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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 20 MARCH 2024 VOL 50 NO 38

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 20th March, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE ACTING SPEAKER

PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM MOVEMENT AGAINST SANCTIONS AND ZISCO STEEL PENSIONERS

THE ACTING SPEAKER (HON. MACHINGURA): I have to inform the House that on the 5th of January, 2024 and 4th of March, 2024 respectively, Parliament received the following petitions: - Petition from the Movement against Sanctions represented by Mr. Temba Ndebele.  The petition was deemed inadmissible as the prayer was not within the mandate of Parliament. The petitioner will be advised accordingly.

A petition from ZISCO Steel pensioners represented by Mr. B. Moyo, beseeching Parliament to exercise its oversight function by ensuring that ZISCO Steel pensioners are paid their dues without prejudice.  The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development.

A petition from ZISCO Steel pensioners represented by Mr. Yemurai Takudzwa Kuveya.  The petitioners’ prayer is already provided for under the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act, Chapter 9:23. Resultantly, the petition was deemed inadmissible and the petitioner will be advised accordingly.

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Today is Wednesday and it is Question Time.  I have a list of Ministers who have tendered in their apologies.  I will read them as follows:- Hon. K. Coventry, the Minister of Sports, Arts, Recreation, and Culture; Hon. E. Jesaya, Deputy Minister of Sports, Arts, Recreation  and Culture; Hon. Z. Soda, Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. B. Kabikira, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. C. Sanyatwe, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs; Hon. S. Sibanda, Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development; Hon. D. Marapira, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; Hon. R. Modi, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce; Hon. S. G.G. Nyoni, Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife; Hon. K. Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Hon. Dr. Mombeshora, Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. S.T. Kwidini, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care;  and Hon. D. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

HON. MAHACHI: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business. I would like to know the Government policy regarding the re-introduction of grants in universities and colleges because most rural students who pass their Advanced Level often cannot afford to pay school fees.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Mr. Speaker the issue of giving students grants is linked to availability of resources.  The Government policy had shifted to ensuring that those that require assistance will get loans in that regard, and not to get grants that are not payable back.  So all those students that want to access their tertiary education, there are facilities that are available through the relevant Ministry of accessing loans to ensure that they continue with their tertiary education.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. SHONGEDZA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care.  Recognising that our national health policy provides that there should be a health facility within a 5km radius, what measures is the Government taking to improve and expend healthcare infrastructure, particularly in rural areas?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank Hon. Shongedza for the question which is very correct that the policy really is to ensure that our population within rural areas do not have to walk for distances that are beyond 5km.  That is the policy. 

The second part of the question is on measures being taken to improve health infrastructure.  I presume she means ensuring that our people do not walk distances that are beyond 5km, which then becomes an operational question subject to availability of resources to ensure that we turn that policy into physical buildings that are within 5km. That is work in progress within the Ministry of Health and Child Care.  As they get resources, they will ensure that they build clinics and we call upon even the Hon. Members of Parliament, if they can get others, development partners, who can assist to ensure that we realise that policy objective, but definitely, that is the policy, and it is subject to availability of resources.  As we get resources, we will ensure that we have access to health for all within a walking distance from homes.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          *HON. MASHONGANYIKA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker for according me this opportunity. My supplementary question to the Leader of the House concerning the Ministry of Health and Child Care is in the rural areas, we have clinics which have not been opened and there are no medication and drugs.

          *HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  The information that I am getting is that there is infrastructure and there are no drugs and medication.  I have just been informed.  So what I am asking them is to put their question in writing citing the clinics where there is infrastructure and no drugs then the Ministry of Health and Child Care will investigate so that they rectify the issue.  Thank you.

          HON. MATANGIRA:  My supplementary question is, yes, we understand we may not have the resource which is money, but the Government has got money for devolution and I thought water, education and health are primary above others.  Can devolution money then be directed to the health factor where we have got clinics built, but are not yet finished?  We have got clinics that do not have medicines.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  Mr. Speaker Sir, devolution funds do not go to provinces with an instruction on how to use the money.  They are given money for devolution and then within provinces, within communities, you then decide that you want to use them for this and that, and you acquit.  So Hon. Matangira needs to go to his community and say the devolution funds that we have, let us finish that clinic and if they agree, central Government has no issues with that.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          *HON. GWANGWABA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care.  We have buildings called hospitals, but they do not have x-ray machines and functional theatres.  Through you, I want to know what plans the Minister has so that these hospitals are resourced and work as hospitals, not as clinics.  Thank you.

          *THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Honourable, I think I will ask you to ask your question as a new question, not as a supplementary question – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Members we should have order in this House! 

          HON. MHETU:  My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business.  What is Government policy regarding the poor in State universities who are being barred from sitting for examinations due to non-payment of tuition fees? 

Considering that this year is a tough year with the drought, what is the position on poor primary and secondary school pupils sitting for public examinations, but are unable to pay examinations fees yet registration ends tomorrow?

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  I have just noticed that the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development has just walked in.  Good afternoon Minister.  Hon. Member, can you ask your question again so that it can be directed to the Minister.

          HON. MHETU:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I am sure the Minister is in the House and he heard my question – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  He was coming in.  Can you please repeat it?  Order Hon. Members?

HON. MHETU:  My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.  What is Government policy regarding the poor in State universities who are being barred from sitting for examinations due to non-payment of tuition fees?  Considering that this year is a tough year with the drought, what is the position on poor primary and secondary school pupils sitting for public examinations, but are unable to pay examinations fees yet registration ends tomorrow?

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Minister, I will let you answer the first part of the question that relates to State universities then the Leader of Government Business can answer to the one on primary and secondary education.

          THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  I wish to thank the Hon. Member for asking a very pertinent question.  First of all, I want to state Government policy when it comes to education, higher education in particular but also in general.  We have no brain to waste.  It means everybody who has a brain has to be nurtured so that this country can develop based on those brains.  So, it is in Government interest that everybody goes to school; goes to university; goes to college; goes to any training institution so that they can use their minds and their head for the modernisation and industrialisation of this country.  That policy is very clear.

          Now, what the Hon. Member is talking about is the question of access and how we are ensuring that there is access to higher education.  First of all, I want to state that education is not free.  When I say free, it means that we have to pay for it.  The public has to pay for it.  The State has to pay for it, especially for it to be of quality that can result into knowledge and skills that are giving us the capability to develop this country.  However, we recognise that people are differently abled in terms of capacity to pay.  So, what are our programmes?  Our programmes at higher education are that all those students that are indigent, are given – we have a programme which we call work for fees programme.  This work for fees programme is where students who are unable to gather enough money to pay fees, are enrolled by the university into work for the university and then the university helps them to pay for the fees or waivering for the fees.

          We started experimenting with this programme in 2019.  Now, this programme is very mature. If you go for example to Midlands State University, we have more than 300 students who are on this programme.  However, one word of caution is that first of all, we have to own up.  It is not a crime to be poor such that sometimes people are not coming out to say, I cannot afford then we will be able to help them.  People shy away from asking for help.  I do not know what happens when people think that may be if I say I am poor somebody – no, in actual fact being afraid of saying you are poor is the biggest enemy that you can have.  Honestly, to say I have a problem, then you can be helped.  As I said, our policy is to make sure that every brain is used because if no brain is used - a country is like peddling a boat (igwa), everybody peddles, there is no passenger.  Everybody has to peddle, so we expect everybody to acquire enough tools to peddle this country forward. 

There is also the Student Loan Programme, where we actually put up, I think about 12 July, 2018, we put up a student loan scheme through CBZ.  During that time, we put $110 million in CBZ but it looks like people actually do not want to borrow money.  This money was borrowed by very few students.  That is why we then thought about the work for fees programme which seems to have a more uptake.  If you go to the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) today, you will be able to see that the majority of people who are working in the university’s industrial park, who are working in the UZ grounds and so forth, are actually students.  If you look at that new bus terminus that we built at UZ and you look at the pavement, that was done by students who are doing the work for fees programme.  So, we have programmes but we also have to admit that we are not 100% in terms of effectiveness.  However, what I am explaining is the policy. In terms of how far we are achieving with this policy, that is another issue.  The issue is that we have a policy of trying to make sure that everybody goes to university because we want to use them later to modernise and industrialise this country.  It is actually a privilege for us to be able to educate people.  I thank you.

          HON. MHETU: I really appreciate the Minister’s response with regards to the work for fees programme and the student loan scheme.  It is quite in line with the Government mantra of leaving no one and no place behind – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – However, why are we still hearing of people who are being barred from sitting for their examinations in universities as well as primary and secondary schools, if the two programmes are really working?

          HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Speaker Sir, I wish to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question.  I have talked about the availability of the work for fees programme.  Now, the programme is there but in certain circumstances, we meet students who are shy to declare their poverty but I am saying declaring poverty is not a problem.  It is actually a strength to say I cannot afford; the help can come your way.  For all students that owned, we try to the best of our ability to help them.  There are students who are actually not declaring whether they have got the money or they do not have the money, then our systems because we got digital systems, they bar you without even us knowing that you have been barred.  We have got an ICT system which says if you are not registered online, you will not write the examination. We will not even know; they are our computers that will be knowing.  When you go to the examination venue, the guard will say you are not registered.  So this is the issue, what we are saying is that we need honest and transparency on the part of the student and on the part of the university.

          As I said, we are not always right in these issues, but where there is a problem which has been put upfront, we will be able to solve it.  I can assure you that if you have not paid, you are likely not going to write the examination, unless you are able to tell us about that problem prior.  The computer does not know a face, you will just be barred, so the issue basically is to be able to communicate – [AN HON. MEMBER: Zvakwana.] - Communication is a very important characteristic of humans.  That is the only way that we can know you are in pain or you are happy and that is the way we can solve problems.  I thank you.

          *THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, if you ask Hon. Ministers questions, you must not comment like zvakwana garai pasi, it is you who asked the questions.  Pihwai zvizere mubve muno mune zvakazara, mazvita.

          HON. DR. MUTODI: On a point of order Hon. Speaker.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: What is your point of order?     

          HON. DR. MUTODI: Mr. Speaker, according to the rules, for supplementary questions, it must be two this side and one the other side – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I have a supplementary question.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Can you please go ahead.

          HON. DR. MUTODI: Hon. Minister, is it not possible for your Ministry to issue a circular to allow these students to write their examinations and allow them to pay for the fees after they have written their examinations?

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, can you please speak a little bit louder.

          Hon. Dr. Mutodi repeated his question.

          HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Speaker, I wish to thank Hon. Mutodi for asking the question.  Hon. Speaker Sir, our policy is very clear, we want our students to access education.  We have procedures Hon. Speaker; students know these procedures.  There is nobody who is at university, except Maudy Chifamba who went there at 14 years.  Most of our students are 18 years and above, they are adults.  They are very literate and intelligent; they actually know that when they put forward their issue before time, normally the answer is always positive.  Our policy is very clear when it comes to allowing students who have got payment plans who have problems, to allow them to write examinations, we know we do.  As I said, sometimes most of these things are done by the computer.  So if a person does not come forward to…

          HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order. 

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Who is saying point of order?

          HON. HAMAUSWA: Here.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: I did not recognise you; Hon. Minister please finish.

          HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  I would like to resume by saying that first of all, I said, it is Government policy to make sure that our students go through their education.  In actual fact, I am saying it is the privilege of the public to have a person who is able to learn so that they are able to use their knowledge for the skills and for the development of this country.  It is in our interest; it is not a favour that we give to the people, that is first of all very important so that we can contextualise my answer to say we cannot harbor a sinister motive against the students who we want to educate.

