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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 2 NOVEMBER 2022 VOL 48 NO 89

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 2nd November, 2022

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

RESPONSES TO HON. MARKHAM’S QUESTIONS

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Members order!  You must recall Hon. Members, from your Hansard reading on four items, rather five items that were raised by Hon. Markham; very voluminous.  I intend to table this before the House and the rest you will read them through your emails on the soft copy.  These are the responses as requested by Hon. Markham.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

*HON. J. SHAVA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs who is also the Leader of the House. What is the Government policy regarding the incarceration of children who are below the age of 18 years old?  They are being made to share the same jails with vulnerable orphans from the Social Welfare Department.  For instance, children and orphans who are taken from the streets; these children are being mixed with those who are serving different jail terms. What is the Government’s policy on this issue?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I thought that question had been asked before.  Not only that, it was also raised by Hon. Joanna Mamombe during the Pre-Budget Seminar.  – [HON. MURAYI:  I am sorry Mr. Speaker Sir, maybe I was absent on the day and did not hear the response.] – I have ruled my friend.  I have ruled, there is no clarification… - [HON. MURAYI:  Because I am only hearing the question now.] -  You must read your Hansard, you must read your Hansard.  Can you read your Hansards diligently?  Thank you.

HON. MARKHAM:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir!  Mr. Speaker, I may have missed it but I did not hear any Apologies.  We were promised that there would be full attendance by Hon. Ministers today.  I thought I should draw that to your attention unless five ministers are the full Cabinet.  I thank you. – [AN HON. MEMBER:  Because Pomona is here today!] – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, Order, my apologies Hon. Markham.  Hon. Markham, thank you very much for that Point of Order.  Here are the Hon. Ministers who have tendered their apologies:

Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs;

Hon. E. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education;

          Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development;

Hon. Prof Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development;

Hon. R. Maboyi, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage;

Hon. E. Ndlovu, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education;

Hon. M .M. Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry;

Hon. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development;

Hon. P. Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare;

Hon. Dr. S. Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce;

Hon. Dr. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; 

Hon. D. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities;

Hon. Dr. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; and

Hon. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services. – [HON. ZWIZWAI: Inaudible interjection.] – Hon. Zwizwai, you need to be procedural, a point of order was raised which I accepted and it is in terms of the Standing Orders.

          *HON. HWENDE: On a point of order! Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My point of order pertains to the attendance of Ministers; this issue has been raised for a long time now. The list of apologies from the Ministers is very low and that shows that Ministers and their deputies are not taking Parliament business seriously.

          Two weeks ago, the Vice President was here and I was very fortunate that when he left this House, he called all the Ministers who were in this House and he told them that he would punish them if they do not come to Parliament. He said this outside the House – [Laughter.]-

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Hwende, may you sit down.

          HON. HWENDE: I have not finished…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you take your seat…

HON. HWENDE: But why? I must be heard.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have understood you, can you take your seat.  I have understood your concern. The Hon. Vice President also made his commitment in the House and you are confirming that when you saw him outside the House.  It is coincidental that a number of Ministers have gone with His Excellency the President to the Ivory Coast and obviously you must have seen that on the news.

There has also been a bereavement of the first born of our National Hero, Gen. Tongogara.  Other Ministers have gone there to console the family. So, it is a coincident Hon. Hwende that there are these two events that have taken place.

I thought you were going to say the Hon. Vice President is here – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-  The Hon. Vice President has got weighty business behind him, he has come yet he is also the Acting President but he has decided to come to Parliament – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- Thank you.

*HON. KASHIRI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi.  Which law can protect men from women who are making them look after children that do not belong to them deliberately?  Many families have broken down because of this – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

THE HON. SPEAKER: That question is very specific and also there is no survey that has been done to come to that conclusion.  Perhaps you can bring forward that question in writing to allow the Hon. Minister to do his research.

*HON. CHIBAYA: My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care; it is about civil servants, the whole country has witnessed PSMI clinics closing which has resulted in the suffering of civil servants.  My question is; what plans do you have to restore normalcy to that situation?

*THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. GEN. (RTD) DR. C. G. D. N. CHIWENGA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I believe as I am speaking, this august House should be aware that things were not in order at PSMAS.  We were not going to allow corruption to continue, so the PSMAS board was dissolved. As I am speaking, we are enacting an interim board.  I know that this has brought challenges to civil servants and other members of PSMAS but we are working on resolving that issue. Right now there is a forensic audit that is being carried out and this issue is being investigated fully by the regulatory authority.

We cannot continue until we are certain of what transpired, so we must allow those who are investigating time to investigate. The point is that there was corruption at PSMAS. Government contributes 80% of the contributions whilst civil servants are contributing 20% which constitutes 100% towards PSMAS contributions.  We intervened and said that medication should be availed to PSMAS hospitals so that they continue to function.  We talked to Dr. Maulane and we held discussions with PSMAS leadership on the medication needed and there is no hospital that is going to be closed.   What Hon. Chibaya said pertains to administrative issues. We want them to expedite the opening of hospitals and this is what we are doing as Government. After the forensic audit at PSMAS then the august House will be informed in due time.  I thank you.

*HON. MURAI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to thank the Acting President for his response.  I wanted to understand the timelines because we are still contributing and people are dying because they do not have access to health care.  What time should we expect that the situation will improve?

*HON. (RTD) DR. C. G. D. N. CHIWENGA: The issue regarding timelines is a pertinent issue and we want to expedite the opening of hospitals. We are going to engage PSMAS executives, Dr. Maulana and his team, together with our Permanent Secretary and the Ministry staff who would give us feedback on when they will be ready.  We have already allocated funds through the Minister of Finance so that the outstanding amounts are cleared.  The meeting was done and Treasury promised to pay the money because like I said there was no due diligence before at PSMAS. 

Regarding medication, we want to know the logistics between NATPHARM, the Ministry and PSMAS.  I believe all of us want to have solutions as soon as possible so that we do not inconvenience pregnant women. We are going to expedite that, I thank you.

HON. DR. LABODE:  My concern with the decision taken by the Ministry Mr. Speaker Sir is that currently our institutions have no medicines, the whole of Zimbabwe and everybody is going to the private sector to buy.  Where is this magic going to come that will suddenly make everything work despite the fact that this is managed by the same person who failed to manage Harare Hospital and Parirenyatwa?  People are being made to buy medicines, so we need an explanation - where will this magic come from?  I thank you.

HON.  (RTD) GENERAL DR.  CHIWENGA: Mr. Speaker, PSMAS was not being run by Government; it had its own management following the Act of 1930 when the civil service medical aid was put in place; we followed that but because government contributes 80% of the money that is where our interest is.  Our workers were not getting the service that they were supposed to get and that is why we were interested.  We had given them their independence that they do their own things but they have not run the things properly.  Eighty percent comes from the tax payers’ money, it must be accounted for.

So the issue of whether the person worked at Parirenyatwa and was then employed at West End had nothing to do with the Government.  These are not the issues that are being looked into.  I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: When issues are very clear Hon. Members, let us move to the next questions.

          *HON. CHIDZIVA: My supplementary question is a follow up on what the Minister has just said. I wanted to find outwhether there is going to be compensation for those who have been inconvenienced considering the current state of affairs where you find women struggling to deliver. I thank you.

          *HON. RTD GENERAL DR. CHIWENGA:  The question that was raised by the Hon Member, there is no policy which speaks to the compensation which covers a parastatal. Government has a responsibility because Government is a shareholder. The only compensation is that when investigations are done and we find that there was corruption, those who did corrupt activities will be incarcerated. If it is discovered that they stole the money and used it for different purposes, the State seizes whatever it gets and they are forfeited to the State. We are going to wait until the results of the forensic audit are out and the august House will be informed accordingly.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members on my left, can you be collected.

          HON. SARUWAKA: My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business, Hon Ziyambi. We have seen a number of Government programmes being named after the President like Presidential Inputs, Presidential Goats Scheme and Presidential Boreholes. In light of that trend, what is Government doing to stop the abuse of such programmes by ruling party activists who misinterpret such programmes to mean that funding is from the First Secretary of ZANU PF’s pocket yet these funds are from Treasury? What is Government doing to make sure that such programmes are not abused by party activists?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question and secondly, I want to thank him that he is very much aware of the efforts that the Head of State is doing in ensuring that the mandate that he was given by the generality of the people of Zimbabwe is realised in terms of service provision. The President is elected by the whole of Zimbabwe and as such, I am very happy when I hear the Hon.Member indicating the various programmes that His Excellency is doing in terms of service provision.

          What I am aware of is the celebration by members of the ruling party of the programmes that the President is undertaking and not any thieving. If there is any thieving, the police are ready to pounce on anyone who abuses whatever programme is happening. What we are aware of is that the generality of Zimbabweans are celebrating the efforts of His Excellency, the President to ensure that they are taken care of. I thank you.

          HON. SARUWAKA: It is unfortunate Mr. Speaker Sir, that instead of addressing the question, the Minister simply decided to …

THE HON. SPEAKER: Just ask your supplementary question for clarification –[HON. CHIBAYA: Inaudible interjection]. I am addressing myself to Hon. Saruwaka. Hon. Chibaya you are not Hon. Saruwaka.

HON. CHIBAYA: I am assisting you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I do not need any assistance.

HON. SARUWAKA: What effort is Government doing to stop the abuse being perpetrated by ZANU PF activists who are taking over such programmes from civil servants mandated to run these programmes because they are saying these are ZANU PF programmes yet these are Governmentprogrammes? What is his Ministry doing to make sure that no one abuses these programmes?

HON. ZIYAMBI: Let me start by indicating that in his speeches, His Excellency indicates that thereshould be zero tolerance to corruption. If there is anyone who is doing anything outside of their mandate, the police are ready to arrest those individuals. I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Those who abuse the scheme should be arrested when reported –[HON. ZWIZWAI: It is not a question of being reported but varikusiya vamwe vanhu panze. Vana Wadyajena vachiri maChairman enyu yet vakanotenga mota yeyellow].

