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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 19 February 2015 41-19
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 19th February, 2015
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(MR. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCMENT BY MR. SPEAKER
NON ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE
PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
- SPEAKER: I have received a non adverse report from the
Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Debt Assumption Bill) (H.B. 7, 2014).
- MARIDADI: I rise on a point of order in terms of Standing Order No. 61 and I want to refer to the Constitution of Zimbabwe which allows me the right to raise a point of order while everybody listens.
- SPEAKER: Can you observe decorum. Why do you anticipate disorder when you say “everybody will be listening”. Can you withdraw that?
- MARIDADI: I withdraw. According to Section 62 of the
Constitution – “Access to Information”’ it says “(1) every Zimbabwean citizen or permanent resident, including juristic persons and the Zimbabwean media, has the right of access to any information held by the State or by any institution or agency of Government at every level, in so far as the information is required in the interest of public accountability”.
When there was a bit of disturbances here yesterday Mr. Speaker, we realised that members of the fourth estate were told to switch off their cellphones and gadgets and they were barred from taking feed from the House and also from taking pictures. I think it is an infringement on our rights as Zimbabweans because this is a public institution to which members of the public have access. Members of the public were not able to access information from this House because journalists could not use gargets in disseminating information to the public.
- SPEAKER: I wanted to find out who actually gave the order.
- MARIDADI: That is the point that I am trying to drive to. We want to determine who gave the order, using what authority because we have members who we do not know who went to the press gallery and ordered members of the fourth estate to switch off their cellphones and one journalist by the name Mangudya was forced out of the gallery because he refused to switch off his cellphone.
- SPEAKER: So you do not know the one who ordered?
- MARIDADI: This is what I want to know, that was it an order from the Speaker or the House. That is what we are trying to determine.
- SPEAKER: Did you get any order from the Chair then? Was
there any order from the Chair asking the journalist to switch off?
- MARIDADI: No, it was not an order from the Chair because the Chair was seated here and we were in this House. It happened within the House.
- SPEAKER: Do you have any journalist who can approach
the Chair at an appropriate time to testify to that.
- MARIDADI: Yes Mr. Speaker I have more than one
journalist who can approach the Chair and testify, including the one who was bundled out of the House.
- SPEAKER: Thank you for that point of order. The Chair
gives you the responsibility to look for the witness and I will then investigate - Tuesday at 09:30 a.m. in my office.
Mr. Gonese having stood up to debate.
- SPEAKER: I did not recognise you Hon. Gonese. You are moving to the microphone, you have said nothing.
- GONESE: I have not said anything.
- SPEAKER: So, if you can sit down, I thought you were taking the microphone.
- GONESE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
- SPEAKER: Another point of order.
- GONESE: A different one Mr. Speaker Sir.
- SPEAKER: Can you be short and brief. Please take the podium.
- GONESE: It is in terms of the Constitution, Section 129 (k), that is a section which relates to the tenure of a Member of Parliament.
It is very clear, it says, sorry, it should be …
- SPEAKER: I think you are misquoting yourself.
- GONESE: I am not misquoting, that is the one to a person who was elected as an independent Member of Parliament. It is ‘l’.
- SPEAKER: That is why I said you are misquoting yourself.
- GONESE: It is ‘l’, it says, “if the member not having been a member of a political party when he or she was elected to Parliament becomes a member of a political party…” The point of order I am raising is that we are seeking for a declarator that the seat of the Hon. Member, I think it is Mudzi South, Hon. Jonathan Samukange was clearly elected as an Independent Member of Parliament and this is by operation of the law, there should be no other letter written because once someone was elected as an Independent Member of Parliament and that person becomes a member of a political party, the seat automatically becomes vacant and that is by operation of law. I believe that by the operation of the law, that seat has automatically become vacant. As a result, the hon. member has no right to be sitting in this august House purporting to be a Member of Parliament when that seat has fallen vacant – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
- SPEAKER: What I have before me is that Hon.
Samukange, Mudzi South was elected to Parliament as an Independent and until such time I receive communication to the contrary, then he remains so. The moment I receive that communication in terms of the point of order raised, certainly the Chair will declare the seat vacant and naturally there shall be a by-election.
- GONESE: I just want to seek clarification. The clarification I am seeking is as to who is supposed to be writing the letter. You are expecting communication from who, if I can have that clarity.
- SPEAKER: Firstly, the letter will come from the party where he is purported to have become a member. That party must write
- GONESE: In the event that there is no such letter and…
- SPEAKER: Order, order hon. member, please sit down. Do
not crack your heads over nothing. Once I receive the letter, I shall declare that seat vacant and there shall be a by-election.
*MR. ZWIZWAI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. My point of
order is that when political parties recruit people to join their parties, we cannot look forward to them writing to us as Parliament that Hon.
Zwizwai is now a member of the party. And then when we look at the issue that Hon. Samukange is now a stranger, we are taking advantage of two issues. Firstly, it is in the media that officially he has been readmitted into the ZANU PF party and then the other advantage is that he has not denied this, he has accepted readmission.
Secondly Hon. Speaker, is to take advantage that you are an advocate and as you sit in the Politburo which came up with this decision; so, the issue of a letter Mr. Speaker, is actually not relevant because you are a member of the Politburo who was at the meeting. What we as hon. members are after is that, we are after implementing what is in the Constitution. Mr. Speaker, what we request of you is to implement what is in the Constitution as an Hon. Speaker. Thank you.
- SPEAKER: Hon. Zwizwai, you have spoken well but what I know as a member of the party does not mean that I have to know that when I come to Parliament, so I cannot accept such a ruling as a ZANU PF member but I have to get a letter from ZANU PF whilst here at
Parliament. Thank you. – [HON. CHIBAYA: Inaudible interjections.] - Hon. Chibaya, the Chair is here, can you listen please.
RESERVE BANK (DEBT ASSUMPTION) BILL (H.B. 7, 2014)
First Order read: Committee: Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Debt
Assumption) Bill (H.B. 7, 2014) House in Committee.
*MR. ZWIZWAI: On a point of order Mr. Chairman, we want to place on record the fact that, this morning Hon. Samukange called for a Parliamentary Legal Committee – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order I will give
you a chance.
*MR. ZWIZWAI: He called for a meeting of the Parliamentary Legal Committee that he chaired and there was a non-adverse report after he had been accepted in ZANU PF. He is now a stranger and we would want to put it on record that we will take this matter to court and if we win in a court of law, the Bill will be null and void. I thank you. –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order Hon.
Khumalo. Order, order Hon. Madzore, I am saying order, order and you are not taking heed. What are you doing?
- S. MADZORE: I apologise Mr. Chairman.
On Clause 1:
- GONESE: We want the House to be divided because we object to the whole Bill – [DR. GUMBO: To the whole Bill?] – Yes and in objecting Mr. Chairman, in terms of the Priviledges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act Section 17 Chapter 2:8 - in terms of that Act, any person who has got a pecuniary interest is precluded from voting on the Bill. In calling for a division, we ask that anyone who is a beneficiary from the Reserve Bank is not entitled to participate in the voting. We are calling for a division – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - We cannot proceed to vote because we have not yet been informed of all beneficiaries – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- No, no we are saying we cannot vote in the absence of information indicating the beneficiaries. On the beneficiaries, I quoted a section there of the Act – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order let us
listen to what he saying please!
- GONESE: Let me articulate my point. I am quoting an Act
Mr. Chairman, if you look at the provisions of that Section 17, Chapter 2:8, it unequivocally states that anyone who has got a pecuniary interest; if you have sight of that section, it says anyone who has got a pecuniary interest is not entitled to vote – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order! The hon.
member wants to be heard in silence. You may proceed.
