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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 21 July 2015 41-56
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 21st July, 2015
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE DEPUTY SPEAKER
NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE
PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that I have received Non-Adverse Reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the following:
- Statutory Instruments gazetted during the month of May, 2015;
- General Notices gazetted during the month of May, 2015.
INVITATION TO A WOMEN’S PARLIAMENTARY
CAUCUS HALF-DAY WORKSHOP
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I also wish to inform all members of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus that they are invited to a half day workshop on the proposed National Peace and Reconciliation Commission hosted by the organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration at Harare Holiday Inn on Wednesday, 22nd July, 2015 at 0900 hours.
COLLECTION OF BIBLES
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to remind hon. members to
collect Bibles that will be distributed by the Christ Embassy Ministry in the Courtyard on Wednesday, 22nd July, 2015 from 12.00 o’clock to 1600 hours.
INVITATION TO A LECTURE ON DIABETICS
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. members are also reminded
that the Zimbabwe Diabetic Association (ZDA) will be giving a lecture on the silent killer diabetics on 22nd July, 2015. The lecture will be conducted by Dr. Mangwiro in the National Assembly from 0830 hours to 1000 hours.
PUBLIC DEBT MANAGEMENT BILL (H.B. 1A. 2015)
First Order read: Consideration: Public Debt Management Bill, 2015 (H.B. 1A, 2015) as amended.
Amendments to Clauses 2,5,7,8,11,13,20,22,23,29,31,37 and 38 put and agreed to.
Bill, as amended, adopted.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
PUBLIC DEBT MANAGEMENT BILL (H. B. 1, 2015)
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): I move that the Public Debt Management Bill (H.B. 1A, 2015) be now read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the
Question again proposed.
- J. M. GUMBO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
- MUKWANGWARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd July, 2015.
RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON CHILD RIGHTS ON
THE ORDER PAPER
- D. S. SIBANDA: I move the motion standing in my name that the Motion on Child Rights which was superseded by the end of the First Session of the Eighth Parliament be restored on the Order Paper in terms of Standing Order No. 73.
- GONESE: I second.
- D. S. SIBANDA: Madam Speaker, on the 24th September, 2014, I gave notice to move a motion and it was not debated since we had come to the end of the First Session. I therefore, seek the indulgence of this House to have the same notice of motion restored on the Order Paper for tomorrow. Thank you.
Question again proposed.
- GONESE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker, this is just a procedural issue and I second. I also beg the indulgence of the House to have the motion restored to the Order Paper so that we can do
justice to it.
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
MRS. CHIKWAMA: Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the
Day Numbers 4, 5 and 6 on today’s Order Paper, be stood over until we
have disposed of Order of the Day Number 7.
MRS. MAHOKA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE DELEGATION ON THE HIV/AIDS
LEARNING AND EXPOSURE STUDY VISIT TO
KARNATAKA STATE, INDIA
Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the report of the delegation of the HIV/AIDS Learning and Exposure Study Visit to Karnataka State, India.
Question again proposed.
- MANDIPAKA: On a Point of Order Madam Speaker. I
stand to be guided by the Chair, I take note from the proceedings on Thursday when Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga alleged that I was employed during the Smith regime.
For the record, Madam Speaker, I was only 15 years old at the time that she is talking about. I got employed – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections] – I got employed in the Zimbabwe Republic Police on 18th March, 1988 when this country had already attained its independence. I stand to be guided about what was recorded in the
Hansard - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Order. Hon. Mandipaka, the
remarks were made during a debate of a certain motion. I think you should raise your concerns when we get to that motion.
- MANDIPAKA: On a point of order Madam Speaker, this
Hansard is a booklet of public record. I was never employed by Ian
Smith. I was employed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police on 18th March. 1988.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, order. Order hon. members. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - Order, order in the House. Can I have order in the House? The ruling of the Chair is that when we get to that motion, you will have all the time to debate and express whatever you wish.
- CHINOTIMBA: Madam …- [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. members, everyone has a right to express his or her thoughts. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - Order, hon. members at the back there, you cannot continue being emotional otherwise at the end of the day, I will send someone out. –[ HON. MISIHAIRABWI – MUSHONGA: Inaudible
interjection] - Hon. Misihairabwi, I am talking to hon. members as a Presiding Officer and no one should respond to whatever I am saying here. You cannot help me because I know what I am doing.
- CHINOTIMBA: On a point of order Madam Speaker, Hon.
Sibanda from Binga continues to incite anger by calling the hon.
member mudzakutsaku and that is what that hon. Member is refuting.
So who is mudzakutsaku? We want people to answer whether Mandipaka is mudzakutsaku right now.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. member, go and take your seat.
We want to proceed with the business of this House.
MR HOLDER: On a point of order Madam Speaker, I believe
this is an august House and we should learn to have facts and tell the truth, because if we begin to entertain lies, malicious injury to a person’s reputation, politically that person will have a problem in future. He will not be allowed to debate because he has already debated on that debate. So she needs to recant what she said in the Hansard.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can you please leave
me to do my duty. There is no point of order, sit down.
- GUMBO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
- GONESE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd July, 2015.
HARMONISATION OF THE MINES AND MINERALS ACT
AND THE LAND ACQUISITION ACT
Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need to harmonise the Mines and Minerals Act and the Land Acquisition Act.
Question again proposed.
MR GONESE: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
- D. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd July, 2015.
PEOPLE-CENTRED DEVELOPMENTAL POLICIES AND
MEASURES ON IMPROVING DOMESTIC PRODUCTION AND
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT
Ninth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the deteriorating social and economic conditions in the country.
Question again proposed.
*MR. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would
want to thank Hon. Mashakada for the motion that he raised in this august House, a motion that looks at the interests of the population of Zimbabwe. Mr. Speaker, if you recall, in my Maiden Speech in this august House, I did say that hon. members on both sides of the House should behave in a mature manner as is befitting of a people’s representative. However, the problem that we have in this country is that we are self-centred in terms of party affiliation, either as ZANU PF and MDC and I did refer to that as corruption. If someone has come up with a grand idea and we look down upon it, that is corruption.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me thank Hon. Mashakada for the motion. What I am going to say on this motion pertaining to the state of the economy of Zimbabwe is how it all started. There is always a warning that the rain is coming because you first see a cloud and several clouds will then gather. Once dark clouds have gathered, there will be rainfall.
I heard the reason why we have vendors and why other problems arose. This is what I am going to address. I gave you my video so that it can be played; it has Part One and Two. The reasons why Zimbabwe finds itself in this state are on the video. May the video be played, then I will give a commentary and if you increase the sound. Once it has been played, I will speak on it –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]–
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order, order hon.
members! I am told that there is no volume, so you can proceed with your debate.
*MR. CHINOTIMBA: The respective submission that I
submitted is the basis of my debate. I have freedom to do whatever I should be doing. Hon. Khupe had her video played in this august House. If there is no volume, I request that the ICT officers be called and attend to that technical fault. Thereafter, I will be in a position to debate – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chinotimba, if you
require the sound, you can adjourn the debate today and once that has been resolved, you can continue with your debate.
