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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 2 APRIL 2024 VOL 50 NO 40

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 2nd April, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that I have received Non-Adverse Reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the following Bills:

  1. Administration of the Estates Amendment Bill H.B. 3 of 2024.
  2. Criminal Laws Amendment Bill H.B. 4 of 2024.

HON. MUROMBEDZI: Good afternoon everyone.  Thank you very much Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity …..

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, you address your colleagues as Hon. Members and not everyone.

HON. MUROMBEDZI:  Thank you very much Hon. Speaker for the correction. Good afternoon Hon. Members and thank you very much Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to rise on a point of national interest with regards the treatment of USAID workers by the state agencies of Zimbabwe in February.  Workers of the ….

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Can I get the first part?  I did not get it.

HON. MUROMBEDZI:  I am rising on a point of national interest with regards the treatment of workers of the USAID agencies in Zimbabwe by - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

THE HON. SPEAKER:  By who?

HON. MUROMBEDZI: By law enforcement agencies Hon. Speaker - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.  Switch off your microphone - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - [HON. TAFANANA ZHOU:  Idzo nyaya dzako dzekutumwa idzi] - Order Hon.
Zhou.

The point of national interest you are raising is out of place because - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- Listen, listen - because there is an issue of that nature, the American Embassy knows where to go to lodge its complaints.  It cannot therefore be a matter of national interest. 

HON. G. K. HLATYWAYO: I rise on a point of national interest. On Sunday, the 24th of March 2024, Senegal held presidential elections which were won by a 44 year old opposition candidate - President elect Bassirou Diomaye FayeHe has shuttered a glass ceiling by becoming one of the youngest persons in Africa.  Even more fundamentally, Africa is witnessing a smooth transfer of power where the incumbent President Macky Sall has congratulated the winning candidate….

THE HON SPEAKER: Order, order, order!  - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Order!  National interest and not continental interest - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - You address yourself on an issue of national interest in Zimbabwe - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

HON. G. HLATYWAYO:  Mr. Speaker Sir - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

THE HON. SPEAKER:  You do not speak after the Chair’s ruling.   If I can assist you, if you wanted to debate some election somewhere, whether there is a lesson being learnt by Zimbabwe and other African countries, you can bring it through another channel.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. TOGAREPI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 9 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 10 has been disposed of.

HON. HAMAUSWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

LEGISLATION DEFICIENCIES IN THE DEPOSIT PROTECTION LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK IN TERMS OF THE DEPOSIT PROTECTION CORPORATION ACT

 

 

Tenth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the protection of investors’ deposits in banks and other financial institutions.

Question again proposed.

          HON. CHIDUWA:  Thank you Hon Speaker Sir.  I rise to debate and support the motion by Hon. Jere on the proposed amendment to the Depositors Protection Act (DPA), in as far as it protects the savings of depositors in the event of liquidation or closure of any bank.  The DPA is relevant because it is a scheme that is established by Government and the regulator, in this case the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), to promote trust in our banking system.  The DPA also provides depositors protection in the event of a bank being closed or liquidated.  This is critical for the well-functioning of our economy as it ensures that in the event of the closure of a bank, the depositors know very well that they will be compensated.  The existence of such a law is important in as far as it promotes financial inclusion and bank use.  However, we have gaps in the current DPA.  The current DPA does not protect small savers, but gives priority to statutory depositors.  We have noticed over the years that quite a number of financial institutions have been closed or liquidated and the cost of liquidation was borne by depositors.  It is very critical for us as Parliament because the well-functioning of our economy is dependent on a financial system that is operational.  Once depositors have lost confidence in the operations of the financial system, it will affect the ease of doing business, the saving culture of a country and even the use of our banking system. 

          I may want to give reference to what happened when S.I. 133 of 2019 was promulgated.  We have seen a number of institutions that were liquidated because their liabilities were greater than their assets.  However, because of S.I. 133 and the long process that it takes for the depositors Protection Corporation and the RBZ to conclude the compensation process, what is obtaining on the ground now is a situation where institutions that had liabilities that were greater than assets now have assets that are greater than liabilities.  When it comes to compensation, they just need a small asset such as a Toyota Vitz to compensate all the depositors and they will be left with all the residue.  This is not protecting the depositors.  Therefore, as this august House, we should look at the DPA and see if it is in sync with the Consumer Protection Act and our National Policy of Financial Inclusion (2022-2026).  

          Having looked at the DPA and what is obtaining on the ground now, we have seen that the new Insolvency Act does not cover the liquidation of banks.  Already it shows that there is a gap there.  In the event of the closure of a bank, the small depositors can only be protected through Presidential Powers.  This is because we do not have the banks covered under the new Insolvency Act.  So I am saying we need to close that gap.  I am also proposing that going forward, the new law should bar directors, shareholders of failed banks from benefitting from their wrong doing.  What is happening now is that those who presided over failed banks now need a Toyota Vitz to compensate all the depositors and the residual assets are then given to the shareholders.  I think there is need for us as this august House, to ensure that the depositors are protected.  The law should also bar such directors from taking public office and I am proposing again that as we amend the new DPA, there is need for us as an august House to ensure that those who presided over failed banks should not be allowed to reopen banks.

          Hon. Speaker, I therefore support the motion by Hon. Jere to amend the DPA as it protects all depositors.  This is very critical because the amendment of the DPA should engender the rights of consumers.  It should also engender confidence in the banking sector.  The confidence in our banking sector is at its all-time low.  In order for this country to move forward, we need to have trust and confidence in our banking sector.  There is also need to ensure that we promote the policy of financial inclusion and as things stand now, literally all of us are afraid of making use of our own banks.  Why? Because banks have deviated from their traditional role of financial intermediation and they just make money from non-interest income.  This is militating against the Government National Financial Inclusion Policy which was enunciated and running from 2022 to 2026.  If we do not have confidence in our banking system, this is going to move against a culture of saving and it will affect investment and last but not least, a banking system that is working, a banking system where we have got confidence that promotes the ease of doing business. I am saying the motion by Hon. Jere deserves our support and I so move to support the motion. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I was not aware that you were the seconder. I was surprised why a motion was not seconded immediately. In future, you do not adjourn debate before the motion has been seconded. It must be seconded immediately and then we adjourn debate on the motion accordingly.

HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to add my voice in support to the motion that was brought by Hon. Jere, seconded by Hon. Chiduwa. Mr. Speaker Sir, the banking sector plays an integral position within our economy. There is no economy that functions unless there is confidence in the banking sector. It is crucial Mr. Speaker Sir, to understand our history, where we are and where we have come from. It is on record that we have had a history in the recent past where we have seen a number of banks being closed by the Central Bank. We have had banks like Trust Bank, Time Bank, Barbican, Kingdom and ZABG amongst the banks that the Central Bank did close.

The challenge Mr. Speaker then comes in respect to the people that had put their trust in a bank. Generally, the perception is that when you put your money in the bank, it is safer than putting your money under your pillow or your bed in your house. It is because you believe that the bankers who are in charge of your money have got the capacity, not only to look after the money but to make sure that the money grows. Many of us that grew some years back will recall that having a POSB Book or a Beverly Book was something to be proud of. Our parents used to make sure that they had their savings accounts that they could update and make sure that interest was being earned.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker Sir, we have had a challenge and I want to acknowledge that we, as a country, understanding that our banks were failing, we then came up with the Depositor Protection Act. Unfortunately, as Hon. Jere noted, inasmuch as it was supposed to be a progressive law which was supposed to tackle and assist the vulnerable that had their money lost by the banks, the legislation, as it currently stands, does not have the capacity to assist many of our people. The end result Mr. Speaker Sir, is that we have had a situation and we currently have a situation where the majority of our people, instead of having banks where we deposit our money, we are now using banks as repository institutions where when our money is put in there, we quickly go to the bank and withdraw our money. We are no longer having a situation where if you get money, you take it to the bank and deposit.