- GONESE: I am saying that in terms of Section 17, anyone who has got a pecuniary interest is precluded from participating in the vote and unless we are furnished with information as to who the beneficiaries are, we cannot proceed because obviously if any voting takes place, those beneficiaries must be excluded from the proceedings in this august House – [AN HON. MEMBER: What is your proposal?] – My proposal is that we must be given a list of the beneficiaries then those beneficiaries are excluded.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Gonese, are you
debating on the Short Title?
- GONESE: No, no, I am saying that we want to vote on it but before we can do so, we need to have information relating to the section that I referred to.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Gonese, are you
responding to the Short Title?
- GONESE: We are objecting to it.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: You are objecting to
the Short Title?
- GONESE: We are objecting to it.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Any further debate? –
[DR. GUMBO: Kana paita objection hapachisina debate] – No debate, Hon. Kereke.
- KEREKE: Just to assist so that as hon. members we separate issues. When we sit even as a Committee to approve, for instance the National Budget, we do not go to the extent of saying list and itemize the people who benefited – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – The issues of the lists are matters of verification.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order please!
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Mr. Chairman, I propose
that Clauses 1 to 3 be put together.
- GONESE: Mr. Chair, we cannot proceed until we know the beneficiaries?
- CHINAMASA: Mr. Chairman, I moved that Clauses 1 to 3 be considered together. There was an objection and I moved for a division. Let us get a division.
- GONESE: On a point of order Mr. Chair. We have raised a point of order and in support of that point of order, I am even going to cite provisions of our bible, ‘the Green Book’ which guides all our proceedings in this august House. In terms of our Standing Order No. 102, Mr. Chairperson, if you have site of Standing Order 102, which I am going to read for the benefit of everyone, “a member shall not and underline the words shall, it means that they are preemptory - shall not in or before the House or any Committee vote upon or take part in the discussion of any matter in which he or she has a direct pecuniary interest”. What we are simply saying is that this is our ‘bible’ in terms of ...
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order!
- GONESE: I am still proceeding. All we are saying is that
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Please take your seat.
- GONESE: I have not finished Mr. Chair.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): I move that we report
progress and seek leave to sit again.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Khumalo, get out
of this House –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Order, order!
Committee Stage: To resume later in the day.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Madzore,
Hon. Madzore! Hon. Gabbuza, order!
PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS AND AUDITORS AMENDMENT BILL
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Public Accountants and Auditors Amendment Bill (H.B.
Question again proposed.
-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese! Hon. Gonese! Can you please behave yourself - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
- CHIOTA: Madam Speaker, the key objective and core value
for standing in this House is to express sincere gratitude and appreciation to our Committee for the work they handled on the subject but it is very sad, unfortunate and disheartening that the information that they got to come up with a conclusive position is not acceptable.
I will highlight that they were challenging the possibility of having the IAC as a public accounting institution and they did not, as a Committee approve of that situation.
The IAC was established in Southern Africa in 1927. It has been operating for 88 years. In Zimbabwe, it came in in 1958. It has been operating for 57 years. When you go down to look at the credibility and integrity of working with other institutions, for example on exemptions, IAC gives CIS ten exemptions. CIS gives IAC ten exemptions. That situation alone is adequate to highlight that these two institutions are equal. When I address the issue of entry qualification to studying, IAC accepts five ‘O’levels and two ‘A’levels, CIS accepts five ‘O’levels and two ‘A’ levels. Again, that highlights the ability of the two institutions as being equal. When we address our higher and tertiary education, it equates the two institutions as being equal and yet we stand around the fire and say left is correct and right is not.
The frustrating situation is that when you address PAAB, it is the competition that comes up from the same institutions worrying about the market situation. They do not give the consumers of the services the opportunity to highlight which institution is credible and which institution is not. Now, before I conclude my address to this honourable House, the then Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs at that time, wrote a document to the PAAB, compelling them to accept IAC as a member of the PAAB and it is again, the same Minister who has now been moved from the Ministry of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs to go to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, who has this paper before him to identify and give credibility to the institution that can operate.
Madam Speaker, I plead with the honourable House, including yourself, to see which institutions are acceptable and which institutions are not. We do not give the opportunity to individual providers of services to challenge other institutions. If it was an acceptable plea, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development must identify an acceptable committee and acceptable people to work as PAAB, as opposed to say IAC, CIS, CIMA, yet all those people have their personal interests in terms of communication and understanding. I plead with you Madam Speaker. Thank you.
- MARIDADI: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to debate this very important Bill which is before this House. The hon. member who has just spoken, Madam Speaker, I want to put it on record that he is conflicted and that he is an interested party. He is the President of the Institute of Administration and Commerce and I do not expect him to have said anything other than what he has said.
Madam Speaker, he talks about entry qualifications into the Institute of Administration and Commerce and into ACCA, CIS for one to be a chartered accountant. I will give you an analogy. If you have two young people with three ‘A’ levels each, that is 15 points at ‘O’ level, they can all get into medical school. If one then chooses to get into the school of nursing and the other chooses to get into medical school, the one who gets into the school of nursing cannot then say because our entry qualification was the same I should also become a medical doctor if he has not studied medicine. So, the issue of entry qualification does not hold.
For one to become a chartered accountant, you must go under rigorous examinations and for one to become a member of the Institute of Administration and Commerce, all you need are five ‘O’ levels and you need to study for one or two years and become a member. In any case, members of the Institute of Administration and Commerce are not auditors; chartered accountants are auditors, members of ACCA are auditors and members of the Institute of Administration and Commerce, on their own admission, are not auditors. We must draw a separation between auditors and those that are not auditors. We cannot legislate for the lowering of standards in Zimbabwe in the name of indigenisation.
We cannot do that.
- CHIOTA: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. The issue comes out with clarity. It is Public Accountants and Auditors Board. Auditors are AIC, accountants are other institutions practicing in accounts as opposed to becoming auditors.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. member, may you speak
to the Chair.
- CHIOTA: Madam Speaker, the hon. member is not bringing
clarity to two institutions. It is Public Accountants on the left and
Auditors Board on the right. You cannot twist those two issues. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - What is of clarity at this stage is to understand and appreciate that the whole address revolves around two areas. On the left, we address public accountants. CIS are company secretaries and they are not auditors. CIMA are not auditors –
[MR. CHIOTA: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order. Order Hon.
Chiota. Hon. member, you are not allowed to debate for the second time but you can actually give your point of order in short. What is your point of order?
- CHIOTA: The point of order is that my learned friend is failing to understand the variance that exists between public accountants and auditors. Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I would like to advice the hon.
member who is debating to stick to evidence and stick to the debate without contradicting or confronting the last speaker. Just give your evidence and your side of the debate.
- MARIDADI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to draw a distinction between the different accounting bodies that exist in the country. Madam Speaker, there are two superior bodies - the Institute of
Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe and the Institute of Chartered
Certified Accountants (ACCA), then there is Chartered Institute of Secretaries and Administration (CIS) and there are other institutes like the Southern African Association of Accountants (SAA) and the Institute of Administration and Commerce (ICS), which is the one that we are discussing here.
Madam Speaker, when ICS was established in Zimbabwe, as the hon. member said, in 1923, it was there to train PAs, and I mean secretaries as in secretarial studies. Then they upgraded themselves and they started training people that do accounting. What we are saying here is that there are people that are trained in accounting that cannot do other accounting jobs because the level of training that they go through does not allow them to do that kind of training.
The Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development is here. We are having a problem in Zimbabwe at the moment with accounts that are prepared by ministries. There are only four Directors of Finance in this country who are qualified to occupy the position of Accountant General because people have qualifications like IAC, which does not allow them to be accountants in Government and the Minister here can vouch for me. There are only four people in the Government of Zimbabwe who are qualified to be accountants for ministries. The rest of Finance Directors in Government either hold a qualification like IAC and they cannot, according to the statutes be accountants.
Madam Speaker, what the IAC…
- CHIOTA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. We will place before the hon. House and yourself Madam Speaker, that when you address PAAB of South Africa, it is the IAC Institution of
Accountants…- [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order! What is the
point of order?
- CHIOTA: The IAC are qualified members of the Public
Accountants and Auditors Board in South Africa. They are…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I would like to advise the
House that each and every member is going to be given a chance to debate in this House. It is about giving your position, what you want in the Bill and what you do not want. This is Hon. Maridadi’s opportunity and if you have contrary views, you will also get your opportunity to debate.
- MARIDADI: We understand that in South Africa or in any
other country for that matter, the Institute of Administration and Commerce could be accountants but Zimbabwe is a different jurisdiction. Zimbabweans are renowned for their level of education.
The reason why Zimbabweans are renowned for their level of education is that when somebody goes to a foreign country and they produce a qualification which says “economist”, they are given an assignment to do, they will acquit themselves with distinction because they have gone through a programme of study that allows them to be called an economist. We cannot in this House legislate for somebody with an inferior qualification to be called a public accountant because they are not.
I know people are saying because this is a foreign qualification and this is an internal qualification. I will give you an example of ‘O’ level. For somebody to write ‘O’ level, ZIMSEC or Cambridge, they need to go through four years of an approved programme of study for them to be able to sit for ZIMSEC ‘O’ level, just like Cambridge ‘O’ level. There is no debate on those issues. What I am saying is that the Institute of Administration and Commerce is not and I repeat, they are not public accountants because of the programme of study that they go through.
They might have five ‘O’ levels and 2 ‘A’ levels at the point of entry but the programme of study that they go through is different from the programme of study of those that study ACCA and chartered accountants.
I am going to rest my case and say this House cannot legislate for the lowering of standards in education. Education is our only pillar of hope in this country and we cannot tamper with it.
- KEREKE: I rise to confirm that the two Committees which presented that report on the Bill went through the rigour of meeting the experts in the field and at one point at the direction of the House, the two
Committees, one on Budget and Finance and the other one on Public Accounts had to sit as a joint committee to go through the proposed amendments.
There was concurrence that the proposed amendments are a necessary enhancement to fortify what Hon. Maridadi has eloquently stated that we need to be careful to get carried away, legislate the lowering of standards. The proposals as are in the Bill have gone through the mill of the players in the industry who concurred and we were very happy that
in its present state, the Bill meets the standards that we would want to see as a country.
I rise to say and urge hon. members that what you see here is the draft that has come from the melting pot of experts after a very long time and I urge you please, let us pass it as it is.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): I want to thank those who
have contributed in support of the Bill. First of all, I thank the two Committees for supporting the Bill. What I want to make clear is that these amendments have not come from the Ministry but have come from the professional bodies themselves. As you know, the accountants and engineers are governed under statutes basically to help them organise their profession but they decide for themselves what standards they want especially with respect to how they compare themselves with like professions outside our borders.
We got an approach from the Public Accountants and Auditors Board that they want to have associate professional members who are not at the same level but who have developed a skill in a particular niche like tax accounting. Tax accounting professional is precisely what it means. He has developed expertise in tax matters and he is not capable of course to do proper accounting jobs but only to look at tax accounting issues. Similarly, all these constituent associate bodies have their own niche which we have to recognise.
I want to say that the two Committees recognised the need for differentiation of qualifications, competencies and that is what this Bill is about. We cannot all be equal. Even if we take in the legal profession which I am aware, there are also people who are called para-legals. A para-legal is not a lawyer. There are also people who have graduated but have not gone that extra step to practice as a lawyer. I know they call themselves lawyers but they are not lawyers until they have been registered and admitted by the High Court. We need to keep that differentiation in order to enhance efficiency and integrity in the profession.
I must say that from the information that I have, we are doing very well in this area. We have had chartered accountants, people in various disciplines going abroad and occupying very high positions in London and New York. We need to maintain it like that. I want to thank the hon. members for supporting the Bill and therefore move that the Bill be now read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.
PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS AND AUDITORS AMENDMENT BILL
(H.B. 6, 2014)
House in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 20 put and agreed to.
Second Schedule put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendments.
Third Reading; With leave, forthwith.
PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS AND AUDITORS AMENDMENT
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): I move that the Public
Accountants and Auditors Amendment Bill (H.B.6, 2014) be now read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
ZIMBABWE GENDER COMMISSION BILL (H.B.8, 2014)
Third Order read. Adjourned debate on the Second Reading of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission Bill (H.B.8, 2014).
Question again proposed.
- MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I understand that the Committee on Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community
Development are yet to carry out public hearings on this particular Bill, therefore, I seek leave of the Minister that the debate be waived to next week.
MS.THABITA KHUMALO: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 24th February, 2015.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Fourth order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the
Question again proposed.
- CHIMANIKIRE: Thank you Madam Speaker. Indeed, this
is my maiden speech in debating the Presidential Speech since I came into this House ten years ago. For very authentic reasons, I had not –
[THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT: Inaudible interjections.] – Haa iwe, uchanzwa zvandicha taura manje manje so.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon.
Chimanikire, please speak to the Chair.
- CHIMANIKIRE: Thank you Madam Speaker but the hon.
Minister is heckling. First and foremost, I would like to convey my thanks to the President for having presented his opening speech to this House.
In his speech, on the first page, the President refers to his emphasis on the alignment of laws to the Constitution. I put it on record that the President presented his speech to this House yet we have gone for several months and not a single Bill has been brought before this House to align the laws to the Constitution – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – This is cause for concern because some of the legislation that we are still using does not conform to the new Constitution that we approved more than two years ago. The President does stress that the realignment of these laws will lend support to the attainment of the goals of ZIM ASSET. So, we are off tangent in as far as this Government is concerned because we have not conformed to what the President was aspiring for in his speech.
There is a proposition for a new Income Tax Bill. When we look at the current taxation system and the proposals that are coming forward, we believe that the taxation in this country is leaving a lot of uncollected taxes simply because the laws are not in place. If you look at small scale businesses, some of them are being unfairly treated, some are not being taxed at all and in certain instances you will find that a lot of traders get away with murder without paying taxes to the fiscus.
The President then went on to deal with the issue of insurance and the losses that might have been incurred by people who had insured themselves when the United States dollar was introduced. However, it is important to note that this is too little too late because a lot of the insured people lost their insurance policies and as a result, may not have benefited at all when the new insurance policies were reintroduced with far reduced amounts of insurance as compared to what they had under the Zimbabwe dollar.
Madam Speaker, on the issue of pensions before this House, I think there have been from various Non-Governmental Organisations
(NGOs), advocacy for us to introduce The Old Peoples’ Pensions Act where the State assumes pensions to the elderly in this country. It goes without saying that during the period ensuing to the dollarization of our currency, a lot of people who were receiving pensions were doing so from companies that had since been shut. It is important that Government assumes its responsibility to look after the elderly in conformity with the provisions of the new Constitution. This is an area of concern again.
The Temporary Speaker having noticed an hon. member using
his/her cell phone.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order, I would like to
advise members that the use of cellphones and texting messages is not allowed in the House. So, you can go outside if you want to use your cellphones. You may continue hon. member.