*MR. CHINOTIMBA: I will wait for that to be done. Thank
- KEREKE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to contribute on a very important motion, which is very relevant as presented by Dr. Mashakada. The motion situates the debate in the context of the
Government programme, ZIM ASSET and how we need to improve the policy framework in order to improve the situation in our economy. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to first add to the debate by giving the definition of capital flight.
Capital flight refers to the outflow of wealth from a country over a defined time-period. Such wealth can be in cash or commodities/nonmonetary assets.
The reasons for capital flight vary from country to country, and even in the same country, the reasons may vary overtime. Most causes of capital flight are:
- Holders of wealth fearing that the aggregate value of their wealth is likely to fall due to drastic adverse exchange rate movements.
- Fear that changes in tax policies may erode investment returns.
- Fear that general macro-economic and financial instabilities may worsen overall economic performance which would undermine the net-worth of investments.
- Corruption and general rent-seeking behaviour leading to embezzlement transfers of wealth out of a country.
- Routine disinvestments following autonomous decisions of investors offshore as investors may simply be taking out their money in line with their original investment decisions.
LEGITIMATE VERSUS ILLEGAL CAPITAL FLIGHT
Illegal capital flight occurs when the wealth outflows are being
done in ways that flout a country’s regulatory framework. Legitimate capital flight is when the wealth outflows are not breaking the law, but are carried out in the normal course of doing business.
GENERAL EFFECTS OF CAPITAL FLIGHT
Well established facts confirm that the phenomenon of capital flight creates socio-economic and political hardships for the affected economy. The wealth that flies out creates financial vacuums in the domestic economy which depresses markets for producers, reduces savings, erodes investment and job opportunities, erode household incomes, reduces productive assets, erodes Government revenues through reduced taxes, as well as undermine financial stability through the resultant cash-flow shortages arising from the capital flight.
CAPITAL FLIGHT IN ZIMBABWE
Zimbabwe’s macro-economic policies need to be re-aligned to decisively plug-off the high incidence of capital flight characterizing the economy. Estimates as at June 2015, based on a combination of balance of payments analysis against Zimbabwe’s potential equilibrium performance (macro-economic steady state growth path) indicate that annually, Zimbabwe lost an average of US$1.5 billion annually through capital flight between 2012 and June 2015 (US$5.25 billion cumulative over the three and half years). -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, vehicle ADL 0668 is
blocking other vehicles. Thank you.
- KEREKE: This drain from the economy has been and
continues to be at the instance of both illegal and legitimate channels. Of the estimated cumulative US$5.25 billion lost between January, 2012 and June 2015, about US$3.15 billion (60%) is estimated to have arisen from illegitimate (embezzlement) wealth transfers from the country by individuals and companies, whilst the balance of around US$2.1 billion (40%) is estimated to have been on account of the following marketrelated factors:
- Zimbabwe is a dollarised economy. This effectively sterilizes monetary policy autonomy, limiting and directly undercutting the ability of the central bank to re-balance financial asset prices through interest rates and exchange rates.
- The subdued performance of the Zimbabwean economy, aggravated by dated technology; regressing agro-production due to droughts, funneled supply chain for agricultural inputs, weak oversight and farm tillage constraints; the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West; brazen daylight robbery by the banking sector which charges parasitic borrowing interest rates of between 15-35% in an environment of negative annual inflation; dissipation of institutional effectiveness due to rampant corruption particularly in the public sector; all triggered a self propelling momentum driving out capital.
- Under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) policy advice, Zimbabwe has been and continues to religiously implement austerity measures which have had the unfortunate effect of further driving the economy into a painful recession, marketed by negative inflation (-2.65% in April, 2015) and underperformance in key productive sectors. In Greece, capital flight during the period 2012 to June 2015 is estimated to have averaged Euro 4 billion per week, whilst in the case of Spain, that country lost Euro 100 billion in a mere 3 months in the first quarter of 2012.
In Zimbabwe, illegitimate exit corridors for capital flight which need to be closed are many. Examples are:
- Smuggling of diamonds and opaque marketing practices.
- Undervaluation of Zimbabwe’s diamonds due to exportation in raw form.
- Platinum group of metals (PGMs) being exported in crudely semiprocessed forms, with limited certainty on true values and range of minerals refined.
- Gold being smuggled as well as at some point being sold out of Fidelity Refinery to a Saudi Arabian private jeweler at an incomprehensible discount of 34% yet gold is as good as cash.
- Corrupt overpricing of imported equipment and consumables, driven by kickbacks.
- Overvalued expatriate management contracts that siphon exorbitant management fees.
- Shipment of commodities, for example sugar without proper valuation systems at points of exit of financial bulk quantities.
- Shipment of raw chrome without proper valuation.
- Pre-payments by tourists on special packages, with the funds being kept offshore outside Zimbabwe’s financial system
- Splitting of loans where cashflows/commodities especially oil, are siphoned to offshore accounts before reaching Zimbabwe. Under this scenario, capital flight is sealed when the whole loan facility is repaid from within the country yet the original loan facility would not have fully reached the country.
- Actual cash and precious minerals being flown out in private jets and other light aircrafts.
Further evidence of acute capital flight in Zimbabwe can be easily traced by analysis of the significant reduction in total deposits from the banking sector. Between 30 June, 2014 and end of April, 2015
Zimbabwe’s bank deposits fell from US$5.96 billion to US$4.4 billion, a cumulative fall of US$56 million in 10 months.
BAD ECONOMICS AND CAPITAL FLIGHT: TRAGEDY OF
It is a sad reality that Zimbabwe will not receive any meaningful
(if at all) funding from the IMF and the World Bank as long as the
USA’s Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) of 2001 remains in place. Paradoxically, and tragically however, the IMF remains a constant confluence seemingly with enigmatic powers over the country’s Treasury in shaping the flow of Zimbabwe’s macroeconomic policies and statutory revisions in the areas of fiscal and financial management.
The IMF’s policy prescriptions in Zimbabwe have been tragic in the sense that their stance has been to perennially insist that Government of Zimbabwe exercises austerity even when both common sense and tangible macroeconomic realities impel that stimulus (expansionary) policies be implemented to propel economic recovery and growth.
In medicine, a patient who is acutely underweight and ill cannot recover fast if the doctor’s perennial prescription is blind belt-tightening and sustained weight loss programmes.
Historically, the IMF has been and continues to be steadfast in prescribing austerity as the all-weather, all terrain mantra for macroeconomic stability yet contemporary economics suggests that for countries such as Zimbabwe where there is negative inflation and depressed production in the real sectors of the economy, the right policies should be expansionary fiscal and monetary regimes to give impetus to the real sectors.
The IMF’s orthodox neo-liberal stance seems to be driven by a virtual-cult-chorus closely resembling Joseph Goebell’s “big lie” strategy. Joseph Goebell who was the Nazi propaganda Minister fathered “the big lie strategy” which he defined as “when one lies one should lie big and stick to it … if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”.