HON. GONESE: My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs.  I hope he is here. The question is based on upholding of the rule of law.  We have witnessed the spectrum of political violence; recently, we had Members of Parliament - including Hon. Toffa who is here in the House and has broken arms which are in a sling, and Hon. Phulu who were both assaulted –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  They were assaulted during the campaigns. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-   

          On reflection, I had formulated my question and directed it to the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs but I have realised that we have got the Acting President in the House.  I am now redirecting my question to the Acting President because it is really a fundamental issue which is founded on the principles of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and founding values...

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, you are now debating, can you direct your question to the Minister of Home Affairs.

HON. GONESE:  I have redirected my question to the Acting President.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I am directing you to ask the Minister of Home Affairs – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - 

HON. GONESE: I stand guided Mr. Speaker. Let me go to the essence of the question.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - 

This is a manifestation...

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, continue with your question.  I cannot hear you.

HON. GONESE:  I am saying this is a manifestation of what we have been witnessing in this country.  Reports were made and suspects identified but up to now, no one has been arrested for that heinous crime.  What steps is Government taking to ensure that the principles of the administration of justice and upholding the rule of law are upheld so that we do not have a continuation of this ugly situation, particularly in the context of the upcoming elections?

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  Let me start by thanking the Hon. Member for asking such a pertinent question.  His Excellency the President is on record and on every platform, he is pleading with Zimbabweans to be peaceful as we go toward elections.  He is on record saying ‘no to political violence’.  When he says that, he does not point at any particular person, neither does he point at any political party.  He is simply saying ‘no to political violence’ – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - 

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Order, order! Order, order! [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-  Order Hon. Munengami! Hon. Chibaya! Can you listen to the Minister’s response then you can ask a supplementary question. If you do not do that, I will be forced to ask you to leave the House.  Will you just allow the Hon. Minister to answer the question?

          HON. KAZEMBE:  I was saying that the Head of State and Government is on record – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- 

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! I am making a ruling, anyone who is going to stand up now before the Hon. Minister finishes his response, I will ask you to go out. You have a room to ask a supplementary question if you are not satisfied with the Hon. Minister’s response. Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I will continue from where I had left. I had said the Head of State is on record denouncing political violence and when he does that; he does not pin-point any particular party; neither does he speak to any person. As such Mr. Speaker Sir, the police has also made an announcement and I have also done so to say nobody is above the law and political violence or any violence for that matter is not acceptable. Mr. Speaker Sir, whenever violence occurs, fortunately or unfortunately, the police does not act on social media or drama – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: I was checking that there was a request that the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs gives a Ministerial Statement and it was you Hon. Chibaya – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order! One person at a time! So I would rather we have the Hon. Minister prepare that statement and we will debate in full – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

An Hon. Member having stood up on a point of order

THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you sit down? I have not finished, sit down – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order. That request was made and therefore, by next week the Hon. Minister will come up with that statement and we shall have full debate arising from that statement. Thank you.

 Hon. Members having stood up on a point of order.

THE HON. SPEAKER: No point of order. Can you sit down?

Hon. Gonese having stood up

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, can you take your seat? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order. Hon. Gonese, please sit down? Can you take your seat please? Hon. Maronge! I have discussed the issue with the Chief Whip and that matter will arise – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Can you sit down? Hon. Minister Kazembe, please approach the Chair.

Hon. Minister Kazembe approached the Chair.   

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, the Hon. Minister will explain on the issue of the social media aspect and then we end the debate there and wait for his Ministerial Statement. – [HON. ZWIZWAI: Inaudible interjection.] – Hon. Zwizwai, please can you leave the House! – [HON. ZWIZWAI: I can leave but know that it is a woman who has been beaten up.]- Leave the House! [HON. ZWIZWAI: Kuita basa rekurova vakadzi.  I will leave but your conscience will bother you because you know the truth that a woman was beaten up.]- Can you leave the House?  Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to explain the issue of the social media that I mentioned.  I was giving a background leading to my answer; the answer that I was going to give.  In short, I was simply not saying social media in reference to the issue that is being discussed.  I was giving a background so that I will give an answer; the same way the Hon. Member gave a background.  In the same manner, the Hon. Member gave a background to his question; I was also giving a background to my answer.  So I got cut off mid-way before – In fact I got my statement concluded before I concluded it.  It was misinterpreted. 

          I will try and explain what I meant – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, I was saying police does not make decisions or act upon information that is not a fact.  When an issue is reported, they investigate and get to the bottom of it and arrest.  They do not arrest to release and when people are released, it is either investigations will be on-going, or they will be on bail or there could be some other reasons but it does not mean that, that case has been thrown under the carpet. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Can you conclude?

          HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  That is the background I wanted to give, not what is being implied in our minds here.  I do not want to go deeper into the issues; I will include them in my statement.  Even the drama I am talking about, I will explain it –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Member there, the lady; the Hon. Minister has agreed to bring a full Ministerial Statement.  All other related issues will be debated arising from his Ministerial Statement next week.

*HON. MARONGE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  What measures have you put in place to alleviate the issue of hunger in terms of distribution of food in those areas which are hunger stricken?  If you have any plans, when are you going to start distributing the maize?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): I would like to thank Hon. Maronge for that question.  We have already started distributing the maize to different areas.  The distribution was not much because there was the process of compiling names of those in need in order to have a database.  Currently, we have people who are employed, who are compiling that database so that we will not leave anyone who is in need out.  As we speak, maize is being distributed.

In short, I can assist the Hon. Member by giving him statistics of how we distributed maize this month.  In Manicaland, we distributed 2500 metric tonnes Mashonaland Central, 1 400 – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Minister, can you sit down – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Biti, can I be heard in silence? Hon. Deputy Minister, you simply have to confine yourself to policy.  The detailed response is for written questions.  Just stick to policy.

*HON. MATUKE: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  In response to the question which was asked, maize is being distributed in hunger stricken areas as we speak.  Starting this month of November, we are distributing large quantities because lists of those in need have been completed.  I thank you.

*HON. MURAI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My supplementary question to the Minister is; when they compile names of people who are in need of food aid, how do they tell who is in need and who is not since everyone is in need of food aid?  Why can you not just give food aid to everyone, especially in rural areas?  If they start selecting, they will….

THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your supplementary question?

          *HON. MURAI:  How do they know that this person needs food assistance?  

          *HON. MATUKE:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I thank the Hon. Member for the question.  I believe the Hon. Member is educated.  I say so because there is no Government that will just go and give out food aid.  There should be a database of beneficiaries.  The person who is in need is entered in the database.  As I stand here, I cannot receive food handouts. We cannot give the whole country.  There are others who do not even want the grain.  Thank you.  

          *HON. MUCHENJE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My supplementary question is, for those people who compile the database, what do they really look at to determine whether  one is in need of assistance or not?  As MPs, we know the people and we can assist in the selection process.

          *HON. MATUKE:  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  A needy person is the one who has not been able to harvest in the last farming season.  Firstly, we check to see whether he or she managed to harvest anything.  Some had food for one month, some three months and some did not harvest anything.  Some failed to harvest but they have livestock, maybe 50 cattle or 200 goats.  We look at a number of issues because one can sell a cow and buy a tonne of grain.  However, there are people who do not have livestock and do not have children who are working... 

Hon. Chibaya having received phone call in the Chamber.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order.  Hon. Chibaya, you are not allowed to receive phone calls in the House.  Can you leave the House, please?  You are not supposed to be entertaining phone calls in the House.    

          HON. CHIBAYA:  I was not speaking on the phone. I was scratching my head.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Can you leave the House.  You were on the phone.  Please can you leave the House. 

          HON. HWENDE:  Kana makuda kuti tese tibude ingotaurai tibude.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Kana muchida kubuda budai.

          Hon. Chibaya was escorted out of the House by the Sergeant-at-Arms. 

          *HON. MATUKE:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I was explaining the question that was raised by the Hon. Member that a person who is experiencing hunger is someone who does not have anything.  A person can fail to harvest but may have livestock.  One can be a parent to an MP.  We also look at the income that you get.  We look at a person who does not have anything from grain to livestock and they should be in the database.  If a person has failed to harvest and does not have livestock, he needs assistance.  As we compile a database, we do not consider religion, politics and there is no nepotism. If there are such circumstances that are happening, you can come to our offices.  Everyone who needs food assistance has the right to get relief food under President Mnangagwa’s Government.

          +HON. L. SIBANDA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My supplementary question to the Minister is, do you make follow-ups to find out whether social welfare officers are writing the people who are really needy?  In the rural areas, they are compiling their lists on political grounds where they write people belonging to the ruling party.

          *HON. MATUKE:  It is not Government policy to avail relief food based on religion or politics.  If there are such issues that are happening, we request that the information be brought to our offices so that we address them. 

          +HON. H. MGUNI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  As we are now facing the farming season, there are a lot of dams that need to be de-silted so that we harvest water.  What is the Government policy regarding the issue?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Leader of Government Business, desiltation of dams now that the rains are by the corner – what is Government policy?

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  Yes it is true that is an issue and Government is seized with that matter and we hope and trust that as we go towards the end of the year, as we prepare our budget, those issues will be included in the budget, otherwise preparatory work is in progress.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

*HON. TEKESHE:  My question goes to the Minister of Home Affairs.  People are being made to pay cash for fines at road blocks yet we have the Form 265 which the police are saying is no longer applicable.  Why is Form 256 no longer being used because people are being forced to look for cash to pay fines at roadblock when they do not have the money?

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  I would like to thank the Hon. Member.  I was not aware that is the issue but now that he has raised it, I will definitely look into it Mr. Speaker Sir.  I was not aware that is what is happening on the ground, but if I could probably also add to that, Mr. Speaker Sir, to avoid that as we move forward, such inconveniences as Government and as Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, we are deploying a traffic management system together with the Ministry of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services which will ensure that there is no such human interface which then results in these inconveniences and to a certain extent, corruption. 

Once we deploy those systems, these issues will go away because we will deploy electronic gadgets which will automatically detect traffic offences and instantly ensure that there is a penalty.  If there is need for someone to pay, payment is done automatically.  We are already working on that system together with the Ministry of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services.  I thank you.