- CHIMANIKIRE: On the issue of agriculture - yes, I agree with the President’s advocacy that there should be an improvement for us to be able to secure food security. In his presentation, he also refers to the issue of livestock.
It is important to look at livestock in this country because the levels at which we are at the moment are critically low and we need to improve on that. It is also incumbent upon members of this House to take note that there has been a lot of poaching around the country to the extent that some of our grand children are not going to see what a hare kana kuti tsuro looks like. So, areas of conservation as advocated in the President’s speech – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order may the hon.
member be heard in silence.
- CHIMANIKIRE: Areas of conservation need to be
addressed in this country because very soon, we may be forced to start importing wild animals as they are no longer there when you drive around the country. So, this area of exportation of elephants may be replaced by the importation of other wild animals into this country because they are no longer available in our surroundings.
Madam Speaker, yes it is correct to advocate for the growing of more tobacco but let us take note of the fact that there is the tobacco lobby which is advocating for banning of tobacco smoking. Unless we take note of some of these innuendoes, we may find ourselves producing something that may not have a market in the next 10 to 15 years.
Coming to mining, I recall the President almost four years ago, launching the New ZIM STEEL which was a replacement of ZISCO STEEL in Kwekwe. However, one observed that nothing has happened since the launch of the New ZIM STEEL. We were made to understand at the launching of the New ZIM STEEL, that Government had floated a tender and that this tender had actually been awarded to an Indian company called ESSAR. What is stopping Government from refloating that tender if ESSAR has failed? Is it the promised assumption of the US$750 million loan?
However, I think it is a challenge before this Government from what the President was actually advocating, that we should be able to retender the issue of ESSAR and also get a new company to come and revive the industry in Kwekwe. It has gone as far as even going to pray in the stadia so that ESSAR can start working. I do not think it is necessary for his country to ask for the Almighty to intervene on issues that can actually be made on ministerial decisions.
I remember in this House, when the Eighth Parliament was actually opened, the then new Minister promised us that by December, 2013, the New Zim Steel would be operational. This has not come to pass and up to today, we do not know when New Zim Steel will start operating.
Madam Chair, when it comes to global trends of growing involvement of the private sector in the provision of public infrastructure, the challenge in this country is that we look at parastatals like National Railways of Zimbabwe, Air Zimbabwe and Net One, these parastatals need to be privatised or to have strategic partnerships, so that we will be able to revive the infrastructure in the National Railways of Zimbabwe. I was part of the delegation that accompanied the President three years ago to China. The issue of National Railways of Zimbabwe was discussed at a dinner that he actually hosted, but three years down the line, there is no improvement on operations in National Railways of Zimbabwe, let alone part of my constituency, which is a dormitory for National Railways of Zimbabwe. The workers have not been paid their salaries for a period of over 18 months. This situation has to be addressed and unless we find strategic partners for the National Railways of Zimbabwe as well as Air Zimbabwe, operations and jobs in this country will continue to deteriorate or be none existent in the long term situation.
Madam Chair, when we look at the issue of indigenisation that the President referred to – yes, indigenisation but it is important to look at what is actually affecting foreign direct investment on the issue of indigenisation. We take note that loans for empowerment were given out to our youths, but some of them, according to the former Minister - I do not know whether there is a new Minister now, but the former Minister indicated that the youths who had been given loans had not repaid them. In an effort to track them and try to persuade them to repay the loans, they had changed their addresses and they were nowhere to be found. These are typical examples of where there is misuse and abuse of Government funds which are meant for a purpose that is supposed to have benefited us.
Talk about the issue of the 51/49 percent, wherever we have sojourned seeking for investors – I was one of those who went to Japan and Australia. There was one question which was posed in one meeting by investors; does it mean that if I come to Zimbabwe with US$100m you take US$51 million and I remain with US$49 million? We could not answer that question. We had to lie and say okay, we are looking at amending the laws in our legislature. That area Madam Speaker needs to be addressed and we appeal to the Executive to relook at the percentages so that they are favourable. For example in mining, if you invest in mining, it will take you anything between 20 and 25 years to start recovering and making a profit. It is not something that can be done overnight. So if you are looking at investment in mining, it has to be long term and at the same time the legislation or the law has to be amended to make it favourable.
We seem to have Ministers, including our Minister of Finance and Economic Development, who is actually apologising for that piece of law saying it is going to be negotiated. Why should it be negotiated? The law should be very clear about what we want to achieve and how to achieve it and not to say we are going to negotiate when it comes to mining.
Madam Speaker, the other issue that we should be looking at is the issue of value addition. I was surprised a week ago when the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, the President yes, advocated for an issue of ensuring that there is value addition, but the Minister of Mines and Mining Development just last week issued a statement that they are re-visiting that area, with the intention of allowing the exportation of raw chrome. We are going back to where we came from, where there is exploitation - the records show that when we actually banned the exportation of raw chrome, when we reopened some five years ago, China had 0.25% of the reserves of chrome ore in the world. By the time you allowed them to operate for five years, they ended up with 25% ore reserves in as far as world statistics are concerned. So, by the end of the day, when we look at mining in terms of exploration, if we do not use effective latest satellite technology, there is no way we are going to achieve the establishment of knowing what exactly we have underground in this country.
So the issue of exploration is very, very important, the President touched on it. However, what is discouraging is that as way back as
1987, the exploration company was established under the Zimbabwe Mines, ZMDC, but this company has been dormant on the shelves of various offices. There is now an attempt to revive it as if it is something new. If we do not do exploration, we might as well forget about improving mineral production in this country.
Madam Speaker, when it comes to the issue of implementation of ZIM ASSET on various issues, on power generation for example, this country has been fed on a lot of propaganda and not facts. There was a very good story in the Herald some 1 ½ years ago, which was talking about investment in solar energy in Bulawayo. When I drove to Bulawayo, I expected to see an area where there will be a big solar project establishment, but by the end of the day there was nothing.
However, it had been widely publicized.
In conclusion Madam Speaker, the issue of tourism; we are very hopeful that tourists are going to come into this country. Our biggest problem is our charges in hotels. What we are charging is too high. I remember on one visit to Victoria Falls, a group of Chinese visitors landed at Victoria Falls airport, drove across into Botswana and they were spending the evenings in Botswana and coming to visit Victoria Falls in the afternoon. Their reason was, Zimbabwean hotels were too expensive as compared to Botswana hotels. We tried to raise the issue with the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry; this has not yet been addressed. Madam Speaker, we appeal to Government to re-look at the prices that we charge in our hotels and I believe whatever plans and hopes we may have in terms of tourism, we should be able to improve some of the facilities that we have in terms of cost to the visitors.
Madam Speaker, I rest my case on this debate on what the President presented to this Parliament.
*MS. CHIKUNI: Thank you Madam Speaker, for giving me the
opportunity to debate on the Presidential Speech. When the President made his Speech, what really was of interest to me was that he talked about agriculture. He mentioned that year 2013 and 2014 were years of good harvest. We sold our produce to Grain Marketing Board but right now, other farmers have not received their money. We have also realised that this season, the harvest is low because of the hot dry weather. So, what is needed is for us to ensure that there is food security to feed those in the rural areas because they will be hunger in those areas.
He also mentioned about tillage, that there will be organised tillage that will be done by tractors in the various districts but if we look at our areas such as Chimanimani, the tractors owned by DDF are not working and they need to be addressed mechanically so that they can do this. Still on the issue of agriculture, there are very few women who will benefit from the land reform process that will take place soon. What we are requesting is that the women should be allocated more agricultural land together with the young people.