This is primarily because our trust and confidence in the banking sector has been damaged so significantly. Why was it shaken Mr. Speaker Sir? It is primarily because the small investor that had put his or her money, the pensioner that had put his or her money in the bank ended up losing. I know in my constituency, whereby people who received their pension and had trusted these banks are now living in abject poverty, yet they have spent quite a number of their years whilst contributing to their pension fund.  

The end result Mr. Speaker Sir, is that we need to at least make sure that we come up with a mechanism of restoring confidence within the banking sector. Where do we start? We start from making sure that the Depositors Protection Act is amended in a manner that makes sure that the people that have invested or deposited their money are compensated. There is the worst problem that we have Mr. Speaker. Do you know, like what Hon. Chiduwa was talking about, if you do an analysis of all the shareholders of the banks that were closed, if you look at them, they are now 200 times richer than they were. They have simply taken advantage of our economy. They have taken advantage of the movement of our currency. Where the currency was depreciating, they have made sure that – when we came to 2019, they took advantage and were now in a position where they can easily pay off a debt which they were failing to pay.

I will give a good example. Somebody that had USD10 thousand deposited into a bank, the bank could not then return that money but after we came up with the SI 133 of 2019, they now had to pay back as RTGS10 thousand. If you look at it, if a bank had bought an asset, let us say they had invested in a real estate, that investment is actually making more money and the shareholders have become so rich while our depositors have become poorer. If our law was progressive enough, we should have had a process where we could then follow those banks’ investments, those shareholders to see what happened to the money that they had.  I think it is unfair to have a situation where somebody who had deposited his or her money does not have their money but the person who was supposed to look after the money ends up with huge estates across the country. I think it does not make sense.

Secondly, Mr. Speaker Sir, there is also an issue which I believe is fundamental. You cannot have a situation where somebody fails to run a bank or somebody was within the management of a failed bank, another bank is formed and you find that person nicodemously happening to be within the top executive of that bank or you find that person being a shareholder in a State entity. We cannot have such a situation. We need to make sure Mr. Speaker Sir, that we stop people like those because in my view, they are economic predators. They are going after our poor and we cannot entrust them to continue managing.

Lastly Mr. Speaker Sir, the challenge that we also then face, one of the major challenges that Hon. Chiduwa raised and which is fundamental, is for some of us who spend our time in the banking sector, we knew that when you deposit your money, you are paid interest. We knew that a bank would make more money by lending the money to debtors so that the bank gains interest.  At that time, we knew that transactional costs, the bank charges cost less than 10% of a bank’s revenue, but what has happened over the years, bank revenue has actually gone to almost close to 50% of bank income.  That is a misnomer.  Once you have a situation like that where banks rely on bank charges, it tells you that you are going into deeper territories. 

          I am hoping Mr. Speaker Sir, and I urge this august House that in supporting Hon. Jere, we also need to take advantage of the coming in of the new Governor.  We want to make sure that at least we come up with a proper monitoring trajectory that can help the economy to grow.  The only way we can do that is to make sure that we have confidence in our banking sector.  Once we have confidence in our banking sector, you actually find that other sectors of the economy all start to move in tandem with that.   It is imperative that as Hon. Members, let us support this motion that was moved by Hon. Jere, supported by Hon. Chiduwa so that our economy can start performing well.  We cannot have a situation where we do merry-go-round; we have a crisis today, another crisis tomorrow.  We need to make sure that at least we come again and start to have a new developmental and growth trajectory that can take this country forward.  I thank you.

          HON. C. MOYO:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir and good afternoon.  I rise to support the motion that was brought by Hon. Jere.  This motion is coming in at the right time while we await the monetary policy statement that was promised by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.  It is really a pointer Mr. Speaker, that we avoid having those shocks in our economy.  This will enable us to respond to macro-economic in stability as it is espoused in our National Development Strategy 1. 

Hon. Speaker, I think almost everyone here is a depositor, hence the need to be protected.  Besides us here in this House, there are many millions out there who must be protected by amending this Deposit Protection Act.  I had an account with Time Bank as an individual as well as a corporate one and they were all closed.  I got zero out of that.  I had also an account with Kingdom Bank, that was a corporate one and Kingdom Bank was closed and I benefited nothing.  As the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion is crafting those raft measures that was promised by our President, they must make sure we address all this.  I look at the banking sector, Hon. Speaker as an ecosystem.  The depositor being the most important one because he or she goes to the discount house, he or she goes to the bank.  Let me say it is not the failure by the Directors only. Therefore, we need to make sure that we correct our macro-economic instability by bringing a strong monetary policy statement which is very clear. 

There are many banks that were closed Hon. Speaker.  There are millions of people who were affected.  Surely this is an important motion to say let us amend the Deposit Protection Act and then help millions outside.  I have written down the banks Hon. Speaker and I will exclude the Kingdom Bank and the Time Bank because Hon. Mushoriwa touched on that.  There is also Barbican Bank, CFX Bank, Trust Bank, Genesis Investment Bank, Capital Bank, Interfin Bank, and Sagit Discount House.  All this information is available on google.  How many people were affected Hon. Speaker?  Surely, there is need for us to amend the Deposit Protection Act.  I am buttressing to say millions of people were affected.  Indeed, we need to address or to respond to the proposal or recommendations that were proposed by Hon. Jere. 

We really need to come up with a monetary policy statement which is very clear and that will allow us to be protected.  Hon. Speaker, there was slashing of zeroes.  Surely, banks will be affected along the line, there is also the 1:1 and I think Members of Parliament were saying is this feasible?  That is affected the banks.  We need to address the issues that affect the banks themselves and obviously amend the Deposit or Protection Act.  In that regard Hon. Speaker, we said 1:1 and later on along the way, we moved to interbank rate.  Obviously as an investor, you will be very worried then to say my money was USD10 million, and later because of the interbank rate, it is now ZWL5 million.   Obviously, that will affect the same bank and the bank will then fail to compensate the depositors.  I 100% support this motion.  In supporting the motion, I am saying let us make sure that we respond to macro-economic instability by having a responsive monetary policy statement that will bring stability rather than the instability currently prevailing in our country.   Obviously, we need to protect the depositors by quickly amending the Deposit Protection Act.  I submit.   Thank you. 

*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I just want to add a few words to this motion which was raised by Hon. Jere.  It is a very sad thing when you look at the situation of our banks.  For example, for people who have worked for 60 years, that is where their whole life is. Suddenly the bank closes down and the children cannot go to school and the parents cannot work anymore.  Looking at education and health, we think that people running those banks should be charged with murder because they are gambling with the lives of people. So, I am thinking that the Ministry of Finance should look at people whom they give licences to operate banks to see whether they are genuine people. In Zimbabwe, we have one million pensioners. Imagine if they just wake up one morning to find that the bank has closed and they cannot get their money. So, those people should be sentenced to life in jail. Our country needs stringent laws so that everything goes on smoothly because if we do not do that, people will lose out to these thieves.

          Nowadays, there is an increase in the number of robbery cases because people are keeping hard cash in their homes. If our banks were operating well, all companies and people would deposit their money in banks and we would not have robbery cases. I think we should have a law that restricts banks that if I bank my money today in US$, I should be able to withdraw it in US$. But if I bank now, it devalues and I think we should put a law that people have invested their lives for 60 years and when they want to withdraw their money, they should be able to get it. Why is the money being converted to RTGS? They should get the same currency value that they deposited it in. Why is it that banks of today do not give interest? What law is there that the banks are above the Minister of Finance such that they cannot give interest to depositors? They are ripping the public off.