The IMF’s big lie which is throwing developing countries such as
Zimbabwe into protracted recessions is that “the state spends too much on such things as infrastructure, education, defence, healthcare, and social welfare, among others, and is over borrowed creating unsustainable fiscal deficits and high national debt, and that the only way out is for Government to cut spending (austerity)”.
This approach by the IMF is pathologically self-defeating and dangerous for developing economies, especially when such economies have idle capacity, negative inflation and subdued real economic activity as is the case in Zimbabwe. Cutting too deep especially if done too fast, brings pronounced harm to the economy as aggregate demand in both public and private sectors shrinks under the ill-conceived austerity measures, at a time when the reason for the recession in the first place was lack of internal markets for domestic producers.
Instead of swallowing the impotent IMF bitter pill of even suggesting job lay-offs in the civil service and non-payment of bonuses, the Government of Zimbabwe should work to spend more money as opposed to cutting back. Government of Zimbabwe should optimize usage of internal revenue flows by centralizing all revenue collection at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) as opposed to the current wasteful splintered approach (where ministries are at each other’s throat competing to collect revenue themselves so as to smell the proverbial rose). The Government should also identify willing regional and global partners who can deploy resources in job creating infrastructure projects such as roads, dams, irrigation schemes, power generation, sugarcane plantations, mining, agro-processing and many more. At current levels of GDP, Zimbabwe can borrow US$3.5 to US$5 billion without upsetting medium to long-term debt sustainability, contrary to the IMF prognosis.
Examples on why IMF policies must be taken with caution:
- The IMF says developing countries must cut their wage bill and other expenses to balance fiscal books and reduce debt. The reality however, is that doing so leads to cutting essential areas like health, education, security and social welfare to foist weak statehood on the developing countries.
- The IMF says developing countries should reduce debt to GDP ratios through AUSTERITY to low levels, yet in the case of developed countries, the same IMF is silent on the very high gross government debt to GDP ratios. The table below demonstrates this duplicity by the IMF:
IMF Duplicity on Government Debt to GDP ratios
|Country||Gross Government Debt to GDP ratio (2012)|
Source: IMF data base.
The meaning from the above data is very clear: whilst the IMF ties the hands of developing country governments by discouraging them from gainfully borrowing in blind pursuit of AUSTERITY, the same IMF pays a blind eye as the developed world goes on the rampage printing US dollars, Euros and Yuen to fund their budgets through money market bills. The common sense point here is that it is alright for Government of Zimbabwe to borrow, even from domestic markets and increase job-creating spending and infrastructure as opposed to being blinkered by the IMF into suicidal austerity. Government of Zimbabwe is therefore, strongly advised to set aside the IMF’s policy direction of civil service retrenchments and expenditure cuts, but instead work to grow the economy to create more fiscal revenue through a comprehensive fiscal stimulus. This pragmatic approach will create more jobs, growing internal markets, and rising savings and investment which would stimulate overall economic performance and in turn plug off capital flight.
To increase internal revenue collection, Government of Zimbabwe should also adopt the following mix of strategies:
- Stop the “mini-battles of cash” currently characterising ministries where each ministry seems to now want to levy and collect their own revenues, independent of the main budget. ZIMRA must be the sole collector of Government revenues. This includes the land tax and all other levies. Such funds must be centralised at ZIMRA which in turn should transfer the money to the central bank in
Government’s account. Such centralisation brings greater transparency and more fiscal space than is the case as of July 2015.
- Improvement in the revenue collection methods to minimise tax evasions.
- The idea of the National Social Security (NSSA) forming a bank should be set aside. Instead, NSSA funds should be pooled for long-term infrastructure development. Treasury should create a suitable financial instrument which NSSA should subscribe to each month to the tune of US$10.15 million monthly as of June 2015 premium and claims levels.
A thriving economy typically self-cures the fiscal revenue and public debt nexus through positive multiplier effects and reinforcing hysteresis, supported by rational optimism.
WHY CORRUPTION AND EMBEZZLEMENT CAPITAL FLIGHT HAVE BECOME IMPRINTED IN ZIMBABWE: A
CLEAR CASE OF FISCAL NEGLECT OF THE PROSECUTION
ARM OF GOVERNMENT
In China, corruption is fought through stiff penalties on those caught doing it. This is the trend in most economies the world over.
In Zimbabwe, whilst there is a comprehensive legal framework and multiple institutions to deal with corruption, the corruption menace is fast engulfing the entire country because of the shocking neglect by the country’s Treasury to fund the National Prosecution Authority (NPA). As a result, corruption cases take ages to be completed at the courts, whilst the resultant cashless state of the NPA becomes fertile ground for prosecutors to become corrupt.
The table below summarises the shocking reality in Zimbabwe where the National Prosecution Authority is on the verge of grinding to a halt due to acute under provisioning of funding by the Treasury.
THE IMPOSSIBLE MISSION: HOW ZIMBABWE
TREASURY HAS SYSTEMATICALLY WEAKENED THE
PROSECUTION ARM OF GOVERNMENT LEADING TO THE
SCOURGES OF CORRUPTION AND EMBEZZLEMENT
CAPITAL FLIGHT, AMONG OTHER CRIMINAL VICES
The Table below shows the very disturbing reality of a crippling financial position obtaining at the National Prosecution Authority (NPA), the pivotal institution that must prosecute and deter embezzlement, capital flight and corruption among other vices undercutting socio-economic progression in the country.
|BID BY NPA
JAN-DEC 2015) $
JUNE 2015 $
|36 950 863||750 000||274 234||This situation is clear deliberate neglect, with far reaching adverse implications of
Zimbabwe’s fight against crime, more so corruption and capital flight
For the whole of 2015, Zimbabwe as a country set aside a mere US$ 750 000 (under US$1 million) to sustain the whole machinery of prosecution country-wide. This was after the National Prosecuting
Authority (NPA)’s US$36.9 million bid for 2015 was cut to three quarters of a million dollars for the whole year. On the minuscule
US$750 000 for 2015, an analysis for the NPA’s receipts from Treasury shows that only US$274 234 (US$45.7 thousand per month) was allocated for the whole of Zimbabwe’s prosecution operations countrywide from Zambezi to Limpopo.
The message is clear. It should be no wonder that corruption and embezzlement are ills that have taken root in Zimbabwe. The Prosecuting arm of Government is completely paralysed.
There is a National Crisis of acute underfunding at NPA. Without delays, Government needs to create financial room for the NPA. As a start, the NPA could get its full entitlement from the court retention fund under which it should be allocated 30%.
The NPA Act CAP 7:20 Section 32 (9) requires that the NPA receives 30% of total collection under the court retention fund.
ROLE OF THE CENTRAL BANK
The Central Bank plays a critical role in plugging off capital flight in the economy. The following areas are critical:
- Tighter administration and enforcement of the country’s exchange control regulations.
- Expansion of the Financial Intelligence Unit.
- Increase on-sight supervision and surveillance of the banking sector.
- Direct participation in gold buying.
- Implementation of policies that maintain a stable financial system. Credible monetary policies and a stable financial system minimising capital flight.
- Close collaboration with the Securities Commission and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange to plug off illegal trading.
- Policy advocacy.