          HON. MATEWU:  On a point of order Hon. Speaker.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: I did not recognise you.

          HON. MATEWU: But that is what the green book says.

          HON. PROF. MURWIRA: To this extent, we are therefore having a very deliberate policy to make sure that our students observe the examination rules.  So we cannot issue a circular of how examinations are conducted.  What I want to say basically is to say our students will write examinations, there are rules that are followed for them to have all the students barred from the computer, how they are then made to access the portal.  There is no sinister motive whatsoever, it is in our interest to have these students write examinations because we want them to finish so that they can work for the industrialisation and modernisation of this country.  So the context has to be very clear that it is in our interest that these students will…

          HON.  MATEWU: On a point of order Hon. Speaker.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: I did not recognise you.

          HON. MATEWU: Standing Order No. 65 must be respected in this House. I thank you.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: I did not recognise you.

          HON. GUMEDE: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity.  My supplementary question is specifically on the Work for Fees Programme.  As students do not know how to access it and it is not clear where they go if they want to find out about the Work for Fees Programme, have you ensured that indeed, vulnerable students are aware of the Work for Fees Programme and benefit from it? In most cases, students in need are either not aware like I have said or it is not clear how it is accessed. I thank you.

          HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  I really want to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question about whether there is access to information by our students on the existence of this programme.  I want to say that we issued a circular on the Work for Fees Programme as early as 2018. All the universities are aware of this and they publish this information on the notice boards and also students who are unable normally to pay. We have got a Student Affairs Department at every university and every college that looks after the welfare of our students, and this information is available.  Sometimes we also, I think have to interrogate sometimes why there are certain quarters that might not be knowing. I am not aware of anybody or any student, or any group that says that this information has not been made available.  I will be very happy if I am favoured by that situation by the Hon. Member which may be so specific so that we can deal with it directly. 

          HON.  HAMAUSWA: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to seek clarification or to make the question clear. What we are asking is that there is a disaster looming. Students at universities are barred from writing their examinations. The Minister should state as requested by Hon. Mutodi that there must be modalities to allow students to write examinations and pay their fees, taking into consideration that things are not working, the economy is so difficult to most of the parents. The other part was not answered by the Hon. Minister. The part that those who are going to pay for their secondary school examination fees, the due date is on Friday.

We need a statement from Government to make sure that students who are failing to pay their fees, for example a parent who is in Muzarabani, they need to sell three or four goats for them to be able to pay examination fees for ‘A’ Level. The Minister must explain to this House as to how we are going to salvage the people whom we are here to serve. I plead with you that may this House be informed that these students are cushioned by the Government. Thank you.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Hamauswa, when the original question was posed by the Hon. Member, I actually did split it into two and said the Minister of Higher and Tertiary will answer his part and then the Leader of Government Business will answer the part on Primary and Secondary Education. I will allow the Hon. Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education to be clear as a follow-up to what Hon. Mutodi has said.

HON. DR. MUTODI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to put across a point of clarity before the Minister comes in. Will the Minister be able to be given an order to seek clarification or to seek authority from His Excellency as to how this issue can be handled, given the severity of the situation as reported by the Hon. Members?

HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I have to be very clear on this one and I hope I will be clearer. We know for sure that we have indigent students in our system. We know also that we have to do something about these indigent students. We asked about Government policy and the Government policy is very clear because we have got the work for fees programme. We have also the Student Loan Scheme which has a low uptake. Those are the government policies. There is also the information policy which makes sure that every student knows where to get help.

We have a policy of Student Affairs Department where the information is kept and disseminated for the benefit of our students. This is a policy and our systems are automated. Let me tell you the effects of automation. Automation is such that if a person does not come to say I am barred before the examinations, it might be too late if they come when the exam is already in progress. We are on the ground and in touch with the ground. We do not have a policy crisis when it comes to that. We know but if they are students that are particular, because sometimes we know that people come too late.

When they come too late and the examination is in progress, there is nothing that we can do but because I am speaking in public and for the public record, it is very important that any student who might be anticipating a problem has to approach the Student Affairs Department. This is where they get their help and we have structures, Government and universities work with structures. There are organised systems and there is no chaos. So, based on that, we are saying our desire is for a student who might not have had any chance to pay fees to say so, so that they are waivered.

These things are happening everyday and so, this is the Government position when it comes to this. It is in our interest to have all our students write examinations as quickly as possible so that we can use them to industrialise and modernise this country. If there is a specific case that needs a specific attention, we are here. When Hon. Mutodi talked about maybe liaising with the President, we are already acting on it and for the President, there is no confusion. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Part of the answer has been proffered by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. Government is not in the business of saying every learner must not pay, but Government has programmes to ensure that those that are unable to pay will access the relevant fees through those schemes. 

Secondly, the issue of examination fees did not become urgent because it is closing yesterday. Every parent knew that in the year of our Lord 2024, in March, examination fees would be needed. So, it does not become urgent because it is closing tomorrow. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education did a sterling job of flighting adverts that we are going to allow you to pay in both currencies for those that have USD and those that have ZWL. Those adverts were in the public domain.

Over the weekend, I went to my rural area and two of my neighbours came with goats to sell them to me. They acknowledge that it is their duty to pay fees. I said but I am not buying goats and they said we have school fees and so, it is better you get that goat and you give us money so that we have the money to pay fees. I immediately did that. I am surprised that Hon. Members are advocating for Government to intervene in general without segregating that those that can pay must pay and like what the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education said, those that have got problems must follow the relevant channels and subscribe in relevant programmes like BEAM so that they will access the fees. This is not an issue and those parents who were not responsible enough might as well not have sired those children. I thank you.

          *HON. KARENYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me speak in Shona because all the parents are listening, especially from the rural areas. We are happy with the answer from the Minister but the challenge that we have is that the Minister is saying every parent was aware that their children were going to write examinations. What you should know is that times are difficult and people were not aware of the inflation, but when people thought that they would burn money to get USD150, now the black market is fallen and they are now getting only USD50.00.  What plans are there as Government to give parents room to put together what had been budgeted for because of the inflation?  This is what we are saying as Members of Parliament.  What can the Government do to extend the deadline so that children can write their ‘O’ Levels? Thank you.

          *THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Karenyi, your prayer is for the Hon. Minister to extend registration days for students.

*HON. KARENYI: The question is, what plans are in place because the Government is aware that our currency is no longer worthy?  What plans are in place so that children can write their examinations? 

* HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  What they are saying is different from the initial question.  The money is no longer buying, but I know it buys. 

HON. KARENYI: What is Government policy in terms of extending examination registration fee deadline dates?

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  That is a specific request outside the policy framework which can be considered.  I will duly convey to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

*HON. MUSWEWESHIRI: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  How are you? My question is directed to the Minster of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.  What is Government policy in terms of silted dams?

*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you Hon. Member.  We have several dams that were constructed totaling about 2000. It would be better if the Hon. Member could provide names of the dams that are full.  We construct dams differently.  There are sand bags in some of them used to protect down stream dams.  So we want to know the exact dams that the Hon. Member is referring to.

Our habits are the major cause of siltation, especially when we practice river bank cultivation and deforestation. Our dams can be saved and protected by taking good care of our water sources.  Some people say we should use machines to remove the sand, but experts are of the opinion that it is cheaper to construct a new dam than to remove sand.

*HON. MUSWEWESHIRI: I am looking at rural dams that were constructed long time back.

*THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, order. I heard as if the Hon. Minister was requesting for the names of the dams.

*HON. MUSWEWESHIRI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I am looking at Nyamapanda Dam, Dendera Dam, Zezuru Dam and Kapotesa, all of them are silted.  Thank you.

*HON. NYABANI: Mr. Speaker, all these dams are silted because there are no culverts and contour ridges.  What is the Ministry doing to ensure that farmers do not silt dams in the absence of contour ridges?

* HON.  DR. MASUKA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker for the Hon. Member’s clarification.  We work in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife so that we discuss forestation and that sand is not directed to the dams.  A lot of trees were cut down because we were creating our fields, and the farmers were not constructing contour ridges.

Now we are busy teaching farmers how to construct contour ridges.  We have a department called Agriculture Mechanisation and Conservation that has a Chief Director for that.  We also have professional people in provinces who are working on that.  So we encourage all the farmers to be able to do contour ridges and to work with the Department of Climate Change for the preservation of flora and the prevention of siltation.  I thank you.

          HON. DR. MUTODI: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to ask a supplementary question. The Minister has talked about one mechanism of de-siltation which he said segment trapping or setting up segment traps.  My question is, has he done that for the existing dams such that we do not witness this problem perennially?  Has the Minister also considered other mechanisms like draw-down flashing which are commonly used in other countries?

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: I heard Hon. Minister Masuka saying he is liaising with the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife to action that.  

          HON. DR. MASUKA: I thank Hon. Mutodi for the additional information that will certainly enrich our vocabulary and the tools that are available to deal with this matter.  I thank you.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Members, today we have got quite several Ministers with us here, so I will limit supplementary questions to only two from the stipulated three.

          HON. MAKUMBE: Good afternoon Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  First of all, I would like to applaud the Minister for a job well done in the rehabilitation of most of the trunk roads.

          What mechanisms are in place to curb those service providers who dig alongside the roads putting either electricity or internet cables and at the end of the day do not cover up or repair that damage?

          *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would also like to thank the Hon. Member for asking such a pertinent question.  Yes, it is true that at times after finishing rehabilitating the road, some companies or service providers like telecommunications and ZESA also come to install their underground cables.

However, I would like to assure this House that indeed, it used to happen because when roads were being repaired, we were not leaving space or gaps for those service providers or companies to install their cables.  Nowadays, when rehabilitating roads, a trench is dug as a provisional space for those service providers or contractors. Again, when a road is being rehabilitated, we gather those stakeholders including local authorities and rural district councils with cables that go underground to be present so that when they want to extend their cables, they have that space.

          I would also like to recommend local authorities and rural district councils that when they have dug the roads putting certain cables, they should repair them.

          HON. MUWODZERI: I would like to concur with the Hon. Member who has asked Hon. Minister Mhona about those big holes that are being left on our roads.

Furthermore, my question goes to say, we used to have the District Development Fund way back maintaining the roads, and now we have noticed that along the Harare-Beitbridge Highway, the roads are beginning to have some potholes.  What mechanisms are you putting across to make sure that roads are being maintained?

          *HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  Let me also thank my Hon. brother for that very important question.  I think it will be fair for me, Hon. Speaker Sir, not to mention that on that particular road that has been mentioned by the Hon. Member, to challenge him to take me to that section which has got potholes already with regards to Harare-Beitbridge Road. 

          Yes, the Hon. Member had indicated other roads, I would concur however, I will still wait for the Hon. Member even after this very important exercise, to indicate where we are having potholes.  However, to just support his very important question that he has raised, of maintenance units, we indeed used to have maintenance units along our trunk roads and we have actually said this year, we are resuscitating all our maintenance units so that we attend to such potholes mushrooming at any given time. 

So, I would also want to assure this august House that yes, you will see us having maintenance units again and attending to any eventualities that will happen.  I also want to urge those who are coming from different provinces to say even if you see potholes developing on our trunk roads, we are also calling again as a Ministry, to say let us work and reason together so that we attend to such sections, not ending in a scenario where we have a pothole with a name like what we used to see.  So, we are saying let us partake in the exercise holistically. If you have issues, our Ministry is there, and we can work together.  I thank you.

