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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 22 MAY 2024 VOL 50 NO 53

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 22nd May, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

ADOPTION OF THE ADVERSE REPORT BY THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, on the 6th of February 2024, the National Assembly adopted the Adverse Report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee on Statutory Instrument 153 of 2023 on the High Court Amendment Rules, 2023 No.1. Paragraph 9 (2) of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that, if, after   considering a report of the Parliamentary Legal Committee that a   provision of a Statutory Instrument contravenes this Constitution, the   Senate or the National Assembly resolves that the provision does contravene this Constitution. The Clerk of Parliament must report the resolution to the authority which enacted the Instrument and that authority must, within 21 days after being so notified, either:

“(a) apply to the Constitutional Court for a declaration that the Statutory Instrument is in accordance with this Constitution; or

(b)  repeal the Statutory Instrument.”

Consequently, on 8th May 2024, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs published in the Gazette, a notice repealing Statutory Instrument 153 of 2023 and substituting it with Statutory Instrument 81 of 2024, High Court Amendment Rules, 2024 No. 2, which seeks to address the constitutional inconsistencies raised in the Adverse Report adopted by this House.

SPEAKER’S RULING

CIRCULATION OF THE ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (ZHRC) AND THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION (ZEC) REPORTS FOR THE YEAR 2023

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that contrary to what Hon. Members raised during yesterday’s sitting regarding the circulation of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) reports for the year 2023, the Clerk of Parliament produced records which indicated that the ZEC report was indeed circulated to Hon. Members via email on 4th April,  2024. The ZHRC report which had not been circulated earlier was then circulated yesterday.

I expect Hon. Members to conduct themselves honourably and desist from misleading the House as was led yesterday by Hon. Hamauswa. On that note, Hon. Members, you are encouraged to check on your email, WhatsApp and on our website so that you get the Order Paper there, or the reports posted there in time for you to be able to read the reports and prepare yourselves to debate accordingly.  

Accordingly, I have also instructed officers to circulate the Order Paper on the WhatsApp platform for Members, immediately after the adjournment of the House in order to give Hon. Members adequate time to prepare for the following day’s sitting. I have also requested that I get the same information so that I can track on the movement of the information concerned.

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have received the following apologies from the Executive: Hon. T. Machakaire, Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training; Hon. E. Jesaya, Deputy Minister of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture; Hon. B. Rwodzi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Hon. B. Kabikira, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. F. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Hon. C. Sanyatwe, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Hon. Prof. A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development; Hon. A. Sibanda, Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development; Hon. T. Moyo, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. R. Modi, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce; Hon. E. Moyo, Minister of Energy and Power Development; Hon. Dr. A. J. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; Hon. V. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; Hon. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. A. Gata, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. Dr. Mombeshora, Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. D. K. Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Finance,  Economic Development and Investment Promotion; Hon. Sen. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Hon. O.C.Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and Hon. M. Mavhunga, Minister of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Affairs.

          HON. HWENDE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Are you serious that you are raising a point of order? You can go ahead.

          *HON. HWENDE: I am serious Hon. Speaker. Thank you very much. My question on Minister Kirsty Coventry, we ask the august House to check, she appeared once here and at Old Parliament, she only came thrice. She has not been appearing in Parliament.  We would want you to investigate and report back. Is she still a Minister? That is why we are now playing our matches outside the country. Thank you.

HON. SPEAKER: I will refer that to Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi, the Leader of Government Business to have some conversations with his colleague.

The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs having read Notices of Motions that are already on the Order Paper.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you, Hon. Minister and Leader of Government Business. Apparently, it would appear there must have been some miscommunication between your office and that of the Minister of Finance. Apparently, the two motions were submitted by the Deputy Minister of Finance yesterday and they are on our Order Paper, item numbers 11 and 12.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. D. MASVISVI: Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir and a good afternoon. My question is directed to the Minister of Industry and Commerce. Hon. Mangaliso Ndlovu. What strategies are there to promote consumer protection in regard to the abuse in ZiG currency exchange rate by the business and service providers?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the question is also extremely broad because he has not elaborated on the abuse that he is alleging. Suffice to say that this question has been dealt with a lot in terms of the introduction of the ZiG. The mechanisms that are being done to ensure that the currency stabilised and is accepted both by the consumers and the traders was much elaborated by the Minister of Finance, suffice to say that Mr. Speaker, the mechanisms that are being put in place entail that the long term stability of our currency will be guaranteed.  As we are starting, things may not appear as what we envision, but we hope that with the education that is being done by the Reserve Bank and by all of us, it should work.