- Implementing a deliberate strategy to build Zimbabwe’s gross foreign exchange reserves. This would build confidence to investors land other holders of wealth.
- Closely monitor the activities of mobile networks and money transfer agents in respect of funds transferred to prevent capital flight risks.
ROLE OF GOVERNMENT, POLITICAL PARTIES AND
The Government, political parties and the media also have important roles to play through a combination of the following factors:
- The Government should create and maintain a stable socioeconomic and political environment so that wealth holders are not jittery about future money and capital market developments.
Policies should be predictable over investors’ planning horizons.
- Political parties must move away from the current stupor of perpetual power tussles and infighting and focus on the economy and other focal areas directly relating to people’s livelihoods.
- The media must be fair, balanced and objective when reporting on matters of the economy. Reckless, non-factual reporting scares
away investment and leads to capital flight. In the world of business and finance, perceptions are reality through the phenomena of rational expectations and self fulfilling prophecies.
- All stakeholders must declare total war against corruption in all its forms.
- Government must build and maintain credibility through implementation of set policies. I thank you
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
- GUMBO: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that we temporarily adjourn the debate to allow the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services to make a response on a motion on the Order Paper, motion number 27 because she has an appointment at 3.30 p.m. I thank you.
- MUKWANGWARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC
SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES ON THE
OPERATIONS OF THE NATIONAL SOCIAL SECURITY
Twenty Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the
First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Services, Labour and
Social Services on the operations of the National Social Security Authority.
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND
SOCIAL SERVICES (MRS. MUPFUMIRA): Thank you Mr.
Speaker. I want to start by thanking the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Services for the objective report on the operations of National Social Security Authority
In my response I will deal with the Committee’s recommendations and issues one by one.
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social welfare should review the NSSA Act to provide for increment of members of the NSSA Board to ensure that both employers and employees are fairly represented. Further, decentralization of services and reimbursement of beneficiaries for expenses incurred in efforts to access services such as travelling and related costs.
The recommendation to increase NSSA board members to ensure that both employers and employees are fairly represented, is already embraced in the provisions of the NSSA Act. NSSA is governed on a tripartite arrangement and this is enshrined in Section 6, of the National Social Security Act, which provides that three members of the board will be from the employer organisations, three members from employee organisations and the last three members will be appointed by the Minister for their ability and experience in administration of finance or their professional qualifications. Hence all the social partners have
equal representation on the NSSA Board. Further, decentralization of NSSA services in order to minimize travelling on costs is being achieved through decentralization of both functions and offices throughout the country.
On the matter of decentralization of NSSA operations, let me inform this House that NSSA is fairly represented in all the 10 provinces in the country with the following offices, it has regional offices in the following cities: -
|Chinhoyi||Mashonaland West||Regional Office|
NSSA also has sub regional offices in the following centres
|Marondera||Mashonaland East||Sub Regional Office|
|Bindura||Mashonaland Central||Sub Regional Office|
|Hwange||Matabeleland North||Sub Regional Office|
|Victoria Falls||Matabeleland North||Sub Regional Office|
|Gwanda||Matabeleland South||Sub Regional Office|
|Beitbridge||Matabeleland South||Sub Regional Office|
|Kwekwe||Midlands||Sub Regional Office|
|Rusape||Manicaland||Sub Regional Office|
|Chipinge||Manicaland||Sub Regional Office|
|Chiredzi||Masvingo||Sub Regional Office|
|Kadoma||Mashonaland West||Sub Regional Office|
|Kariba||Mashonaland West||Sub Regional Office|
These service centres provide services to NSSA pensioners, employers and employees. There is no need for one to travel to Harare anymore as these centres provide all the needed services.
The second recommendation is a limit of five year, two terms tenure in office for the chief Executive Officer, only renewed subject to performance and the job position should be awarded on the basis of character and achievements. Term limit for the Chief Executive Officer will be discussed with the newly appointed NSSA Board and also with reference to the National Board on Corporate Governance in Zimbabwe. The Government of Zimbabwe is currently looking at contract terms for all parastatal heads.
The third recommendation is that NSSA should make deliberate efforts towards increasing worker participation in decision making and updating beneficiaries of developments since it is a publicly financed entity. The recommendation is noted and in addition to the publicity, media cited on page 8 of the report, I have already discussed with NSSA management to prioritise rural outreach programmes. They went out to rural areas starting 2014 but we had agreed that they should increase rural outreach programmes such as participation at provincial and district agricultural shows, including ward and councillor gatherings, schools and commanders cheer fund.
On the basis of the widespread multi-million dollar projects, NSSA is currently engaged, in the entity has adequate capital to increase monthly pension benefits from $60 to $150 an amount which should be payable to survivors in the event of the death of the actual member so that meaningful impact is made on their lives. My response is on increasing minimum monthly pensions from the current $60 to $150. I want to say this is desirable but we have to consult actuaries on the impact this would have to the fund and due diligence will have to be done on the impact these monthly contributions would have on the future payments of benefits. Multi-million dollar projects referred in the report are meant to preserve value for future payment of pensions. Below are the figures showing the minimum monthly pension increases from 2010 to date:
|Benefits Type||2013 with effect from 1/8/13||2012||2011||2010|
|Funeral grant (per death of a member||$300.00||$20.00||$20.00||$20.00|
The fifth recommendation is that NSSA should decentralize its operations to the districts and increase publicity campaigns of its operations. I have already alluded to this question and preparations are underway to increase rural and high density outreach programmes. NSSA has 18 offices countrywide in order to be close to the stakeholders. Adoption of a defined pension scheme is clear on the amount a member will receive after retirement rather than a contributory scheme under which benefits are unknown.
The National Pension Scheme is a defined benefit scheme and not a defined contribution scheme. The formula for calculating one’s pension is known well before retirement. This formula is contained in Statutory Instrument 393 of 1993 and has been publicized in newspaper and NSSA pamphlets. The pension formula for benefits under National Pension Scheme is calculated at accrual rate times, insurable earnings at retirement by number of years contributed. The level of the ceiling affects the level of pensions and lengths of contributory period affect level of pension e.g.
1.33% X $200.00 x 19.5 years = $52.00
1.33% X $700.00 x 19.5 years = $182.00
Yet minimum monthly pension is pegged at $60.00 per month
NSSA should build its own referral hospitals and clinics around the country in consultation with beneficiaries. The NSSA Board will discuss the issue of building hospitals country wide. At the moment, NSSA has invested in Ekhusileni Medical Centre in Bulawayo and Chitungwiza South Medical Centre. The priority at the moment is to construct a hospital and lease it out to professionals in the health field.
The other recommendation is of the downwards review of the retirement age from 55 years to 45 and 50 years which will benefit the disabled since they are already a vulnerable group. Therefore, members should start receiving benefits as soon as they retire, even before reaching the age of 60. Statistics show that people now live longer than before and longevity is now a threat to most social security schemes worldwide. Therefore, consultations are necessary and we involve actuaries on the impact of reducing the retirement age on the fund.