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is a delayed question from yesterday.  You requested that I could ask the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  It is premised on the 821km Plumtree-Mutare Road.  What is Government policy relating to the maintenance, rehabilitation and rejuvenation of the road that passes through local authorities that is on the agreement of the DBSA US$206 million loan because the maintenance has been left to the local authorities on the road that was constructed by Group Five or Intertoll, Mr. Speaker Sir?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The Hon. Member has raised a very pertinent question that would also give me a platform to articulate that contract to the august House.  The contract entails the company to maintain the road throughout.  Therefore, if the road passes through local authorities, it is still the purview of that company to maintain the road and we are now seized with the company where there was the issue to do with local authorities saying it is supposed to be done by the company and we are saying this is our road and the company must take charge until the end of the contract.

So I want to assure the august House that it is not under the purview of local authorities.  The company must superintend over the entire stretch.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. NDUNA:  Supplementary question Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  A supplementary question when the Minister was so comprehensive?

HON. NDUNA:  The people of Chegutu West constituency would like to know the retrospective aspect – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.]-

THE HON. SPEAKER:  We are not talking about constituencies here.  This is why I almost foresaw that you are going there.  The Hon. Minister’s response was comprehensive.

HON. NDUNA:  The application in retrospect– [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.]-

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Not Chegutu and so on.

HON. NDUNA:  May I ask clarity on application of the expense in retrospect, Mr. Speaker Sir.  The local authorities have actually incurred an expense in maintaining the said extent of the road and in particular, Mr. Speaker, maybe three quarters of that road has been maintained by local authorities.  Would it please the Minister to apply the agreement that is about to be amended in retrospect so that the expenses can be recouped by the local authorities?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, you are now delving into specifics.  I think you would rather follow up that question in writing because it will require the minister to look at the statistics and agree or disagree with yourself.  So put it in writing.

HON. MATEU:  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; in their absence, the Leader of the House.  Mr. Speaker Sir, we have had shambolic ordinary level examinations in this country where over 100 students have been caught having various question papers.  What is the Government doing to bring the integrity of our education system into light due to the leaking of the various examination papers?

What is the Government doing to ensure that we have integrity within the education system and within ZIMSEC itself?  Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Yes, it is worrisome what has just occurred. I Investigations are underway to ensure that we get to the bottom of that issue so that those who are involved are accounted for but going forward, Mr. Speaker Sir, as you would appreciate, the Government has taken a stance to go e-education, smart education and that entails that including examinations will not be done the way they are being done today where it is very easy for papers to leak because we would then have an examination of questions bank which is electronic and no one would have access to that.  So in short, Mr. Speaker Sir, the Government has taken that stance.  It is following that trajectory to make sure that we go e-learning, smart education.  I thank you.

HON. MATEU:  My question is what is going to happen to the papers that have already been written by students.  Are they going to stand or are they going to rewrite because surely 100 people being caught is just a tip of the iceberg?  We do not know the extent that these papers have leaked.  Are these examinations still going to stand or is the Government going to ensure that new examinations are written?  Thank you.

HON. KAZEMBE:  Mr. Speaker Sir, as I alluded to earlier on, investigations are ongoing so the results of the investigations will inform the way forward.  I thank you.   

          HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Minister in his response, alluded to the fact that he is going to go e-learning. Considering the ICT penetration in our schools, how serious is the Government hoping to achieve that considering what went on in this House when people were debating the issues of education deficiencies that we have – how are you going to do it all yesterday?

          HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Government is now using what is called the whole of Government approach. This means if there is a strategy or a policy that needs to be implemented; it is done so through various line ministries which have something to do with that particular objective. So in this particular case, whilst the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education will be trying to deploy e-learning, at the same time the Ministry of ICT also has a strategy and with your indulgence Mr. Speaker Sir, the Minister of ICT is here and he can also explain what they are doing to ensure that no one and no place is left behind. I thank you.

          HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Speaker, the City of Harare has disowned the Pomona deal. The Ministry of Local Government has gone on to pay the debt that is being alleged to have been accrued by the City of Harare using devolution funds. Where did the Minister of Local Government get authority to pay a private company through the use of devolution funds without the authority of the City of Harare?

          THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. MOYO): Mr. Speaker Sir, the Government of Zimbabwe together with the City of Harare, entered an agreement with Geogenix and the negotiated agreement was underwritten by the Government of Zimbabwe as a guarantor. So anything that would abrogate would be taken over by Government and Government has done so;  it is paying so that Pomona can be fixed and it is being fixed. As Government, we want to appreciate the fact that this time the very environmental hazard that was happening at Pomona is being undertaken and for the first time, even the fires that started in October and would continue for two months were extinguished within 24 hours because of what is going on hence the Government is paying because it is enjoined to make sure that, that project does not default and Government takes the risk of that default. I thank you.

          HON. MADZIMURE: The Hon. Minister is very clear that it was a Government...

          THE HON. SPEAKER: If the Hon. Minister was clear, why do you proceed then? Ask your supplementary question?

          HON. MADZIMURE: Minister, did you bring the agreement to this House and also what Act of this House allowed the Ministry to disburse the money intended for devolution without the authority of the City of Harare?

          HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. When we have a Government guarantee over any entity in the country and if there is a potential default, Government Treasury is the one which undertakes to take over the payment and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is paying. I thank you.

          HON. CHIKOMBO: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. My understanding is that the deal that existed between the City of Harare and that organisation, Geogenix has since been disbanded by the City of Harare and it does not subsist anymore. So what is he guaranteeing? Is he guaranteeing a deal that does not subsist? I did not get the answer from the Hon. Minister.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: You did not get what?

          HON. CHIKOMBA: Let me be more perspicuous and cogent – I am saying...

          THE HON. SPEAKER: What did you say the least bit, you did not get what?

          HON. CHIKOMBO: I said let me be more cogent and perspicuous.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: No, that is not what you said. What did you say, the last part of your question?

          HON. CHIKOMBO: Okay, my supplementary question Mr. Speaker is...

          THE HON. SPEAKER: No, the last bit of your question.

          HON. CHIKOMBO: I said he did not answer the question as given or as alluded to by the questioner who is Hon. Madzimure. So I am supplementing the question by saying the deal that existed between City of Harare and Geogenix has since been cancelled by the City of Harare which was a partner in this deal and in that arrangement, the Government was the guarantor. So now that the deal does not subsist anymore, what are they still guaranteeing? Thank you.

          HON. J. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, when that deal was negotiated, chaired by Government with the Attorney General in attendance, we were aware that if this deal has to be cancelled, it has to be cancelled properly. When we discovered that it was not cancelled properly, we knew that we would be in default and therefore we have gone ahead to make sure that we protect the integrity of the country in terms of investments and in terms of doing a job which we know we have to do and that is why we are going ahead with that project. I thank you.

          HON. MARKHAM: My supplementary to the Hon. Minister is; how can devolution funds be used to guarantee a project in perpetuity? In other words, he is making the sole decision to use devolution funds for this year - that is fine but in perpetuity next year, he is guaranteeing with devolution funds which have not been approved yet. How can he do that? Thank you.

          HON. J. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, there is nowhere in the agreement where it says it is guaranteed by devolution funds. This is the imagination of the Hon. Member. There is nowhere where it is written like that. I thank you.

          HON. MARKHAM: I had already asked for the point of order but he is jumping the gun. The elections have not occurred yet. Thank you. - [Laughter.] –

HON. DR. LABODE:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir!  Mr.

Speaker, my question from yesterday was carried over to today.  Please, we must not close Parliament without raising that issue of yesterday.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I will give you the opportunity. – [HON. DR. LABODE: Thank you.] – Thank you.

          HON. BITI:  Mr. Speaker Sir, can the Minister of Local Government and Public Works justify why he, as the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, notwithstanding the fact that the City of Harare cancelled its agreement with Geogenix, continues to pay an agreement that is exposing the citizens of Harare to a debt of USD22 000.00 per day? 

The Constitution in Section 264 says local authorities are run by elected people and not the Hon. Minister.  What is the Hon. Minister’s take in this corrupt agreement; that is my supplementary question to the esteemed Minister of Local Government and Public Works?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, you need to withdraw the word ‘corrupt’ because that …-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Yes, yes.  We need to come to that conclusion Hon. Member.

HON. BITI:  May I rephrase it Mr. Speaker?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Yes, may you withdraw that?

HON. BITI:  Mr. Speaker …

THE HON. SPEAKER:  May you withdraw that?

HON. BITI:  May I rephrase the question?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Yes, you may but withdraw that because …

HON. BITI:  I withdraw the word ‘corrupt’.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Yes.

HON. BITI:  Hon. Speaker Sir, the Joint Venture Act (JVT) of Zimbabwe approved by this Parliament recognises Public-Private Partnerships (PPP).  The law says, ‘A public body will enter into an agreement with a private sector when the public body does not have money.’  So the private sector will pay and then will be repaid either on the basis of a build-operate-transfer (BOT) or BOOT (build, own, operate, transfer) agreement.  What is so special that you have a joint venture agreement, a Triple P where the private sector is being paid by a broke public sector?   This is why I used the word I used because it is unheard of, unprecedented, immoral and unacceptable.  I thank you.

 THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. J. MOYO):  Mr. Speaker Sir, this project was appraised by the City of Harare.  We joined in the appraisal as Government and as Government we have responsibility over our lower tier authorities throughout the country, not just Harare.  Harare is no exception.

So, when the Government was approached by the City of Harare and we know that there is a problem in Pomona.  Government agreed to say we should proceed with this project.  We have gone ahead and appended our guarantee and that is why we are going ahead with the full appraisal of the technical people of the City of Harare. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order, I accepted Hon. Biti as the last person to pose a supplementary question. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Member, may you listen?  I had called on Hon. Miranzi, is she here? – [HON. MPARIWA: Virtual.] – Virtual.  May I plead with you Hon. Miranzi because of the time factor.  There is a question that we deferred yesterday from Hon. Dr. Labode. 