          Banks have more powers than the Minister of Finance because they are not putting any interest but rather, they are taking money. The banks should go back to their core business of loaning and keeping deposits. There is no country that progresses if people are keeping their money at home. If we have confidence in our banks, it means that people will bank their money. If you go to the bank now, even if you have an account with that bank, they will tell you that they cannot give you a loan but rather, they just take your deposit.

          Yes, we need banks in our country but we should not put bankers who are gambling with people’s lives. As representatives of the people, we should unite for the good of our people. Some have died and others could not educate their children because they were keeping their money in banks. We used to have kid-banks where we would deposit money for our children but you find that those books are no longer working. They are just like an expired passport. I thank you.

          HON. MANDIWANZIRA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me the opportunity to stand before the House in support of the motion by Hon. Jere, seconded by Hon. Chiduwa. Hon. Members here have all spoken in support of the proposed amendments to the Depositors Act. I also stand here to support the motion. When we talk about depositors, we are not just talking about individuals. When we talk about depositors, we are talking about everybody who makes use of banking services. That includes individuals, corporates, burial societies or whatever form of institutions or persons that utilise the services of banking institutions. Therefore, I do not see anyone who would be opposed to more protection of the depositor’s funds in the event of bank failure.

          What made me really want to contribute is to tone down some of the expectations from what I heard from some of the Hon. Members that relate to how failed banks or failed bank executives must be treated. We ought to understand how we get failed banking institutions. Sometimes it is not the responsibility of bank executives in one particular bank. There is what happens in the banking sector that they call a contagion effect. A contagion effect is when one bank fails; because they are all interconnected; it causes the collapse of other banks within the system. In most cases, that failure cannot be attributed to the management of those particular banks that have failed as a result of the contagion effect. You could attribute that to the environment, lack of supervision by the regulator, in this particular case, the Central Bank. So to propose some suggestion that I have heard in the House that anyone who has been working for a financial institution or bank that has failed must not then be given any other opportunity in life to start another bank, would be extreme to have a law to that effect because what it means is that we are not allowing people to try. Anyone who has been in business understands that failure is an important aspect of business. You must fail in order to succeed. Therefore, we must not have a law that makes our people afraid to even get into business.

In my view, we must encourage investment but at the same time put measures that safeguard the depositor’s funds and that individual cases must be looked at in their individuality, and not have a blanket law and say that if you are part of a failed bank, you are never allowed to be anywhere near starting another bank or financial institution. I thought that is important to put on the table because while we are all passionate about the importance of protecting the depositors, we all must be passionate about allowing people a second chance. Even those that go to jail when they become rehabilitated, they are given another chance in life. Similarly, I think it should apply to those who are bold enough to create employment and start financial institutions.

          The second point I needed to make with regards to proposed amendments is that we must also understand the state at which we are as a country and particularly the state of our financial services sector. We are coming from a very difficult period where we have suffered the most extreme actions against our country, where international financial institutions have been penalised for doing business with Zimbabwe or Zimbabwean institutions. We have had international banks leave this country because they have been fined internationally for doing business in Zimbabwe. We must make sure that as we amend the law or make proposals, we are also doing so in a manner that does not keep outside the financial institutions that we must now invite to set up in Zimbabwe because we do need more international banks so that we play our part in global trade.

That may mean to have Chinese, American and more South African banks being set up here just as we must have Zimbabwean Banks like FBC or the Metropolitan Bank also set up in South Africa, China and other places of the world. So our laws in my view, must also take into account, as our President is saying ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’, we do not make amendments that threaten the viability or interest to come and invest in that business. I thank you.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Allow me to add my views on this important subject, the issue of protecting depositors. A bank institution including building societies are places where savers and borrowers meet, those who want to borrow money and those who want to save. At the end of the day, that institution must benefit, mutually, both sides. However, history has shown us that the depositors were on the receiving end in case of a bank failure or challenges.

In this regard, let me quickly indicate that I am going to support the motion raised by Hon. Jere, which was also seconded by Hon. Chiduwa, to make some vital amendments that will make sure that the banking sector protects the depositors in case of liquidation or insolvency. Let me bring things into perspective. The reason why banks fail in most cases is failure by the bank management to predict, control or manage the risks that are associated with the banking institution. There are many risks; political, credit risk exposure, systemic risk and many others.

The other reason why banks fail is corporate governance malpractice. This is where I want to focus on Mr. Speaker. We have witnessed a situation whereby banks deliberately do buy properties which are not viable and then they fail because they are using the depositors’ funds to make investments, probably in housing or any other investment, and those investments practically become unviable and those banks fail. Who can we honestly blame under the circumstances? The onus of the problem lies with the bank management itself, and those who preside over the failure of banks as a result of poor corporate governance must face justice.

We have also witnessed banking executives extending loans to their friends and companions without proper credit risk exposure analysis and after some few years, we are told the loans have now failed. We cannot have such kind of non-performing loans that are because of poor credit risk exposure management. In light of that Mr. Speaker, I wish that the Deposit Protection Act be amended to proffer stiffer penalties in such circumstances.

Let me finish my debate because other points have been said by colleagues who spoke earlier. You will also realise that the failure of banks is as a result of the external environment in which those banks operate. Let me give an example, today the RBZ wakes up and says the interests on all deposits or borrowings is now 200%. Those banks have no option except to get interest from bank charges. We should also get into their shoes to understand what is really happening. So I also implore that as we amend this DPA, let us also be wary of how we are going to deal with the environment upon which these banks operate so that we do not actually push the blame to the far end without also looking at ourselves.

Finally, Section 5 of the Deposit Protection Act says ‘the contributory institutions which are banks and building societies which contribute in the Deposit Protection Corporation (DPC)’, after contribution, the DPC is supposed to pay deposits in case of bank failure. It is also specified in Section 35 of the same Act. So I may want clarity on this one as to how far does the DPC go in trying to pay depositors in case of bank failure. So I would like those who are going to debate to also shed more light on this so that we move on the same page and see how far they go to enable us to see how far we can amend the Act.

*HON. GANYIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on this issue which was brought by Hon. Jere seconded by Hon. Chiduwa. I rise representing the majority of Zimbabweans who do not understand the terminology that we might use in this House concerning the laws that protect the bankers. When banks approach the people of Zimbabwe inviting them to do business with them, they do not talk about what happens in the case of them failing as a bank to say there are laws that protect the depositors. If they disclose that information, no one would bank their money. So with that, let us narrow down our debate on the issue of the Depositors’ Protect Act so that we make it protect the majority of Zimbabweans.

Mr. Speaker, if one hears that they no longer have money despite being very healthy today, tomorrow we would find them on the other side because it is a serious matter. I can give an example; my grandmother fell sick. We know old people suffer from dementia and at times, she would talk about her departed husband who passed on 10 years ago, but the thing that she would not forget was about her money which she had deposited in the bank. She would not forget that. She wanted to eat well, but would assume I did not want to use my money on her. She would insist that I go and withdraw her money from the bank. She talked about it until her death. I strongly believe that the other thing that contributed to her illness which led to her death is because of her money.  We cannot separate the issue of money from the growing of a company and the leaders of that company.  We cannot also separate the downfall of that company with its directors.  This means that the previous speaker, Hon. Nyabani who debated passionately on that issue was saying the truth.  There is no murder that surpasses that.  It is possible that you can make money disappear.  I looked at it that a child who goes to school for seven years and at seven years, he is a person who is able to say that they have a future and they finish college or university at 25 years. They then work and bank money.  After 65 years, they are supposed to retire and enjoy their retirement, but they go there without any retirement package.  We then hide behind corporate governance.  We cannot support that.

We should not beat about the bush with this law. We should amend it accordingly to say if you misappropriate funds, you should face the consequences.  You should not hide behind laws.  We should remove all those laws.  We should state that we need the total sum that a person banked.  This will instill confidence in our banks.  Having a bank is a sign that you are investing money and growing it.  It is also a sign that you are going to invest our money in infrastructure – you get revenue so that my money grows. Banks loan out our money; if they invest it, they should make sure that it keeps the value of our money. 