NSSA should be thorough and conscious when venturing into projects using public resources. The recommendation on thoroughness on investment projects is noted. I have discussed on investment policy with NSSA and we are working out some changes to the policy with an intention to tighten some of the processes in investment decisions and prioritization. Actually, one of the key mandates of the newly appointed board is to review the NSSA Investment Policy so that it is aligned to
the expectations of the ZIM ASSET in terms of development issues. Hence, the need to have an investment mix which takes into account the welfare of pensioners. It is necessary for NSSA Investment Policy to address issues relating to infrastructural development, agricultural production, processing and marketing, small and medium enterprises and housing, especially low income earners. We want the Investment Policy to also focus on issues of job creation rather than simply concentrating on Money Market Investment.
RECOMMENDATION 6.11 – NSSA SHOULD PROVIDE
CHEAP, BASIC HOUSING SCHEMES FOR LOWLY PAID EMPLOYEES WHO FORM THE BULK OF ITS FINANCIAL BASE.
The NSSA Housing Policy is biased towards low cost housing which targets lowly paid employees. The Rusike Housing Project in Marondera was for lowly paid employees and the current housing project in Masvingo is also targeting lowly paid employees. There will be development in Bulawayo also for lowly paid employees. This is a deliberate policy by NSSA in order to provide affordable housing to lowly paid employees in our country. There is a roll out plan to cover all the provinces and hopefully, even moving into districts depending on availability of resources.
You may be aware that in fulfillment of the housing delivery programme under ZIM ASSET, NSSA is in the process of registering a building society which will concentrate on low cost housing. A board for the Social Security Building Society (SSBZ) is already in place and the top management is being recruited in fulfillment of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe licencing requirements. This arrangement should go a long way in ensuring that housing is accessible to most low income earners.
RECOMMENDATION 6.12 – MEMBERS OF NSSA
SCHEMES SHOULD BE ENABLED TO USE THEIR
MEMBERSHIP AS COLLATERAL TO ACCESS LOANS.
The desire of the Committee to enable scheme members to use their membership as collateral in order to access loans is noted.
However, this may be in contravention of Section 45 of the National Social Security Act (Chapter 17: 04) whose heading reads, “Benefits cannot be pledged or ceded nor to form part of insolvent estate”. The SSBZ will however, be able to provide desired loans to members at low interest provided that all requirements are met.
Let me assure the Committee that as Minister now in charge of NSSA, I will ensure that there is good corporate governance at the parastatal. All business will be conducted subject to thorough scrutiny by the Board. It is no longer business as usual because the working ethics have changed. I will keep the Portfolio Committee updated on progress regarding the above and other recommendations to make NSSA a reputable parastatal. I thank you.
- CHIBAYA: Firstly, I want to thank the Hon. Minister for responding to the report of the Portfolio Committee. I am also a member of this Committee. I just want to say the reason why we are proposing a review of the retirement of pension from US$60 to US$150, we took into consideration pensioner travelling for example, Gokwe to Gweru and back, it is about US$20 and one remains only with US$40. We kindly request you good office if you could assist on the review of this retirement pension. I thank you.
- NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the hon. Minister for her broad response to the report. However, what I need clarification on is the issue of the two five year terms that we requested to know, where she says the board is going meet and talk about it. I need to know with what intention they are going to meet on especially regarding the present Chief Executive Officer who as we believe as a Committee, has out lived his welcome.
- BUNJIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I need clarity from the hon. Minister. Hon. Minister, I heard you talking of Ekusileni and Southmed hospitals. What I want to understand is, is Ekusileni hospital owned by NSSA or other members? Is it providing medical treatment to people right now? Thank you.
MRS. MUFUMIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to thank
Hon. Chibaya for his question. The US$60 to US$150 proposal is noted.
In my report, I also referred to the fact that we will discuss with the actuaries and find out the implications on the fund as well as the contributions of the members. It is something which will be considered
I want to also thank Hon. Nduna for his question on the tenure of the Chief Executive Officer. We are all aware that the Minister is new in the Ministry. There was no board and the Minister just appointed a board two weeks ago. I said in my response that the board will be mandated to review the contracts, tenure and so on of the chief executive officers and other executives. It is up to the newly appointed board to look into those issues. The tenure of the Chief Executive Officer is one of those issues which the board is mandated to review. I will inform the House when appropriate.
I want the thank Hon. Bunjira for the question about the hospitals.
Southmed Hospital in Chitungwiza, NSSA is a shareholder. Ekhusileni Hospital was an idea from the late Vice President, Cde. Joshua Nkomo as a Family and Child Health Care Trust and NSSA. NSSA was requested to be a core-member of the project.
However, the other people who were supposed to be shareholders failed to contribute to the building of the hospital. NSSA funded the building of the hospital 100%, therefore the hospital building belongs to
NSSA. However, NSSA is not in the business of running hospitals. The Health Care Trust and the Ministry of Health and Child Care are responsible for the actual running of the hospital. NSSA handed over the buildings to the Health Care Trust and the Ministry of Health and Child Care. So, the rest of the story will be attended to by the Ministry of Health and Child Care because NSSA is only the owner of the building, they are not into the business of running hospitals. I thank you.
Hon. members having stood up to ask more questions.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I had only allowed 3 questions
for clarification, so, we need to resume our debate.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
- J. GUMBO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22 July, 2015.
- J. GUMBO: I move that we revert to Order No. 9.
- MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
*MS. MPARIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I thank you for the opportunity that you have given me to contribute to the motion that was raised by Hon. Mashakada. Hon. Speaker, I know that this motion has been debated by members from both sides of the House from the time it was brought into the House.
I want to say that I am going to focus my debate on issues that have not been debated, especially those pertaining to women which looks at socio-economic problems and that which hinges on workers- [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – Hon. Speaker, can you protect me, there is too much noise in the House].
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order hon. members, can the
hon. member be heard in silence.
*MS. MPARIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Hon. Speaker, if you are to look closely, you will realize that there are so many challenges in the country. This was highlighted by the first speaker. I want to look at the challenges that I highlighted before, those which focus on the women in general. If the country is not economically stable – considering what Hon. Kereke said, if there is no food security, people are found languishing in poverty because they spend most of their time trying to source financial income to sustain their families.
If you look at the issue of health, women are troubled in their homes because there is no medication and children cannot get medication from the hospitals. Hon. Speaker, if you look at the diseases that surround us like HIV/AIDS and the plight of those who are physically challenged and look after in our homes, if there is no medication and adequate salaries for the nurses, it means that even those in hospitals can be unable to assist the sick because they are not being remunerated in a satisfactory manner.
On the issue of education, if the country is facing economic problems like it is now, children cannot go to school. A girl child is deprived of going to school, unlike the boy child. The girl child is looked upon as the head in a family; she would have been denied a chance to go to school because of financial challenges in the home. If you look at what I am talking about, hon. Speaker, it reflects that in a family, if children cannot access education and there is no food, violence prevails, what we call gender based violence.
Such situations have caused the boy child to go to the diaspora, to such countries as South Africa and Botswana, including other neighbouring countries. In the past, we used to be a country that employed people from other parts of the region because we had food security and good education and health systems. During the same period, people were able to earn a descent living. The farmers were able to get inputs and implements to engage in meaningful farming and people were able to sustain themselves. The reports which come into this House hon. Speaker, raise so many concerns in respect of what is happening in the various ministries and the way in which people are being treated.
