday.  Twice on the Wednesdays, I have not been able to put across that question to the Minister of ICT because of the list and the bells would then ring for Questions without Notice to end before my time has been allowed.  Be that as it may, I feel it is critical and it is important that a Ministerial Statement - if it pleases you Mr. Speaker Sir, that the Minister of ICT comes to this House and gives a Ministerial Statement on international call termination centre or international call termination solution. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, it is prudent that we get to know what it is that Zimbabwe stands to benefit if we have such a centre.  The establishment of the same is a low hanging fruit in terms of getting revenue in particular, cognisant of the fact that last year we received a billion US dollars as remittances from the diaspora in what is called facilitation fee for monies that are derived from facilitation of the remittance of the one billion which could be ten percent.  It is only just and right that we know that that money gets to ZIMRA and to the Ministry of Finance.

 In the absence of national call termination centre Mr. Speaker Sir, the telecommunication service providers, Government is at the mercy, will remit any international call charges as local charges, thereby depriving Government of the much needed revenue. I ask Mr. Speaker Sir, if it pleases you, that the Minister of ICT comes and favours this House on the establishment of the International Call Centre because there is a lot of money that could be derived from such an establishment on a PPP basis without any Government Complex outlay. I thank you.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

MSMES WORKSPACE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHLANGA): Thank you Mr. Speaker. In Zimbabwe, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) including the informal sector, occupy a strategic position in the macro-economic environment, in the COVID-19 recovery process and the achievement of Vision 2030. To fully harness the immense socio-economic potential within the sector, there is need for capacitation of the Micro-Small to Medium Enterprises from the primary stage right to maturity by providing important economic enablers. Such key enablers include modern workplaces critical in enhancing the roll of the MSMEs, the informal sector players and the productive sphere of the economy.

          Currently, the nation is experiencing disequilibrium and structural deficiencies in the provision of workspace for MSMEs and the informal sector. There is excess demand of workspace by MSMEs induced by the rapid growth of the sector against constrained supply as a result of limited investment, special development and regulatory framework bottlenecks. The deficiencies and workspace provision have also been activated and further exposed by the outbreak of COVID-19 which led to the closure of some of the workspace occupied by MSMEs as most were designated as unorganised, unregulated, congested and unsafe.

          Farmers’ markets, vendor marts, some factory shelves and manufacturing sites had to be closed and the unsanctioned ones were demolished. Over 30 000 SMEs and informal sector operators were affected by the demolitions which took place around the country. Consequently, the development and growth of many MSMEs and the informal sector business have been adversely affected. In the NDS1 and National Micro Small to Medium Enterprise running from 2020 to 2024, workspace provision has one of the key strategies to support MSMEs to improve production capabilities and increasing performance of SMEs in the production of value added products and also promoting rural industrialisation.

          Mr. Speaker, under the framework of the enhanced Cabinet Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management, Cabinet has noted the challenge and has made a decision to have an accelerated programme to construct decent workspaces for MSMEs. Under the programme, Government is working in collaboration with local authorities to renovate existing or put up new modern workspace for MSMEs with designs, taking into account the type of businesses or trades to be housed.

          The following type of workspaces is being considered; Factory shelves and distribution hubs, commercial hives, multi-storey market malls for MSMEs and retail, production and distribution centres cold chain cold rooms for workspace where fresh products are sold. The workspaces should be well partitioned with glass and aluminum, warehouses and store rooms, toilets, wash rooms to include three designs to facilitate use by people with disabilities and canteen service provision office.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, MSMEs workspaces will also be provided through PPPs. Under this arrangement, local authorities partner with property development or even engage directly with the MSME beneficiaries who can provide financial resources, labour and other non-financial resources to develop whilst local authorities provide serviced land. In the current year, Treasury has provided 150 million for workspace construction. The Ministry has entered into agreements with the three local authorities; namely Gweru City Council, Chikomba Rural District Council, and Gwanda Municipality where Government is providing funding and the local authorities are providing the land and technical support.