In conclusion, the directors of these banks misappropriated customers’ funds. We meet some of them in restaurants and they are very healthy.  They have swipe cards and they get money on ATMs outside the country.  Nothing has changed with them. I saw the other one on podcast, he was asked where the bankers’ money was and he said that one you can go and check with the Reserve Bank at the Deposit Protection Unit and they will tell you that I do not have any loan.  Those people would have sold their hearts and souls.  They are sitting pretty in expensive houses.  They have houses outside the country and they are hiding these.  Some of them have investments which are giving them money.  This issue is a sorry issue.  I do not think there is anyone who can stand up and support these people who would have misappropriated people’s funds.  This is a serious matter.

Let me conclude by saying that after leaving this place going to the Westgate round-about, there are buildings there.  These have a history of being built by funds from people’s life insurance policies.  These are public buildings but they are in the hands of private people.  You find that year after year, those buildings cannot attract any tenants. They are renting and putting money in the hands of those companies.  Which means that if my father and grandfather worked putting money in that company, it means that their money is just being wasted but they do not change their way of living and this is very sad.  If people like this misappropriate our funds, they should be incarcerated and come out after they have brought our money

*HON. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to add my voice on this motion which was raised by Hon. Jere, seconded by Hon. Chiduwa.  This issue is a sorry state.  We can ask every one of us, they have bank books that belong to their grandmothers who are deceased and you cannot even tell where the money went to.  Some of our relatives died because they were told that their money is worthless now or has been taken as withholding interest to the extent that there is no balance in the account hence one is listed in the black book and will not be able to open an account with another bank. 

This issue is painful to us.  I think there should be a law that all those who open banks should not take loans from their banks.  They should go to other banks where they can borrow money from.  They do not look for collateral when they take our money.  I think there should be a separation between the owners of the bank and the bankers so that the directors will be owners of those banks personalising those banks because the directors of those bankers live in very expensive houses yet the bankers are living in poverty.  We have our grandmothers who died because they could not get their money from the banks since it was deemed worthless.  This is really troubling us.

As women, we are being troubled because we cannot bank our money, we are afraid.  Our husbands know that we are keeping money at home and they want the money.  We are being beaten because we keep the money to ourselves. They know that we are not taking our money to the bank hence our husbands end up taking it.  We do not know where to keep our money because we do not have safe places to keep it. We are not banking our money, but we are keeping monies at home.  We heard that one of our congregants was approached by robbers and was tortured so she could divulge where she keeps her money.  She was brave enough to say she did not have any money until the robbers left her alone. 

          Most of the people with disabilities are vendors and it is a fact that those who are vending are the ones who have money these days, but they also do not bank their money for fear of losing it.  So they take it home and are robbed on their way home.  If it was possible to do things in retrospect, those who misappropriated funds, including those who have departed should compensate those funds.  How can someone stand up and talk about money issues authoritatively when your bank collapsed?  In Goromonzi West where I come from, in Domboshava vanhu vane mang’a from tilling the gardens.  They then sell their produce and bank their money only to lose it to someone who has an expensive house and they are rich at the expense of the poor whose funds they would have misappropriated.  If you scrutinise them, they neither have a business nor employ anyone but they are filthy rich.  They do not pay taxes, but they have money earned from misappropriating other people’s funds, especially the elderly people who broke their backs trying to save money for their well-being and retirement.  I was about to express the same sentiments on this issue when Hon. Nyabani was talking because I know it happened in my constituency because people’s money was misappropriated.  Mr. Speaker, can we have a country where people are afraid to take their money to the banks.  Even the investors that we want are afraid because if the residents are afraid of the risk of taking their money to the bank, do you think they will be ready to risk their money?  I think this issue must be taken seriously.  Our prisons should be full of wealthy people instead of those who lost out.  I think if these wealthy people are jailed, they will reform and probably they will lead banks that will live to be an ongoing entity.

          Looking at Gender-Based Violence, it will not end if things are like this.  Most times we look at women being beaten by their husbands and children, we are blaming it on drugs.  Maybe they will not be drugs, but stress from loss of their money.  The father and the son would both come demanding money from the mother who is a vendor.  Literally, speaking, many diseases have come about because of stress.  Some people have developed high blood pressure, diabetes, mental problems and all because of stress.  People have a lot of fears and worries.

          In conclusion, I think the people we call termites are those people who misappropriated people’s funds.  I think they should be jailed.  We know where some of them stay and we can identify them so that they can be arrested.  The judicial system should not have mercy on those who misappropriated people’s funds.  We do not want you to forgive them and find them roaming around the streets.  I thank you.

          *HON. KARENYI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Let me also add my voice to the debate and how this law that is going to be enacted helps as we retrospect on what transpired.  The previous events alert us on how to solve current issues.  If we are able to come up with a law that will eradicate what transpired, it will make Zimbabwe a better country that will attract investors who will be sure that if they come to invest in Zimbabwe, they will get something in return and can get interest from their money.  If we reconsider what transpired in the past years, we notice there are many graves which were caused by misappropriation of people’s monies by banks.  Some monies were withdrawn from the banks and people did not redeposit the money for fear that the money would be eroded.  Mr. Speaker, have you seen the queues at World Remit, Mukuru and other platforms where people receive money from outside the country? These funds are not being deposited in the banks but kept in houses.  Parents may receive $100 from their children and do not deposit it.  They keep the money at home and sometimes their children or grandchildren involved in drugs steal the money and use it for drugs.  We implore this august House to put in place a law that resolves around the issue of depositors’ savings.  When I was talking to Hon. Kademaunga, we recalled that Founders Bank had a Kid-bank Programme where you could start savings for your child whilst they were still as young as two to three months to cater for their education.  People opened such accounts and used to save money.  This saving was premised to ensure the child would be taken care of in the absence of the parents, but with the erosion of money, everyone lost the funds saved in those accounts and nothing was recovered.  I suggest that we have a law that protects funds deposited by individuals for their children or their well-being.  We should also look at schools because in the past, all schools used to deposit school fees received from parents, but currently schools do not deposit money in banks for fear of the money being eroded.  This means that the same problem which is affecting schools is the same problem which is affecting the parents. Mr. Speaker Sir, I was also looking back, previously when you deposited money in the bank, that money attracted interest. Right now, we also have another account in Zimbabwe which we call Nostro. As an individual, last year, I left USD50 in my Nostro account and heard the bank calling me to come and check my account because they were going to close it. When I asked why they were going to close my account because I had not withdrawn any money, they said the money was eroded by bank charges. Hence this law needs to be looked at and amended so that everyone can have the confidence to deposit their money, knowing that it is going to attract an interest from the bank. 

If we amend the law, we are going to reduce the cases of robbery in the country because people will be keeping their money in banks instead of their houses. Even if a person is working in the bank like what Hon. Nyamupinga said, they know if the bank is going to be closed, they will go to jail. It means that the issue of the money being eroded and the stealing of people’s money is going to stop. If you remember very well Mr. Speaker Sir, there was a bank which was called Capital Bank where money was being deposited and attracting interest every month. Most women were divorced by their husbands because men knew that the money was attracting interest, and then all of a sudden, the bank closed. People were not reimbursed their money.

Right now, the owners of that bank, like what the other Hon. Members have said, are walking scot-free. They were not arrested. It means that they are going to be involved in other pyramid schemes which makes people deposit their monies but at the end of the day, they do not benefit anything. Hence, we are saying, Mr. Speaker Sir, let us enact a law that protects everyone. Let me conclude by saying, that the elderly think if they have invested their monies so that if they get to 65 years of age, they will get their money as a pension. Some of the people are not formally employed but all their monies are being eroded without anyone being arrested. Hence, our plea, Mr. Speaker Sir, as an august House, is for the law to be enacted to make sure that people’s money is protected. Even those who have a lot of money, can deposit it and ensure that it is well protected.