The President also talked about the roads. Yes, the roads are being constructed and those who are doing the resurfacing are doing so. We are impressed by the work that is being done along Masvingo-Harare highway. But from Mutare, the Christmas pass needs attention in terms of resurfacing. There are so many heavy trucks that are coming from Zambia carrying coal and other things so they need to continue attending to this road. This has to be done professionally. If you go to Mutare, Chimanimani and turn to Birchenough, there are potholes that are so bad that the suspension of the car is affected. There is also a lot of vegetation that now disrupts the road sides and you hardly see them.
On mining, the President also said a lot about the extraction of minerals which we have realised is a topic of discussion. I do not know when this will come to fruition in terms of success for mining especially concerning the cutting and polishing of diamonds. As people from Manicaland, we are looking forward to the construction of an industry that will create jobs for the women and the youth. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, I move
that the debate do now adjourn. Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 24th February, 2015.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, I move
that Orders of the Day Numbers 5 to 20 be stood over until Order Number 21 has been disposed of.
- GONESE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I think the Minister has not consulted. We have got Chairpersons of Committee who have got reports which have been pending before this august House for the last week who want to move those motions so that we can debate those reports. In particular, we have got Hon. Dr. Labode –[MS. ZINDI:
It is not only Hon. Labode. Takawanda.]- So for that reason, Madam Speaker, I believe that the Minister should be patient so that we go through this.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): I only need ten minutes to
- GONESE: To respond only and then after that we go back to the Orders…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, can you please
address the Chair?
- GONESE: The Minister has indicated that he only wants to respond for ten minutes and then after that we can then go back to Order Number 5, I then withdraw my objection.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Gonese.
DEVELOPMENT OF SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES
Twenty first Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on Special Economic Zones.
Question again proposed.
- ZINDI: On a point of order, I am objecting to that motion to be debated now because we have reports that have been pending since the beginning of the week and therefore, I am of the opinion that we should be given the opportunity to present and debate the reports.
Again, I need to point out that motion number 21 which we are having to bring up; Hon. Nduna stood over other motions the other day in favour of his motion. It was on question and answer without notice, I feel it is not fair –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order hon. members. This is
the second objection so I think we have to go back to Order Number 5 as per our Order Paper.
FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH
AND CHILD CARE ON THE STATE OF AFFAIRS OF THE
HEALTH DELIVERY SYSTEM IN ZIMBABWE
- LABODE: I rise to move the motion in my name that this
House takes note of the First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care on the State of Affairs of the Delivery System in Zimbabwe.
- MUSIIWA: I second.
As part of its oversight role over the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care resolved to enquire into the state of affairs of the health delivery system in Zimbabwe. The public outcry over poor health services and lack of access to the same led to the Committee's decision to conduct an inquiry into the management of the five central hospitals as a way of ensuring that the health provision as enshrined in the Constitution is upheld.
The objectives of the enquiry were:
2.1 To understand and establish the state of the health delivery system in
2.2 To appreciate challenges being faced by the Ministry of Health and Child Care in fulfilling its mandate.
2.3 To recommend strategies that may enhance the health services delivery system.
The Committee used four methods of data collection namely: oral evidence, site visits, focus group discussions through workshops and literature review.
3.1 Oral Evidence Sessions
3.1.1 The Ministry of Health and Child Care, Chief Accounting Officer, Dr. Gwinji presented the ministry's 5-Year-Strategic Plan and the implementation challenges.
3.1.2 The Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr. Parirenyatwa, appeared before the Committee to clarify the misconception surrounding the policy on the user fees and to set the record straight on the disputed
Ekhusileni Medical Centre ownership.
3.1.3 The Committee received oral evidence from the board of the Zimbabwe National Blood Transfusion Service on the operations and challenges of the organisation.
3.1.4 The Premier Service Medical Aid Society management appeared before the Committee to clarify issues of poor access to health services for their members and maladministration of the subscriptions collected.
3.1.5 The Health Services Board, a board responsible for services, recruitment and promotion of health workers, also presented a paper before the Committee on the status of the establishment of health workers and the challenges faced by health institutions due to shortage of manpower.
3.2 Focus Group Discussions
This was done through workshops on targeted health issues.
3.2.1 Community Working Group on Health assisted the Committee on
Budget Formulation and Prioritisation.
3.2.2 National AIDS Council disseminated information on HIV/AIDS, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Cervical Cancer and the distribution of the Global funds by the Country Coordination Mechanisms.
3.2.3 The Disability, HIV/AIDS Trust sensitised the Committee on Sexual, Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS issues in relation to the people living with disability.
3.2.4 The SNV (Stichting Nederlandse Vrijwilligers) or Netherlands Development Organisation, disseminated information on menstrual hygiene as an impediment to the empowerment of the girl child.
3.2.5 The National Health Care Trust disseminated information on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme and the water situation in Harare.
3.2.6 Zimbabwe Women's Resource and Network Centre capacitated the Committee on budget monitoring and tracking.
3.2.7 The Ministry of Health and Child Care in conjunction with
UNICEF, capacitated the Committee on Child Rights.
3.3 Fact Finding Visits
The Committee undertook fact finding visits to the following central hospitals:
- Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals
- Harare Central Hospital
- Mpilo Central Hospital
- United Bulawayo Hospitals
- Ingutsheni Central Hospital Ekhusileni Medical Centre.
-Please note that the Committee took advantage of being in Bulawayo to also visit the hospitals in the vicinity like Esigodini District Hospital and Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital.
-The National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe (Natpharm) was also visited to appreciate its capacity to procure and distribute drugs in the country.
3.4 The Committee made reference to the following documents:
- The Census (2012);
- The Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS) of 2012;
- The MoHCC Annual Reports;
- Health Transition Fund Manual (2011);
- The 2012 Ernst and Young Audit Report for the National Blood
- The Zimbabwe Health Development Partners Group Report
- The National Medicine Survey (2013);
- The Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry Annual Report (2011);
- The World Health Organisation: Public Sector Reform:
Downsizing, Restructuring Improving Performance (1996);and
- Hospital Reports.
- THE COMMITTEE FINDINGS
- HEALTH STATUS
- Although Zimbabwe has realized a remarkable decline in HIV prevalence from the peak of 20.1% in 2005 to 14.9% (2013 HIV Estimates) amongst the 15-49 age group in 2013, the prevalence remains too high. HIV incidence has also declined from 1.21% in 2011 to 0.98% in 2013. However, the number of new cases are still very high with an estimated 69,105 new infections per year. HIV mortality is estimated at 63,853 per year. With the adoption of new WHO guidelines, clients on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) have up-scaled to 724,299. Of the total clients on ART, adults constitute 51.8% and Children 45.8% .New Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) cases from January to June 2014 were 50,524.
- There is a decline in all forms of Tuberculosis (TB). Evidence shows that there was drop in TB cases from 325 per 100 000 in 2011 to
298 per 100 000 in 2012.
4.1.3 The annual malaria incidence has also reduced from 136 in 2011 per 1000 population to 22 per 1000 population in 2012.
4.1.4 Life expectancy at birth has slightly increased from 45 (2002 census) to 47 years for males and 50 for females according to 2010/11 ZDHS.
4.1.5 However, the ZDHS shows that neonatal, postnatal, infant and child mortality rates have increased (2010/11 ZDHS).
4.1.6 Maternal mortality has increased from 283 in 1994 to 960 deaths per 100 000 in 2012.
4.1.7 Non-communicable diseases are on the increase, in particular diabetes and hypertension. Prostrate Cancer is the leading cancer among
Zimbabwean black men, accounting for 16.5% of the new cases in 2011.