          Construction is under way and it is at various stages in these local authorities. The programme targets to construct seven workspaces across the country in 2022. The identified projects are as follows: In Harare, the project is Shawasha Grounds Small to Medium Enterprise Market. The project scope is construction of a market mall which will accommodate 120 MSMEs engaged in trading of various products. In Bulawayo, Emkambo Market Stall in Makokoba, construction of market stalls which cover 812 square metres will house 100 traders. In Mashonaland Central, SMEDCO Commercial Hub in Bindura, construction of a commercial hub with factory shelves, shopping mall and hardware shops and will accommodate 88 MSMEs. Tender process is under way for the first phase of the project.

          In Manicaland, Sakubva Produce Market, construction of fresh produce market and it will accommodate 100 SMEs. Mashonaland West, Chinhoyi SME market stall – construction of three market stalls which will accommodate 324 traders. The drawings and bill of quantities are now in place. In Matabeleland North, Mahamba Business Centre in Bubi, construction of a flea market to accommodate 60 micro enterprises. The Bubi Rural District Council has constructed the structure but has been struggling to finish it and what is left on the site is roofing, plastering, doing the floors, painting and provision of other necessary infrastructure. In Masvingo, Chitima Clothing Market construction of 20 market stalls which will accommodate 800 micro-small to medium enterprises.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the Micro-Small to Medium Enterprises’ workspace deficit in the country is quite huge and it will require close cooperation among the Central Government, local authorities and the private sector to address it.  The Ministry stands ready to partner with all stakeholders who are interested in addressing this challenge so as to support the contribution of a micro-small to medium enterprises to economic growth and development. I so submit.

          HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker, I want to appreciate what Government is doing because what we see in urban centres is these small and medium enterprises are everywhere and actually competing at doorsteps of established companies, which is not very good for business. 

However, my area of clarification is on what the Ministry is going to do with rural areas where we see women and youths who are selling along the highways with no toilets, nothing covering them when it is raining, yet they are actually doing business that is looking after their families and serving those who would need whatever they are selling. 

          HON. DR. KHUPE: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. First of all, I would like to thank the Hon. Deputy Minister for bringing a Ministerial Statement on a noble idea of constructing workspaces for micro-small to medium enterprise traders.  This is a very good idea Hon. Speaker, but at the same time, once these work spaces have been constructed, traders would want goods which they are going to be putting in those work spaces.  What measures are you putting in place to make sure that those she was mentioning here to say 100 traders will be in Makokoba, 88 in Marondera, 324 in Mashonaland West, 600 in Mahamba and 800 in Masvingo, totaling to about 1500 traders have access to financing so that they are able to fill those spaces with goods.   As you know, women who are in the informal sector, the majority of them do not have any collateral and it is an issue that we have been talking about over and over again.  What measures have they put in place so that at least these women would have access to finance without those stringent rules in order for them to be able to buy their products, grow their business from micro-small-medium to large enterprises?  Without any financing they will not be able to grow their businesses.

          +HON. MATHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. First and foremost, I would like to say that I am happy to see you after a long time.  I thank the Hon. Deputy Minister for Women Affairs for the statement that she has issued in this august House.

          I wanted a clarification here since with the COVID-19 restrictions, most of the people under her purview were not at work.  In what ways is the Ministry going to help these people? If she gives us an answer, she should specify for each province how that was done.  People are out of business and people are at home, life is difficult.

          HON. NDUNA: My points of clarity to the Minister of Women’s Affairs are that would it please the Minister to go into dialogue with local authorities and close off some sections of tar-macadamised places and roads in local authorities at weekends or during public holidays so that the women and the small to medium enterprises, the vendors in particular, can use that space in urban areas.

 I say this; I want to mirror that to Hong Kong, my other life before I came to Parliament.  They closed the whole section like Samora Machel during the weekend and make sure that there is money derived from there as taxes, the small to medium operators operate there.  I also went to Brazil the same issue occurs.  Would it please the Minister to derive revenue taxes from small to medium enterprises operatives through such a modus operandi.  Council gets taxes, Government gets taxes and the people get to sell in a space that has been designed for them in the urban areas without cat and mouse issues with municipal police like is currently happening.

          HON. MARKHAM:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  Hon. Speaker, my point of clarity is, while I am very thankful one of the areas in my area Chishawasha, I question the selection method in whether the local authorities were involved because I understand and I am very grateful for Chishawasha. However, I cannot understand the selection of Chishawasha over the areas in Hatcliffe like Pamuzinda and Duster and it is of great concern because the population there is very poor.  I thank you.