Let me go back and look at what is happening in the streets. There are children, I am sure most of you have witnessed this; you have come across street kids who come and knock on your window during school hours and the question is; what is that child doing when others are in school? Sometimes you realize that there will be an elderly woman behind the kid also trying to find a way of living. If you go to restaurants such as Chicken Inn, you also find children coming to grab your food because they are hungry. What I am saying is that these are all challenges that face women because they focus on the family.
When we talk of a family, there is a father in that home, but it is the woman who bears the burden. The workers who are in the employment sector are not being remunerated. Some spend six months without a salary. Some people are not even getting cash, if you work in a shoe factory, you are given shoes at the end of the month and if you work at a factory that supplies electricity, you are given electricity. This has led to people going out of the country to Mozambique or Zambia to look for jobs.
If you see a woman with a dish selling vegetables, it means that is what is available for them to do because there are no jobs anymore and they need to sustain their families. Then when we look at the issue of housing, if you look at Mbare, you will find that the homes there are inhabitable. Look at the hostels, they do not have windows and doors and there are no taps for them to access water. This is an urban centre and surprisingly, there are more boreholes than those that are found in the rural areas.
If you move around, you will find a school child or someone with a scotch-cart selling firewood. The inadequacy of housing and financial backing are all challenges that are being faced by the woman. I think that poverty has a woman’s face here in Zimbabwe. If there is no electricity, it is the woman who faces challenges in providing food for the family. Mr. Speaker Sir, as women, we also want to live happy lives and be able to sustain our families. If you look at those in Botswana, they are doing well. Industries should be resuscitated and jobs should be made available. These jobs should pay reasonable wages for people to survive because if a person is not getting adequate wages, those people would be found crossing the borders going to other areas.
I also want to talk about transport. If you look at the commuter omnibuses, they normally ferry women because the people who are travelling the most are women. They go and order their vegetables in the morning and if you look at the way that these commuter omnibuses operate and the routes that they take, they actually move where farming has taken place and that is dangerous. As a woman, one’s dignity is affected. Mr. Speaker, these are all challenges that affect the woman folk.
Lastly, I want to talk about the way that people are living, from the farmer to the informal traders. You will realise that they only get their daily wages and as for tomorrow, they do not know what the future holds. My plea Mr. Speaker is, if only the Government could do something about the employment of such people to ensure that people sustain their families. The 2 500 jobs should be taken seriously. The 52% of the population in this country is women and the next fraction of people are the youths and then the other fraction is comprised of 2 million people who are disabled and you will see that these are in Zimbabwe.
Mr. Speaker, if the economy is not financially stable, everyone lives in poverty. So, Mr. Speaker, I support the motion that was raised by Hon. Mashakada and it is not a joke but a serious issue. If we do not do something about it, it means that the economy will continue sinking. We are in this situation because the economy is in trouble. So, I want to thank Hon. Mashakada for the motion and these are such issues that as a full House, we should support. I want to acknowledge what Hon. Kereke said, that if we want to talk about some of these issues, we should not look at our political parties because some of these issues are very important and pertinent. We come from constituencies where there are people without any jobs who survive by getting money through Ecocash. Why, it is impossible for a father to go and see his family because of the hardships. So, I want to thank you Mr. Speaker for this motion that was raised and I also want to thank those who contributed. My request is that, we adopt this motion and that the Government should ensure that jobs are made available and work on the conditions of employment for the Civil Service. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
- NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for recognising me. I want to add my voice to the noble motion by Hon. Mashakada and I need to preface it by the previous speaker who spoke eloquently about women bearing the brunt of the economic hardships. I want to continue by saying, last time I said, ‘what men can do, women can do it better’ but I did not say where this was coming from.
One time I was in the army and whilst I was still there, my wife also came into the army. So, after I finished training, she also went into training. She sent me a picture and she was holding an FN rifle in a unique way. Those days it was letter writing because there were no cell phones and I wrote a letter to her saying, how do you hold your rifle, the way you are holding it? She said to me, what you could do, I am doing it better and what men can do, women can do better. So Mr. Speaker, this is where my statement comes from.
I need to touch on the issue of stopping corruption. What I have said to the electorate in Chegutu is that, as I am here like all the other hon. members; I have a three in one role – the representative, the legislative, the oversight role and the lawmaking. I have said to my constituency members that if we continue to ask for money from Members of Parliament, we are only doing them and their selves disservice because as a constituency member or representative, I preside over 50 000 electorate. So, if all of them wanted a dollar each from me each day because of the economic hardships, I will have to pump out
$50 000 per day. I have said to them, if we calculate that monthly times 30, I will have to pump out $1 500 per month and that I would not be able to do.
I urge hon. members in this House to speak against corruption and to speak for the enhancement of economic development that speaks to constituency members working for themselves whilst the hon, representative of the constituencies that are here in this House open avenues for the development of this economy. One such avenue is to advocate strongly against corruption.
Mr. Speaker Sir, you might have seen me one day in the press - close to a lot of bills of US dollars and this comes out as somebody who wants to speak against the brown envelope in the journalism fraternity.
This is where corruption should stop. If one says today, as a legislature, I will put my foot down and I will not pay to have my name cleaned up to the journalism fraternity, it is going to stop corruption. I want corruption in that sector to stop today and I want to be an example of somebody who is not going to pay to have his name exonerated on something that they have not done. So, I speak to hon. members here today not to promote corruption, especially in the journalism fraternity.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I also want to talk of increased production in the domestic sector. The issue of Special Economic Zones has gone far and wide. Recently, we saw Hon. Vice President Mnangagwa traversing the length and breadth of China to seek for the establishment of the Special Economic Zones. Where China is buying cotton at 10c/kg, what we need to do is to incentivise those companies in the manufacturing sector that are buying cotton at 10c/kg to come and establish their companies here in Zimbabwe in the Special Economic Zones. We need to incentivise these companies by 100% capital repatriation and profit amongst other things for a certain period. This is the way we can increase domestic production. We are crying that our cotton is being bought for 30c/kg where we want it to go to 80c/kg. We need to bring in those companies that are buying at 10c/kg to come in and get incentivised and engage in agricultural operation that is going to bring out that cotton in bulk where our price is then going to go at 80c/kg.
Based on that, I also need to ask this august House to support this motion in terms of bringing in companies that are going to beneficiate our mineral resources. We have more than 46 mineral resources on the Great Dyke and as I was moving the motion on exploration, I spoke volumes about how we can beneficiate besides conducting exploration on our mineral resources. We need to establish refineries Mr. Speaker Sir and backward and forward linkages, downward and upward industries that are going to tap in from the wealth of our mineral resources.
The issue of improvement in our domestic and foreign direct investment besides Special Economic Zones that are supposed to be established now for the good of the economy, will also need to make sure that our policies speak to the establishment of FDI. We need to speak to issues to do with the ease of doing business and the establishment of One-Stop-Shop so that we have no duplication of offices and services for one industry. I need to ask this House to make sure that issues to do with health, education and housing as enunciated by the previous speaker need to be dealt with now.