HON. DR. LABODE: Yes, thank you.  My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care.  Hon. Minister, I am sure in the past week you have heard of at least those that the media was able to pick, three girls aged between eight (8) and nine (9) who are all pregnant in Zimbabwe and those are the cases that we know about.  Hon. Minister Nyoni once came here and presented a statement of 5 000 pregnant girls in three months aged below 15 years. 

Also, the report on Primary and Secondary Education indicated that 10 000 girls below the age of 15  have dropped out of school because they are pregnant.  My question is; what is the Ministry’s plan or strategy?  How are we going to sit and twiddle our fingers and watch our children die while trying to deliver?  Can a nine year old really carry pregnancy?  Can a nine year old really carry pregnancy?  Please Hon. Minister, we want to know what the Ministry is doing, because this thing lies within your Ministry.  You have to tell us what we can do as Government, civil society and as everybody to deal with this issue?  Thank you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. GENERAL RTD. DR. CHIWENGA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The Hon. Member asked a very pertinent question but I suppose the question is in the form of a suggestion to say from this august House, what is it that all of us can do? 

When it comes to immoralities in society, this is no longer what we treat as Ministry of Health and Child Care.  We come up with policies and that is why we presented in this august House Mr. Speaker, that we cannot have the issue of having children of 12 to 13 years going on their own to get contraceptives.  We are on record saying this cannot be accepted, neither can we have children to say they consented when they are 16 years; we also said that is not acceptable.  We go to majority age; 18 years.

Therefore, as the law, we have pushed and this august House agreed. It is now a law that below 18 years, they are all children and this is what we must stick to.  Now comes the issue of children being abused at school or lack of moralities, children start having children based families; that cannot be accepted; it is not morally correct.  So, we are starting from this august House that we all have constituencies; we must use the structures from the kraalhead to the headmen, councillors, to make sure that people are educated.  It is not for the Government to try alone, because these children have parents.  They have both the father and mother in the house.  What are we doing as parents?

Go to any other organisation like civil society or whatever, it starts from what is it that we are doing?  This is a matter that we must take back to our constituencies for parents, first of all to have the responsibility.  Secondly, it would be followed by where that child is also going to be morally raised, that is schools; from ECD going up.  This is the education system.  We need to have programmes in all our schools to teach our children. 

When we all grew up, the majority of Hon. Members here, we did not have televisions and neither did we have radios but now children watch television; they just switch off the volume and watch, that is where they pick up wrong things. We need all of us to take the task as ours and not as a task for the Ministry of Health and Child Care alone.  I thank you.

          HON. DR. LABODE: Hon. Minister, the nation has tried, parents have tried and you have even brought a Bill, the Medical Amendment Bill saying you will arrest parents who do not take kids to institutions for treatment.  While we want to believe that we can control this thing, it has run away from us and we cannot control it.

          We want to think we can do a church business to deal with this matter; it has run out, it has become a scourge, it is an epidemic, it needs men and women to stand otherwise we are losing children. 

          Minister, it might be time for us to adopt the Kagame effect, those who do not know, Kagame is the President of Rwanda.  When Kagame saw that things were getting out of hand…

          THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your supplementary question?

          HON. DR. LABODE: There is no child Mr. Speaker Sir in Rwanda, below the age of 18 who shall be forced to be a mother.  You sent us to Rwanda; me, Hon. Moyo and Hon. Mataruse to go and understudy this thing Mr. Speaker. Let us stop playing around, playing twiddling fingers, and it will not stop this thing…

THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your supplementary question Hon. Member?

HON. DR. LABODE: What the Minister is saying for me is not enough, it has failed.  What else can we do as a nation?  It is there.  Why not go the Kagame way?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Labode, can you explain the Kagame way?

          HON. DR. LABODE: When we visited Rwanda with the Chairperson of the Education Committee, Hon. T. Moyo and the Chairperson for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Maranyika, we went to understand how Rwanda managed to review their Termination of the Pregnancy Act.  We spoke to civil society, to media and to the Minister of Justice and Government, people and everything pointed to State House.  They said we were galvanized by the President to move towards ensuring that no child who is supposed to be a child will be made a mother unless she so wishes.  In consultation with the parents in Rwanda, if a child is pregnant at the age of nine years, doctors will ask both parents and the child what they want to do.  If the parents say the pregnancy should be kept and the child says she does not want, Kagame says listen to the child because she is the one who is going to be affected by this thing forever.  So, that is the Kagame Effect which has now become an international slogan.  I thank you.

          HON. RTD. GEN.  DR. CHIWENGA: Mr. Speaker Sir, we have got the law. If it is a matter of rape or the child does not have the mental capacity, the pregnancy is terminated - it is there.  Thirdly, the affected girl has got the right to say I want the pregnancy terminated. 

          We do not have to follow laws of other countries; laws are made in this august House.  The proposal can be brought in here and discussed,  ask the Ministry in charge for consultations and bring a Bill to amend.  However, what I thought the Hon. Member could have raised was what is happening to the perpetrators.  That matter is not being addressed and has not been addressed.  We cannot address only to the victim and leave the perpetrators going scot free – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – That is what we need to address in this issue and the way we can address is to bring in a Bill and it will be discussed.  I thank you.

          HON. MARKHAM: Hon. Speaker, my issue has been partly covered. However, I would like to bring to your attention that while our laws are there, we now shift blame to the whole Government with the laws not being implemented, particularly when it comes to dealing with a perpetrator.  We go back to the Minister of Justice and the Minster of Home Affairs when it comes to perpetrators, they do nothing to the extent of protecting them.  I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your supplementary question?

          HON. MARKHAM: It was a point of clarity.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: A point of clarity does not need ministerial response.

          Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE HON. SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.

          HON. BITI: I move that Questions without Notice be extended.

          HON. CHIDZIVA: I second.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Five minutes.                                                                                                                            Time for Question Without Notice extended by 5 minutes.

*(V) HON. MIRANZI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of AgricultureThe Government embarked on a Land Reform Programme in 2000 but what is surprising is that fellow black people are chasing their fellow black brothers and partnering with the Chinese. – [technical fault] - There is a company called Global Platinum which is abusing people.  What is Government policy concerning people who are being chased away from where they were staying for more than 20 years? 

*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, your question is about something that is happening now, so I request that you put your question in writing so that the Minister can research and answer you – [AN HON. MEMBER: Minister akutiza uyo.][HON. MEMBERS: inaudible interjections.] – 

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

MEASURES TO IMPROVE STABILITY OF MOBILE CELLPHONE NETWORK IN SPITZKOP NORTH

  1. HON. MOKONE asked the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services on the immediate measures that are taken to improve the stability of the mobile cellphone network in the Spitzkop North location of Gwanda Matabeleland South Province.

 THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. DR. MUSWERE):  With regards to the particular area in Gwanda Spitzkop is a relatively new settlement  which is partially blocked from our existing nearby sites and technical has no coverage of its own.  We installed in the year 2020 second, third and fourth generation active equipment in order to ensure that there is coverage.  Most of the complaints that we have received are related to low speed internet and in terms of our plan, like I have indicated, we have already installed 4G equipment, we are in the process of establishing 5G equipment before the end of this quarter.  I thank you Hon. Speaker. 

COMPLETION OF REFURBISHMENT OF MANAMA HOSPITAL

  1. HON. MOKONE asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to inform the House when the refurbishment of Manama Hospital will be completed.

          THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. RTD. GEN. DR. CHIWENGA): Renovations at Manama Hospital have been scheduled in phases where Phase 1 was focusing on the disaster affected areas. The scheduled works were targeting areas to do with electrical, building, carpentry, painting and plumbing. Progress to date is as follows:

- electricals – 90% of the work has been done;

- plumbing – 90% of the work has been done; and

- carpentry – 80% of the work has been completed.

          We hope to finish the outstanding works by December 2022. The delays that we are experiencing are due to lack of funding. We are doing our best and are in communication with Treasury that the works at this hospital be completed because of its importance. I thank you.

          HON. MOKONE: Why can you not prioritise the issue of maternity wards in Manama because that is another critical area that was affected when the winds swept away the hospital?

          HON. RTD. GEN. DR. CHIWENGA: That is a very good suggestion. We are going to rearrange our priorities and the Hon. Member will be informed.

NSSA PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS VERSUS PAYOUTS

  1. HON. I. NYONI asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to inform the House why NSSA pension contributions are being increased while pension pay-outs remain static?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): The increase in pension contributions are based on actuarial assessment and advice to sustain increases and NSSA has been increasing and reviewing upwards pension levels currently with effect from the first quarter of 2020. The pension levels have been reviewed monthly in response to the fluid economic environment effectively from July 2022. We continue to increase and monitor our economic trends. I thank you.

          (v)HON. I. NYONI: My supplementary question is that from January to April, NSSA contributions were a bit bigger and then from April after another three months they were increased. Thereafter, they were also increased. From September up to December they have been increased and this year only the increase on contributions have gone up more than four times yet the payments that are made to pensioners have only been done once. Can the Minister give clarity on why there are so many increases yet there is very little being done for the pensioners?

          HON. MATUKE: As I mentioned before, the increase on pension is done on actuarial assessment. I would want to ask the Hon.  Member to allow us to bring a schedule of the rate of increase from the period mentioned and also compare that with the increase on NSSA pensions because off head, I do not have the information which he is relating to. It is slightly different from the question which he asked. I thank you.

GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE TO YOUNG PEOPLE ON OBTAINING IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS

  1. HON. SARUWAKA asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to explain to the House how Government can assist young people accommodated in children’s homes to obtain their national identification documents considering the fact that they cannot sit for national examinations without these documents, a situation that leaves them vulnerable to the extent that it is difficult for them to participate as equal citizens with their national counterparts.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): May I request that we defer this question to next Wednesday when we have an adequate answer for it.

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

NETWORK CHALLENGES BEDEVILLING ECONET USERS

  1. HON. M. MPOFU asked the Minister of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to explain to the House

      a) The causes of network challenges which are bedeviling Econet users countrywide;

      b) When the timelines by which the Ministry expects to have eradicated the problems so that clients are not inconvenienced.