*HON. ZEMURA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for awarding me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion raised by Hon. Jere, seconded by Hon. Chiduwa. I think that the issue of the delaying of enactment of this law is the main cause. If this law was enacted long back, Zimbabwe was going to be a prosperous country. I have heard many people talking badly about the Chinese, saying that they are coming here to extract minerals and send money to their countries. The problem is we did not come up with proper laws that protect the depositors’ money. Therefore, the Chinese saw that they could not deposit their money because there were no proper systems to protect their money.

When we go to the big shops like Mohamed Mussa, people buy very big assets and properties such as televisions and beds but we do not know where Mussa is depositing their money. We only heard that they do not bank their money in the country. They bank it outside the country. That is why we are encouraging that we must have the Depositors Protection Act which protects the depositors and encourages even those who come as investors in the country and as a country, we will have enough money.

Mr. Speaker Sir, we used to grow farm produce such as maize and groundnuts and the GMB said our money was going to be deposited into banks. As an individual, I also slept at the bank, the CBZ waiting for my money. We would spend most of the days at the banks and receive nothing. Sometimes you would receive your money in bits and pieces but most of the money was eroded. Right now, we are informed that we must come up with a law that protects us as depositors.

Mr. Speaker Sir, other people are getting rich through other people’s hard work. There is a Shona saying, which says that Kakara kununa kudya kamwe. If this Act is amended, this will ensure that all the monies will be deposited into banks because there will be a law that protects depositors’ money. The Government must look into that issue to make sure that we have more money in the banks as a country. Like what other Members have already alluded to, many people are collecting money from World Remit but they are not banking it into banks because they do not have trust in the banks. They do not trust the system. Hence banks must work to revive the trust with the people so that people can go and deposit their money. In a household, there must be a house where food is being kept. Right now, if you go to the bank to withdraw money, you will not get the money at once. I end up going to sleep at my daughter’s house.

Banks now have a culture that you deposit your money at the bank but when it comes to withdrawal, you will find out there is no money. Like what others have already alluded to, some of those people who are bank owners are now operating sabotaging the country. If we want the country to prosper, we must work on making sure that we protect depositor’s money. Right now, if you sell your farm produce like maize or tobacco, you are not given hard cash but the money is deposited into the banks and access to that money or withdrawal of the money is a challenge. I implore that this Act must be amended and those who are benefitting from other people’s hard-earned money must face the full wrath of the Law.

In Murewa, we used to have a lot of banks like Beverly, CBZ Intermarket, and others but right now, only CBZ and the other banks are there. Some of the banks have since closed. This is caused by the fact that there is no proper law to protect depositors’ money. Banks come and collect people’s money and if they feel that they are satisfied, they leave. I strongly support this Act to be amended Mr. Speaker Sir so that people are saved from robberies because they will be keeping their money in banks. People will start to have confidence in banks and keep their money in these banks. Thank you.

          HON. MUDEKUNYE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my views to the motion moved by Hon. Jere.  I have heard the expressions of others.  Most of the previous speakers surely are hurt by what is obtaining in the financial sector.  I was waiting for one of the Hon. Members to only say if these bankers are so bad, why can we not just do away with the banks?  The point is we cannot do without banks.  Banking is a vehicle and intangible service that we need to understand.  We need to understand how it works.  Among the main functions of banks is the channel of payment and intermediary financial intermediator in the sense that they get money from those that have access to money and give money.  Banks are the blood of the economy for any capitalist or any modern economy and banks are the blood of modern economies.  In addition, money itself is the oxygen of banks.  When we look at it closely, we see that the oxygen of banks has been contaminated.  Banks are built out of money; among the many functions of money is the store of value and the time value of money. 

          Mr. Speaker, our money is not a store of value anymore.  You will not be surprised why sanctions were targeted at the financial system.  It is the best and most effective way to destroy an economy.  You may recall that in 2008, there was a banking crisis in America that affected the whole world.  The entire economy was disrupted because banks were not functioning well.  If you want to destroy any economy, you need to distabilise their financial system.  You may also recall that prices for commodities, oil, real estate and everything collapsed because there was a financial crisis in America.

 Also, the other myth is banks do not have money, banks get money from depositors and they use the same money to lend to the productive sector, the providers of services and goods.  When banks get money, they need to invest, investing primarily is lending.  However, the economic environment due to sanctions does not allow the same lending to occur in the normal way than what happens in other economies.  For example, if a bank has money, it is either they have to lend it to a productive company or to a speculator.  A speculator is someone that borrows Zimbabwean dollars today, he buys a house for USD100 000 at today’s rate using borrowed money.  If you keep the house for one year, the rate would have moved such that the equivalence of the borrowed house for USD100 000 could be USD20 000.  You only have to payback the loan using USD20 000.  In technical terms, it is called inflationary financing.  If you allow inflationary financing, you are actually allowing promoting the rising of the rate.  That is why you see the Reserve Bank sometimes trying to declare, for example, that the interest rates should be 20% and above.  They are trying to manage inflationary rate financing which is the only instrument that is viable in an inflationary environment like ours. 

Hon. Speaker, if you charge 50% to a productive company, they may not afford to pay back, but if you charge 50% to someone who is buying a house that you can actually see that if things go down, you will be able to sell the house and the bank recovers its money, it makes sense.  Remember, I said that banks do not own the money, the money is from depositors.  In short, bankers are actually doing a miracle to keep banks open in this environment.  Ordinarily, where they should get money from is lending and lending does not work well where the oxygen of lending which is money, the time value of money has been affected. 

Yes, we were talking about deposit protection, that is the last line of defend.  In Cholera terms, we are talking about building more toilets without addressing the infections that are going around.  We need macro-economic stability to manage banks.  Banks like I said, are an intangible service that solve fragile economies that all over the world, it is agreed that banks should be assisted by the Reserve Bank.  Banks thrive on a stable macro-economic environment which we do not have.  We do not have that because of sanctions. 

Hon. Speaker, you might also want to know that the intermediary function of banks is when you are paying US dollars from Zimbabwe to China, you are not sending money from Zimbabwe to China, you are actually sending money from one American Bank to the next American Bank.  We might all be aware that the attitude of America towards us, sanctions and so forth, banks are operating in a very difficult environment which is next to impossible.  How are they surviving? They are surviving on bank charges and they are looking around for money which is so difficult.  That is why if you send your money to the bank today, if you deposit your local Zimbabwean dollar at the bank, would it still be a dollar in December?  It will not be because we have high inflation, we have an unstable macro-economic environment.  We need local innovative solutions to fight the sanctions war. 

I am happy that we now have a new Reserve Bank Governor.  We hope to invite him to Parliament, to one of our Committees to explain what innovative local solution he has to manage the exchange rate, otherwise we will keep going in cycles.  Banks do not work in highly inflationary environment.  It is as simple as that.  Yes, maybe banks have gone overboard here and there, but they may be isolated instances like Hon. Mandiwanzira said.  There is what we call contagion risk and also the macro-economic exogenous risk that affect banks.  We cannot look at banks and say let us tighten the laws to do the deposit protections. 

Yes, deposit protection is important, it is a vital tool, but we need to look at the fundamentals.  What is causing Cholera, what is causing this macro-economic stability, how do we manage macroeconomic stability to enable banks to work?  You can look at other economies, as long as economic growth goes down by even one percent, there will be serious problems in the financial sector in America, in London and everywhere.  Banks are fragile, they depend on macro-economic stability.  In short, that is my contribution and we need to manage the effects of sanctions.  It is not a secret why America targeted the financial sector. They know that they have experienced it and it is a big challenge.  Thank you Mr. Speaker.        