 I think all of us must be involved in ensuring that we educate people about our currency.  It is our currency Mr. Speaker.  The acceptability and stability of our currency will benefit everyone across the board.  We believe that with the cooperation of everyone, the Reserve Bank included, having been removed from doing activities that are fiscal related, will also add in ensuring that our currency is stable.  Traders want a currency that will be a store of value.  Those are the measures that we are putting in place and if you remember Mr. Speaker, the Governor and the Minister actually indicated that we were putting mechanisms that will make our currency attractive like when we are making payments of our QPD, the company taxes, a certain portion will be required to be paid in Zimbabwean dollar and people will be looking for it. We believe we will also ensure that its stability is also guaranteed, notwithstanding that the appetite within the Reserve Bank to print money has been removed.

 So, there are a cocktail of measures, but it is still early days Mr. Speaker, to say that you can have a definitive pattern that you can then say traders are ripping off consumers.  The water is still settling. I so submit Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. MASVISVI:   Perhaps, I should bring my supplementary by simplifying my original question to the Minister.  As a way to remove the mischief in the market, what measures are being taken to allow consumers to use the official currencies they wish to buy with rather than being detected to selective products or goods, resultantly they return some of the products in the shelves. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The question has been simplified.

           *HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, let me explain in Shona. I appeal to the Hon. Member to say it in the mother tongue Shona.  I am lost.

*HON. MASVISVI: Let me speak in Shona because I am of the Shona tribe.  Mr. Speaker Sir, all I am saying is that if a person has, for example, USD200, and wants to buy, he or she can buy all the things that he or she wants, be they grocery items or hardware. However, when they want to transact using the ZiG, they will tell you to buy for 30% and then return these goods that cannot be purchased using ZiG.  That hurts people.  Would it not be better for us using the ZiG so that we can buy anything that we want using the ZiG and that there should not be any difference when one purchases using either the ZiG or the USD?  I thank you.

           *HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you, you have clearly explained. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for allowing him to clarify in the manner that he has done now.  I now understand. Mr. Speaker Sir, the question is pointing out to some illegal activities that are being done by people.  They are refusing to accept our currency, which we are encouraging everyone to use in Zimbabwe.

 We are saying we are in a multi-currency system, but our wish in the near future is for our currency to become strong so that it ends up being the only one in circulation.  If there are traders that are doing that, they should be reported to the relevant authorities, the police so that the issue can be looked into.  I also urge that all of us whenever we meet such people who are behaving in such a manner, we should name and shame them so that our country can be prosperous because what they are doing is detrimental to our country.

          *HON. P. ZHOU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My supplementary question is, when the ZiG came into use, the major supermarkets; goods that were selling USD2 were now selling for USD3.  When you talk about the exchange rate, they also increased their prices before the ZiG came in a way that a product was now costing $2 more. When the ZiG came, they had already destroyed it by having a higher percentage.  Prices had already been inflated.

          HON. SPEAKER: No, you are now explaining.  Ask a question.

          *HON. P. ZHOU:  That was an example so that you would understand.  They do not accept Ecocash in the form of ZiG. The ZiG platform for Ecocash has not been converted so that it becomes applicable.  These are some of the problems that we are facing.  How can the Consumer Council assist us?  Is it still in existence or not? Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Mr. Speaker Sir, there are things that we have learnt and afraid to do because doing so is detrimental to our economy. It is price control. What we are trying to do is to strengthen our currency so that it becomes acceptable by looking at the fundamentals to ensure that it can be acceptable. Yes, people have raised their prices. If one was buying something for $1 and you know that your ZiG is $14, you should give that person 14 ZiG since it is marked $1. If they refuse, it means that they will be having an illegal exchange rate and by so doing, they will be committing an offence. If the $1 is equivalent to the 14 ZiG, it is still lawful and once it becomes $1 to 20 ZiG, it is unlawful. As time goes on, we have made the ZiG so that it remains stable and those that are raising their prices will lose customers and those with normal prices will have a higher rate of stock return because we have set multi-currency items priced at a $1. It must be at the legal rate of $1.

HON. HWENDE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is, what has Government put in place to ensure that the ZiG is easily accessible among the ordinary people especially those that are using public transport because there is not enough change? ZiG is only mentioned here in Parliament and on TV. No one has never seen it. Minister, may you please show us the 10 ZiG if you have it because as a Member of Parliament, I am yet to come across a ZiG? Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! To Hon. Members on my left who have just come in, I know that transport is a problem, especially with the detours along the way. Kindly make sure that you leave your hotels early in order to take into account the exigencies of detours. Next time, I will not allow you to come in. 

Hon Ziyambi stood up and showed the august House the ZiG currency.

HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Hwende, the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has shown you the ZiG. I do not know whether you wanted to see the ZiG, but there it is.