The most frequent cancer among black women were cervical cancer (37%) followed by breast cancer (11%).
4.2.1 The Ministry of Health and Child Care submitted a budget of US$712 million and received US$337 million inclusive of salaries. The allocation received is 47% of the submission and 11.6% decrease from the 2013 allocation. The MoHCC set aside US$43 million out of the US$337 million allocation for recurrent expenditure and by August 2014 only US$7.8 million (18%) has been disbursed. The hospitals' total allocation in the budget was US$23 million against a debt of US$36.4 million. This means that effectively, the institutions received no budget for 2014 and still need to finance the gap of US$12 million.
4.2.2 Health Service Fund (HSF)
The health Service Fund gets revenue from user fees collected by institutions. The revenue collected ranges from US$3 million at Mpilo Central Hospital to US$10 million at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals annually. For some strange reasons, neither does the Ministry of Finance nor the Minister of Health reflect the revenue from user fees on their budget statements. Good corporate governance demands that these fees be properly accounted for.
4.2.3 Donor Funds
The Committee acknowledges the continued support from donors. Zimbabwe Health Partners Group injected US$415 million into the health sector in 2014. The following is the breakdown of contribution by country or organisation and amounts:
|Embassy of Switzerland
Norwegian Embassy US$2.5 million
GIZ (Germany) US$1.3 million
-It is important to note that the bulk of this money goes towards preventive services and purchasing of drugs.
4.2.4 Health Transition Fund (HTF)
This is another fund that has kept the MoHCC from the Intensive Care Unit, yet it is not acknowledged in the budget statement. The HTF is a multi-donor pooled fund, managed by UNICEF to support the MoHCC to achieve the highest possible level of health and quality of life for all Zimbabweans. The Fund was launched in 2011 and will run up to 2015. The fund pooled approximately US$435, 336, 586 at inception. The donors were the governments of Canada, Sweden, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom as well as the European Commission.
- HUMAN RESOURCES
The staff establishment of 1981 has not been reviewed despite the growth in the population and increase in disease burden. Instead, the existing inadequate posts are being frozen as they fall vacant. The nurse patient ratio is now sitting on below 2 nurses per 1000 population. Even if the posts were to be unfrozen, conditions of service are not attractive to qualified personnel because of the pathetic salaries.
The infrastructure in hospitals is dilapidated. Most of the central hospitals are overcrowded, with broken beds and benches, and obsolete hospital equipment. The buildings are falling apart and all need a facelift. There is water shortage because of old leaking pipes. There is also lack of linen and staff accommodation. However, Chitungwiza Central Hospital is an exception with its phenomenal infrastructure, cleanliness and ambiance which it has achieved through the effective application of the Public-Private-Partnership (PPPs) ventures.
- REFERRAL SYSTEM
The referral system between district hospitals and tertiary institutions, city council clinics and tertiary institutions has broken down. Lack of ambulances to ferry patients from rural areas to the tertiary institutions means that the patients prefer to go straight to tertiary institutions while they are strong enough to use public transport. On the other hand, because of the indiscriminate charging of user fees by city council clinics, urban dwellers by-pass their local clinics and present themselves with minor ailments at tertiary institutions. This also is compounded by lack of district hospitals in urban centres.
- DRUG MANAGEMENT
Multi donor funds have provided support to the vital medicines and vital health services for the district health system. The programme supplies more than 75% of the country selected package of essential medicines. The programme excludes the five central hospitals, hence, the lack of essential drugs at the tertiary institutions. It is essential to note that 98% of the drugs being distributed to various hospitals are donated by donors and do not seem to be purchased with morbidity pattens in mind and have very short shelf life +/- 3 months in most cases.
Natpharm, a quasi-government company mandated with procurement and distribution of drugs is incapacitated by lack of finance and has been converted into a warehouse management company for donors.
- 0 HEALTH SERVICE MANAGEMENT
- Uncontrolled unit price for blood products—a unit price of blood is US$200.00 per unit within a society where the average wage is US$150.00 monthly.
- Lack of adherence to MoHCC policies e.g user fees policy by government hospitals.
- Lack of supervision:
-Abuse of cell-phone and fuel allowances for Chief Executive Officers at central hospitals.
-Poor utilisation of scarce resources by renting cars at exorbitant prices -Uncoordinated training of District Health Workers (over workshopping) -Allowing drugs to expire.
- COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS
The Committee observed that:
- Government is not showing commitment to access to health of the nation as shown by the percentage of money disbursed for health delivery. Of the 8% allocated to the MoHCC, in the 2014 budget (which is below the 15% of the Abuja Declaration) only 18% was disbursed by August 2014.
- The Health Service Fund is not mentioned in the MoHCC budget.
- Central hospitals ate left to fend for themselves through the HSF.
- The referral system has broken down.
- Drugs are expiring at Rural Health Centres and district hospitals whilst the central hospitals are in need of the same.
- Staff establishment is still frozen.
- Poor corporate governance e.g the Zimbabwe National Blood Transfusion Services Board Chairman has been in the post since 1981.
- Esigodini District Hospital was a farm house that was turned into a Rural Health Centre and eventually, upgraded into a district hospital without improving the infrastructure, rendering it grossly inadequate for its function.
- Ekhusileni Medical Centre is falling apart without being used yet pensioners’ monies were used to construct this hospital.
10.Thorngrove Hospital is grossly underutilised.
The Committee recommends:
- That Government must endeavour to disburse 100% of the allocated budget to the central hospitals.
- That Government must immediately unfreeze all frozen posts and review the establishment up-wards in line with population growth and increase in morbidity, and in accordance with the President's pronouncement.
- The Minister of Health and Child Care should re-engage donors to extend their support to central hospitals.
- That the pharmacy directorate in the MoHCC must as a matter of urgency start a workable redistribution system of the distributed drugs to reduce the quantities of drugs expiring.
- That capitalisation of Natpharm by both Government and donors is paramount.
- That the MoHCC needs to strengthen its monitoring system for effective drug management.
- That Natpharm should sell excess stocks of drugs to private sectors and also donate to the schools, clinics, prisons and mission hospitals to minimise expiries.
- That the Minister of Health and Child Care must use powers vested in his office to ensure that Ekhusileni Medical Centre opens by March this year.
- That all hospitals must adhere to the strict terms of office for board members.
- That district hospitals should be constructed in Bulawayo and Harare to ease congestion in the tertiary institutions. The Committee proposes that Thorngrove Infectious Disease hospital be converted into a district hospital to ease congestion at Bulawayo central hospitals.
- That a new district hospital in Umzingwane district should be budgeted for in the 2016 national budget. The Committee further recommends that Government builds district hospitals in all districts that have mission hospitals designated as district hospitals by 2017. These districts are Mbire, Guruve, Mberengwa, Lupane,
Hwange and Gutu among others.
That Ministry of Finance and Economic Development must assume the debts the hospitals owe to suppliers of services in the 2016 National Budget. I thank you.
- MUSIIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I rise to support the report on the State of Health in Zimbabwe. The health delivery system in this country requires very urgent attention. It is facing many serious challenges which, if they are not tackled now, are going to reverse the success that we had scored in the early years of independence. These challenges are mostly around funding. Infrastructure in most hospitals is very old. Plumbing in most hospitals is so old that we do not have water.
Hon Matambanadzo having passed between the Chair and the hon.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order hon. member.