(v)+HON. L. SIBANDA:  I would like to thank the Deputy Minister for Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development for what she has pledged to do for vendors.  I would like to know when, since you are going to build these things for them.  Are you going to capitalise these vendors so that they can run their businesses?  We have a Women’s bank.  That bank is no longer approachable because it now requires collateral and we do not have that collateral.  Can the Hon. Minister have this on line?  I would like again to say there are places under Bulawayo, why could she not go further to Binga, far from the town?  I thank you.

(v)HON. I. NYONI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  First of all, let me thank the Hon. Deputy Minister for the detailed report.  We note that micro, small and medium enterprises are playing a significant role in employment creation.  We have some of the micro, small and medium enterprises which are doing well.  Good examples are those at Gulf in Harare, Mashumba in Bulawayo and other areas.  A few in this sector are tax compliant.  My question is; what measures does the Minister have to encourage this sector to be tax compliant?  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

(v)HON.  MOKONE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the Deputy Minister for the Ministerial Statement but I have got two issues of clarity.  I would like to know from the Minister what measures there are to make sure that these traders are not going to be charged exorbitant taxes and then the second issue is that Minister, in your statement, I did not hear you mentioning establishments in Matabeleland South Province.  Is there any special reason for that?  I thank you.

HON. BHUDA-MASARA:  I would like to thank the Deputy Minister for the Ministerial Statement.  My question to the Deputy Minister is around the issue of the total number of these people who are into informal sector in the entire country because they are a big chunk.  She only furnished us on those that they have so far catered for, but I think it would be best for the Ministry to know how many people are into informal sector province by province in the entire country.  Furthermore, I would like to find out what other measures you are putting in place to ensure that by the end of 2022 or 2023, these people will be having places to operate from because they will also be contributing to the national fiscus.  I thank you.

*HON. SAMSON:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question to the Minister is; I would like to know if those people who are selling in the streets are the ones who are going to be allocated places to sell or it will be those who have money and can afford to pay rentals that will benefit?

THE MINISTER FOR WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHLANGA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I begin by appreciating the point of clarity raised by Hon. Togarepi. Our response to that as Government, as Ministry, is that we take note of the importance of the rural trader, more-so our business persons that are trading from highways and we want to take it into the rural industrialisation realm as Government is encouraging us to do. 

So we will definitely be going into the rural highways to ensure that our traders are trading from decent sheds and are trading from decent market stalls.  It is one of those areas where we are saying the micro business player is important in terms of livelihood and in terms of putting an income on their table, be it on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. We are not leaving anyone behind as your Ministry and we appreciate that you have raised that point of clarity.

          Hon. Dr. Khupe, we want to say that as Government and as a Ministry in particular, we want to encourage our SMEs to embark on what we call production centres. Production centre at the back and retail at the front. Cluster business first floor, second floor, third floor, fourth floor but make sure that you are being productive and you are not just taking business from other countries and making our country a huge warehouse. We stand on seven pillars and these pillars have to do with financial capacitation. We create linkages and we also make sure that we are getting into the digital and online marketing for our business persons for SMEs. We are also looking at young women tapping into the Youth Empower Bank. We know that the Women’s Bank is not that capacitated but we are working at ensuring that you also support us so that the bank is well capacitated and can then stretch its hands to ensure that it catches our grassroots businessperson.

          We also have your financial house, SMEDCO and we encourage you to make use of that facility. Other financial institutions are also coming up with packages for our small to medium enterprises and we would want you to make use of those.

Hon Mathe, after COVID, Government helped business with money called COVID Cushion Fund. In the last Budget, it was $500 million but so far we have disbursed $160 million towards resuscitating small to medium enterprises. We were disbursing this money through the Women’s Bank and SMEDCO.

Hon Nduna brings out an enterprising way for weekend shopping malls within streets. I am not sure if we are ready for that because at the moment, we are talking about decent working spaces where we have ablution and requisite infrastructure such as water. This may be something that we may want to probe further as long as we have these facilities. I have seen Gweru doing it around the OK street but we may just need to look at this further.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: There is Five Street in Bulawayo and Fourth Avenue, they have also barricaded that area for the small to medium enterprises. You may want to visit there as well.

          HON. MHLANGA: Noted Mr. Speaker Sir. Hon Markham, we may want to collaborate with you because we also rely on our legislators in terms of identification of working space. We would encourage the Hon. Member to come forward and work with the Ministry very closely.