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. DR. MUSWERE): Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the Hon. Member for the question, on question (a), key issues affecting service delivery are:

  1. Power availability; operators including Econet, experience network outages that are linked to power grid failures that affect base stations.
  2. Shortage of foreign currency; investment in new capacity and coverage requires forex and this has not been availed to the sector. This results in congestion and frequent breakdowns of existing ageing equipment which impacts service delivery.

 On question (b) the answer is as follows; the coming of Hwange 7 and 8 will solve the power challenges in February 2023 and we are expecting forex availability to improve as we journey towards 2030.

DIALYSIS MACHINE FOR KADOMA GENERAL HOSPITAL

  1. HON. CHINYANGANYA asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to inform the House when Kadoma General Hospital will have a dialysis machine.

          THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. RTD. GEN. DR. CHIWENGA):  Currently, dialysis is still available at central and some provincial hospitals. The Ministry of Health and Child Care has not yet decentralised to that level.

MEASURES TO ADOPT LOW-COST MODERN HOUSING TECHNOLOGIES

  1. HON. HAMAUSWA asked the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities to inform the House measures being put in place to adopt low cost modern housing technologies in order to reduce the housing backlog.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. SIMBANEGAVI): The Ministry is in the process of adopting the use of new building technologies in order to reduce housing backlog. The process started with expression of interest from private organisations willing to partner the Ministry. The next stage was request for proposal to ascertain the type of partnership. Flight of tender was also done and PRAZ approved three contractors, namely Leengate, Turnall and Virtus. They presented models of building technologies which are steel-framed commercial building, fibre cement and green building respectively.

          The process of due diligence was conducted with site visits to South Africa where the contractors did the projects. Currently, the Ministry’s technical department is working on coming up with a standard model to be adopted by the contractor since the contractors use different models. The contractors will use the standard models for financial costing. It is a self funding arrangement whereby the contractor funds the construction and receives payment after completion of the project. The first site for implementation of the standard model will be Dzivaresekwa new flats.

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE MUSEUM FOR AFRICAN LIBERATION

  1. HON. HAMAUSWA asked the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to inform the House whether the establishment of the Museum for African Liberation in Warren Park was preceded by any stakeholder consultations.

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Currently, the project of the Museum for African Liberation in Warren Park is being spearheaded by the Institute of African Knowledge and I am not privy of the process they have taken to date.

ARREST OF CATTLE RUSTLERS FROM ZAMBIA

  1. HON. GABBUZA asked the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to inform the House:

      a) Why there have been no arrests of cattle rustlers from Zambia who have stealing livestock in Saba and Lubanda wards in Binga

     b) What measures the Government has instituted to curb commission of such crimes and recover the stolen livestock that have been identified across the border.

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  Thank you Hon. Member for the question you have asked on the issue of cattle rustling.  Let me start by highlighting that at the recently held Zambia-Zimbabwe Joint Permanent Commission on Security and Defence (JPC) held in Livingstone Zambia in October 2022, the issue of theft of livestock from both countries was discussed at length and it was agreed that the two police services, that of Zimbabwe and Zambia, should work together to curb this scourge and as I speak, efforts are underway to address the scourge.

On arrests, I would have to find out if there are any known culprits from Zambia that our police officers have failed to arrest after receiving information on stock theft. It could be an issue of lack of information resulting in no arrest being done.  But as a country, whoever is involved in such acts, whether locals of foreigners, the law will take its course. As a Ministry, we are in the process of resourcing our police officers with patrol vehicles and other electronic gadgets like drones to try and address this scourge. We have started with Matabeleland South where to date we have established police bases in known areas where these livestock rustlers use when crossing into or outside Zimbabwe.  I would also like to engage you Hon. Member together with the Commissioner General of Police to identify strategic places where we can establish police bases to patrol the affected areas of Saba and Lubanda.

       b) the Ministry through the Joint Permanent Commission on Security and Defence with Zambia resolved that our two police services should continue holding meetings as well as conducting joint investigations and patrols along the common border to first curb the scourge and that the livestock authorities should undertake a benchmarking exercise for the animal identification and traceability systems in both countries so that best practices that identify animals to the individual level are adopted and whenever livestock is recovered it is repatriated back to the country of origin.

STATUS OF GLOBE AND PHOENIX MINE

  1. HON TOBAIWA asked the Minister of Mines and Mining Development to inform the House:

        a) whether Globe and Phoenix Mine in Kwekwe is legally recognised and if so, to explain why it was allowed to conduct operations next to a school, a situation which compromises the livelihood and well-being of the students at Globe and Phoenix Primary School;

          b) the measures in place to curb illegal mining activities particularly close to road infrastructure, a situation which affects the movement of goods and people, thereby impacting negatively on their livelihood, particularly their residential infrastructure.

THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHITANDO): Globe and Phoenix Mine is a legally registered mine.  The mine was registered between 1960 and 1970.  Some of the claims were transferred to a number of people.  A stakeholder meeting involving Ministry of Mines, EMA, ZRP, SDA and Claim Holders was done in April 2022.  The claim holders advised the Ministry that they are not mining inside the school.  The mining operations next to the school are illegal mining operations by small scale miners.

  1. b) The Ministry makes awareness campaigns discouraging miners from illegally mining close to road infrastructure hence miners can also peg far away from the road infrastructure

The Ministry also carries out intensive monitoring of mining activities through the inspectorate to ensure mining does not negatively affect the environment.

The Ministry works with Government security agencies such as ZRP Minerals Fauna and Flora Unit to help curb illegal mining activities. 

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. MUTAMBISI:  I move that all Orders of the Day on the Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day Number 20 has been disposed of.

HON. MATSUNGA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

CONSIDERATION STAGE

 HEALTH SERVICES AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 8A, 2022]

Twentieth Order read: Consideration Stage: Health Services Amendment Bill [H. B. 8A, 2022].

Amendments to Clauses 2, 3 and 5 put and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, adopted.

Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

 

THIRD READING

HEALTH SERVICES AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 8A, 2022]

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. RTD. GEN. DR. CHIWENGWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I now move that the Bill be read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read the third time.

MOTION

JOINT REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WOMEN AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT AND THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT ON THE ENQUIRY INTO THE IMPACT OF WOMEN MICRO FINANCE BANK

       HON. P. ZHOU: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the joint Report of the Portfolio Committees on Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development and Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on the inquiry into the impact of women microfinance bank in empowering women since inception.  

      HON. NYAMUDEZA:  I second.

      HON. P. ZHOU: 1.0 Introduction

The Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the Government are anchored on leaving no one behind, especially vulnerable groups such as women. The 2030 Vision by Government acknowledges the empowerment of women and men in order to realise their full potential as both individuals and groups in communities. The Zimbabwe National Development Strategy 1 (2021 to 2025), sections 741 to 750 provide for enhanced gender mainstreaming to boost women access to finance. Government is implementing this strategy through capitalisation of the Zimbabwe Women Micro Finance Bank (ZWMB). The ZWMB was granted approval by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to operate on 29th May 2018.The bank opened its doors to the public on 12 June 2018 and was officially launched on 25 June 2018 by His Excellency, President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. The Women’s Bank’s primary is to enhance affordable and accessible lines of credit for women businesses and projects. The bank also offers training on the sustainable utilisation of the loans to women.

Despite this great initiative made in Zimbabwe, women still face significant challenges that undermine their productive potentials. The purpose of the inquiry was to assess the impact of the ZWMB in empowering women since its inception.

2.0 Objectives

The key objectives of the inquiry were:

  1. To assess the impact of the Women Microfinance Bank towards women economic empowerment in small and medium businesses and the vulnerable.
  2. To assess whether bank was accessible to its intended beneficiaries in different places.
  3. To ascertain the challenges faced by women in accessing loans from the bank.

3.0 Methodology

3.1 As part of its inquiry the Committees received oral evidence from the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development. The Ministry officials presented that the Women Microfinance Bank was a deposit microfinance bank established to champion women’s financial inclusion and empowerment through access to affordable funding.

 3.2 It was submitted during the oral evidence that the bank operates under the purview of the Ministry of Women Affairs Community and SMEs Development just like other Government parastatals and is under the supervision of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe like any other financial institution in the country.

3.3 The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and SMEs Development presented to the Committee that the bank received its capital budget from the Treasury.

3.4 The Committee received oral evidence from the Women Micro Finance Bank officials. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) highlighted, that in order to maintain proximity and accessibility of the bank to people, the bank has opened a total of 26 branches and some of these were inform of offices and satellite offices. In addition, the bank had a total of 144 mobile agents across the country and 39 fixed agents. Dr Marikana the CEO, also informed the Committee that the bank’s head office was in Harare and some major branches were doted in other provincial towns of Zimbabwe.

3.5 In terms of loan facilities offered, the officials submitted that, there were designed deposit loan products that seek to address the challenges of women’s needs including the youth. Furthermore, the bank provides for group lending which ensure women benefit from loaning as a joint liability group and the beneficiaries have a common denominator to co-guarantee each other.

3.6 The Bank Officials further submitted that the bank products strategy was micro enterprising women loan account that targeted various women in economic activities at small scale. The other product strategy was farming women SMEs loan accounts which was targeted at SME women farmers with A1 and A2 farms based on the size of production. In addition, the bank offers Personal loan for working women and this was a salary-based loan to employees in companies.

3.7 The Committee conducted public hearings from the 16th to the 23rd of May 2022, to gather information from the public on the impact of the ZWMB in empowering women since its inception. The Committee was divided into 2 teams and covered the following places shown in table 1 below.