*HON. JIMU: Thank you Hon. Speaker for allowing me to ask my question which is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare.  Which programmes are in place to prevent food shortages in schools nationwide since we have a looming drought this year?  I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR, AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. J. MOYO): Thank you Hon. Member for asking such an important question.  Due to the effects of El Nino, we have a drought this year. As a Government, we have given number one priority to school children in terms of food provision in the country.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, we are going to embark on school feeding programmes so that children remain in schools without being affected by food shortages.  We are also going to be working hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries, and Rural Development to get all the necessary details about food security in the country. We do not want to leave anyone behind in terms of food provision in this year, of food shortage caused by the effects of El Nino.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education already has its running projects but when we face such a challenge as a nation, we collaborate to make sure children remain in the schools. I thank you.

*HON. MARASHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to make a follow-up on the question asked by Hon. Jimu.  I would also like to thank Hon. Minister J. Moyo for his response. However, when is the Ministry going to implement such programmes in the schools? As we speak, children are being affected by hunger in the schools, affecting their performances. Again, the process should speed up to avoid such diseases as kwashiorkor.

          *THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. J. MOYO):  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  Last year we observed the climate and we realised that we had bumper harvests.  This meant that most households had sufficient food.  We also observed that despite bumper harvests, there were people who did not have enough food.  We were able to determine how many households did not have enough food and among those, it also included children.  So the 2.7 million that were under the Government feeding scheme, there were children who were also receiving food. 

I was able to go around nine provinces to see whether people under the feeding scheme were receiving food.  This included the children under the scheme, and we were making sure that they received food before attending school.  With the poor rains that we have received this season, we expect that there are going to be more people under the scheme.  We also take into consideration our country’s grain reserves so that we assess how much grain reserves we have in the country, and if we have less reserves, where are we going to get more grains.  This is the responsibility of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.  My Ministry is then responsible for looking into how many people are in need of food aid.  We do not only look at household needs, but we consider each individual within that household.  Each individual is given enough food to last them the whole month. 

Yes, children within these households are given food, but we also consider each child’s nutritional need.  This is where we work together with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education so that if there is a school feeding programme, the children should be given food so that they do not suffer from Kwashiorkor. 

In schools, we carry out what we call food and nutrition counsellor assessment which is carried out by ZimLAC which was known as ZimVAC.  We also carryout nutrition assessments of these areas and this is where we find the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development encouraging communities to be involved in gardening projects so that when people are being given cereals, there are also vegetables so that these children have a balanced diet consisting of grains and vegetables, including sugar beans so that they do not suffer from stunting.

*HON. NYANDORO:  I would like to thank the Minister for his response, but the Minister said that they carried out an investigation into the state of food adequacy within the country.  We did not start hearing about the El Nino phenomenon today.  We were warned of this way before.  Is the Government not taking too much time carrying out investigations while our children are suffering from hunger?  What can be done by the Government swiftly for the children to receive food aid in schools?

*HON. J. MOYO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for repeating the same question.  I am saying that last year, we had a bumper harvest then we further carried out investigations of those who did not manage to harvest properly.  This year, we are going to look into the issue.  From January up to May, we will be distributing food.  We do have those plans, but we do not expect each and every family which managed to harvest to keep their food and manage to be self-sufficient for a certain period of months, for example, January to April since people were aware of the El Nino induced drought.

Right now, going forward, our investigations are focusing on this year’s drought since it is affected by El Nino.  We expect each family to have their food reserves from last year’s bumper harvest that is going to push them for a period of time this year.  Right now, our investigations are focusing on the harvest for this year, although we are aware that there is nothing much which we are expecting from the harvest since it was affected by El Nino.

*HON. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My supplementary question is, the Minister has spoken very well on what he is currently doing and the plans which are already there in schools, but I want to further ask if they are giving first priority to children living with disabilities in terms of receiving food in schools and in any other aid which is distributed at schools? Most of the time, children living with disabilities are already disadvantaged compared to those who are able bodied.  At the end of the day, they might not get anything and return to their homes where in some cases, these children have disabled parents.

HON. J. MOYO:  From the investigations Mr. Speaker Sir, from what the Hon. Member is saying, when we are distributing food aid, our first priority is people living with disabilities, the aged, child headed families, and finally, we also look at other families which are struggling with food shortages.  Our main priority are the first groups which I have already mentioned which are the old aged, disabled and child headed families.

When we are doing meetings with village heads, these are the three groups which we emphasise on to be considered first.  We encourage the village heads to select the three groups first.  At one point, we went with the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to have discussions with the village heads.  They agreed with us that they consider first the three groups I have mentioned.

Members of Parliament, you are allowed to be at places where food distribution is done, but you are not allowed to distribute food. Councillors will be there, but no councillors are allowed to distribute food. Village heads and headsmen are the ones who will be active in this process of distribution, but your presence is required just to make sure that people who are being selected to receive food aid are the correct ones or are the ones who are deserving.

Last week, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe said that all traditional leadership from village head up to the chief and councillors, including Members of Parliament, must make sure that those who deserve must be considered first.  Those who deserve first are the three groups which I have already mentioned. We visited another area were the village head was given a number of eight people who are supposed to receive food aid and explained to us that these eight people are the most deserving ones to the extent that no one could complain why these people were considered. Those who are eligible should be given their portions even if the food is insufficient.  It is the same with disabled persons, depending on the nature of disability, they are given priority when it comes to distribution of food. 

          Even in schools, I think the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education will be in a position to enlighten the House on how they handle disabled children in schools, how they facilitate their ablution facilities to be favourable to them.  Even provision of ramps for them to enter in their classrooms, we need to work with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to have proper infrastructure for the disabled. All that, we work collaboratively with other institutions, education included.  I thank you.

          HON. J. TSHUMA: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir.  Thank you very much for affording me this opportunity to air my question.  My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development.  I want to find out, what is your Ministry’s policy with regards to rescuing a struggling council that is failing to provide water for its residents, like in Bulawayo, where residents can go for between two weeks to almost a month without water at all?  What is your policy as a Ministry to come and intervene in such a dangerous situation, looking at the Cholera issue?

          THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA):  I thank Hon. Tshuma for that very important question.  Local authorities fall under the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works in terms of the oversight role of the Ministry.  Local authorities are expected to deliver basic services to the residents and among the basic service, what we expect to be delivered without fail, 24/7 is water.  Many local authorities are failing in this regard. 

          However, in terms of the Water Act and the ZINWA Act, there is a possibility of the President to direct the Minister responsible for water to intervene to assist the council to rectify the water problem as what  happened with the City of Harare where we appointed a technical committee of experts headed by a university professor to complement the City of Harare to then expedite the provision of water to residents. Similarly, we invoked the provisions of the ZINWA Act and Water Act to assist the City of Bulawayo to provide water to its residents.  The technical committees are working well.  The process that triggers this is failure by the local authorities to provide a service that is expected of them, such as the delivery of safe, potable, available and affordable water to residents.

  As I highlighted at the beginning, many councils are failing to do this.  Now, at Central Government level, there has been discussion. I hope that the colleague Minister of Local Government and Public Works will be able to say more in terms of no compromise to service delivery as enunciated by His Excellency the President, which compels local authorities to provide a roadmap for the provision of these basic services by 30th June, 2024.  I know that in the approvals of their budgets for 2024, the Minister of Local Government and Public Works has been scrutinising the allocation of resources to ensure that residents, indeed do receive the services that are expected from the local authorities.  I thank you. 

          HON. J. TSHUMA: I do not know; would you probably indulge me to then direct my question to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works so that he probably explains it, also taking into cognisance the issue that the same councils now bring bills that are estimated.  There is no water that they are providing but you will find there are huge bills that they give to the residents.  Can you indulge me so that I direct it to the Minister of Local Government, if he is not around, probably the Leader of the House?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank Hon. Tshuma for the question.  Mr. Speaker, the question has a lot of specific issues.  Firstly, the issue of rates is supposed to be submitted to the Minister of Local Government for approval.  So, that is very specific because I cannot then go on to answer whether the rates are exorbitant or not, without a specific tariff that was approved by the relevant Ministry.

          Secondly, in terms of non-availability of water, again it is now specific.  I want to indulge Hon. Tshuma to put it in writing so that the Minister can now be able to articulate that.  If it is Kwekwe, where is the problem?  Is it Bulawayo, is it bulk water supply that is not getting there; is it treatment?  So, I am unable to proffer an adequate response in that.  It really does not pertain to policy, but rather requires the Minister to come and explain the issues fully for the benefit of everyone.  I thank you.

*HON. MUWOMBI: Thank you Hon. Speaker, my question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Women’s Affairs, in her absence, I now direct my question to the Leader of Government Business.  My question is; what is Government policy in empowering women in rural areas that are doing different projects?  We have noticed that if these women are empowered, this will also help our country in creating jobs, and they will also have money to look after their families. What is Government policy in empowering women in rural to do their projects.

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Speaker for the question.  This is in line with His Excellency, the President’s vision that “no one and no place should be left behind” by 2030.  Hon. Speaker, our President was pushed by this motive that no one and no place shall be left behind.  We now have a ministry that looks at the welfare of women, and also to oversee small and medium enterprises.  This Ministry encourages women to do various projects and there is also a bank called Women’s Bank that helps women to borrow money to do their projects. The issue that the Hon. Member is mentioning, there is a ministry that deals with that now.  This Ministry is doing a great job in empowering women.  In each and every ward, there is a Government employee under the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to help alleviate poverty in women.  There are a lot of things that is being offered by this ministry, I can go on and on, but if there are Hon. Members who would like further information, they can visit the ministry. I thank you.   

HON. MAKUMIRE: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, I rise to inquire from the Hon. Minister of Energy and Power Development, concerning Government policy on deployment of dedicated electrical power lines to essential social service facilities like water treatment plants and Government hospitals, in exempting them from load shedding in order to guarantee efficient and sufficient service delivery. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you very much Hon. Speaker, and I thank the Hon. Member for the question.  Government policy regarding strategic installation like water treatment plants, hospitals and other such institutions is that those are exempted from load shedding.  What sometimes happens is that we find them off the grid as a result of faults.  I know there was an incident a few weeks ago where some water treatment plants were switched off, that was done in error and it was corrected immediately after it was reported.  I thank you.

*HON. MAKUMIRE: I thank you Hon. Speaker.  I thank the Hon. Minister for his answer.  His answer might not be true as compared to what is happening in most cities because when there is load shedding, water supply plants stop working and this will usually take long, almost 10 hours or so. So may the Hon. Minister enlighten us as to what steps must citizens take in the event of water cuts in hospitals and all the affected areas in urban areas?  I thank you.

HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker and I thank the Hon. Member for the follow up question.  Most of these strategic installations have got dedicated lines.  In the event that there is no dedicated line to the extent that when there is load shedding in the area, they will also get affected; the said local authorities should apply for a dedicated line with ZETDC.  If that is not happening and you need to report it, you will have to report it to the local office ZESA or ZETDC office so that it is rectified.  If you find that there is no joy, you can even raise me.  Some Hon. Members have raised me on similar issues, and we have been able to intervene and correct the situation.  I thank you.