Hon. L. Sibanda, for Binga, it is just the same as what I have said in response to Hon. Markham. If you see where we have failed to measure up, we are prepared to work with councils so that there is plan for work spaces from the council and that they have a good work space. Those pillars that I mentioned, we will continue to work in all these work spaces so that we grow our businesses.

Hon. Nyoni raises a very important point in terms of the formalisation of our SMEs so that they make their contributions. We would want to say, yes there is still a lot that can be done but we would like the House and the nation to take note of the fact that we have come a long way in formalising our small to medium enterprises. We stand at 76% in terms of employment creation and our GDP has been measured to be at 60%. We want to continue training and engaging the necessary operators so that we formalise even further. It is in the interest of the Ministry and SMEs to continuously formalise.

Hon. Mokone, you may want to take note that in the statement, we have indicated that Gwanda is one of the four areas after Chikomba, Gweru and Bindura that have been chosen for work space development and a very ambitious project is going up in Gwanda.

Hon. Bhudha-Masara, yes point taken; it is important for us to be speaking in figures. It is important for us to be continuously collecting the data relating to our SMEs and also to continuously research. As we go into the commemorations of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, we are opening the Epworth Market which is a safe space for our women. We hope that we can spread these markets throughout the country.

Hon. Samson, we did that in Gweru when we went to Kudzanayi Market and we learnt a lot. What is being mentioned by Hon Samson is a bit of a challenge to share the cake but I would suggest that, let us work together so that we do not disturb the initiative which is meant to benefit the poor and we end up benefiting the rich. These are my responses, I thank you.

          HON. DR. KHUPE: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir.  I rise to correct a misconception in regards to the issue of collateral. What we are saying in terms of collateral is that you do not expect a woman from Makokoba to walk into a bank and be given money without collateral.  If you go to Barclays Bank, they require collateral of a house or something else and you do not have that.  We are saying we want different conditions of collateral.  For instance, in group lending, women can go into groups, it happens in other countries like Bangladesh.  The Hon. Minister mentioned that informal traders must start producing.  We do not want them to be buying goods from other countries; which is exactly what all of us do not want.

          So if these women want machinery to produce, if they go to the Women’s Bank, they must be given money.  That machinery that they buy so that they can start a business must be used as collateral but they must get the money.  So this is the misconception that I am talking about.  There are certain individuals who are saying you want women to get money without collateral; no, we are talking about collateral in the traditional banking sense, they do not have it.  The reality is that women informal traders do not have collateral, most of the women in this country do not have collateral; it is a known factor.  I wanted to correct that and I am happy the Minister of Finance is here, we are saying we want different collateral conditions which are going to be afforded by women who are at the bottom of the pyramid because they are the majority who are in the informal sector.  We want them to start producing. If these women who are in the informal sector start producing, this country will be developed.  I thank you.

          +HON. MATHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question was not property answered.  Due to the pandemic of COVID-19, people were just seated at home without doing their informal activities like selling. What measures have you taken to improve those who were affected by lockdown so that they can go back to their small and medium enterprises?   These people can be given loans even if they do not have collateral. This programme must uplift women who have no title deeds.  If we uplift women, we uplift the whole nation.  This Ministry is there to better the lives of women so that they can be equal with their male counterparts.  If you want to reach the middle-class economy by 2030, we must train at least a few women.  Women and youths in provinces must benefit from this programme before we even talk about this year’s money.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. PETER MOYO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I just want to thank the Deputy Minister for a good presentation.  We have some very critical issues that she has to look at. When we are talking about indigenisation, we want to empower people who are disadvantaged, poor people who sell tomatoes in the streets.  When you are asking for collateral from a person who is selling tomato and renting in Rugare, where do you expect that collateral to come from?  The person has potential to do proper business when she is assisted.  Who is then going to assist the person when the Ministry that is supposed to take care of small to medium enterprises seriously put a lot of hustles for the people who want to borrow that money? Remember it is Government money that is intended to empower its own people.  There is no Liver Brothers or Olivine where you expect those people to go and get employed.  The people are selling tomatoes, potatoes in order for them to grow. You start from scratch; if you ask Strive Masiiwa, he will tell you that he was selling some electrical gadgets at Harare City Council and other commodities, driving a Mazda 323, he had no collateral.  So, it seems as if this Ministry’s intention is to empower people who are already rich.  They do not empower the people at Glen View Area 8; they do not empower people in Mbare who are selling vegetables.  Those are the people we want this bank to empower.  I will give you an example; I had about 5 women in my constituency who came and took one of my properties they asked me to lend them one of my properties so that they turn it into an ECD school.  I have tried to assist. 