HON. HWENDE: We should have these ZiG notes or coins at Parliament so that those who would want to see them can see them here. We are yet to see these ZiG notes.

HON. SPEAKER: You will see the ZiG in your bank accounts.

HON. MUTOKONYI: My question is directed to the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities. Driven by the National Development Policy of rural infrastructure development, what is the Government doing to ensure that we also see rural model houses in the rural areas similar to those flats that are being built in the urban cities? Thank you.

THE MINISTER LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. GARWE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Through the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities, there is policy on rural housing and social amenities development where the Government is facilitating to citizens, the construction of modern sustainable and affordable houses in rural communities. Government programmes in rural communities include the construction of blocks of flats in the RDC centres and we have started that programme in UMP at Mutawatawa. Those that can travel to Mutawatawa in Mashonaland East, we are constructing about seven blocks of flats, but the project is going to cascade in all our eight rural provinces. More importantly, Mr. Speaker Sir, is to encourage citizens to now migrate from pole and dagga or thatched houses, to modern sustainable housing; housing that can withstand the impact of climate in terms of floods, wind and all the vagaries of climate change. Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. C. HLATYWAYO: My question is directed to the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion. Mr. Speaker Sir, the country has been experiencing high levels of unemployment and under-employment for decades. In his 2024 Budget Statement, the Minister indicated that the economy is growing by 5,5% and that was in 2023. This year a projection of 3,5% growth rate was projected by the Minister in his statement. My question is, what is the impact of that growth rate to employment creation?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON.  MHONA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me thank Hon. Hlatywayo for a very important question that he has raised pertaining to the growth rate of our country vis-a-vis the employment figures that we are witnessing. We want to concur with the Hon. Member that whenever we talk of unemployment rates in the country, there is also an element that we must factor in as Zimbabwe, given the architecture of our economy that we have a number of our people in the formal sector that we must also factor in as we then deliberate.  He has raised an important point that in terms of the growth within the region, Zimbabwe being the fastest growing economy in the region, that must be in sync and in-tandem with employment.  I want to assure the Hon. Member that when we look at our economy, the way we are progressing and what the Government is doing, in particular the Second Republic, the initiatives that are there, we are trying to move even from the mentality that when we talk of employment, we are just talking of those who are formally employed, putting on their ties.  However, if you look at the architecture of our education where we are advocating for education 5.0, where we are promoting to have more of entrepreneurs vis-a-vis those who will be formally employed, this is the trajectory of the country to say yes, as much as we want to be formally employed, we also want to cultivate a culture of having our own people starting their own businesses. Thank you Hon. Speaker.

HON.  C. HLATYWAYO:  Yes, Mr. Speaker Sir. What we are experiencing as a country year-in-year-out, we are seeing our people graduating from colleges, old and young, female and male but the economy is failing to absorb them, whether in those businesses or in formal employment.

What we need to know is, do we have a plan because the Ministry of Finance, there is a component of Investment Promotion which is a very important sector of our economy to make sure that we create employment, and we facilitate employment for our people.  What strategies or what measures because we know the numbers we are producing from our colleges? Do we have a clear strategy that this year so many people are graduating from our colleges, and this is our plan to absorb them in the formal economy?

          HON.  MHONA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. Once again, I want to concur with my brother that he has really identified where the problem is, where we are having graduates and this has been the scenario Hon. Speaker Sir.  Alas, we are having now the change of culture where instead of just producing those graduates, we are saying they must be in a position to be employers and this is the trajectory of the Second Republic.  Precisely, this is what is happening. Instead of just promoting theoretical subjects in our education curriculum, we are saying we must now try to have education 5.0 that I have talked about so that at the end of the graduation period, one will be in position to even invest, to manufacture and set up a plant; this is the direction of the Second Republic. Thank you, Hon. Speaker Sir.

          HON. TSVANGIRAI: Mr. Speaker. The NDS I talks about the need to create at least 760 000 formal jobs over a period of five years of the NDS 1 period. Now that we are in the fourth year of NDS 1 strategy, how many formal jobs has the Government managed to create? Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: That is not a policy question. It is a very good question, but it should be subjected to writing because you want statistics and if the question is written down, the Hon. Minister responsible will then put together the data and respond accordingly.  If you may put your question in writing for next week, I am sure the Hon. Minister will favour you with the data that you require. Thank you.

HON. SAGANDIRA: Supplementary.

THE HON. SPEAKER: May I know who is speaking.

          HON. SAGANDIRA: Its Hon. Sagandira, Acting Chief Whip – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Acting Chief Whip. You want to intimidate me. Please go ahead.