In Chegutu, we had a cholera epidemic in 2008/09. Why did we have this cholera epidemic, it is because we as Chegutu are treating 12 mega litres of water per month where we are supposed to be consuming 22 mega litres of water. What this means is that we have a deficiency where we are supposed to be treating our water. In Chegutu, we have got the safest water in the country where we are using two chemicals to treat our water as opposed to what is being utilised here in Harare. What we need to do is to enhance efficiency at local authority level so that we do not have reoccurrence of the cholera epidemic.
The issues where we need to enhance our housing delivery, the people that came to Chegutu were following the mines and David Whitehead Industry. They were housed in barrack-like accommodation which only accommodated a single member of the family or a single solider so to speak. These houses had become inadequate and what we see now is the father, mother, children, and nephews in the same house. This is not sustainable. If we are going to talk of economic growth, we need to address the housing challenges. The reason why councillors and chief executives in the councils are sworn into office is because they are supposed to deliver on their mandate that they have been given by the people. If they do not deliver, they have to shape up or ship out. It is the issue of local authorities on issues to do with health.
Recently, the Minister of Health and Child Care was talking on how the distribution of the Chinese $100m facility was being conducted. We also need to make sure that as we sort out our economy, we are sprucing up our health institutions where people have gone. Our people have gone from urban to rural migration ever since the agrarian reform programme of 2000. Let us make sure that those places that used to be resided by neo colonialists, the former commercial farmers now get turned into health institutions among other things to enhance both our health and our education system.
I conclude my debate Mr. Speaker Sir and I urge hon. members in this House to totally support this motion and to speak with one voice in order to rejuvenate, rehabilitate and strengthen our economy. I thank you.
- MUDEREDZWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution to this very important motion. I would like to respect Hon. Dr. Mashakada for coming up with this motion as seconded by Hon. Chimanikire and the issues that they raised in the motion. I share the prayer of the motion in that each and every one of us would like to see our economy improving or performing better. That is the desire of each and every Zimbabwean but let us look at it from this point of view. Most of the issues, some of them economic and some of them political, have been raised by previous speakers but I would like to say that we have got a journey that we travelled from 1980 to date in what I would regard as our developmental epoch.
From 1980, as we were moving coming this direction, our economy was growing. We were performing very well as a nation as resources were put to use almost 70%. Around 1998/99, that is where problems arose and of course there was ESAP. ESAP contributed a lot towards some of our companies not performing. I think we were responding to the challenges of ESAP as a region, continent and internationally. I would like to say it is reasonable for all of us to accept that sanctions contributed to the downward performance of our economy. Why do I say so? When sanctions were introduced to Zimbabwe – remember most of our industries have got Western orientation, machinery is from Europe especially Britain. When the sanctions were introduced, most of those machineries could not get spares and there was no new technology coming from that direction. This is the reason why most of these companies are no longer functional because the technology was from the European Union. We are trying to reorganise ourselves so that we can put new machinery into those factories. In a way, sanctions contributed to the downfall of our economy.
I want to talk about the issue of patriotism which is part and parcel of what has been discussed by others. For one to talk about patriotism, we need consistency and persistence over issues. I think the hon. member who introduced this motion, as a former Minister in a Government whose performance was mediocrity, repenting to say what they did in the past was wrong and we need to redirect ourselves towards building our economy. I appreciate that, the hon. member is looking back and say let us correct what happened in the past. It was to do with sanctions and all these other things.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the issues that are being raised by the hon. member, he has been describing very well the way our economy is performing, what I regard as normative economics. He was describing without proffering solutions. This economy is calling for doers not mourners. This is why our President, in his wisdom, realised that the Western countries are not supporting us in building our economy and he introduced the ‘Look East Policy’. When this happened, people did not know that the whole world is going to look east. Out of that, we see now the eastern economies performing better than the western economies and we are saying let us support our Government in the Look East Policy direction because we have seen that Russia, China and
Indonesia are growing. We would want to appreciate that in the event of Government coming into agreement with those countries, let us support
I would like to say that the issue that was raised in this House about protectionism is not good practice in economics, it can help in the short term but in the long term, it is dangerous. As we have realised, our producers are not performing. They want to make huge profits and if we protect our products without exposing them to continental and international competition, we will end up having high prices in this country. We should also realise that the US dollar in Zimbabwe is undervalued. The US dollar is a very strong currency, if you go to South Africa or elsewhere, you spend a day but in Zimbabwe US$50 is almost nothing. So, we are saying there should be efforts towards ensuring that we manage the pricing mechanism in Zimbabwe.
Something must be done. We appreciate what has been done by the Reserve Bank Governor Dr. Mangudya, he introduced small denominations so that we solve the problem of change. Mr. Speaker, because of limitations of Monetary Policy, he cannot do more. As you are aware, we are using the US dollar, we are not using the Zimbabwean dollar and the money control mechanism does not obtain in this country. What they have to do is to think of controlling interest rates and so forth but we cannot regulate our economy through the supply of money.
These are some of the challenges that I would like to urge Hon. Dr.
Mashakada to come up with solution. We need something that can help us to take our economy in the right direction.
In my view Mr. Speaker Sir, we have two important economic drivers. One of them is agriculture and the other one is mining. I want to touch a little bit on agriculture. Without supporting AgriBank in this country, our agricultural economy is not going to grow. Previously, our farmers were supported by the AgriBank. The AgriBank do follow ups to areas where they invest and out of that, we were in a position to be monitored as farmers and we get results. What happened, when AgriBank collapsed, everything collapsed. These other commercial banks are not interested in agriculture. They do not support small scale farmers – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] -. They do not support indigenous farmers. They support those farmers whom they have been working with for a long time.
So, my appeal to Government is that let us support AgriBank and see what will happen. Mr. Speaker Sir, in terms of Government policy, we need the Government to provide equipment to farmers. The Brazil deal should be done transparently. We should see that equipment is moving into areas where farming activities are taking place. Right now, we do not have enough information of what is happening as far as that programme is concerned. We need the minister to come and tell us that we have distributed 60 tractors to such a province and the tractors are used for such purposes. Transparency is very important to see us succeed in running our economy.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me talk about the issues that others do not want to talk about. It is an issue to do with policy moderation. Our investment policies are not conducive to attract investors. We are competing with other countries for foreign direct investment; we are not operating in isolation. If you move around Africa, you see the Chinese everywhere, if you move around Asia you see the Chinese everywhere. Let us moderate our policies so that we are in a position to attract investment. Of course, we have come up with ZIM ASSET and ZIM ASSET is a driver that I feel can drive our economy provided we have good policies. Right now, we are aware of the fact that the BRICS countries have come up with a new bank, the New Development Bank and the Asian countries have come up with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. These banks are going to operate very soon and we should also be looking in that direction to make sure that we get something. But, remember we are competing with other countries and this is where the issue of policy and the issue of how we do business come into play.