Even if you say you want to see a Director at the Women’s Bank, you hardly find anyone, they are always out of office.  What I know vividly is that they will be in the office but there are certain people whom they want to see and there are certain others whom they do not want to see.  Is it possible to do a forensic audit through the Auditor General’s Office to ascertain whether this bank is empowering the intended group or they are continuously empowering the same people?  I requested this but to no avail, but there we are, we are still crying because people in our constituencies are bothering us on a daily basis that they want money.  We talk about Empower Bank and the Women’s Bank, but you hardly get any money from these institutions.  So, I do not know why we are giving these institutions money, why are we budgeting for them when they are not helping anyone? 

          I agree with Hon. Mathe that we want the Ministry to bring its report and say in Kambuzuma and so on, they helped so many people.  We want to know those people because we are the representatives of the people.  We know everybody so that we do not continuously help  people from Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru - people who are financially sound.  We want to empower people without resources...

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you, you are now debating. 

          (v)HON. MUDARIKWA: During discussion, an issue was raised about cash compliance.  I want to find out if the Ministry has a law which, for example says the initial five years, it is tax free for SMEs, because we are doing that for all multinational companies, we are giving them tax holidays.  Why are we not applying the same thing to our SMEs and say you are in business, here is a certificate for you, catch a holiday for five years or for ten years.  That person will be compliant but we are doing that for international capital not our own people.

          (v)HON. MOKONE:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. The question that I wanted to ask is the same as the question that was asked by Hon. Mudarikwa.  I wanted to ask the question on taxes and the Minister did not answer it comprehensively. I want the Minister to clarify, women in my province are complaining that they are subjected to exorbitant taxes.  I thank you.

          HON. MARKHAM:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  The Minister mentioned that water will be available in these structures, I presume that ablutions as well.  My second point is the issue of rentals on these properties if they are going to be rented.  The programme must be very carefully planned because we do not want to end up like Mbudzi Market where the whole structure got vandalised and also the rains were too much and everyone was left outside the structure. 

On collateral, you cannot guarantee your debt.  So any collateral given to that structure is guaranteed by everyone and that everyone watches each other.  That way we can get people at the bottom to start coming through the ladder.     

          HON. MUSHORIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just wanted to seek clarification from the Deputy Minister.  I am looking into the financial statement for the Zimbabwe Women’s macro finance bank.  Their last financial statement which was produced and audited by the Auditor General indicates that the bank has been suffering or incurring losses for the past five years.  In fact, the last time in 2019, there was a loss of 69 million Zimbabwean dollars.  In that year, they wrote off bad debts amounting to 57 million Zimbabwean dollars and this bank, its assets are less than the liability.  What I want to find out from the Hon. Minister is; what mechanism is the Ministry putting in place, firstly on the capitalisation of the bank?  Then secondly, the issue is to do with the management of the bank. What mechanisms are you taking as a Ministry to ensure that there is efficient management given the fact that the bank has been making several losses year in and year out? 

          Lastly, I also wanted the Ministry to clarify the issue of the Board of Directors. The Auditor General reported in the 2019 Report that the Ministry took a long time to appoint a Board of Directors.  I want the Hon. Minister to explain why an important institution which is supposed to capacitate women can go on for more than a year without a Board of Directors. 

          (v)HON. DUTIRO:  I want to seek clarity from the Hon. Minister, she talked about tax and if you look at...

          *THE HON. SPEAKER:  Yes, can you speak proper Shona.

          (v)HON. DUTIRO:  I was saying councils collect rentals on a daily basis from women, we want to understand the correct position...

          *THE HON. SPEAKER:  You have switched off your microphone.

          (v)HON. GABBUZA: What is their policy on giving money to members of staff and the board?  What kind of bad debts are there, can they clarify who are the bad debtors and what categories are there?