HON. MASHONGANYIKA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Local Government and his Deputy,  I am now directing my question to the Leader of the House. The population growth is increasing in all growth points and urban cities.  What is Government policy regarding the expansion of those growth points and small towns in our provinces for the benefit of our citizens? I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I want to thank Hon. Mashonganyika for the question regarding the population at growth points and the population within small towns, with a view of ensuring that that expansion is catered for. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, that is work that is done by the relevant ministry using relevant statistics after population census. I am sure the Ministry of Finance that is responsible for census has given the relevant ministry so that they can interrogate and ensure that the Ministry of Local Government will then plan according to how they see the population growth over time and estimate the amount of land that can be needed. 

So it is not a straight forward question that I say can be answered now.  While on the face of it, it might be correct that the growth points are expanding, but in terms of planning purposes, they need to have statistics which is why they will need to use data from population census to inform them on how to plan for the next 10, 20 and 30 years.  That is work that the Ministry is doing, if she needs specific details about specific areas, I am sure from the Ministry, they are ready to respond and indicate the plans that they are doing with a view of ensuring that we cater for the growth of our population.  I thank you.

          *HON. NHARI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. What is Government policy on preventing fake drugs that have spread throughout the country and they are being sold by people in the streets?

          *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Member for the question. We have a branch of Government that is called Medicines Control Council of Zimbabwe. It is the branch that tells people if the drugs are healthy to be consumed. The problem is that we have smugglers who are bringing in these drugs. The role of the police is that they go around to people who sell these pills so that they see if they are selling authorised drugs on the streets. Their role is to take measures on such people who sell unauthorised drugs. Those are the departments of the Government that we have but there are also people who bring in pills and drugs that are not recommended. They bring them unauthorised and they should be reported to the police so that we prevent such drugs from getting into the country.

          *HON. ZEMURA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question is, if these people who are selling drugs are arrested, if we go to the clinic and we are given a prescription to buy without being given the medicine, what should we do if we are not given the medicines? We will end up going to the street vendors who sell the drugs.

          * HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Let me respond by saying if you are hungry and you meet a person who is selling stolen things, you will not steal because you are hungry. If you meet someone who is selling pills or drugs that you do not know about, you should not buy from them. There are pharmacies and chemists who sell pills and drugs and these are well-known.

So, if you get sick and you are told to go and buy from a pharmacy and then you decide to go to a street vendor or your friend who you know sells these pills and drugs, it will be your  fault because it is just the same as if you would not have gone to the hospital.  If we want to get treated, we should go straight to the pharmacies and not to the street vendors. They will give you fake pills or drugs that do not work.

HON. KUKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. The total consumption poverty level for an individual rose by over 177% from January to February, yet the Government increased USD salaries for civil servants by 6.6% and RTGs salaries by 49%. What is Government policy on cost of living adjustment? Are salaries not supposed to be adjusted in line with cost of living so that the Government sets the right precedence for private sector and motivate its own workforce? Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. J. MOYO): I want to thank the Hon. Member for asking this question which affects not only the public sector, but affects a lot of people in Zimbabwe. The NJNC which is composed of representatives of Government and representatives of Labour met last week and they agreed on a set of policies that guide what becomes our benchmarks. Firstly, the Minister of Finance, in his budget, was very clear about what they allocated for salaries and wages in the public sector and our measurement of that is to see that it is somewhere around 12% of GDP or certainly lower than 60% of the budget of the country in order to make sure that the rest can be used for development. That was achieved.

The question now is, how do you negotiate in good faith in order to take care of those at the lower ranks and also retaining skills that we need in order to move this economy? They agreed on two issues; that USD component will now become part and parcel of the pension scheme that has been set. So, the USD is now pensionable in order to make sure that you are cushioned in that regard.

Secondly, on the ZWL side, they agreed on indexation to index such that they can track the salaries and wages as the exchange rates change. This was not effected last year and this is a new agreement that makes sure that your ZWL is paid at the interbank rate given the month in which you are paid depending on the interbank exchange rate. This is a new innovation that protects the workers both on the ZWL side and supplementing it with the USD side. That is what has been agreed on and that is what Government has said is a reasonable way of protecting our workers.

I know that when we are talking about the public sector, we have to compare it with what happens in the private sector. I can assure this august House that I approve collective bargaining agreements of all the 48 National Employment Councils and when I look at what is happening in the public sector and in the private sector, it is almost equal and at the lower level, it is almost the same. Therefore, the economy is responding to the actual growth of this economy both in the public sector and in the private sector. I thank you.

          HON. SAGANDIRA: What is Government policy regarding hampers to cushion civil servants who cannot manage to buy basic commodities with their salaries?  I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]–

          *HON. J. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, this issue was not negotiated for.  Therefore, it is not included.  I thank you.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, order!  During Question Time, we had a question on the due date on the Primary and Secondary Education registration deadlines.  The Hon. Minister is now in the House.  The Leader of Government Business communicated to him as to what transpired before he came and he has some news for us.  Can you indulge me to ask the Hon. Minister to say something?

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to respond to the questions that were asked whilst I was attending to business with ZIMSEC officials.

          The official deadline for payment of ZIMSEC examinations for November, 2024 is 25th March.  However, because of the request that we got from legislators, I have consulted with the ZIMSEC Board and agreed to set the date to the first week of May, 2024 – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Hon. Speaker, if second term starts on 2nd or 3rd May, it means the first week in the second term when schools open – that Friday is the deadline for payment of the 2024 November examinations.  I thank you.

          *HON. KARUMAZONDO: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development. The EHT officials from the Ministry of Health and Child Care are busy distributing medication in an effort to curb Cholera, especially when there is necessity of boreholes.  What is the Ministry’s policy for the provision of adequate water supplies to eradicate Cholera?

          *THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MASUKA): Thank you Hon. Speaker.  Thank you, Hon. Member, for the question.   It is important for everyone to know how the Devolution Fund is used.  The other branch, which is Water Sanitation and Hygiene, caters for farming and other branches.  They all meet at national level in the national committee.  It will have the Rural Infrastructure Development Authority. They will chair and will be responsible for the sector for Water and Sanitisation in communities that we refer to as WASH.  It is this authority that is the first port of call for outbreaks such as Cholera, and they will then trigger the funding that is set aside for this purpose to be now put in use. 

Furthermore, if we find out that this outbreak has now become a pandemic, we will then come up with an Emergency Fund. We will then send the Emergency Fund to the affected area.  So it should augment what is there and what they will have done.  As a department, this year, we are busy towards mobilising the drilling of riggs.   We currently have 28 drilling riggs, our target is to have a 100 such riggs for drilling boreholes. We have 57 000 boreholes in the country, which means that 10 000 lines will have clean water before the end of December.  If the Hon. Member has a specific place where there are failing to cope up with the pandemic, I urge the member to divulge such information to me especially when we have an outbreak of Cholera.  I thank you.

          *HON. KARUMAZONDO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. As I have said earlier, I was thanking the Ministry of Health for the work that they are doing.  I heard the Minister saying there is an emergency fund and that we should prioritise constituencies or areas where there is a shortage of water.  I come from Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe and cases of Cholera have arisen. The recommendation is that we get the money so that we can alleviate the residents. 

          *HON. DR. MASUKA: Thank you Hon. Speaker and the Hon. Member who specifically mentioned the area with water shortages, UMP.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  I would like to thank the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi, that most Ministers were present today.  Most of the time when we start Question and Answer sessions, the question that is mostly raised by Hon. Members is where are the Ministers.  So, I appreciate the fact that the Ministers are here present.

          I would also like to thank His Excellency the President, E.D Mnangagwa for awarding the Ministers who are doing exceptionally well, Hon. Prof. Masuka and Hon. Prof. Murwira included. 

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE ACTING SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

ELECTRIFICATION OF SCHOOLS IN ZAKA NORTH CONSTITUENCY

  1. HON. MURAMBIWA asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to inform the House on the Ministry’s plans to electrify the following primary schools in Zaka North such as Chivingwi, Gunguvu, Chirara, Govere, Zimhungu, Chipinda, Chigwagwa, Chida, Gondo, Mugudubi, Mukwirimba, Muchokwa, Baramanza, Kubatana and Chivingwi Secondary School.

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you Hon. Speaker.  If you would allow me to combine answers for question number five because it is coming from the same area and speak to Jichidza Council Clinic.  I would like to combine that so that I can give a comprehensive answer on the schedule for the electrification.

 REF is electrifying institutions countrywide and we do equitable distribution of resources in all provinces and districts.  As such, some projects will be targeted for implementation in 2005.  Find below our plans and work already done to date:-

ZAKA District – Makwirimba Primary School in Ward 5 was electrified with the grid while the following are targeted for 2024: -

  • Mugudubi Primary School
  • Chivingwi Primary School
  • Jichidza Business Centre/Clinic
  • Chivigwi Secondary School
  • Jichidza VET
  • Jichidza Agritex

For 2023, which is last year, the following were electrified

  • Dekeza Business Centre
  • Chipfunde Business Centre
  • Four Miles Clinic
  • Chiromo Clinic. I thank you.

*HON. MURAMBIWA: My question to the Minister is that the schools that you have mentioned are lagging behind concerning the new curriculum that is there.  So, how can the children in these schools get help because there is no electricity?  We thought that maybe this year the schools would have electricity but the children would have been affected in their learning.  Is there anything that the Ministry can do so that these schools can use gadgets that use electricity?  In line with His Excellency’s mantra that we should not leave any place or person behind, these children should be assisted.  I thank you. 

     HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker and thank you for the follow-up question.  In project planning, there is an ideal of what we would like things to be.  There are also what things are and what things have been.  So, I would like to respond, perhaps in the context of that framework.

The ideal situation is what the Hon. Member is talking about and that is what we would like to have.  All schools, clinics, and institutions in the country are electrified but the reality as it stands is that the revenue inflows into REA and ultimately ZETDC, have been lagging out of the ideal.  So, what we have done since the achievement of cost reflective tariff is that we have now restructured to re-energise this programme of rural electrification. 

As we indicated in the responses that I gave, the plan is to do and this is just one district and there are many districts where we have similar plans.  So, we would like the Hon. Member and the country at large to be patient whilst we follow through towards the ideal situation as we envisage it.  At the moment, the reality is that we have been able to do these schools during this year as indicated in my response.  I thank you.

*HON. MURAMBIWA: I know that the Hon. Minister has plans for these schools but they should be electrified this year.  Are there no other plans like putting solar energy so that the teachers and students get help?

HON. E. MOYO: Thank you once more Madam Speaker.  This is a multi-stakeholder programme wherein the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, I do not want to speak for them but from the energy sector, where they also have a programme of putting solar energy.  So, these are some of the things that can be done.  In the case of the Ministry of Energy, we used to have that programme, I think it was discontinued as a result of lack of resources but this year going into next year, it is going to be resuscitated to add solar into our mix of energy supply.  I thank you.

ELECTRIFICATION OF SCHOOLS AND CLINICS IN

HURUNGWE CONSTITUENCIES

  1. HON. KANGAUSARU asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to explain to the House measures which have been put in place by the Ministry to electrify schools and clinics in Hurungwe constituencies and to further ensure uninterrupted power supply to those consumers already connected.

            THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. E. MOYO): I think there was a mix-up here. Questions 6 and 7 were not captured in our responses, may I request for the deferment of those and I will deal with Question Number 8.

        THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, did you respond to question number five?

       HON. E. MOYO: I requested that I combine four and five since they were speaking to the same area and for the same issues of power supply.

      THE ACTING SPEAKER: Noted Hon. Minister.  So, we are going to defer Question number 7.