          HON. SAGANDIRA: I rise to support the motion that was moved by Hon. Jere, seconded by Hon. Chiduwa. My debate is going to be based on the issue that came from the Bible. When you look at the Bible in the book of Luke 18:20, it talks about the rich fool. The lesson that we get from that story talks about the finances, that the finances are actually on the heart of an individual. The rich fool became angry when he was told that he was supposed to sell off everything and follow Jesus. The same would apply if everyone who has worked for the whole of their life and at the end of the day, they realise that they have not done anything in terms of investments. Everyone here would concur with me that they would be very angry.

          The country needs to invest in the future of those who are yet to come. We also need to invest in those who are working now so that when they retire, they can safely say we have done something for ourselves and this is time to rest. With the situation that is obtaining in this country, most of those who have worked are not resting. Even those who have departed before us, their bones are turning in their graves because of the investments that have gone to a nullity.

          What I wanted to bring to the attention of everyone here is that the banks need to invest and instill confidence within the banking sector. If the confidence is there, that is when we will have policies such as the Education Policy. As we speak right now, Mr. Speaker Sir, the country cannot afford to run an Education Policy which is a very important aspect as far as the nation is concerned. The Education Policy will give rest to everyone because when you work today, you really know that when you retire, you have a policy that can take your children up to tertiary education. That is not happening. The country is only managing to run on funeral policies. A nation cannot survive on funeral policies only. It needs to invest in the future.

          Most of the countries in the region have invested in the future and this country is not investing in the future because of the banking sector. The banking sector is not in order. The coming of the Act will actually improve the much-needed confidence that is wanted by this nation. If you look at the widows, they are struggling to pay for fees but their spouses had pensionable resources which could have managed to take their children to school. That is not happening because of investor confidence.

          The other important aspect that I wanted to bring is that of distortion of functions of the bank. The functions of the bank in this country are distorted. You will understand that we have commercial banks, building societies and we used to have merchant banks. That system is not existing anymore. That has resulted in building societies doing the job of commercial banks. If a commercial bank was given a function to extend loans basing on the collateral security that is required by a commercial bank, and that same function is done by a building society, you would actually see that there is a distortion because a building society only concentrates on immovable properties and the interest rates are different. If a building society is now giving loans instead of loans for houses, then that will bring a problem.

          The fiscal and monetary policies also need to be aligned so that they go in tandem with this proposed Act. You look at the exchange rate, it is not even supporting the Depositors’ Protection Act. If you look at the monetary policy, it is not supporting the Depositors’ Protection Act. If these laws are aligned, that will help in the protection of depositors. I thank you.

          *HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me this opportunity. When we were growing up, we used to go to the shops with a bank book and many girls would fall in love with you. I am speaking of 1975 to 1977. Even when your wife displays that book; many people would turn green with envy. The state of the banks right now is very painful.

          The problem on the issue of banks in Zimbabwe is on language. The English language hides a lot of corrupt activities. If a person with a lot of money goes for hunting, in English they call him a professional hunter but if a poor man is caught hunting, they call him a poacher but all of them are thieves. In terms of fishing, if one is caught fishing illegally, he is called a fishmonger but those with money are called professional fishers. That is the issue which is being difficult on the issue of languages. The English language hides a lot of corrupt activities. If a person has got money, in English they call him a professional hunter, but if it is someone who has no money, he is called a poacher, but all of them are thieves. For example, fishermen who do not have money are called fishmongers, while those with money are called professional fishermen. That is a difficult issue regarding language.

          When money is being stolen from banks, they use big confusing words like fundamentals and refer to them as fundamental issues, but the money is being stolen in reality. There are many thieves within the banks and these thieves have also affected the issue of land reform. Looking back to 2018, most banks invited farmers to get loans. A bag of fertiliser was costing US$38, but when you then work out the interest, the bag was now costing US$64 and you do not see where the money is going. You find that 80% of the farmers who managed to borrow money from banks between 2013 to 2023 are no longer able to go back to the farms as they are now struggling. They do not even have a single penny to buy shoes.

The banks are now too clever. They are taking money from the depositors and use it in the informal market. Some of the money is used for different products such as insurance. If you are a farmer, you are asked to pay $200 to insure a tobacco barn in case it is destroyed by a fire, but when you approach them after a barn costing $500 is burnt down, you are paid US$20 and they refer to the process as fundamentals. They also encourage you to deposit money for your child. For example, if you are working and earning $200 and those working in rural areas or on farms being paid $3, for you to withdraw US$300 in a few seconds, you are charged an amount of $30. In the past, the youths deposited money in order to access loans for projects, but the next few days they were told the money was eroded. Women were also told to deposit money in order to get money for cross border trading, but within days, the money would be eroded. All those things are some of the things that need to be looked into.

The banks are using money for micro-finances in Magaba and other small areas saying that they are targeting small businesses. Those are the monies which the directors of the banks are using to invest in small businesses. If you look at the micro-finances in Harare and other towns right now, they belong to the banks which failed and closed. In English, they use a very beautiful term ‘liquidation’. You would think that the air has been changed to liquid or water, but you find that those terms are used to prejudice people of their money.

If you look at the balance sheet and the columns for fixed assets, I do not know what to call it in Shona, for example, land and other properties. When they start their bank, they will be very few items on the fixed asset column, but after two or three years, the column for fixed assets will be very big. If you are to ask them, they say our banks are not operating well. For example, when they started their bank, they had fixed assets worthy $2 million, but after two years, they now have fixed assets worth billions and billions. When the bank is closed, they use the properties which they acquired.

I think when we amend the law, we should also look at the issue of  bank growth in terms of acquiring assets like what happened here, when we were asked to declare our properties. This will be in the event that I unscrupulously wake up the following day being able to buy 10 aeroplanes or jets whilst having declared a Honda Fit only. This same process must also apply to banks. For those who had already eroded people’s money, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission must go back and investigate those people. Some of them say it is a thing of the past, but I say let us go back and look at those who have stolen people’s money so that they face the full wrath of the law.

Most banks are not treating their depositors properly saying there is the issue of the economy which is not functioning well. I encourage that we look at the root cause rather than looking at the problem. If you look at the problem of the profits which they declare after one year, they declare very good profits. As depositors, we drive Honda Fits, but as bankers, they drive luxurious cars. We can refer to those banks as churches that are stealing people’s money in the name of Jesus Christ. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUSA): Hon. Members, please let us allow the Member to debate in silence.

HON. MAPIKI: Let us enact a law which forces the banks to operate properly. Some of them fear that if we enact stiffer laws, we will end up without banks, but it is better to enact stiffer laws and end up with a few banks which are committed in serving people well. Let us also put laws that encourage indigenous banks. Most of the time, those indigenous banks will be stealing from people.

Most of the banks that have closed and those in operation must be looked into, especially on the assets they acquire during the period of operation. If the people have banks, they must not be allowed to have micro-finances because it is another way of stealing monies. We must have a law which does not distinguish or segregate between the rich and the poor. Most people have died from stress because of their money which was eroded within the banks. Sometimes you may have promised the in-laws that you are going to pay lobola the following day, but you wake up to find the bank has been closed. Even school children and those in the rural areas find out that their money has been eroded in the banks and end up looking for food aid from the Government when they had already made preparations by saving money in the banks. Hence, we must enact or amend a law to protect the depositors.

Right now, if you know that your salary has been deposited, you know that the bank is going to take a significant amount. I am encouraging for stiffer penalties for those who are abusing people’s monies. I thank you.

          *HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Madam Speaker. I support that the Depositors Protection Act must be put into law.  This law must be intact so that all the departments or micro-finance or everything that has to do with people’s monies must be included. 