Mr. Speaker Sir, ZIM ASSET is a driver of our economy but if I look at how it is crafted, my feeling is that it should not be a plan that looks around five years only. It should be visionary just like the Millennium Development Goals. It should look beyond the horizon and we should then say we have got short term programmes, mid-term programmes and very long term programmes. That way we are going to be moving in the right direction lest we say after five years ZIM ASSET has failed. ZIM ASSET will not have failed because we have correctly identified the key result areas and key result areas do not change. What changes then, is how you point at your milestone.
So, we are saying in terms of implementing ZIM ASSET, let us look beyond five years, let us look beyond 2018. If we do that we will be having hopes that once money is available, we implement our programmes in the areas that would have been identified by ZIM ASSET. So, these are some of the issues that I thought I need to contribute Mr. Speaker Sir, and most of the other issues have been highlighted.
The issue that is on the table is that our economy should improve and each and every one of us is of that opinion but we need to remove the obstacles that cause our economy not to perform. With those contributions Mr. Speaker Sir, I share the prayer of the motion that has been advanced by Hon. Mashakada and hope that he was sincere. He is also just like anyone else of us going to make a contribution towards proffering suggestions for solutions. I thank you. –[HON. MEMBERS:
*MS. MAHOKA: Than you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would want to thank Hon. Mashakada, for bringing such a good motion which is important in terms of nation building. It gives us a chance to be constructive so that Zimbabwe can be developed. Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that this motion touches on a lot of issues. But, what hurts me most is that Hon. Mashakada was in Government yet he brings this motion. I am happy that he now appreciates that for the country to be devastated, he is aware of the reasons. I would want to believe that as hon. members if we become united, our country will be developed. I am quite grateful that as far as this motion is concerned, that for Zimbabwe as a country to develop, charity should start in this particular Chamber going onwards.
Since 1980, I heard the previous hon. members speaking that in the past things used to go well. I am in agreement with those sentiments. Things were going on well because the ruling party ZANU PF which is as sweet as honey knew what it was doing. Then came the spoiler called MDC. It started destroying things and I am happy that the hon. Members from the MDC have realised that the country has now been devastated economically and things are not looking good. I am happy if hon. members of Parliament now see and appreciate that in the past things used to work well and that when there was the Unity Government, things started crumbling. They were destroying and they have observed that people lost their work but job recreation is coming back because the party and the Government of the day, that was elected by the majority of the people, people out there know and they see. They have seen that there is no joy in supporting the MDC and you now see that things are now moving quite well because they have dumped the MDC.
You will observe that at the time when there was Unity
Government in this august House, if you look at the suits of members of staff at Parliament, they are now faded because of the problems that came with the MDC. Our teachers, nurses started suffering and people in the communal lands were hurt. They realised that they should not follow the MDC and they dumped it. Farmers were hurt by the Government of National Unity because the GMB could not raise money. They were not disbursing funds and as a result, the farmers observed that they should dump the MDC because it had no future.
Let me go further and say that I believe that money that was wasted and or not put to good use. This is a good motion and if it were possible, Tsvangirai should be arrested because the sanctions that he brought to this country destroyed the economy of the country.
Government workers started struggling. In the communal lands we used to know that if your child was employed by the Government whenever they pay you a visit it really meant something and it was a special day. But, all that was lost in the advent of the MDC. They are selfish Tsvangirai came and married several women, about 20 or so. He was showing off with Government funds; he wasted Government money. People in the communal lands observed that this creature called MDC would not get them anywhere hence you see they are now few in this august House.
There is economic recovery in this country. Jobs are now there in the Government but job creation is a process and not an event. Industries have now been revived and our children are gradually being employed. I am happy about it because it shows the recovery of the economy. If you go into the industrial sites, you will see that people have gone back to work. Even funding that was not readily available cannot be found because the MDC destroyed the country. Tsvangirai turned against the country called Zimbabwe and destroyed everything and so we are starting from the beginning in order to lay the ground work.
At the moment, the topical issue is of vendors. We are happy about the issue of vendors but the reason why we have so many vendors more than any other period is because we have not had a proliferation of these vendors. Vendors are in the cities because they are trying to eke out a living. Tsvangirai and his MDC destroyed this country
At the moment, I believe that things are going to work well because we are seeing that things are looking up. There was mention of an issue concerning women and health. It is true that in the 1980s, when we attained our independence, women became equal partners and they were issued with national registration cards. They were made to be on an equal footing by President Mugabe, a visionary and forthright leader who has the people’s interests at heart. He is not a leader who goes to
the Americans and sells this country and invites sanctions upon this nation as the case with Tsvangirai. We can never compare Tsvangirai with the President. This is another nonentity.
I would want to go further and say that the issue concerning Agribank which has been mentioned, should be treated in a serious manner so that other financial houses that disburse loans to farmers or to farmers that do horticulture or vending, should access loans. They should access loans without security. It will be quite helpful. Agribank should be funded so that farmers, vendors and small traders can be able to access funding from this bank. Other banks require collateral in the form of title deeds. Banks like CBZ require collateral security in the form of title deeds. Very few people in the communal lands have such title deeds. The sanctions that have been posed on the President and the first family, Mr. Speaker, I urge this House that since ZANU PF has now united with the MDC and they now want good policies, yes, they brought this motion. We should unite and advocate for the uplifting of such sanctions against the First Family, so that they can freely travel around the globe. We ask that those sanctions be removed and that they be as free to every one of us.
On corruption, I am happy to say that the President does not countenance corruption at all. Corruption is now a cancer and I would want to believe that there is need for measures to stamp out corruption. We need some treatment as was the case with the HIV/AIDS endemic. Mr. Speaker, our civil servants are suffering. They no longer enjoy tea, the nurses, teachers, police officers and even our Parliament staff. You will see that they go with lips that are cracked and chapped because they have no funding, but the ladies cover theirs with lipstick. This corruption should cease forthwith because the President has always been talking against corruption. Even at the party, he says it is a cancerous issue that we should do away with as a nation.
Corruption should be eradicated so that people can work well. Every time when one is into ploughing, one intends to harvest. Once you fail to harvest, you will not be happy. On behalf of our children, we are unhappy because they are not receiving what is due to them in terms of benefits because of corruption. It must be timeously nipped out so that things would work out well for us.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of the Americans and the British, I do not believe they are sincere in that they would want to help Zimbabwe.
Why should they be doing that? These are wolves in sheep’s clothes. I believe that we should not have anything to do with them because ZIM ASSET does not speak of the Americans or the British. It says charity begins at home. It should never be started by the British or the
Americans. I do not believe that this will augur well for us. These people are killers, murderers and they always want to fight against this country. This is why you see Tsvangirai running at each and every turn to the Americans. Look at what he has done now. His party has collapsed, battered, tattered and it is now in rugs because of his thieving habits.
I am happy that this motion which has been brought by Hon. Mashakada is a good motion. It puts the country before self and it is actually a reflection by the MDC to now re-examine themselves and see that what they have done is not good. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
- CHIKWAMA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
- KHANYE: I second.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd July, 2015.
On the motion of MS. CHIKWAMA seconded by MS.
MAHOKA, the House adjourned at Twenty-Eight Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.