SEPARATION OF THE HIGHFIELD COMMUNITY AND GAZALAND AREA POWER LINES

  1. HON. CHIDZIVA asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to inform the House when the Ministry plans to separate the Highfields community and Gazaland trade area from the same power line in light of the electricity challenges.

          THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. E. MOYO):  Madam Speaker, let me thank the Hon. Member for raising the above question.  Allow me Madam Speaker to respond as follows:

          The referred Highfield area and Gazaland trade area are supplied electricity from Willowvale Circuit Breaker 69.  Gazaland trade area is supplied through 2 x 315kVA transformers.  To separate Gazaland from residential we need to replace 300m of 185mm2 3 core XLPE stolen cable and resuscitate Willowvale Circuit Breaker 59 feeder bay.  The feeder bay requires 1 x 11kV Circuit Breaker, current transformers, cables and accessories for wiring the panel.

          Below are the associated costs:

ITEM

MATERIAL DESCRIPTION

QUANTITY

COST (USD $)

1

185mm2 core XLPE cable

300m

60000.00

2

185mm Jointing kits

4

800.00

3

Termination kits

2

300.00

4

11kV Circuit Breaker complete with accessories

1

90 000.00

 

Total Cost

 

151 100.00

          Estimated timelines for the work is end of first quarter 2025 as these works are not in the approved 2024 budget.

          HON. MAVHUDZI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Since the end of December, the people of Highfield have been experiencing power cuts due to this very same line. I think it is also because of the entire electricity distribution network in Highfield.  My question then is, does the Ministry have a plan of refurbishing the entire electricity distribution network in Highfield?  Thank you.

          HON. E. MOYO:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Yes, we have plans to strengthen and improve the integrity of the entire transmission and distribution network in the country.  This, you will realise, has over time, not been done because of the non-cost reflectivity of the tariff and now that we have the cost-effective tariff in the tariff structure, there are funds and budget set aside for strengthening our distribution and transmission networks. 

So that is ongoing.  It has already started in other areas.  You might be aware that some poles were falling off and so forth.  Currently, if you go around the country slow as it is, we are building up on that so that the transmission distribution network is strengthened to avoid these unnecessary blackouts.  Thank you.

ELECTRIFICATION OF SCHOOLS IN MARAMBA-PFUNGWE CONSTITUENCY

  1. HON. KARUMAZONDO asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to inform the House when the Ministry will electrify the following schools in Maramba-Pfungwe Constituency:
  2. a) Dewe, Masunzwa, Chatsetsa, Kanzire, Museka, Nyakarova, Patsika, Chipokoteke, Sowa, Kakonde, Kutsokodeka, Bangari and Chitorangave Primary Schools;
  3. b) Sowa and Bangari Secondary Schools.

          THE MINISTER OF POWER AND ENERGEY DEVELOPMENT (HON. E. MOYO):  Madam Speaker, let me thank the Hon. Member for raising the above question.  Allow me to respond as follows.  I will give you the completed works for 2023 and then the planned works for 2024 encompassing the schools that have been cited and also other projects

Completed in 2023

Planned for 2024

Rukariro Primary School and Secondary Schools and Business Centre

Chipfunde Primary and Secondary Schools and Business Centre

Mashambanaka Secondary School

Mayema Primary and Secondary Schools and Business Centre

 

Matsenga Primary and Secondary Schools

 

Horgate Business Centre

 

            These are primed to be done this year.  Then for 2025, 2026 and 2027 these have not been asked but I have provided that schedule for the benefit of the Member of Parliament.  I thank you.

*HON. KARUMAZONDO: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to thank the Minister for his explanation to the House.  He gave us schools which were done in 2023, 2024 and 2025.  I am happy with what the Minister has said but all those are schools in UMP.  Of all the schools, one up to 10, there is only one school in my constituency which is benefiting.

          I want the Minister to help us because the President is saying there is no place which should be left behind.  The problem that we have in Maramba-Pfungwe is that the schools that have been alluded to the pass rate is 0% in grade seven.  So, what other plans do you have?  From up to 2025, if you look at the list that I gave you, there is no school that is benefiting.  Can you explain to this House how you can help Maramba-Pfungwe constituency so that this constituency will not lag behind as what the President is saying?

          HON. E. MOYO:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Let me go on further and read what I had left out as 2025, 2026 and 2027 

Target Year

2025

2026

2027

Dewe Primary School (Clinic and Solar)

Masunzwa Primary School (Secondary has Solar

Chatseka Primary School

Sowa Primary School, Secondary School (RHC has Mobil Solar)

 

Museka Primary School

Bangari (Pangare) Primary School (Secondatry has Mobile Sola, RHC and BC)

 

Nyakarova Primary School

 

 

Patsika Primary School

 

 

Chipokoteke Primary School

 

 

Kakonde Primary School

 

 

Kutsokodeka Primary School

 

          On the Chitorangave Primary School, REA is unaware of the school and is requesting for its exact location for possible implementation in 2027.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Karumazondo, take note of the request coming from REA.

REHABILITATION OF MUTAWATAWA-KAFURA

ELECTRICAL LINE

  1. HON. KARUMAZONDO asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to inform the House when ZESA will rehabilitate infrastructure, particularly, poles that continuously fall along the Mutawatawa-Kafura electrical line, resulting in power cuts.

          THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank Hon. Karumazondo for the question.  The line is currently on and should be relatively stable.  A circuit breaker was installed early February, 2024 on the Mutawatawa line, separating it from other lines.  Previously, it was affected by faults on other lines sharing the same circuit breaker.  With the installation of the breaker, the line will now trip only for faults when they occur.  I thank you.

          *HON. KARUMAZONDO: I want to thank the Minister for his answer to the House.  Minister, do you know that the line from Mutawatawa, going through Borera, to Kafura, passing through Chitsungo Business centre, passes through schools and business centres?  The problem is that your poles are falling, some are being destroyed by termites and some are being burnt.  At Guyo, children were playing with fire from the pole.  What can your people do because they are improvising by erecting wooden poles which are not durable at all.  What are your plans so that you can change those poles because they are not strong?  About 50% of the poles are not strong and we are afraid they may pose danger to children.

          HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to thank the Hon. Karumazondo for that follow-up question.  The question speaks to the integrity of our infrastructure.  It also seeks to know what plans we have in place to correct that.  It is true, a lot of our poles are on the ground and some work is happening to bring them up. 

However, as a long-term solution, ZESA, through its subsidiary, ZESA Enterprises (ZENT) has now changed the nature of poles. We are now doing concrete poles.  We are also directly there and they are being deployed.  We also are going to be developing steel poles leveraging on the availability of steel in the next few months from Manhize Steel Plant.  We have also got into partnership and a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with some external partners to partner ZENT to bring in latest technology in concrete pole production into the country and also the machinery to expedite that.  The long-term solution - our future, in terms of the poles is shifting away from the timber ones to steel to avert the issues that the Hon. Member has identified.

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY SUPPORT FOR WARD

3 OF MAKONI

  1. 13. MUWOMBI asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to inform the House the Ministry’s plans regarding the reclamation of the silted dam which supplies Nyadimba Irrigation Scheme in Ward 3 of Makoni North and to further explain on the measures required to support Agricultural productivity including the provision of tractors.

                THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. HARITATOS): Question 13 refers to Ward 3 of Makoni North, specifically about Madimba Irrigation Scheme.  The conservation works are being planned on the dam catchment to prevent further siltation and erosion.  There are also plans to raise the dam wall to improve dam storage.  The dam was irrigating eight hectares, with a potential to irrigate 20 hectares.  Plans are in place to install drip irrigation which double the area being irrigated at Nyadimba irrigation scheme.

WATER CHALLENGES IN THE CITY OF BULAWAYO

  1. HON. BAJILA asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to inform the House the plans being put in place to address water challenges in the City of Bulawayo.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. HARITATOS): Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am.  To address the water challenges in the City of Bulawayo, the water supply discharge from Mtshabezi Dam and Mzingwane Dam will be increased from 17 megalitres per day to 30 megalitres per day.  Water output from Nyamandlovu aquifer will be restored from 11 megalitres per day to 20 megalitres to 20 megalitres per day.  These measures are expected to improve the water supply situation in Bulawayo.

I would also like to add, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, that our long-term goal for the City of Bulawayo is the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, which we believe there will be definitely enough water for the provisions of water supply.

          HON. BAJILA:  Thank you Hon. Minister for your responses.  You have mentioned the restorations with respect to Nyamandlovu and Mtshabezi.  Are there any timelines we can expect these restorations which will lead to increments in water supply for the City of Bulawayo?

          HON. HARITATOS: This is top priority in our Ministry.  I am not sure if you heard the Hon. Minister before me – the Hon. Minister of Lands, he mentioned a Committee that has been set up.   They have done quite a considerable amount of work and I believe within the next week, we should be making the findings public as we have done with the City of Harare.  This is an urgent matter and it is not something which is going to happen in the next few weeks.  This is something that should happen very soon. 

POTABLE WATER FOR CROWBOROUGH NORTH

  1. HON. HAMAUSWA asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to inform the House measures being taken by the Ministry to ensure that people in Crowborough North Phase 3 have alternative sources of potable water.

        THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. HARITATOS): Water and sewer reticulation works are currently being carried out.  Once they are completed, the City of Harare will connect water to Crowborough North Phase 3.

        HON. HAMAUSWA:  My supplementary question to the Minister is that my question is concerned with alternative sources of water that are solar powered boreholes to the respective area considering that the nearby Ward has been affected by Cholera.  I am sure that your office is aware of that.  In that area, people are getting water from shallow wells, which is not a good thing, as they will again be exposed to Cholera.

        HON. HARITATOS:  Yes, the Hon. Member is very correct.  We are aware of the situation.  We actually deployed four borehole rigs to the areas around.  I think it is just now specifically identifying specific hotspots.  Obviously, we are prioritising the drilling of boreholes.  Specifically, in urban areas, we want to solarise, but unfortunately this is reliant on our budgets.  Possibly the Hon. Member will not be pleased with us because we are waiting for budget releases.  I can promise the Hon. Members that I will personally look into this so that at least, we can expedite.  Obviously, Cholera is of great concern.  As a Ministry, we have done what we can within our budget, but certainly we are not comfortable and we will do more if need be. I thank you.

COMPLETION OF INYATI ROAD IN CHIREDZI

  1. HON. MAKUMIRE asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to explain to the House the delays in the completion of roads in Chiredzi particularly the Inyati Road, and to further state when it is expected to be completed.

            THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. SACCO):  Under the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme Phase 2 (ERRP 2) which is being implemented through our Ministry, and whose mandate is to restore the navigability of roads, works are underway on the completion of Inyati Road.

          To date, the contractor has made significant progress on the project as the works were above 80% before works were suspended.  The works were suspended by the contractor who abandoned site in July 2022 due to delays in payment of outstanding obligations.

          For the past few months, Treasury has made significant efforts in clearing the outstanding payments but however, the contractor was not willing to go back on site, hence the contract was terminated mutually.  At the moment, my Ministry’s Department of Roads is in the process of re-appointing another contractor to complete the works.

          The Ministry also acknowledges that the road has further deteriorated and routine maintenance works will be carried out as soon as possible.

         *HON. MAKUMIRE:  The road that we are referring to in the City of Chiredzi – it cannot be true that 80% of it was constructed because the contractor had just started working on the road…

          *THE ACTING SPEAKER:  I think you know that this is for experts.  You can ask your question.  We cannot say the Minister is lying.  There are people who do monitoring and evaluation of the work.