In the past, there was a programme which was called ‘Mari neupenyu hwevanhu’.  We were told not to mention people who are not here.  During that year when this programme was aired, I was leading women.  The person who was spearheading this programme would come to me and asked me to convince women to invest.  I went to the grassroots and encouraged women to invest.  We would be shown the interests time and again.  Later on, things changed.  The financial statements were no longer availed.  The company was called Southampton, we went there but we were told that the person who did the publicity was not there, he was sick and hospitalised.  We went to the hospital and we saw that the person was seriously ill.  We asked him where our money was and he said he was sorry,  the money had been eroded.

Do not play with insurance companies.  I sold three of my shops to replace people’s money which was eroded.  I was their leader and there was need to do so.  There is also the issue of associations which lend people money – they do money laundering. All sectors which deal with people’s money must be looked into. The law must encompass every institution which deal with people’s money.  I thank you.

HON. KAPOIKILU: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to give an input to this pivotal motion.  I would like to buttress on the motion by Hon. Jere.  Depositors are not only found in the banking sector but also in the insurance sector.  I feel that those depositors in the insurance sector deserve equal protection to those in the banking sector.  If you check at the moment, you discover that banks and insurances are working hand-in-hand.  The collapse of one may be the collapse of the other. 

I can give an example of Old Mutual.  Old Mutual and Cabs are almost one and the same thing.  When I qualified at the university, I had two policies with Old Mutual – a life and pension policy.  I contributed for more than ten years. When bond notes happened,  I was told that my money was worth nothing and I got nothing.  I looked around and discovered that Old Mutual has got properties, not only in Zimbabwe but also outside.  I was paying in US dollars when I took those policies.  I had a feeling that my money was used to invest in those properties but I still got nothing.  Up to now, I feel cheated. I think we must revisit that issue of insurance and the culprits must be brought to book.  People need to be compensated.

I will conclude by saying that these amendments must not only speak to the banking sector, but also to the insurance sector.  I thank you.

          HON. I. NDUDZO: Thank you Madam Speaker for recognising me and good afternoon to you.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Good afternoon Hon. Member.

          HON. I. NDUDZO:  I have risen to also lend my support to the motion as proposed by Hon. Jere, supported by Hon. Chiduwa.  Banking is the life-blood of any properly functioning economy because credit itself is at the epicenter of commerce and all well-functioning economic transactions.  It is quite saddening to note that in our economy, the banking sector has been a huge let down in terms of the norms and expectations of the obtaining reality of what we have experienced on a daily basis as depositors.

          A bank is a privileged institution – not everyone is allowed to trade and carry the title and name of a bank.  For you to be able to carry the title and name of a bank, you must be specially licenced, not just by registering your company as a bank but there is a regulator who monitors and makes sure that everything that is done is in accordance with the provisions of the Banking Act.  So when someone takes their money to a banking institution, they do so on the basis of the confidence which they have been given by the registrar of banks, that instead of taking your money and hiding it under a pillow or taking your money and entrusting it to your aunt or friend, you must take it to this institution because it is specially licenced to be able to protect and grow your financial interest.  There is a joke that says if you wanted to rob a bank in the past, you had to hire machine guns and other rogue people who would assist you to go and violently dispossess the bank of its money.  Nowadays it seems it is so easy and all you have to do is wear a very good shiny suit, make an application with a good CV and get granted a banking licence.  Then through the front door, people will be able to come in and entrust you with their money, whilst behind the scenes, you abuse that money.  So there is need to strengthen the role of the regulator and ensure that when a bank fails, there is also a measure of accountability that is apportioned to the regulator.  Why would you have allowed an institution to continue trading and misrepresenting itself as a bank when it has long ceased to conduct the business of banking as we know and understand it? 

          At the epicenter of banking is what we call the banker customer relationship.  This relationship functions in that it is only banks which are allowed at law to have the privilege of accepting deposits and then to utilise the money received as deposits as if it is the bank’s own money.  However, the corresponding obligation of the bank is to pay the depositor whatever they have deposited with the bank whenever they make such a demand for the payment of their money.  However, we have gone through so many instances where people may have balances, but it is impossible to actually make a demand and receive that which is reflected as owing on your account.  Once that happens, that institution has ceased the business and the functions of a bank as we understand it in terms of the Banking Act and the Banking Laws.  So there must be measures to strengthen the responsibility of regulators to ensure that as long as you allow an institution to trade as a bank, you are giving a guarantee as the Government or Regulator that it is safe and that you will be able to recover your money.  Now when that does not happen, there must surely be a role and responsibility which we must accord to the regulator.  However, it goes beyond the banking executives, directors and the regulator.  It is a requirement in terms of our law that in every financial period, a bank must be subject to an external audit.  It is saddening to note that even when banks fail, they would have been preceded by a clean audit report that will speak of that institution as a going concern.  Then a few months down the line, people are not able to access their money.  So I will add to the motion that not only should banking executives and directors be held accountable, but even those auditors who certify institutions as going concerns and then subsequently we realise that what has been presented is actually a misrepresentation.  They must also be apportioned some responsibility.

          There are so many businesses that people should be allowed to carry and conduct in a free and thriving economy such as ours.  However, we must make sure that our banking sector is protected and must not be a sector where we should allow all and sundry to be trusted with the responsibility of looking after other people’s money which is why we speak of the fitness and the probity test.  There must be a thorough examination of who the people are, the shareholders, directors and managers behind a particular financial institution.  What has been their background, what have they run before, what have they done before and what have they done with the funds entrusted to them in a previous institution. 

In addition, where they have been carrying on business and what has come out of that because in the past, we used to know that there was nothing as credible as a banker’s word.  If a banker would promise you the following day, it would be done. You would go home and sleep in the full confidence that a banker can never misrepresent facts.  It is so sad that nowadays, people are allowed to misrepresent the status of the institutions they preside over as banks.  They are closed down and they continue to live a good life, continue to drive good cars and are allowed to retain their other investments, yet all the losses are borne by the depositor.  We just need to make sure that in our economy, no one is allowed to keep money at home or have what we call unexplained wealth because the bank must be the instrument through which we should know your sources of income.  We must know what you are producing, exporting and the goods and services you are selling merely by looking at the deposits you receive in your account.  So it should be very easy to stop money laundering, detect proceeds of crime and to see who is doing what in the economy.  That is only if we can make it compulsory for everyone to bank. If today Parliament deposits $300 in Hon. Nyamupinga’s account, it is impossible for her to access the full value of the funds because part of that money is already eroded in inexplicable bank charges and other transactional charges.  So there is need for us to review and clean up our banking system, but we must be able to accord measure that will make sure that the bank executives, the bank directors, the regulators, the auditors and everyone who has anything to do with money when we are at home, they must know that there are consequences that will visit them if we are not able to recover our money. If we are not able to realise the full value of the money that is reflected in our bank accounts, if we take those measures as proposed by Hon. Jere, we should be able to stop the abuse of depositors’ funds. We should be able to stop the practice on inside loans, loans that are not at arms’ length where people simply use the title of a bank to be able to commit heinous crimes which will affect, not just the depositors but which have far reaching consequences in the downstream economy.

We need an orderly economy, an economy where banks take the centre stage, where those who want to be able to study businesses, must look up to banks so that they are provided with adequate financing. These days if you are operating a business and you are taking your money to the bank, chances are that it is a matter of time before your own business fail because the bank will not be able to support your business with the measures that are expected of the bank. I therefore, wish to fully support the motion. I wish to urge my fellow Hon. Members, when the proposal for the amendments to the Deposit Protection laws are brought before this House, we must be able to add all the contributions we have made and make sure that they have the effect of law. I want to thank you Madam Speaker.