MR MUSIIWA: Before I was interrupted, I was saying that the
state of our hospitals particularly infrastructure is very old. Because of this old infrastructure, we are having a lot of challenges. For example,
Harare Central Hospital is relying on plumbing that was put way back in 1943. Sections of the hospital have not received water and for our hospitals to run without water, it is a serious challenge.
Equipment in most of the hospitals is also very old. X-ray machines are very basic diagnostic equipment that are required in the hospitals but most of these hospitals have X-ray departments that are not functional. So when patients get there, they are referred to private clinics where they are supposed to go and get these X-rays done, then they have to go back to the hospitals for consultations with the doctors.
Mr. Speaker Sir, there is also a serious shortage of staff in the hospitals. The reasons why we have this serious problem of hospitals are three fold. We are relying on a very old staffing situation. The 1981 staffing situation in Zimbabwe has not been reviewed. In 1981, the population of this country was only about seven million and it was before the advent of HIV/AIDS. So, the disease burden has increased.
The number of posts in the health delivery sector has not been increased.
So, we have got a very serious situation and an added burden.
Zimbabwe also suffers a serious brain drain of critical medical staff, whether it be nurses or doctors, from 2009 up to date because of hyper inflation. So, most commonwealth countries like United Kingdom and Australia now employ more Zimbabwean nurses and doctors than Zimbabwe. So, it is also a problem that has compounded the shortage of medical staff in the country.
The other problem is of remuneration, Mr. Speaker Sir. You remember three weeks ago there was a strike of the junior medical staff in the country. Our remuneration to this critical staff is pathetic for a nation to pay its medical doctors US$204 a month. We have to think about it. We must really do something about their salaries. We need to motivate and retain staff in the country.
Another problem we have is of drugs. We have a serious shortage of drugs in the central hospitals. I think as has been alluded to in the report, the supply situation in the district hospitals is much better than in the central hospitals. But, not because our referral system has failed, people are going to flock to the central hospitals and there are no drugs.
We are lucky that at the moment the donor community is assisting in a big way, so we can at least get the ARVs, anti malaria and the anti tuberculosis drugs.
The blood situation in this country is a major concern; blood is an integral component of our HIV prevention system in any country. Safe blood is required but in our situation, our blood is not paid through the health delivery system. So, if you are admitted and you need surgery or may be mothers are going to deliver, you probably need about three pints of blood and each unit cost about US$200. So three pints of blood would raise your bill for blood alone to about US$600. In the state of our economy at the moment, the average wage is about US$200, it is too high. I think as a nation we must do something about subsidising the price of blood in our country.
I alluded to funding earlier on and I want to highlight a few things that we must do because the funding in this country will actually help the health delivery system. The disease burden in this country has risen. I have alluded to HIV/AIDS. Now, we have close to 800 000 people on ARVs in this country. Before the ARVs, if people contracted
HIV/AIDS, they passed away. Now, because of the advent of the ARVs, people live longer but for them to live longer, they must have a monthly supply of ARVs.
So, we have got a burden at the moment to supply 800 000 of our population with ARVs every month. This is not the whole figure because at the moment we are only catering for 60% of the adults and about 40% of the youths who need the ARVs. The new recommendations from WHO – we used to initiate people on treatment at CD 4 count of 350, so, now the new recommendation is to initiate treatment at CD 4 count of 500. What this means is, we must get funding to add another 400 000 of our population on the ARVs and these are maintained for their lives. So, we require funding to cover all these. Mr. Speaker, because of HIV/AIDS, there are lot more opportunists infections that come with it. Tuberculosis and cancer are also rising because of HIV/AIDS. So, we need more funding to cover this burden.
From last year’s budget, the health budget was on eight percent of the budget. The Abuja declaration says, at least 15% of the budget must be allocated to health but we were only allocated eight percent. The worst thing about this is that, it is not all the eight percent that was disbursed, because by October, 2014, only 18% of the allocated budget had been disbursed. So, you can see the dire straits that our health delivery system is in.
I implore the powers that be to look at remuneration, infrastructure, blood supply situation and funding in general so that at least as a nation, we must be inspired by the health delivery system. When we take our people to the hospitals, they must have the hope that they are going to get in there and come out alive. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
- D. TSHUMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for affording me this opportunity to weigh-in and add my voice to this topical subject on the state of health in our country. It is my singular honour to make mention of my Chairperson Hon. Labode for a very comprehensive and informative presentation on the state of health in our country and the seconder as well.
I would like to weigh-in on two aspects which I think are very critical in the area of human capital vis-à-vis service delivery and the safety of patients. The freezing of nursing posts has left health facilities in a quagmire and precarious state in that it carries out its functions under strain. Even though there was pronouncement by our President on the Opening of Parliament that those posts should be unfrozen, the situation on the ground is still very precarious as nothing has changed and people are still under strain.
The institutions are understaffed, clinics and hospitals have a very difficult situation as the nurse to patient ratio is compromised. The situation compromises service delivery on the part of nurses because the workload is not commensurate with remuneration. In addition, the training of nurses continues even though the health centres are failing to absorb the trained staff. Are we now training for the world or we need to capacitate our centres which are the clinics and hospitals, instead of encouraging expertise to move to other regional countries or international levels.
There is an increased number of deaths in our health institutions as patients are dying at that hands of doctors in our hospitals. I, therefore, recommend that corrective measures be put in place and the doctors who are found on the wrong side of the law be brought to account and compensation is effected on those who suffer from this negligence. I am saying so because sanity, accountability and efficiency will prevail in our health centres should the above be adhered to.
I would also like to take this opportunity to add my view, as this is my maiden speech, to touch on my constituency. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to add on the education sector the fact that since education is a provision for all those who are supposed to be in school, it is a disappointment that in Entumbane Constituency, I have about four primary schools and a secondary school. The secondary school is not in a position to absorb all those who graduate from the four primary schools and as such, it does not auger well because we are failing to meet the set standards as a nation.
Early Childhood Development (ECD) has also been introduced in these schools and has led to hot-seating. The challenge that we now have as a constituency is that of lack of classrooms which have been over-blown...
- CHAKONA: On a point of order, I think the hon. member is giving his maiden speech, if he wants to contribute towards his constituency, he can do so during the Presidential Speech and not during a Committee Report. This is a Committee Report, yet he is now talking about his constituency.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What Standing Order are you
- CHAKONA: Sorry, I did not bring a copy of my Standing
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order kindly resume
your seat, there is no point of order. You may continue with your debate hon. member.
- D. TSHUMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for protecting me – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – I had indicated that the education for our children at Entumbane is in a bad state due to hot-seating which is dotted all over the constituency due to lack of classrooms to accommodate our pupils. I therefore, urge the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to work on this issue and make a provision for enough classrooms for the betterment of our education.
I would also like to move onto the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services. I have a number of people who are out of employment in my constituency due to the economic situation and other factors. Some retirees who have been on the job market for a long time and served their tenures, alas we are facing a situation whereby these old people who have contributed to the economy and well-being of our country …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order hon. member, I
thought I had protected you. May you please stick to the Report on the state of affairs of the health delivery system in Zimbabwe.
- D. TSHUMA: I was going to that Mr. Speaker that these people who have slaved and contributed into the well-being of our economy have been deprived of the priviledge that they are supposed to enjoy at an old age whereby they are supposed to get free service delivery in our clinics and hospitals. We understand, from the information on the ground that these people are made to pay user fees which become an impediment for them to get medical services. There is also a shortage of drugs in these facilities and as such, these people are deprived of their rights at that ripe age.
Mr. Speaker, I would have gone further but unfortunately my preparation was not in order. Thank you so much.
- DHEWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I also want to add to what the Committee on Health and Child Care has delivered to this House in terms of the health delivery services in this country particularly focusing on one hospital that they indicated, Esigodhini District Hospital.
Their mention of a farmhouse was an understatement because I have been there as the constituency Member of Parliament. It is actually in a very dilapidated state. The situation has been like that for the past three decades as there have been promises that Government would build a new hospital. I think it is one of the administrative districts that does not have a district hospital or an upgraded one. I want to believe that it is an urgent matter that the Ministry of Health and Child Care should look at.
There is a railway line running in the middle of the hospital in which case the buildings always succumb to vibrations and have developed cracks from now and then. The hospital also had long periods without professional doctors or even professional health staff because ..
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER
SUSPENSION OF COMMITTEE BUSINESS
- SPEAKER: I have an announcement to make. I have to inform the House that all Committee business is suspended until Monday, 2nd March, 2015.
- DHEWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I was indicating that for
long periods, the hospital does not have professional services staff like the doctors and also the necessary ancillary staff. The major problem being that there is lack of accommodation in that particular area. We are aware that when a hospital is actually built, normally there are houses that will be provided for specialist staff which is not actually available. You will also find that basic equipment like X-ray, machines or even a dental chair itself, you will not find that in that particular hospital, which makes it unusable.
You will find a lot of patients that go to that hospital are referred either to UBH or to Mpilo Hospital. There was talk of space in terms of where that hospital can actually be constructed and I think there was a lot of debate when I became a Member of Parliament in that particular area. That space has since been found and I should think that has been communicated to the Ministry of Health and Child Care and we await their response in regards to starting a new hospital.
Mr. Speaker, I also want to add my voice that, I think in terms of health facilities, the country needs to improve as soon as funds are made available because what we see in the rural areas, in our clinics and also like the hospital that I have singled out, is actually pathetic, to mention the area that I am referring to. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): I move that the debate do
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 3rd March, 2015.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker, I move that
Orders of the day, numbers 6 to 20, be stood over until Order number 21 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
DEVELOPMENT OF SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES
Twenty First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on Special Economic Zones.
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Thank you very much Mr.
Speaker, I want to thank the mover of the motion and the seconder and all those who contributed to this motion. I felt that the contributions which were made deserve a short response. The Special Economic Zone, as a concept, is embedded in our Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio –Economic Transformation (ZIM ASSET). Following the Economic Blueprint, we have as Cabinet, been debating this issue with a view to clarifying exactly what this concept would mean if we apply it to our economic circumstances. As the House will be aware, we have had a near collapse of our manufacturing sector and it is important therefore, that whatever we say must be taken against the background that the manufacturing sector is not performing to the same level as we expect and we have this situation whether it is Bulawayo , Gweru, Kwekwe, Harare, Mutare, Chinhoyi – everywhere; the industries are not performing to the level that we want. So we have been debating of course within Government as to what to do. The concept of Special Economic Zone is only relevant where we want to attract foreign direct investment. As a result, it cannot be applied globally to all the industries which are in distress. That is not where we can apply it. Last year, my Ministry put a paper to Cabinet, basically to try to define this concept with a view that Cabinet should choose the option that they think is most relevant to our economic situation. Generally the options are basically the following:
We can have an option where we say we have a geographical area and we say everyone in this geographical area; the geographical area constitutes a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). We then apply or give all the incentives that we want in order to locate any investor into that geographical area. That is one option.
Another option is that we identify as a country which products we think we have competitive advantage and this could arise from the fact that these products are produced in our country or we have developed expertise to produce world quality products. This option will be referred to as the product option where we are isolating a product. The product could be cotton, gold or diamond. We isolate it and say, we want to be a world class producer of this product and then we mobilise all the resources necessary to be able to achieve that standard and level.
Another option is to narrow the geographical area into what is called an industrial park. This would entail a small geographical area, for example five hectares, preferably in an urban setting. It may not necessarily be in an urban setting. The objective will be to attract new technology into our country. For instance, if we want to attract technology to assemble computers and cellphones or any new technology that we think we can attract into that industrial park, then it is an option and of course, we have to come up with a menu of incentives that we can give to attract investors into that industrial park.
The paper that we have put to Cabinet as Treasury is basically describing all those options and many more. Another option is to look at our comparative advantage as a country, an educated population, a skilled population and therefore, to emphasise the knowledge based industries in education, insurance and financing. Therefore, mobilise all the necessary resources and factors necessary to be able to be world class producers of engineers and accountants which we can export in terms of expertise and services regionally and also globally.
In fact, in some instances because of the dispersion of our population in the diaspora, a lot of that is already happening. When you hear of our people in the diaspora in New Zealand as Agricultural Extension Officers; in Australia working in financial institutions there; in Europe and London; that means that we are reaping the benefits of investments that we put in the area of education and we can now develop knowledge based industries which can then go to start up or give services to countries in the region or globally.
Underlying all this is the need for infrastructure. We can talk and talk and talk about SEZs. We can talk about attracting foreign direct investment but as long as there is a shortage of power; those who want to go into steel will not come. Those who want to go into smelting, which requires heavy usage of power will not come. So it is very necessary that as a foundation which is what ZIM ASSET is all about, we must lay the necessary foundation so that we close the infrastructure gap in every sector, in power generation, power transmission, water, roads, railways and ICT. That is basically what we are doing.
Let me conclude by saying, currently there is a lot of debate going on in Cabinet and in the Committees of Cabinet to identify the option that we think we should push forward by way of SEZs. We are likely to end up with a hybrid choice where for instance we have a geographical area like Victoria Falls. We can develop Victoria Falls as a SEZ for tourism and then give incentives to any investors who want to invest in Victoria Falls so that they locate and come to invest in Victoria Falls. I am aware that something along those lines is being worked out so that we have a clear understanding of what we are doing.
The direction that we also think we are taking is basically along the product line. If for instance in the Lupane area, we have coalbed methane, we can then have a SEZ built around the coalbed methane product which as you may be aware, can be exploited to make fertilizer, to generate power, to produce tar for road construction and so forth. It can do a lot in the chemical sector industries. I want to thank those who moved the motion for triggering debate on this issue but I want to say that the debate is not yet concluded, even within ourselves with respect to what option we should adopt to apply to our specific economic circumstances. I thought I should give that response and I thank you for your kind attention.
- NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker and thank you Minister
for the response and clarification. What I also need to bolster on it to answer a few queries that other hon. members had is that there is going to be increased investment as the Minister has alluded to on the issue of SEZs. Also as the debate is proffered, what I need to make clear to hon. members and to this House is that the incentives that can be proffered for those investors go as follows; as we debate what I believe can be proffered to those that will bring in foreign direct investment: That is 100% tax exemption for the first five years then 15% thereafter; 100% foreign ownership of companies operating in free trade zones or SEZs, 100% repatriation of capital, profits and the duty free importation of capital goods and raw materials, the hassle free licencing procedures and the business facilitation. In Lesotho, they have already put in a onestop-shop for all the licencing initiatives or all other issues that centre on licencing of businesses. This reduces or increases the ease of doing business.
Like the Minister has also alluded to, the non interruption of power supply and also, we would do better by issues to do with the way we conceive how to establish businesses here as a nation, Mr. Speaker Sir.
I want to thank all those that have contributed to this motion. I also want to thank Hon. Mutseyami, who debated in his Ndau language for the benefit of his local community for the beneficiation of the products that come from his sector. Mr. Speaker Sir, I move for the adoption of the motion. Thank you Motion put and agreed to.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA), the House
adjourned at Eight Minutes past Five O’clock p.m. until 3rd March,