         *HON. MAKUMIRE:  I know that when we drive from here to Masvingo, you know the number of kilometres, but if we say when we get to Beatrice and we say…

          *THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Please go straight to your supplementary question.

*HON. MAKUMIRE:  When should we expect this road to be complete because it is the main road that connects all roads to Chiredzi?

*HON. SACCO:  The question that you have asked is very important.  The truth is that all the roads in Zimbabwe are important.  We do not think that there is a road that is not important.  Our President says that no one and no place should be left behind.  It is our responsibility as the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to see to it that all roads in the country are constructed. 

As I have already indicated, the contractor who was working on this road withdrew his services.  We are busy doing a tender process so that we appoint another contractor who finishes the work.  Our Ministry is also in the process of coming up with maintenance units which do periodic maintenance.  This road for sure requires maintenance as soon as possible.  It is an issue that we have taken seriously so that your road is mantained in the possible shortest time.  For now, we are just waiting for resources from the Ministry of Finance or Treasury so that our work will go forward.

REHABILITATION OF CHIVHU-GUTU-CHIREDZI ROAD

  1. HON. MAKUMIRE asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House the plans that have been put in place to rehabilitate the Chivhu-Gutu/Chiredzi Road.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. SACCO): Thank you Madam Speaker. For the year 2024, the Ministry has proposed 20km of reseal and 20 km of rehabilitation along with Chivhu/Gutu Road whilst routine maintenance works will be ongoing throughout the year. The department acknowledges that the road in some sections has collapsed significantly and it requires significant interventions.

          The road in question is one of the roads within Masvingo Province that has been prioritised for implementation once funds have been availed. The current budget availed so far does not permit my Ministry to embark on this project among others. We are currently seized in discussions with the Ministry of Finance in order to find solutions to the financing gap.

          For Chivhu/Lothian Triangle, currently there is a contractor who is doing routine maintenance works which is almost 80% complete. In some sections, it also requires reseal and rehabilitation works. However, funds are limited to carry out these works during this current financial year.

REHABILTATION OF CHILONGA BRIDGE

  1. HON. MAKUMIRE asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to explain the delays experienced in the rehabilitation of the Chilonga Bridge which connects Southern Rural Chiredzi and Chiredzi Town and to further explain when construction works on the bridge will resume.

     THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. SACCO): I would like to thank Hon. Makumire for raising such a pertinent issue relating to the bridge which requires urgent attention. After the washing away of the old Runde Bridge, a decision was made to relocate the bridge to Chilonga. The relocation was meant to have the bridge provide service to a large population. The identification of three possible sites upstream of the existing causeway resulted in topographical surveys and geological investigations being carried out at two of the sites that looked promising. A report produced in November 2018 indicated an average depth of 50m for the foundations. This proved to be costly as the resultant bridge would require special foundations and cost in excess of USD1 million.

Further, a fourth site was identified in 2023 which is located about 5km downstream of the existing causeway at Chilonga and has rock outcrops. This is an indication for good foundations closer to the ground level. This year, our Ministry has plans to do geological investigation in order to determine whether it is feasible to construct the bridge at this new site. We were also looking at the possibility of repairing the old Runde Bridge. I submit.

*HON. MAKUMIRE: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question to the Minister is whether we have a timeframe for the completion of this bridge because it was washed away in 2000 and the people across are in trouble in trying to get help from the other side.

*THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you for the question. Were you listening when the Minister was responding? He talked about a lot of money that is needed for that bridge and he explained in depth. Let me give him the chance to talk on deadlines.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. SACCO): My answer to Hon. Makumire is that we have found proposed sites which we identified and very expensive. At the moment, we are looking at site No. 4 so that we investigate how much it would cost to put a bridge there. Those investigations will look at geological formations which will give us guidance on the amount of money that is needed for that bridge to be constructed. After those investigations, we will come up with an estimated cost and that is when we will look for that money from the Ministry of Finance so that our bridge will be built.  I want to promise to you that with this new dispensation, a lot of work is being done from Beitbridge to Victoria Falls and from Plumtree to Chimanimani. So, whatever we promise is coming to fruition. Do not lose heart and very soon the work will be done.

HON. MAMBIRIPIRI: I have observed that we have fallen short of the quorum required for this House to continue sitting. The magical number should be 75 and we are way below that. Therefore, with your confirmation on the number, we may move to adjourn the House.

[Bells rung]

          [Quorum formed.]

REHABILITATION OF HEADLANDS-CHIENDAMBUYA- CHIKORE ROAD IN MAKONI NORTH CONSTITUENCY

  1. HON. MUWOMBI asked the Minister of Transport and

 Infrastructural Development to inform the House the plans being put

in place to rehabilitate the Headlands - Chiendambuya-Chikore Road

in the Makoni North Constituency

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. SACCO): Thank you Hon. Member for bringing up this question.  Headlands – Chiendambuya is a very important road in the Makoni North Constituency.  This road serves as a feeder road onto the Harare – Mutare Road, and is the main road used for the conveyance of agricultural inputs and produce to the large farming community in the constituency.

          The upgrade of this road has been on the cards for more than 10 years, to cater for increased agricultural activity, but implementation has been hampered by budget constraints.  In the meantime, routine maintenance works are being carried out on the road to maintain trafficability.  The road has been included in the 2024 budget as well as work programme for pothole patching over the surfaced section of 18km, motorised grading of the remaining 57km as well as bush clearing on a section that is 20km long.

          When funds are availed, my Ministry’s plan is to upgrade the road in sections of at least 10km per year until 59km is completed.  The Ministry is currently in the process of re- establishing our Maintenance Units to carry out periodic maintenance, and assessment is underway and equipment required to allow procurement of such.

REHABILITATION OF DEKA-HWANGE ROAD

  1. HON. BONDA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to explain to the House the Ministry’s plans to rehabilitate the Deka-Hwange Road.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. SACCO): Thank you Hon. Member for this question.  The Hwange – Deke Road is made up of 41km of narrow mat and 48.1km of gravel road.  The first 7km of the road has been severely damaged by heavy trucks that are carrying out mining activities.  The road in general is in poor shape and requires rehabilitation and upgrading. However, limited resources have impeded the upgrading of that road.

         At the moment, Government is considering options for private sector participation to have the mining companies financing the rehabilitation of the sections of the roads that they frequent, however, this is still under consideration.  The medium term for the Ministry is to upgrade the road to wide mat surfaced standard, and currently my Ministry is carrying out patching of potholes as well as periodically carrying out maintenance grading.

          HON. BONDA:  Supplementary question Madam Speaker.  The infrastructure that is being destroyed is not due to the truck movement.  Actually, it is the miners that are ripping the road off and it ends up being in bad shape.  However, I would like to know if there is any law that can stop the miners from destroying the infrastructure without a solution, leaving the community along that road exposed to the danger of driving right on top of the slippery dumps to Mashala or the Zambezi River?   I thank you.

HON. SACCO:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I can respond up to a certain extent.  I am not a lawyer myself, so I will defer the question to the Minister of Justice to tell us if there is any law in place to stop these miners from destroying the infrastructure.  We however believe that we can build Zimbabwe if we discuss the issue and all come to the table if we agree there is a problem and that those doing mining activities can also plough back part of their profits for the maintenance of these roads.

HON. BONDA:  On a point of order.  I just want to make a clarification.  It is not that the miners using the road are destroying it.  We are saying the miners ripped a road just like the road to Mt. Hampden is being ripped.  Then they made the people who are benefitting from that road to drive on top of the dump which is slippery and dangerous.  So, I am saying, is there no law that can stop these people from ripping the existing infrastructure?

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  The Minister responded that the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is the Ministry that can respond to that, but I think he can respond to how people can travel safely considering the road was damaged. 

          HON. SACCO:  I was not aware that the road was ripped by the mining companies.  Thank you very much for bringing that to our attention.  I have been tasked by Minister Mhona to do a national tour of all provinces to have an appreciation of sensitive roads or low-lying fruits where we can get quick results.  Therefore, when it comes to Matebeleland North Province, I will pay a visit to this area to get a better appreciation of what you are saying.  Also, as a response, if they did rip the road, it means they probably had a plan to resurface it or to rehabilitate it.  So, what we need to do is follow up with them and find out how far they have gone so that they can finish what they started.  I so submit.

          WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

EXCLUSION OF MACADAMIA NUTS FROM PRODUCER

PRICE LISTS

  1. HON. MACHINGURA asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to explain to the House why macadamia nuts are excluded from producer price lists.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. HARITATOS): Government often plays a role in regulating agricultural markets, including setting minimum support prices or determining producer prices for national strategic crops, pre-dominantly cereals which have a direct bearing on food security. Currently, the standardised Cabinet approved producer prices are covering food commodities which includes (maize, wheat, soya bean, traditional grains, sunflower) cotton. Government however, realised that there are equally strategic horticulture commodities such as macadamia nuts. In this regard, the government, through the Ministry of Lands, in terms of section 50 of the Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA) Act (Chapter 18:24) released macadamia nuts regulations under Statutory 138 of 2019. The SI recognises the existence of the Association of the Macadamia Producers and AMA as the responsible authorities for the macadamia nuts with the following objectives:

  1. Control and regulate the marketing of macadamia nuts.
  2. Promote and maintain the sale of macadamia nuts.
  • Institute effective systems to control theft of macadamia nuts.
  1. Collate statistics relating to the production, marketing, export and consumption or use of macadamia nuts.
  2. Distribute market studies and information relating to the marketing, production and use of macadamia nuts.
  3. Advise the Minister on all matters relating to the production, marketing and processing of macadamia nuts.
  • Do all things which this or any other Act or any other enactment requires shall be done by the Authority.

Section 17 of SI 138 of 2019 states that where it appears to the Minister that there are unfair practices in the pricing model of macadamia nuts, the Minister may, after consultation with the Authority, the Minister responsible for Finance, and upon recommendations from associations of growers of macadamia nuts, before the 31st of December in each year, by order published in the Gazette, fix the minimum prices for macadamia nuts to be traded in that year.

PAYMENT OF RUSAPE FARMERS FOR DELIVERY OF WHEAT TO GMB

  1. HON. MAPFUMO asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to explain to the House the Ministry’s plans to ensure expeditious payment to farmers who delivered wheat to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), particularly those who delivered their produce to GMB Rusape.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. HARITATOS): The House will be pleased to know that following GMB’s press statement on 17 March 2024, payments amounting to ZWL171 billion and USD 66.1 million have been made for both summer crop and winter deliveries. To date, 98% of the ZWL component owed has been paid to farmers. The Ministry is in constant liaison with Treasury and we are aware that Treasury is accelerating the mobilisation of resources to clear the outstanding balance of ZWL 1.86 billion and USD 34.9 million.

PROGRESS OF THE KUNZVI AND MUDA DAM PROJECTS

  1. HON. MAZHINDU asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to apprise the House on the progress made on the Kunzvi and Muda Dam projects.

         THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. HARITATOS):  Hon. Members, the House will be pleased to know that Kunzvi Dam is at 46% progress to completion and the Ministry is looking to complete the construction of the dam by December 2024.  With respect to Muda Dam, the dam is ready for construction and ZINWA is awaiting the disbursement of funds to begin construction.