Table 1. Places visited by the joint Committees

3.2 Impact of the bank on Empowerment

DAY PLACE Venue
16 May 2022 Kariba

 

Masvingo

Mahombekombe Hall

Chivi District Office,

Masvingo Civic Center

17 May 2022 Chiredzi

Kadoma

 

Gweru

Chitsanga Hall,

Kadoma Town Hall,

Mutapa Hall

18 May 200 Birchenough Bridge

Gwanda

Esgodini

Birchenough Bridge Hotel

Gwanda Community Hall

Heany Memorial Hall

19 May 2022 Hauna

 

Hwange

Matondora Business Centre

Lwendulu Hall

20 May 2022 Rusape

Marondera

 

Bulawayo

Vhengere Hall

Mbuya Nehanda Hall

Small City Hall

23 May 2022 Chinhoy

i

Bindura

Chinhoyi Civic Center,

Tendai Hall

 

3.2 Impact of the Bank on Empowerment

4.0 COMMITTEE FINDINGS AND OBSERVATIONS

4.1 Awareness of the BankAamong the Public

          The Committee observed that the majority of the members of the public in all the visited areas were not aware about the existence of the bank, the purpose of the bank and how to access the agents or office of the bank. In Kadoma, Chiredzi, Birchnough Bridge the Committee, noted with concern that all the residents were not aware of where the bank was located. Members of the public especially those from small towns and from rural areas such as Hwange, Mhangura, Kariba submitted to the Committee that information about the existence of the bank was only heard from radio and television.  However, the programmes of the bank and its agents had not reached out to the outskirts areas.

The Government of Zimbabwe established the women microfinance bank primarily to assist women to access loans for their small and medium businesses and projects. During the public hearings, the majority of the public presented to the Committee that they have not managed to access the loans. A disturbing concern was in Hwange where from an attendance of 400 women, only one person confirmed that she managed to get the loan from the Women’s Bank.

Subsequently, the Committee confirmed with those who managed to access the loans from ZWMB and noted that the loans were useful and of much important in supporting their projects and small businesses. Members of public who received the loans confirmed that they had received 150USD vendor loans which were payable on weekly basis. Submissions from other beneficiaries in Esigodini were that women started grinding mill project as a group which had empowered them financially as well as saving the distance, they used to travel to get the service. It was observed, by the Committee that most of the beneficiaries of the loans were groups as compared to individual applicants and these recipients confirmed that the loans boosted their businesses such as cross border trading, chicken production, sawing and farming projects

4.3 Repayment of the Loans

The Committee was delighted to receive confirmations from the people who benefited from the loans that they have not faced any challenges with repayment of the loans. However, a disturbing concern was on the loan repayment period given to clients. The members of the public submitted to the Committee that when they received the loans, the bank would require repayments in thirty days. The Committee noted from the submissions that this was too short a period of time for those who will be doing projects such as chicken production and farming which require more than thirty days to harvest.

However, some of the beneficiaries acknowledged the loan repayment system as flexible since the bank can negotiate and agree with clients on payment timeframe. For example, in Gweru some vendors indicated that they had negotiated with the bank instead of repaying everyday; they pay twice per week.

4.4 Interest Rates for loans

The Committee was informed that the interest rates range from 6,5% - 10% per month. Considering that women are the vulnerable people which the bank target to empower and uplift, these interest rates were regarded a bit high.

4.5 Currency of Disbursements

There were different opinions regarding the issue of currency that the bank should use for loaning. Some members of the public wanted the bank to disburse loans in foreign currency that is United State Dollars since the inputs and other items required for the projects require payments in foreign currency.

On the other hand, some were of the view that when the Bank intends to disburse loans in local currency, the loans should be disbursed instantly to avoid being eroded by inflation.

4.6 Inclusivity of the Bank to other Vulnerable Women

Women with disabilities requested, that a certain percentage of the loans should be set aside for women with disabilities. Representatives for people with disabilities lamented that since the inception of the Bank in 2018, a record of about less than seven women with disabilities countrywide accessed the loans. In addition, people from Chiredzi, Hwange, Masvingo underscored the need for the bank to be advertised using sign language and brail to reach all people with different disability forms. In Gwanda representatives, from the disabled groups informed the Committee that the bank should advertise in their meetings so as to raise awareness to their members.

4.7 Collateral Security

Members of the public submitted before the Committee that the bank requests for collateral security for individual loans applications. In this regard, there was an outcry in all visited areas from members of the public that women were vulnerable who needed start-up capital to acquire asserts therefore, do not have collateral security. In essence, the public requested that the bank should accept their businesses as collateral security.

The Committee, also observed that the bank has made it easier for group lending and there was no any requirement for collateral from group members. In addition, the Committee noted that group members and project or business were accepted forms of guarantee for the loan as collateral.

4.8 Bank Feedback to Clients

The Committee noted that there was no feedback from the bank or any other communication with clients who opened accounts and applied for loans. Submissions  were that there should be a feedback mechanism within a specific time-frame which responds to whether a person has managed to get the loan or not for example in two weeks. Not receiving feedback would keep them waiting in vain.

4.9 Trainings and Capacitation of Women

The Committee noted that those few women among the public who confirmed to have received the loans also wanted a proper training of business management and how to utilise their loans in accordance with their business or project plan. Members of the public confirmed that financial literacy trainings were not given to the beneficiaries. A suggestion was submitted that in the future, the bank should adequately train loan beneficiaries on financial literacy and how to run certain businesses.

4.10 Challenges Faced by the Bank.

4.10. 1 Transport

It was presented to the Committee, in all visited areas, that there was no transport facility for bank agents and loan officers to use during assessment of projects. In addition, the officers presented that it was not feasible to cover different areas without having a proper means of transport. Members of the public bemoaned that loan officers were not covering all wards in each district that they service. Transport challenge as highlighted by bank agents and loan officers delayed approval of loan applications mainly because the paper work was to be submitted to provincial offices where the bank had branches. Transport challenge was therefore, regarded as a barrier to accessibility of loans by women because of delays in assessment of projects and submission of paperwork to the few branches of the bank throughout the country.

4.10.2 Bank Staff, Agents and Points.

The Committee was dismayed to witness that the bank was grossly understaffed. During the public hearings, the Committee observed that the loan officer who serves Bulawayo was also the same officer covering Esigodini and the loan officer who serves Bindura was the same officer who serves Harare. Additionally, these were different provinces with different districts hence there should be many officers to administer and service each area. Women from Mhangura submitted that loan officers and agents were only found in Chinhoyi and members of the public were to travel long distance to access the bank services. The understaffing of the bank was also witnessed in Chiredzi, Gwanda and Hwange where it was confirmed that one officer was responsible for loan applications, training and assessments of projects therefore, causing delay in loan approval and assessment of businesses and project.

4.10.3 Language

Members of the public especially from Hwange, Kariba and Gwanda underscored the need for the bank to consider language diversity when deploying loan officers. They indicated that they encountered language barrier as some of the loan officers were not able to communicate in local language. They appealed that the bank should deploy people who know the local language of the particular area.

4.10.4 Offices and bank premises

During the public hearings, the Committee was informed that the bank had no any premises or offices for its operations in some areas. The Committee noted that in places such as  Hwange, Esigodini and Hauna Shopping Center, the bank had no office for the loan officer to be accessed by members of the public. In Gwanda and Kadoma the bank shares an office with the Ministry of Women Affairs Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development.  Members of the public also submitted that in areas where the Bank indicated it had presences the majority of the people were not aware of the location of the premises.

4.10.5 Approval and Disbursement of Funds

There was an outcry from the members of the public that the bank was highly centralised in Harare. Apparently, most women and loan officers mentioned that after all the ground work was completed in districts where bank clients are, the paperwork will be submitted to the province and to the Bank Head Office in Harare for approval. Some of the members of the public in Chinhoyi and Makonde districts submitted that they were also being advised to travel to Harare Head Office for loan application and approval.

The Committee observed that the centralisation of the bank for approval and disbursement of loans affected the timeous disbursement of loans and promote loss of value of the Zimbabwean dollar applied amounts due to inflation. 

5.0 COMMITTEE RECCOMENDATIONS

5.1 The Ministry of Women Affairs Community and SMEs Development and the Women Microfinance Bank, should establish new bank branches, new offices for agents in different districts and growth points, to improve accessibility to the intended beneficiaries by 31 July 2023.

5.2  Starting from 30 November 2022, the Women Microfinance Bank should approve and release loans within seven to ten working days after the loan application and the loans should be pegged in United States Dollars and disbursed at the prevailing official rate at material time to ensure that these loans received are not affected by inflation.

5.3 That Women Microfinance Bank should monitor and evaluate the women projects and businesses and increase the amount of loans given so that women can venture in projects that they intended, beginning January 2023.

5.4 That the Women Microfinance Bank should give at least a grace period of sixty days to loan applicants to run their businesses and projects before beginning the repayment of the loans.

5.5 That for the 2023 budget disbursements, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, should consider releasing half of the allocated funds for the bank in US dollars to allow the bank to offer loan facilities in US dollars for the big projects and businesses that require foreign currency.

5.6 That the Women Microfinance Bank, Ministry of Women Affairs Community and SMEs and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should reconsider lowering the current interest rate of 6.5 to 10 percent per month, to a rate below 6 percent for the loans to be affordable to vulnerable women by November 2022.

5.7 That the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in the 2023 National Budget should allocate a budget to the Women`s Micro Finance Bank to support its operational costs such as transport, office shortages and workforce shortages.

6.0 Conclusion

In every country women continuously need financial support, business capacitation and financial literacy for their empowerment. Zimbabwe in the right direction to financially support the growth and expansion of women’s businesses and projects by setting up a referral financial bank for accessing affordable lines of credit despite having some challenges. ‘When you empower a woman, you have empowered the nation’. Government should support the women’s bank in order to empower women in a meaningful way. I thank you Hon. Speaker.

          *HON. NYAMUDEZA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The Government has embarked on a very good initiative so that the rural women can also be empowered.  Women constitute the majority of the population in Zimbabwe.  In my opinion, women are more concerned about their families than men. 

          The funds allocated are minimal. I request that the Government increases its allocation to the Women’s Bank.  Currently in other communities here in Zimbabwe, they are not even aware of the bank.  We discovered this when we went around the country conducting public hearings.  The bank is not accessible to many people.  Even in urban areas, some women do not know about the bank.  Others stressed that they wanted agencies closer to their communities so that they do not travel more than 100 kilometers to borrow money from the bank. 