          (v)HON. MBONDIAH: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question to the Hon. Minister is with regards to lease financing. Has the Women Bank thought of putting into consideration the matter of lease financing where they buy equipment for manufacturing and they hold that as collateral so that women are able to start up big projects that can actually build back into the economy of the country.  They can start businesses like poultry and peanut butter so that they can have proper businesses in Zimbabwe. Is there a policy where they would use lease financing?

          HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I seek clarification from the Hon. Minister regarding the issue of financial inclusion. Why is the Ministry not applying the principles of financial inclusion which would entail that beneficiaries of loans from banks use whatever materials that are within their habitat? Thank you.

          *HON. NDUNA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. We are talking about perishable foods. There are no by-laws in the books of council that allow police officers and council police officers to take items from vendors and consume them at their places. This is currently happening in the country, especially in Chegutu Constituency and the vendors will be crying. Can you do something for the vendors so that the police officers will not ruin their businesses? Get rid of that corruption within the police officers and council police officers so that they will not take bananas, apples and vegetables from the vendors and take them to their places without them getting arrested. Thank you.

          *HON. MHLANGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I begin by responding to the contribution that we were given by Hon. Dr. Khupe. I would like to inform the august House that we have what we call ‘small savings clubs’ that bring together groups in order to crowd-fund. As far as financial inclusion of our grassroots, SMEs, our micro business people, we still have a challenge. It is one of those things that we continue to talk about and we appeal to you as representatives of the people to say that we are still very much short – you know that pillar and we would like to continue to improve on it so that we can reach out to our small businesses.

          However, I continue to invite Hon. Dr. Khupe to come to my office and if that is difficult, I am asking her to write a paper to us because you speak very passionately about the best practice in Bangladesh. We stand ready as your Ministry to take that example of Bangladesh and see how best we can apply it to the uniqueness, in particular to SMEs in our country, Zimbabwe. So, we are waiting for you Hon. Dr. Khupe and we have taken note of that.

          As far as our bank is concerned, we have to balance the social side of addressing the backwardness of our women with the business model of how the bank should be running. I think at the end of these questions, you find one of our legislators saying, but you are making losses. It becomes a very difficult issue to balance.

          Hon. Mathe, all I can say is that challenges can be there but when we talk of women, their fund is called a Women’s Development Fund. When we talk of a bank, we are talking about businesses. All businesses including those who are in the tomato business, big and small, but when we talk of women, we have the Women Development Bank. Your Ministry is going to produce figures of how much we have distributed but the money that we receive is too little. It does not cover a lot of women. We have said to your Ministry, the money should be distributed to all the ten provinces. I understand that you want us to produce figures and yes, we will bring the figures.

          The question by Hon. P. Moyo on the issue of collateral and the issue of empowerment for our SMEs – as the Ministry, we stand ready to ensure that our SMEs are empowered but in as much as we would want all our SMEs to be able to access finance, there are limitations in terms of what we get and what we are able to disburse. So we will continue to thrive to get a meaningful chunk that will impact on our SMEs.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Mudarikwa, the issue that we give multi-nationals tax breaks and we do not look at our own internal capital, I think that is a powerful point that we need to take note of as a Ministry of SME’s.  It is a fact that our small to medium enterprises are riddled with multiple taxes and they then struggle with the little that they have at their disposal.  So that point is taken note of, we will certainly consider it as Ministry.

 Hon. Markham, the crowd-funding as I have indicated, we are trying to bring our groups together as a small savings club and we hope that can grow and make an impact.

          Hon. Mushoriwa has spoken about the loses that our bank is making, issues of corporate governance where the board was not in place for quite a while, I would like to report to the House that we do have the board that is in place and we take note of those short comings in terms of the corporate governance structure.

          Hon. Dutiro raises a very important point and I am going to combine it with the concerns that have been raised by Hon. Nduna.  If we look at the vendor laws that our local authorities are running with are colonial vendor laws that were meant to exclude the indigent population of this country.  Even the location of where they were supposed to be trading was un-strategic, it was meant to close them out of the strategic sites.  So, it is law Hon. Members that should be examined in collaboration with the local authorities and bring in a law that is friendlier.  A law that also considers the strategic placing of our business people be it micro, small or medium.