COMPLETION OF THE HARARE-WEDZA ROAD

 

  1. HON. MAZHINDU asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development (Hon. Felix Mhona) to explain to the House when the Harare-Wedza will be completed in the light of the fact that it has been under construction for almost 10 years now.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): I would like to thank Hon. Mazhindu for this question. Let me hasten to say that Mushandirapamwe – Wedza is a section of a road, which links the Provincial capital of Marondera to Wedza from Harare – Mutare road. The length of the road is 70.6km Wedza and the road was constructed as a narrow – mat with a surfaced width of 3m. Over the years, we have seen an increased traffic flow and this has necessitated the need to widen the road to a wide mate. The upgrading of 10km which stretches from Wedza to Fells road was first implemented between the year 2016 and 2019. A further 2.5km was under construction between 2019 and 2029. I will agree that the rate of implementation of the project was moving at a very slow pace and this was mainly due to the very limited amount of funding availed at the time.

I am pleased to state that the commencement of ERRP2 this road was considered as extremely important and 22.2km of the outstanding 33km up to Mushandirapamwe was tendered out and awarded to a contractor in 2022. The 11km from this scope and 2.5km which was outstanding from previous works has since been completed and opened to traffic as we speak. The contractor is working on the remaining 11km that is under the current tender, however progress on this road rehabilitation has slowed down due to financial challenges otherwise the contractor would have completed the project a long while back.

Our Ministry is working tirelessly to ensure that the remaining 11km for the upgrading of Wedza – Mushandirapamwe is completed.

TABLING OF REPORT

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. D.K. MNANGAGWA):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  In terms of Section 309 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, read together with Section 11 (1) of the Audit Office Act Chapter 22:18, I lay upon the table the report of the Auditor General being the value for money Audit report on COVID-19 support towards Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and sanitiser by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.  I so submit.

MOTION

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

          HON JERE:  I move the motion standing in my name that this House:-

MINDFUL that in 2012 Parliament enacted the Deposit Protection Corporation Act to inter-alia provide for the management, functions and powers; and to establish a Deposit Protection Fund for the compensation of depositors in the event of financial institutions becoming insolvent, and to provide for the administration and application of the Fund; to amend the Banking Act [Chapter 24:20]; and to provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing;

CONCERNED that despite the financial reforms that were initiated, poor corporate governance in the Banking sector wreaked havoc leading to huge losses by investors as some financial institutions became insolvent hence their incapacity to compensate clients who had deposited substantial sums of money into the financial sector; 19th March, 2024 348

ALSO CONCERNED with the fast declining investor confidence in the banking sector where clients suddenly decline to tie down their money in investments owing to lessons learnt in the past and uncertainties on what the future has in store for the banking industry:

NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to— (a) come up with comprehensive legislation which will redress challenges that have not been adequately solved by financial reforms that were put in place from 2013 to date; (b) put in place measures compelling financial institutions to start compensating clients who lost savings and investments owing to poor corporate governance issues in the Banking sector by 31st March, 2024; and (c) propose amendments to the Deposit Protection Corporation Act [Chapter 24:29].

HON. M. NDEBELE: I second.

HON. JERE: PREAMBLE

Section 318 of the Companies Act [Chapter 24:03] provides for the investigation and prosecution of directors of a company by a creditor, member, judicial manager or liquidator of a company or private business corporation for fraudulent, reckless, or grossly negligent conduct of business. The section empowers the High Court to hold an, "impugned person" personally responsible, without limitation of liability, for all or any of the debts or other liabilities of the company or private business corporation as the court may direct.

This provision was carried forward in section 68 of the recently enacted Companies and Other Business Entities Act [Chapter 24:311 whose desired outcome is to deter the managers and fiduciaries of companies from fraudulent, reckless, or grossly negligent conduct of business.

  Mindful that in 2012, Parliament enacted the Deposit Protection Corporation Act to inter alia provide for the management, functions and powers; and to establish a Deposit Protection Fund for the compensation of depositors in the event of financial institutions becoming insolvent, and to provide for the administration and application of the Fund; to amend the Banking Act [Chapter 24:201; and to provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.

CONCERNED that despite the financial reforms that were initiated, poor corporate governance in the Banking and financial services sector wreaked havoc, leading to huge losses by investors as some financial institutions became insolvent, hence their incapacity to compensate clients who had deposited substantial sums of money into the financial sector; pensioners were left poorer.

Madam Speaker, this resulted in the fast-declining investor confidence in the banking sector where clients suddenly decline to tie down their money in banks and investments owing to lessons learnt in the past and uncertainties on what the future has in store for the banking industry and financial services sector at large.

Core Principle 12 of the International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI) Zimbabwe is a member, prescribes best practice in dealing with parties at fault in a bank failure. The Core principles outline how the deposit insurer, or other relevant authority, should be provided with the power to seek legal redress. This provision came about after the realisation that Bank failures are a global phenomenon which are commonly caused by negligent, fraudulent banking practices and insider trading at the hands of Bank fiduciaries. The 2008-2009 worldwide financial crisis has raised questions about the corporate governance of financial institutions. Reforms implemented after financial instability have often failed to prevent bank failures. Some bank managers lack an understanding of the role of corporate governance in preventing bank failures. Corporate governance enhances firm performance and profitability. Poor corporate governance and by extension, corporate greed, and the agency problem was the major reason for bank distress in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe recorded more than 20 cases of bank failures between 1980 and 2015. Most of the bank failures occurred during the period between 2003 and 2004, when the registrar of banks placed 10 banking institutions under curatorship, two in liquidation, and closed one discount house. In the year 2013, the registrar of banks cancelled operating licences of two banks and placed one bank under curatorship. In 2003, the Zimbabwean banking sector was characterised by poor corporate governance, malicious banking practices, and high incidences of indiscipline. During this period, Mr. Speaker Sir, there was a saying that used to go, "if you want to rob a Zimbabwean, do not use a gun, but open a bank" The Central Bank issued two guidelines on corporate governance and minimum internal audit standards in banking institutions in 2004. Checks and balances are of paramount importance to ensure that we do not perpetuate the scourge of bank failures any further by supporting the criminalisation and prosecution of malfeasance in the banking sector.

Section 22-33 of the Insolvency Act [Chapter 6:07] provides for transactions that can be set aside. The provisions recognises that company failure can be occasioned by collusive and fraudulent practices, which for the purposes of insolvency are prejudicial to unassuming consumers. However, these well-intentioned provisions do not currently cover a class of consumers of banking sector products called 'depositors' following the amendment of the Insolvency Act and the Companies and other Business Entities Act, as the motion will uncover.

Section 136 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] adequately provides for circumstances that are deemed as fraud at law. In a nutshell, these circumstances include inter alia: misrepresentations and conduct that causes prejudice to another person or creates a real risk or possibility that another person might be prejudiced. This has unfortunately been the reality in the banking sector in the past two decades as we have seen many banks failures that have been occasioned by negligence, greed, collusion, malicious intent of the part of banking sector fiduciaries for self-interest.

HISTORY OF BANK FAILURES IN ZIMBABWE

Herewith a bank-by-bank analysis of the cases at hand.

  1. Interfin Bank Limited (under liquidation)

The Liquidator commenced the action by way of summons in 2016, the claim being payment of the sum of US$157 723 814.91 and interest on the sum at the prescribed rate of 5% per annum. The claim of US$157 723 814.91 had been based on estimate credit losses on loan accounts where loan origination processes were not properly followed. This figure approximated the balance of creditors, which, based on the proof of claims was US$114 944 434.83. The figure is now denominated in Zimbabwe dollar.

Implications

Protracted legal battles and adverse changes in the economy have caused the ordinary citizens to lose out and made it easier for the individuals who are complicit in the demise of the Bank to get away with murder.

2. Royal Bank Limited

The Bank was closed on 27 July 2012 and placed under provisional liquidation on 20 February 2013. Judgment to place the Bank under final liquidation was reserved since 17 December 2013 and final judgment to place the bank under final liquidation was issued on 19 November 2014. A forensic audit investigation was undertaken by and some of their observations include the glaring breach of fiduciary duties that resulted in the bank and its stakeholders suffering material and financial prejudice.

Implications.

The depositors of the bank were prejudiced because of the lapse in time due to protracted court processes and changes in economic policy. There is no greater justification for the amendment of the DPC Act to attend to such issues,

3. AfroAsia Bank Limited

Shareholders of the bank surrendered the banking license to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). RBZ made an application to place the institution under provisional liquidation in terms of Section 57 (1) (a) of the Banking Act [Chapter 24:20] and for the subsequent appointment of Deposit Protection Corporation as provisional liquidator. In January 2015, the Central Bank undertook an onsite examination into the affairs of the institution and the report chronicles poor corporate governance and management structures, nonperforming insider and related party exposures and poor debt recovery strategies. The affairs of the Bank were run negligently and recklessly- thereby subjecting its depositors to losses. Failure to manage resources to an extent where a huge treasury gap occurred, staff cost outweighed, called deposits and other creditor payments.

Implications

Although the liquidation has successfully settled creditors in full due to inflation and the passage of time while shareholders and directors challenged various aspects of the liquidation, there were residual assets which the liquidator is legally obligated to surrender to the Shareholders. This is highly prejudicial to creditors who suffered irreparable losses at the hands of the parties that caused the demise of the Bank. The Final Distribution and liquidation account shows an unfair scenario that spells victory for the former bankers.

  1. Trust Bank Limited.

The bank was closed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on 6 December 2013. Subsequently, DPC was mandated by the creditors of Trust Bank Limited to sue the directors at fault for the demise of the institution. A forensic audit report revealed, among other issues, that;

  1. depositors' funds were used to pay for the Bank's operational expenses,
  2. imprudent commitment of depositors' funds to core banking activities,
  3. directors harboured knowledge of detrimental, fraudulent, and suspicious transactions and did nothing to address the same,
  4. conflicts of interest at various levels among the directors that resulted in the Directors failure to safeguard the interests of the Bank and the depositors.
  5. Willful disregards for banking and KYC procedures resulting in the issuance of various loan amounts to unidentified individuals.
  6. Maintenance of a non-performing Loan book with no clear recovery strategy.

Implications

The depositors of the failed bank have similarly suffered irreparable loss while the Final Distribution Liquidation Account that lay for inspection at the Master of the High Court offices indicate that by operation of the law, the individuals who caused the demise of the Bank made off with residue constituting real assets.

It is Parliament's role to put in place laws that will deter bankers from negligent banking practices and supporting the DPC in its plight to amend its Act is a good start.

THE JOURNEY TOWARDS REFORMING FINANCIAL SERVICES LAWS FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION.

1 . There are proposals for legislative changes to consumer protection laws in the financial services sector in deposit insurance, banking sector & pensions. It will however, zero in on developments in the banking sector as they relate to deposit insurance.