          Another factor that is affecting women is the issue of security.  Most women do not have collateral but they are very hard workers.  Our Government, in consideration of women being the majority - we have a lot of women who are farmers; they farm cotton, sunflower and maize.  In the event that we have good rainfall, the women are able to get some money.  They are not able to get loans from the bank to buy inputs.  We request the Women’s Bank to loan out in foreign currency so that the rural women in Dotito, Checheche and Malipati can benefit.  From Malipati to Chiredzi, probably the road is not accessible because there is no bridge in Chilonga, so the women will not be able to access the money.  My request is that the bank should expedite the approval of loans.

          There is the other challenge that is being ignored by the Government which is also in the education sector. In the education sector, you find the deployment of teachers who cannot speak Ndebele in Matabeleland.  This issue is also cascading to the Women’s bank.  Currently, some of the loan officers cannot even speak Ndebele, Shangani and other languages.  These are issues that need to be addressed.  In these various areas, the people also want loans.  That affects the work of Government as it promotes nepotism because there is a tribe that is at an advantage.  Development in Tsholotsho, Malipati and Dande is the development of Zimbabwe as a whole. 

In conclusion, if you support a girl child or a woman in business, you have empowered the whole nation.  More companies in Zimbabwe are employing women and they are being empowered.  We will see what the Government is going to allocate during the budget period.  Our request is that the Government increases its allocation to the bank in this forthcoming budget.  We also look forward to the loan officers to expedite allocation of loans to the women.  I thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.           

*HON. R. NYATHI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to debate the motion that was moved by Hon. Zhou.  I realised from the report that the bank is not operating in line with its mandate to assist the women.  We know that women have been disadvantaged for a long time and have lost out on many opportunities.  The Government has realised the need to come up with that bank for those educated and uneducated for them to be empowered. 

The motive of the Government was to ensure that all the people in Zimbabwe can live a decent life.  The Government, together with the Head of State, is working hard to ensure that in 2030 no one is left behind and that everyone will be living a decent life through a middle income economy.  This report has reflected that the bank has 26 branches.  It was also said that they have mobile agents that number 144 000.

If you were listening Hon. Speaker Sir, I am sure you heard that the report said that there is one woman who was able to access the loan, which shows that despite the bank having 144 000 agents, 26 branches and a head office, only one woman benefited from the loan.  So we are realising the Government has availed the funds but those who are allocating the loans are not doing so properly.  They should improve in this aspect.

There is another issue that really touched me and that is a person is given a loan of only US$150 and they are requested to pay back the loan after one week.  This is discouraging women to apply for the loans.  You cannot give someone a loan and then request that they pay back after seven days.  This does not give them adequate time to use the money and get profits to pay back the loan.

It would also help if the loans to farmers could be paid back after three months or so.  Another challenge is that the interest rates for the loans are a bit too high, Hon. Speaker Sir - 6.5% to 10% and paying it weekly is too high that it is discouraging most women from applying for these loans.

Another important point that was brought up by the report is on the issue of agents.  It was said that some of the agents were working in areas where they could not understand the languages spoken in those areas.  This raises the question to say - are these banks serious in their work?  How can they employ someone from Chipinge who speaks Ndau or a person who comes from Rusape who speaks Chiwungwe and then deploy that person to work in Matabeleland or Tsholotsho?  How are they expected to carry out their work when they do not understand the languages of those areas?

Hon. Speaker Sir, I request that these issues contained in the report be looked at so that this bank is able to help the citizens of this country because what I am seeing are what we term cognitive consonants and cognitive dissonants, that is to say advantages and disadvantages.  The disadvantages highlighted by this report outweigh the advantages or the benefits of the loan facility of the Women’s bank towards the women of this country.  I think this a very good report that shows us the situation that is on the ground.  I implore that another report looking into issues of how the bank can improve its operations so that women and girls, the less privileged of our community can access these loans so that we attain Vision 2030 and the lives of the people of this country are improved.  I thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  

+HON. STELLA NDLOVU:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would also like to add my voice to this report from the Chairperson Hon. Madiwa which has been brought to the House by Hon. Zhou.

I am a member of the Women Affairs Committee.  I also attended the public hearings to gather views of the women on the Women’s Bank.  Women do not know about the Women’s Bank.  It is not known.  We went right round Zimbabwe and we found out that women do not know about the Women’s Bank. In other words, this Women’s Bank is not assisting the ladies at all even in towns where the bank is and in other areas it is not even visible.

The bank should be visible even from the road, but those who know about it, people like Members of Parliament, most of us do not tell our people about it.  In my constituency, I invited over 200 women and staff from the Women’s Bank to come and address the women but they did not come.  In the evening they called me and said the women should instead come to the bank the following day.  I personally went with them and went to the bank.  They were given forms to open accounts and they were each paying RTGS700.  Imagine I am talking about over 200 women.  They opened accounts and each paid RTGS 700. They were then asked to get into groups so that when they disburse funds it would be easier for them when they work in groups and they promised to visit them at their constituency, which is the Luveve Constituency.

Even up to now they have not visited. They never visited us and now the women are getting fed up.  They are always asking when these people are coming and also the people from the bank are always promising to come, but they never come.  The ladies in Bulawayo are now saying this money was never meant for Bulawayo.  They now think that the funds are being channeled elsewhere and they think they do not deserve to be given the funds because when we looked at the provinces that have benefited from these funds, we tried to look at what criteria was used.  We found that the whole of Matabeleland that includes Matabeleland South, Bulawayo and Matabeleland North were the least to benefit from the Women’s Bank.

So, I would like to say this bank is not there for women.  It is just like any other bank that is there in the country.  We were expecting that the bank would promote women because mostly women’s projects are small.  Here we are talking about US$150.  For those who have benefited, but Mr. Speaker, what can one buy with US$150?  If you want to run a business with US$150 you cannot buy chickens, you cannot buy chicken feed and you cannot even buy medication for the chickens.  So this bank is non- existent as far as the women are concerned.  I will repeat, it is just as good as non-existent.

 Those who have spoken before me spoke about the loan officers.  They do not know the language spoken in those areas.  How then can you communicate with a loan officer who cannot speak your language?  May we make a request that loan officers be deployed to areas where they can speak the language so that they can communicate with people and these projects where people get US$150 are small projects where people can buy tomatoes and sell them.  These are people who are not selling tomatoes.  These are old ladies and they do not understand the language that is spoken by the loan officers. We want loan officers that speak the language that is spoken in that area so that they can explain to them what happens. In other words, this bank has no money Mr. Speaker Sir.

          If it had money and after people had opened bank accounts, they should have deposited money into those accounts. We invited the bank officials to our Committee and asked them whether this bank was still functional because it had not been serving the purpose that it was meant for. There are other banks that people can get loans from. Even the bank charges, there is no difference with other banks.

          My request is that the Government reviews the Women’s Bank and find out if they have enough funds to give to the ladies. We are talking about people who make a total of 52% of the country’s population if they all go to the Women’s Bank. So, this bank is not serving anything. The ladies are complaining that they take $700.00 each and they want to know what they do with their money. If only a few could have benefited but they were told to get into groups but not even three of them got the funds from the bank. What we are saying is that the ladies are not getting anything and also, they are saying if they get the money, you stand a better chance to get it again.

          A person can get it for the second or third time yet others would not have benefited at all because they will be referring to that person as their client and that person will be benefitting at the expense of others who would not have benefited. So our request is that the Government should fund this bank fully for women to access the fund. As we have already said, we are saying leave no one behind but what we are saying is that the ladies are being left behind. May be it is the men who are benefitting from these funds because those are the questions that the ladies are asking or is it their friends who are benefitting or not. We expect the ordinary women from the rural areas to access those funds because they want to run small businesses. We should not give it to people who are running these businesses.

          The little that is there should be shared so that ladies can also run their businesses. These ladies do not want to be begging all the time but they want to run their small businesses, to order their jiggies and sell them.  They are ready to pay the bank. If they do get the funds, they will repay their loans. So, when we went around talking to the ladies they told us that this bank was not their bank because it was not being advertised at all. There was no advertisement whatsoever on the Women’s Bank and secondly, they do not know where to find the bank and when they apply, they do not get any responses like the women in Bulawayo. I am always bothering the people at the Women’s Bank.

          At one stage, I was told by Dr. Makanda because the women were complaining and I was saying that if they do not want to give them their money, they should refund the ladies the $700 that they paid. Dr. Makanda said Cowdry Park has so many women and there are over 75 000 people in Cowdry Park. Cowdry Park is bigger than Gwanda at the moment. If you check and find that the women in Cowdry Park were asked to get into groups but none of them ever got the funds. She said to me, if they do not get any loan, just call me, but it should not be like that.

          The system at the bank does not require me to call Dr. Makanda because there is a system and there are workers. Here, I am talking about the bank that is in town. I am talking about the bank in Bulawayo that has systems in place and I have been there. I have spoken to them and I even went with the ladies who were complaining and that is why we are bringing this report to this august House so that they can look at what can be done so that funds can be availed to the bank. As women, we should be able to get the loan from the banks and the ladies just want to get funds to educate their families.

          The women’s bank does not have enough staff. This is a bank that is supposed to be all over Zimbabwe but it is only found in 26 places only and yet Zimbabwe is big. There are districts not to mention provinces. Each district should at least have a women’s bank not just a look alike, but the proper bank that is going to disburse money to the ladies and the girl child so that they also get money to run their own businesses. These ladies should get funds from the bank so that they can start their own small businesses and grow from there.

          So that is our request and this should be looked into. If it is not assisting the ladies, then we should know that there is no bank at all, but for now, what I can say is that this bank is not helping ladies at all. The few who are known are the ones who are accessing those funds. It is our request that all the women should access those funds and all the girl children should access the funds. Thank you.

          (v) HON. S. BANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to dwell into the issue of the Zimbabwe Women’s Micro-Finance Bank. For a start, statistics show that in the State of Chicago there are actually more women businesses than men. On average, they are growing at an average of twice those that are owned by men, yet they just receive 16% of business loans in that State that more or less mirrors what is happening in Zimbabwe.  There are slightly more men-owned banks than women-owned banks.  More men-owned businesses than women-owned businesses;  yet the trajectory is still the same Mr. Speaker Sir, to the extent that 84% of business loans go to support male-owned businesses against just 14% of women.