          Hon. Gabbuza raises issues of conflict of interest, loans on staff and how we then write off bad debts.  Yes, it may be an issue that we must be conscious of and we will certainly look into it.  I do not see the Ministry having a policy and it might just be the way to go.  Hon. Mbondiah noted lease financing but at the moment the Women’s Bank is running with what we call asset projects.  We are out there giving small businesses, giving our women assets so that at least these can then turn around and be used as collateral.

          Hon. T. Moyo, yes we are agreeable to using household effects as collateral and we are certainly making inroads in terms of lending out against the households effects. I thank you.

          HON. MAKONYA: On a point of order! My question was not addressed on the issue of taxes.

          HON. MHLANGA: I assumed that the issues that were raised by Hon. Mudarikwa were also the issues that were raised by Hon. Makonya in terms of the burden that our SME’s have to carry numerous taxes as well as giving tax breaks to international capital as opposed to giving our own local small businesses.  I thank you.

          HON. MUDARIKWA: The level of contributions by Hon. Members on this particular issue requires the Ministry and Parliament to hold a workshop specifically to do with SME’s.  This workshop should be held in Kariba or Nyanga where we assist and contribute in a positive way for the development of the women in Zimbabwe so that we are gender sensitive.  I thank you.

          HON. MHLANGA: I would like to appreciate the contribution that Hon. Mudarikwa has made.  Again, I would like to ask Hon. Mudarikwa to write a paper to our offices in terms of what the expectations are and we will value add to the paper and go the route that the Hon. Member is suggesting.  We would like to retreat with our legislators, to take as much in terms of knowledge so that at least we drive the important sector of SMS’s as Government.

          HON. PETER MOYO: On a point of Order Mr. Speaker. My point of order is that I want to second what Hon. Mudirakwa has said.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Moyo, you are out of order.  If you second it means you are debating.

FIRST READING

INSURANCE BILL [H. B. 1, 2021]

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE) presented the Insurance Bill [H. B. 1, 2021].

Bill read the first time.

Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

FIRST READING

INSURANCE AND PENSIONS COMMISSIONS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 6, 2021]

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE) presented the Insurance and Pensions Commissions Bill [H. B. 6, 2021].

Bill read the first time.

Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. T. MOYO:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 5 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 6 has been disposed of.

          HON. TEKESHE:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH:  DEBATE ON ADDRESS

          Sixth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

          Question again proposed.

          +HON. MATHE:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the State of the Nation Address which was presented by His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe for the fourth time in the Ninth Parliament…

          (v)+HON. NDEBELE:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.  Hon. Speaker, let me make a correction at this early stage.  The Hon. Member was supposed to thank the Hon. Speaker, addressing the Speaker in the correct way saying thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          +HON. MATHE:  I did not get the correction Mr. Speaker.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  The correction is that Hon. Member, you were supposed to say thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, referring to the Chair.  Thank you Hon. Ndebele.

          +HON. MATHE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for affording me the opportunity, like I mentioned when I started.  Maybe the Hon. Member did not get it.  So, thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for allowing me to talk about the State of the Nation Address which was presented by His Excellency.

          When opening the State of the Nation Address, the President of Zimbabwe said that he is happy with the progress that is there in the prevention of COVID-19 and he was appreciating the unity of purpose and the adherence to the COVID-19 protocols.  His Excellency also thanked the people of Zimbabwe for working hard in ensuring livelihoods for their households despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

          We also appreciate His Excellency when he spoke about unity among SMEs and other business entities which demonstrated the support they are giving to Vision 2030 and attaining the middle class economy.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the President also appreciated the unity among the people of Zimbabwe and the problems that we see in our economy which had a 7.2% growth. 

Mr. Speaker, His Excellency also mentioned the point that the expenses that are being incurred by the country despite the economic environment, it shows that Zimbabwe for now has stable foreign currency earnings. He expressed concern noting the pains that the country is experiencing due to the illegal sanctions. He mentioned that sanctions are hurting the country. His Excellency also thanked the people of Zimbabwe because Government has promulgated ways of bettering the people’s lives through Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme.

          He also said that this has brought stability in Zimbabwe because during the past farming season, Zimbabwe had a bumper harvest and this ensured food security in the country. A lot of people tilled their land and produced a bountiful harvest. He said Government is working hard to develop different areas through empowering people with tractors and empowering them with ways of ensuring food security in the country. Government has also distributed tractors to different provinces and these tractors can be accessed through the DDF. It is unfortunate that people lost their livestock as a result of disease outbreaks that were found during the COVID-19 era. The President said because of that farmers have been losing their livestock, so it important that Government finds a solution to eradicate such disease outbreaks.