*HON. MATINENGA:  Thank you Madam Speaker for according me this opportunity to add my voice on this important motion, an issue which is causing people not to bank their money. I want to say that we should go back to the times when people opened accounts, they were able to do audit trail of what happens to your money in the banks. These days we have people who are being prosecuted because schools, hospitals and companies are not banking their money. People are being jailed because of not banking their money. Long back, you would know that any money that you find, you would bank it because there was trust those days.

Now, you cannot even do an audit trail because you will be having your money. If you lose receipts, that is the end. We are saying this issue is very important and I want to support what all the others have said. It should be given the honour that it deserves so that our country will go further and we will not have thieves and robbers who are after the cash that is being kept in homes. Madam Speaker, the issue of rectifying the Deposit Protection Act should be taken seriously. I thank you.

HON. KAMBUZUMA: Madam Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. N. NDLOVU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday 3rd April, 2024.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. KAMBUZUMA: Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 11, 12 and 14 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 15 has been disposed of.

HON. HAMAUSWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU) MEETING

AT THE 28TH SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF PARTIES (COP28) HELD IN DUBAI

Fifteenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Parliamentary meeting at the 28th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP28).

Question again proposed.

HON. ZIKI: Madam Speaker, I rise to second the motion moved by Hon. Johanna Mamombe on the Report of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Parliamentary meeting at the 28th Session of the Conference of parties (COP 28) held on 6th of December. Our Parliament delegation included the Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis N. Mudenda who was a guest of honour at the invitation of His Excellency Sagr Ghobash, the Speaker of the Federal National Council.

The following Members of Parliament were part of the delegation: Hon. Priscah Mupfumira, Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Thematic Committee on Climate Change; Hon. Johanna Mamombe, Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate, Wildlife, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.

The high profile IPU meeting was officially opened by His Excellency Sagr Ghobash, the Speaker of the FNC who applauded the tangible outcomes of Cop28 including the operationalisation of the Global Fund on loss and damage. The Secretary General of the IPU called for urgent Robust Parliamentary action on Climate Change and Environment Action. His Excellency, Ambassador Majid Suwaidi, Director General and Special Representative …

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. Chief Whips, may you please approach the Chair. Please proceed Honourable.

HON. ZIKI: His Excellency, Ambassador Majid Suwaidi, Director General and Special Representative of Cop28, welcomed the inclusion of Parliamentarians during Cop meetings as this fostered inclusive representation on issues of climate change since this is necessary in order to translate various agreements into national outcomes.  He also alluded on the results of the First Global stock take sadly falling short of the expectation of the expectation of reducing the global greenhouse emissions to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal. Mr. Adam Director of Legal Affairs division of the (UNFCCC) pointed out that climate change was the biggest existential threat to humanity and called for immediate bold and decisive action on climate change, with reference to the obligations of the existing international agreement on climate change including the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. 

          She called for Parliamentarians to accelerate efforts to implement the Paris agreement through their legislative oversight and budgetary roles and also increase the NDCs to mee the global climate change mitigatory targets. 

          At the High-level segment Hon. Advocate Jacob F. M. Mudenda, the revered and esteemed Speaker of the Zimbabwe Parliament thanked the IPU for the invitation of the Zimbabwe Government to this crucial assembly which coincided with the First global stock take of the Paris agreement.  

          He shared the Zimbabwean experience, progress, vision pertaining to climate change.  He capped his presentation with a quote “Climate Change should not conquer humanity.  Humanity must conquer climate change decisively”.  Thereafter participants shared best experience and best practices on the following topics: 

-Advancing climate action and adaptation for vulnerable communities.

-Climate action spotlight on leadership of women and young Parliamentarians …..

          The Chief Whip and the Clerk having approached the Chair.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, order, I was consulting with the Clerk on Order No. 15, Hon. Ziki you may proceed, but please do not go through the report, you can continue.

          HON. ZIKI:  Thank you Madam Speaker, I was just trying to give a general overview of what transpired during the IPU meeting.  However, let me go to the most important part of the report.  After all deliberations, the Committee recommended the following:

-Heightened role for Parliament is sought, in order to improve oversight on climate change; 

-Effective coordination and communication between the Ministry of Environment and Parliament.  …..

          HON. S. SITHOLE:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  I think for the correct Hansard record, I think it is unparliamentary; he must withdraw because when he started debating, he informed the House that he was a seconder, but was away when the motion was introduced.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Sithole, there is no point of order.  Hon. Ziki is correct, no one has debated the motion after the mover Hon. Mamombe presented the report.  You may proceed Hon. Ziki. 

          HON. ZIKI:  I will just go straight to the recommendations.  I was on effective coordination and communication between the Ministry of Environment and Parliament.  A lead-time of at least two months to be given for seamless collaboration. 

-A capacity building workshop for all Members of Parliament.  I am sure we have all witnessed this.  Some of the things have already started being implemented; 

-Relevant Staff Committee Clerk should always accompany the Parliament delegation for logistics and the production of the report.   It is at this juncture that I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Samu, for having taken time off his numerous duties that he had to help out our Committee during COP since we had gone there without our Committee Clerk. 

          There is also recommendation here of utilisation of IPU resources to promote best practices within Parliament and Government institutions.  In addition, we need to advocate for a robust climate change Act which sets out clear emission reduction targets and the establishment of legal frameworks.  I am sure we are on track, something is being done in that regard. 

          In conclusion, the delegation extends its profound gratitude to Parliament and Government for affording it the opportunity to represent Zimbabwe at such a high-profile global gathering. I thank you.

          HON. CHINANZVAVANA: I thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the report of IPU, 28th Session of the Conference of Parties, COP 28. I applaud Parliament for providing a delegation to the esteemed conference as every nation’s voice was crucial in order for the global family to deal with the menace, that is climate change as it comes at an opportune time here. As Parliament, we are anticipating the climate change policy to be brought to this House to be deliberated on. As we take note that we need to reinforce building resilience to the climate impasse, we have to consider seriously call number one on the report that Parliaments, through their legislative oversight roles, to encourage governments to implement the outcomes of the first global stock-take by updating and enhancing countries’ NDCs.

          In taking responsibility to support the effective implementation, mitigation and emission reduction strategy and adaptation measures through the promotion of a green economy initiatives and practices, the onus is upon us as a Parliament, to walk the talk as we embrace the Climate Change Bill that is upon us. We buttress on investing in renewable energy, improve farming methods of a green economy, restore nature and protect the universe against global warming among many of the measures that can be taken as we focus on a whole range of measures and strategies that would ensure a green future for the generations to come. I thank you.

          *HON. MAPIKI: Firstly, I would like to thank Members of Parliament who discussed on the issues on what should be done. I would like, first of all to applaud our Speaker of Parliament. I want to congratulate him for doing a good job. It shows he was awarded a certificate for the good job that he did. I would like to applaud him for that. We need to clap hands for him because it shows that we are good in planning things.  I would like to thank the vision from different Members of Parliament on the issue to do with women’s abuse in workplaces and homes.

          In Zimbabwe, we have a lot of laws that protect women against abuse. We have an issue that we discussed that women must not be abused in the political arena. In other political parties, sometimes they compete or abuse those women who want to go for top positions. I remember one of the years when one of our Members of Parliament, Hon. Thokozani Khupe, she was once abused …

          HON. MAMOMBE: On a point of order. The Hon. Member is debating Order of the Day Number 14 instead of Number 15.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mapiki, we are debating Order of the Day Number 15. Please proceed.

          *HON. MAPIKI: I was referring to the issue on abuse which was one of the topical issues when we were there. Those are some of the issues that were discussed Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to proceed and tell you that there was an issue to do with the different African countries, Syria and Palestine.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mapiki. I think you are debating the wrong report.

          HON. KAMBUZUMA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. HAMAUSWA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume, Wednesday, 3rd April 2024.

On the motion of HON. KAMBUZUMA, seconded by HON. HAMAUSWA the House adjourned at Five Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.

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