          So four years ago, when this bank started operating on 29th May, 2018, we were so happy and said ‘Aaah now, at least, there is a bank that they can rely on to improve their welfare’.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the disappointing thing is that if we look at the products that are offered by this bank; there are quite a number of them.  For instance, we speak of what they call Mouth One.  Mr. Speaker Sir, for you to get Mouth One, you need to pay 10% interest per month in what they call ‘Accountants Cost Straight-line’.  Then you also need to pay 10% upfront in order to get that loan.  What woman can get that 10% Mr. Speaker Sir?   I urge that this issue of collateral should be removed, not only from Mouth One but  also from Mouth Two, G-Mouth One, G-Mouth Two, Marble One, Marble Two, GLGL01; GLGL02; Micro One; Micro Two and SML01.  It should just go Mr. Speaker Sir.

          Now, let us compare what is being given to women, from the same bank, and not another bank Mr. Speaker Sir.  If you now look at their portfolio for civil servants, the portfolio for civil servants is called, SSBSL One.  If you want to take any money that is below RTGS2 000 000.00, they do not require anything up front; there is no collateral, you just get it.  So, that is what we want Mr. Speaker Sir.  If you are a Government pensioner under GPNL02, your maximum is RTGS1 000 000.00 but there is no collateral that is required.

          So Mr. Speaker Sir, this bank was promulgated for women.  It is not coming to assist women.  It is coming to exploit women.  We want it to give loans to women not at 10% interest rate Mr. Speaker.  The maximum interest rate must be 3%; after all, the bank is being given money by Government.  So, the 10% must fall away; the bank must not run on commercial lines.  It should run on concessionary lines so that it assists women.  We want to have more women led businesses than men by 2030.  I think women can make more businesses than men.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, a study was conducted and it established that for clothing manufacturing line that a woman ventures into, she is more likely to employ a woman, youths, and people with disabilities.  These are the real themes that we want to support.  How do we now support that when we have a situation where a micro-finance bank wants people to pay on weekly basis?  On weekly basis, who can be sure that I am going to make money this coming week?  A good number of businesses know that at the end of the month is when they get enough funds to pay salaries and repay loans.  Now, if we say a woman who is already struggling should pay what they owe within a week or on weekly basis; I do not think that is the setup that we want.

          So, this august House Mr. Speaker Sir, must not only fight for an increase in the amount of money that should be allocated to this bank but also look at the modalities that the bank operates on.  The main observation that I am going to make is that female entrepreneurs have very strong entrepreneur competence that when they are faced with obstacles, they are able to fight those and grow their businesses better. 

          Actually, a survey conducted in Zimbabwe states that women-owned businesses are more likely to survive over the two-year stage when most first owned businesses fail.  Women are doing better than that and on average, female-owned businesses perform much worse than male-owned businesses.  Why? The reason is because we are not really supporting them.  So, we need to galvanize and reorient this Women’s Bank so that it serves the purpose of women.

          On the same note Mr. Speaker Sir, what we are talking about is that the Women’s’ Bank also appeals to the Youth Bank.  We also want them to go down on loans, interest rates, and requirements; this is what we want Mr. Speaker Sir.  With that, I thank you so much.  I thank the movers of the motion and to also thank Chairperson Madiwa, for allowing other members to spearhead reports like this.  It is something that we encourage and with that, I thank you.

          *HON. MATSUNGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Allow me to add my voice to the report that was tabled by Hon. Zhou.  I would like to thank the Committee on Women Affairs for conducting a tour on the operations of the Women’ Bank whose duty is to empower and develop the women folk. 

Hon. Speaker, in summary, I would like to state the following, since the majority of the issues have already been covered.  The Women’s Bank has shot itself in the foot and hence it has derailed the empowerment and development of women.  I say so because, ever since it was launched, it has not even on a single day, issued substantial loans to women.  I am fortified in this regard because of the fact that, where I stay, I have not come across anything tangible that the bank has done.

(V)HON. KWARAMBA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.  You had called me to debate.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA):  Sorry Hon. Kwaramba, I had given the floor to another Hon. Member.  So, you will be coming after her.

*HON. MATSUNGA:  Let me proceed and reiterate that the Women’s Bank, since its inception has dismally failed to empower and develop the women folk.  It has not given them any loans that have furthered the women’s business interests.  The Women’s Bank should not put stringent measures that are meant to disadvantage the not well heeled in society.  The bank should focus its activities on ensuring that loans are disbursed to women with very little or no collateral security or other requirements because a lot of women have spent a lot of time chasing a mirage. 

It is my considered view that the bank should, at all material times, aim to develop and empower the women.  In Zimbabwe, the majority of women are hardworking and self-employed to such an extent that if the issue of collateral security is removed, women will be able to self-sustain. 

Thirdly, what I want to say Hon. Speaker is that officers of the Women’s Bank are not found nation-wide.  The officers are found in only three places, as has been indicated in the report - which means that the other places have no access to the bank.  This renders the inaccessibility of this bank to its intended beneficiaries.  It would have been prudent if the bank had carried due diligence in terms of accessibility of its potential clients before it opened its doors to the stakeholders.

It is my considered view that the bank should be found at least in each of the 10 provinces.  I urge the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to put pressure on the bank so that it complies with at least a bank per province.  This will ensure that ordinary women that we represent are able to receive services that meet the standard service provision as envisaged at the time the bank was set up.  I say so because I actually gave up on the bank myself. 

My plea to the Government is to ensure that the bank performs at optimum level.  I am further taken aback by the unreasonable requirement that every woman who requires a loan should produce a pay slip.  It is common cause that the majority of women are not formally employed, hence the pay slip and collateral security requirements are a hindrance in their quest to receive bank loans.

The project proposals and the groups that were mandatory before one could access a loan have proved to be a great hindrance in them. Lastly, I urge the Government to ensure that the Women’s Bank serves its purpose, because the Women’s Bank is our only vehicle to women’s development.

HON. KWARAMBA: I would also like to add my voice to the report tabled by Hon. P. Zhou arising from our visits to assess the operations of the Women’s Bank, whose mandate is to ensure that there is empowerment and development of women. The bank as witnessed by our observations during the visits, is not living up to its reputation. 

First and foremost, there has not been awareness of its existence to the majority of women.  We therefore urge the bank to carry out awareness campaigns to the remotest areas of the country so that grass root women are aware of the existence of their own bank.

Secondly, 2000 women paid their money to open up accounts so that they will be eligible for loans.  Low and behold, only five women were granted loans.  The question that then arises is that is this bank keen on empowering and developing women or it is just on a fund raising campaign?  Where are these huge sums of money that the women-folk are paying when opening up these accounts going to?

Furthermore, people are disgruntled by the huge interest rates that they have to service on their loans. In Mhondoro, we also found  that the repayment period is too short.  The lady in question was said to have been granted a 100 000 ZWL loan and upon approaching the bank, she was informed that there was nothing.  Within a very short period, she was shocked to find that the bank now required her to pay interest.  The ZWL loans value is quickly deteriorating such that when they access the money, it will not be able to carry out the proposed project.

Furthermore, bank officials should be knowledgeable about the operations of their bank. There was an instance where one of the bank employees exhibited gross incompetence by failing to answer questions posed to him or her competently.  The bank should employ personnel that have an appreciation of money matters.  Furthermore, the bank is now operating like a micro-finance company and it required too many collateral security forms.

  The rest of the issues have already been raised, but as women we want a bank that is pro-women, that enhances their empowerment and development and deliver tangible wealth to women so that they will achieve Vision 2030. 

(v)*HON. MAKONYA:  I also support the report that has been tabled by Hon. Zhou. As a woman, it hurts me to observe that the Women’s Bank since its inception in 2018  had a clear mandate to develop and empower women but to-date, it has dismally failed to live up to its billing.  During our visits, we were disappointed to note that women are not even aware of the existence of this bank. Mr. Speaker, the women constitute 52% of the population and the women have now become the bread-winners instead of the men.  For instance, men are now remaining at home whilst women are engaging in cross border trading.

While it is expected that the bank will give loans to these women to enable them to develop and empower themselves, the truth of the matter is that the bank has been found wanting in that regard. The majority of the women during our visits expressed total ignorance of the existence of this bank, let alone the existence of loan facilities.

The women also decried the men’s attitude when it comes to provision of collateral required by the bank as the majority of men are opposed to having marital property being used as collateral security. I urge the bank to scrap away the collateral security requirement.  I thank you.

(v)+HON. L. SIBANDA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to add my voice on the report which was brought to the House by the Women’s Affairs Committee.  In my view, I think this Women’s Bank should change its name because it is not assisting women in the society.  This bank is similar to CABS and CBZ.  It is like a bank giving loans to the society for it is not assisting women in the community.  Mr. Speaker Sir, if we take a view at other towns like Tsholotsho, Binga and Nkayi, they do not know whether this bank exists at all. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, this bank is only assisting people who live in urban areas and it charges high interest rates.  It is like a loan shark when you are borrowing from this bank.  So many women are facing challenges when trying to borrow money from this Women’s Bank because they cannot meet the requirements. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I suggest that this bank be closed because it is not assisting women in the society, for they require collateral as guarantee in order for them to get the loans.  This bank does not assist women as individuals but they request that you come as a group for you to access a loan.  Speaking from experience Mr. Speaker Sir, I wanted to go to Dubai and they said I only qualified for US$300, what was I going to do with US$300 Mr. Speaker Sir? I ended up cancelling my expedition to go to Dubai because the money was not enough for me to buy goods.  If this treatment can be done to an Honourable Member of Parliament, what more do you expect from a rural woman and if I qualify for US$300, what will other women in the rural areas qualify for?  The Youth Bank is now much better than the Women’s Bank because they are offering more money.  It is better if they change the name of this bank.  In short, that is all Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. P. ZHOU: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. S. NDLOVU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 2nd November, 2022.

          On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI seconded by HON. MOKONE, the House adjourned at Five Minute past Six o’clock p.m.

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