  1. It is important to establish a separate banking institution insolvency regime that resonates well with the characterisation of banking institutions as special entities in the theory of finance and financial intermediation. In other words, it is generally accepted that banking institutions play a sui generic role in the economy of any nation.
  2. In all jurisdictions, banking institutions require special authorisation to operate as banking institutions, over and above the normal registration as corporate entities. Globally, banking institutions operate under a prudential supervisory regime which is not applicable to other corporate entities.
  3. It is trite that if banking institutions require special rites for their establishment, and course of life, they should inevitably have special rites at their demise. Thus, several jurisdictions e.g. the EU have established special insolvency regimes to manage and resolve failed banking institutions.
  4. Zimbabwe has no separate, let alone specific, insolvency regime for banking institutions. The Insolvency Act [Chapter 6:04] that was applicable to private companies registered under the Companies Act [Chapter 24:03] was the same law applicable to banking institutions and did not take into account the special nature of such banking institutions. Resolution of banking institution requires that the matters be dealt with speed and finality, to curtail adverse repercussions on economic activity and bring urgent relief to the banking public and creditors, whose deposits would have been locked on the banking institution upon closure.
  5. In 2018, the Insolvency Act [Chapter 6:04] was repealed and a new Insolvency Act [Chapter 6:07] was enacted. Section 13 (1) (b) of the new Act states that the Act does not apply to banking institutions registered under the Banking Act (Chapter 24:20). This created a lacuna for the insolvency of banking institutions. The Deposit Protection Corporation (DPC/Corporation) in its capacity as Liquidator of all banking institutions in terms of the Banking Act (Chapter 24:03) was left with no legal framework applicable to banking institutions in the unlikely event of their demise.
  6. The Deposit Protection Corporation, therefore, proposed an amendment to the Deposit Protection Corporation Act [Chapter 24:29] to provide for a separate insolvency regime for banking institutions, the major objective being to secure in the shortest practicable time, a fair satisfaction of the banking institution's depositors, creditors and any other relevant stakeholders as shall be determined by the Deposit Protection Corporation.
  7. The Corporation also proposed further amendments to the Deposit Protection Corporation Act [Chapter 24:29] arising from the changing environment and/or developments in the sector; and/or need to be aligned with other local laws including the following:
    • A team of experts from the World Bank, assessed the Deposit Protection Corporation against the 2014 revised International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI) Core Principles for Effective Deposit Insurance Systems (CP) in June 2016 and noted several weaknesses that need to be addressed to enhance DPC's compliance with the Core Principles. Thus, the team came up with an action plan for the Corporation to enhance its compliance with the IADI Core Principles. It is these recommendations that the Corporation has adopted and seeks to amend the Act so that the legal framework complies with IADI core principles.
    • The Corporation also identified some areas in the DPC Act which need to be amended in line with the changing environment, developments in the sector as well as align the Act with other local laws such as the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act [Chapter 10:31].
  8. In a bid to address some of these challenges, The Government of Zimbabwe constituted The Justice Smith Commission of Inquiry in 2015. The main aim of the Commission's Report was to change the landscape of the Zimbabwean insurance and pension industry for the betterment of social protection. The Report noted among other things that the major problems that had stormed the industry are;
    1.     loss of value arising from pension contribution arrears;
    2.     loss of value due to hyperinflation;
    3.     loss of value through conversions and dollarisation;
    4.     delayed processing of lump sum pension benefits;
    5.     poor policy formulation to govern the industry.

The Report made recommendations that were by and large, centred on the need to have a complete overhaul of IPEC, policy reforms, adoption of a comprehensive insurance scheme, consumer protection and good governance. The causes and extent of the loss of value of life insurance policies and pensions suffered by policyholders and pension scheme members following the conversion of Zimbabwe dollar policies to the multicurrency regime in 2009.

It is important to underscore the fact that in 2016, this August house promulgated a Banking Amendment Act to enhance corporate governance of banking institutions, impose controls on bank holding companies, enhance protection of the public from bank failures, and establish mechanisms for dealing with distressed banking institutions.

The amendment focused on prudential standards, sound corporate behaviour, senior management accountability, control of conflicts of interest, risk management, composition of the board with focus on the majority and chairpersons of the boards and committees being independent non-executive directors are all issues familiar to those who have studied banking legislation.

The enhanced regulatory framework was influenced by a need to protect the public and the stability of Zimbabwe's financial system after not less than eight commercial banks failed between 2004 and 2016.

The amendments were timely and as you will all agree, they were effective as there have been no new reported bank failures ever since. Besides all these efforts by the Government, we still have a gap in protection of our people and pensioners.

D. LEGISLATIVE GAPS

  1. Allowing for a smooth handover/takeover between the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and DPC.

The Corporation notes through experience, that there has been a void between the date of closure of a banking institution by the RBZ and appointment of DPO as liquidator in terms of section 57 of the Banking Act (Chapter 24:20), resulting in the stripping of assets or loss of value of the assets of the closed banking institution. The proposed amendments seek to remove this void, by providing for a smooth handover of the banking institution to the Corporation immediately after declaration of liquidation by RBZ in terms of section 57 of the Banking Act (Chapter 24:20), allowing the Corporation to take charge of the assets and documents of the banking institution in the shortest time possible, freezing all judicial proceedings immediately after declaration of liquidation of a banking institution by RBZ, and termination of employee contracts.

  1. Preservation of assets available for distribution

The proposed amendments will empower the Corporation in its capacity as Liquidator of Banking institutions to set aside transaction where the disposition was not made for value, where there is evidence of collusive dealings or where the transaction had the effect of preferring one creditor ahead of other creditors. The Liquidator will be allowed to recover the proceeds of such disposal and make the proceeds available for distribution to the general body of creditors.

  1. Depositors' claims

Ordinary insolvency legislation requires that depositors submit their claims to the Master of High Court, and further physically attend a creditors' meeting or appoint a proxy to prove their claims. Such meetings are held in Harare and Bulawayo. The Corporation noted that this process is cumbersome on the depositors and detrimental to ease of doing business as creditors may be required to travel for several hundreds of kilometres simply to prove a claim before the Master of High Court, whereas the claim may not be subject of a dispute by the failed banking institution or any of its creditors.

The long and cumbersome procedure works against the small, unsophisticated depositors who often lack the financial capacity and means to be able to fulfil the requirements to prove their claims. This procedure should not be applicable to banking institutions when the depositors' register of the failed banking institution is not in dispute. Additionally, there is no economic rationale for small depositors to prove their claims in situations where the cost of travelling from their places or residence to prove their claims may be higher than the claim itself or the total dividend that may be distributed to them. Conventional corporate insolvency regimes do not consider the sui generic nature of banking institutions, hence depositors who have not proved their claims before the Master of High Court are not regarded as statutory creditors.

Many small depositors are thus, deprived of compensation as only statutory creditors are entitled to a liquidation dividend in terms of corporate insolvency laws. The banking institution insolvency regime, therefore, proposes to treat depositors' claims as accepted such that there will be no need for depositors to incur costs of proving their claims. Balances can be confirmed by DPC through its offices, either by email or telephone call or other means as may be prescribed. A depositor will only be required to appear before the Master of High Court to prove their claim where they wish to query the balance in the deposit register.

  1. Proof of claims

The proposed amendment seeks to allow the liquidator to accept any subsequent claims after the first creditors meeting without need to call for a special meeting. In order to bring the liquidation to a finality and to allow for speedy resolution of a failed contributory institution, the proposed amendment also seeks to allow the liquidator to put a cut-off point for the submission of claims by creditors.

  1. Depositor preference

The laws of Insolvency in Zimbabwe under the repealed Insolvency Act [Chapter 6:04] and the new Insolvency Act [Chapter 6:07] gives priority to statutory creditors like Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) and pays no regard to depositors. Despite the uniqueness of the banking institutions and calls by policymakers to enhance confidence and financial sector stability, the insolvency laws do not provide for the protection of depositors, a situation which militates against promoting financial system stability

The proposed banking institution insolvency regime seeks to elevate the preference/priority of depositors among other creditors. During the resolution process, it is critical that the depositor preference framework clearly shows or outlines how losses will be shared among uninsured creditors, shareholders, and unsecured creditors; incentives available to various depositors/creditors; and pricing of risk.

                   Notwithstanding its importance, depositor priority should not result in the use of taxpayer's funds but should minimise the risk of bank runs or contagion. To achieve this, there is need for a depositor preference framework that is clear, predictable, and documented in law, as it is critical and prerequisite element in insolvency to ensure effective resolution. The importance of clarity of depositor preference is that it clearly shows how losses will be shared, incentives available to various depositors/creditors and pricing of risk.

E. OTHER AMENDMENTS TO ADDRESS DEFICIENCIES IN THE DEPOSIT PROTECTION CORPORATION ACT (CHAPTER 24:29)

The proposed amendments have also been necessitated by the need to comply with International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI) Core Principles for Effective Deposit Insurance Systems (CP). Of note are the following key proposed amendments;

  1. The extension of immunity to former employees of the Corporation for acts done in good faith during the course of their employment or appointment.
  2. To amend the Composition of the DPC's board of directors and ensure that it meet recommended international standards, in terms of composition and constituencies represented.
  3. To allow the Corporation to issue guidelines to contributory institutions on issues pertaining to deposit protection;
  4. The proposed amendment also seeks to allow the Corporation to aggregate an individual depositor's various deposits and pay out a single insured amount as opposed to the current situation where the Corporation has to pay per depositor per account type/class;
  5. To allow the Corporation to enter into agreements or to exchange information with deposit insurers and supervisory authorities in other jurisdictions;
  6.     To ensure that DPC is the sole deposit insurer in Zimbabwe,

F. ALIGNING THE DPC ACT WITH OTHER LOCAL LEGISLATION

The Corporation also identified some areas in the Act which need to be aligned with other laws such as the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act [Chapter 10:31], the Microfinance Act [Chapter 24:29] and the Banking Act [Chapter 24:201. The following are key proposed amendments;

  1. Enhancing key definitions in line with other legislation;
  2. Inclusion of deposit-taking microfinance institutions and other banking institutions not covered by the Banking Act in the definition of contributory institutions; and
  3. Aligning the term of office for the Board and CEO with the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act [Chapter 10:31].

G. STATUS QUO - AMENDMENT PROCESS

Currently, these are the steps that have been taken to advance the cause of amending the Deposit Protection Corporation Act [Chapter 24:29].

  1. A draft amendment has been developed by the DPC in partnership with the Attorney General's office legislative drafting office, Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion and other key stakeholders.
  2. Cabinet approved the Principles of the DPC Act on the 10th of August 2020.
  3. Since then, the Attorney General's office has not been able to advance the drafting review process further due to various challenges faced by the unit.
  4. While no traction has been made, depositors remain exposed as there is no law to fall back on in the event of a bank failure.

H. RECOMMENDATIONS

NOW THEREFORE calls upon the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to -

      Depositors should be fully compensated in the currency in which they deposited their money. The banks’ assets should be sold and the depositors be compensated fully in the currency in which they deposited their money. A depositor who would have deposited USD should be compensated in that currency. The current situation in the bank is taking advantage of, then taken advantage of the conversions and pay, like the example that I gave you, of paying say $154 million at the current rate and that money will have been used to buy assets.

What it simply means is the bank would have submitted themselves to the RBZ under what is called self-sequestration where one goes to say I need protection; I have got these people’s monies. Once they get the money, they can then approach the same DPC and change say, US$10 000, clear the debt and remain with the residues, which are all those assets that they may have accumulated with the depositors’ money.

    b) Come up with comprehensive legislation which will redress challenges that have not been adequately solved by financial reforms that were put in place from 2013 to date;

    c) Put in place measures compelling financial institutions to start compensating clients who lost savings and investments owing to poor corporate governance issues in the banking sector by 31st March, 2024. Here, my request is to have the issues which are currently outstanding be expedited so that the depositors who have their monies in the banks get the benefit of their investment; and Propose amendments to the Deposit Protection Corporation Act [Chapter 24:29].  I so submit Madam Speaker.

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

HON. HAMAUSWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 21st March, 2024.

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

       

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