          The President emphasised that those who are in the mining sector have been working very hard during the COVID-19 era.  This has culminated in Zimbabwe’s economy growing by 11%.  Like I mentioned before, it is clear that Zimbabwe is in a stable condition particularly looking at the economy. This is evidenced by what is happening in the mining sector. The President also continued saying that Government is going to continue supporting the mining sector through different departments. Government is going to allow small miners and other players who are interested in participating in mining in Zimbabwe without any unnecessary stumbling blocks.

          His Excellency explained that Government procured COVID-19 vaccinations which were distributed throughout the country and people are accessing such vaccinations easily. He said that in Victoria Falls, a lot of people participated in the vaccination programme where foreign currency earnings are coming into the Treasury. He said the Minister of Finance is receiving foreign currency earnings from tourism and it is cascading down to Treasury.

          I would like to end by saying His Excellency the President is a visionary leader as we see farming, mining and other sectors prospering. Such a President should be supported so that in 2023 he gets our full support as a nation. Every Zimbabwean citizen should appreciate what he is doing and support him. He is not just working for his political party but we need to understand, appreciate and support him. I thank you.

          (v)+HON. NDEBELE: On a point of order! When I make a point of order, it is not that she should say I thank you for this opportunity and I also notice that you are not directing this House and this thing keeps happening. An Hon. Member cannot refer to a Minster as “a Ncube gentleman”. That belittles the Minister. Please, I appeal to you to uphold the decorum of the House.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. M. KHUMALO):  Let me advise you that there are a lot of Ncubes in this House and the talk about Ncube has nothing to do with anybody in the House. He did not mention the name. He just said Ncube and this is why I did not take it seriously.

          (v)+HON. NDEBELE: No, no, no, he must be given his proper title. Let us not hide behind a finger.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Ndebele, we will check with Hansard whether she said so. I thought it was not an issue because he did not mention the name and also the Ministry.

          (v)+HON. NDEBELE: No, it is an issue because we should not say a boy from the Ncubes or a grandmother from the Ncubes.

          *HON. RUNGANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to add my voice to the motion which was raised by Hon. Mutambisi regarding the State of the Nation address which was presented by His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe to Parliament.  I would like to appreciate the words that were said by His Excellency and I want to concur with him that what he said is transpiring in the country, especially to us who come from the rural areas, who survive on farming.  We are given inputs through the Pfumbvudza Programme and this helps women in rural areas.  We welcome the distribution of inputs and people are so happy, because they will be able to farm and everyone will be well fed. 

I would like to thank the Government for such a programme, if someone tills their land through the dry planting programme, they can do so without the help of livestock and tractors. So I appreciate this initiative which ensures food security in the country and this enables people to have adequate food. 

The other thing that was said by the His Excellency, the President concerns our health in rural areas.  He encouraged people in rural areas to go and get vaccinated.  I thank the President for managing to secure vaccines to vaccinate at least more than half of the whole population so that people will not succumb to COVID-19.  A lot of lives would have been lost had our President not have taken this wonderful move.

On devolution, devolution funds were distributed and taken to rural areas for the construction of clinics and schools so that our young people can go to school.  We appreciate this noble thing by His Excellency the President.  He spoke about peace that prevails in rural areas, in clinics patients are well taken care of and people are so happy.

His Excellency the President also talked about Bills which will pass through this august House.  If we have laws, there will be peace in the country.  We need to amend some laws which were enacted way back so that they are aligned to the Constitution.  The President also spoke about provision of clean water in rural areas.  Access to water in rural areas is important; people no longer have to fetch water from untreated water sources. 

We are aware that a lot of people do not have proper houses and I am happy that Government is constructing houses particularly in outlining areas.  The other thing is that even those who are urban dwellers were given permission to participate in peri-urban farming instead of surviving with food stuffs from retail shops.  They can now sustain their livelihoods through farming. I thanks you Mr. Speaker.

HON. T. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. TEKESHE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 23rd November, 2021.

On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Twenty One Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 23rd November, 2021.

 

 

 

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