          HON. SAGANDIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Still on the issue of unemployment and growth rate in the economy, one of the indicators or signals of economic growth is employment and affordability of leisure for those employed or the ability to go for holiday. Can the Minister give us the status on the affordability of leisure to civil servants?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I am afraid leisure and employment are two different issues altogether.

          HON. MAUNGANIDZE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Mines. I rise to ask the Ministry’s position on artisanal and small-scale miners in Zimbabwe, specifically I would like to know what initiative has the Ministry implemented to support the formalisation and regularisation of artisanal and small-scale mining activities in the country? I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHITANDO): Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for a very important and pertinent question. Before answering the specific question, I would like to make two comments. The first comment is that Mr. Speaker Sir, our geological ore  has components which are amenable to extraction by artisanal and small-scale miners. The second comment I wish to make Mr. Speaker Sir, is that as things stand, artisanal and small-scale miners contribute a very significant percentage as far as gold production is concerned, and to some extent, chrome production as well.

          Now getting back to the specific question, there are two mechanisms which, Mr. Speaker Sir, I wish to comment firstly in terms of the artisanal and small-scale miners, there are three initiatives which Government has embarked on. The first initiative is through Fidelity Printers which entitles artisanal and small-scale miners to get loan facilities from Fidelity Refiners. The second initiative which has been going on for some time is the Mining Industry Loan Fund, which is administered through the Ministry of Mines. It involves funds which small-scale miners apply to get access to it. The third initiative I wish to refer to, is the establishment of gold service centres which, as was spelled out some time back, Government is in the process of rolling out gold service centres. These service centres, in the area where they are established, provide the processing of gold, the CIP processing of gold and at the same time, the whole idea being to equip the small-scale miners around this gold service centre to increase their full boot processing at the gold centres. As far as non-gold minerals are concerned, base minerals; Government has come up with a policy which will be announced in the next two months. However, the intent of the policy was announced over a year ago, whereby there will be a scheme which will be run through the Minerals Marketing Cooperation of Zimbabwe to try and equip those miners who are investing mineral production to have excess to improve their full boot. Thank you.

          HON. MATEWU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I think the Hon. Minister was skirting on the question that was asked by the Hon. Member. The Hon. Member asked about formalisation of artisanal miners. Need we remind the Hon. Minister that, the minerals of this country belong to everyone, including my grandmother in Buhera. The question of formalisation here falls in terms of that, what are we doing? How do we know that the artisanal miner has mined X kgs of gold because the answer of the Hon. Minister is basically saying we give them loan, but how do we know how much has been mined?...

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, you address yourself to the Chair.

          HON. MATEWU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My address is that the…

         THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your supplementary question?

          HON. MATEWU: My supplementary question is, can the Minister answer the question; what are we doing to formalise them so that we know how much gold is being produced by the artisanal miners? We have so many mbingas. Let us say they mine 100 kgs of gold, they come and transact for just 10 kgs and then we get some royalties, a little percentage and they keep the rest and do whatever they want to do with it. What are you going to do to formalise to see that at the point of production, we know exactly how much is being mined so that everyone benefits from the minerals of this country? Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHITANDO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. I must hasten to say that there, unfortunately, is no standard definition of formalisation.  I had answered him in what I thought formalisation means. I understand where he is coming from and I will endeavour to answer according to the expectation of the Hon. Member. There is, from my understanding, the Hon. Member wants to know what the policy is, and what Government is doing to ensure that what is extracted finds its way to the proper channel for the benefit of the country. I think this is a very pertinent question. On Monday this week, we had a function where we launched a gold mobilisation exercise, where there were teams which, as we talk, are doing some work through out all the provinces. They will be visiting the various mining sites to check and to ensure that all what has been mined has found its way to Fidelity through the proper channels. There is a mechanism and a template which they use to try and check that compliance. Over and above that, Government is in the process of increasing the number of inspectors who are based at the provincial mining offices and capacitating them to ensure that there is increased coverage as far as looking at the cooperation of all miners, which includes artisanal and small-scale miners. Thank you.  

         HON. SAKUPWANYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is that, the same way that artisanal miners in gold have been given a leeway and support system, what mechanisms are there to ensure that those who have an interest in lithium mining, especially the small scale and artisanal miners are also protected.  If not supported, considering the fact that lithium is the future to where we are going in the world, what are we doing then? Thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister of Mines.

          HON. CHITANDO: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I could answer again, to follow as far as the capacitation of giving the leeway for small scale miners in the lithium sector to play the role. Firstly, if we had policy position, Government came up with a mechanism to ensure that small-scale miners can, with minimum capital, be in a position to enter the lithium space. Last year Government introduced what is called an Approved and Prospecting Plant Licence. The Approved Prospective Plant Licence can be established at very minimum cost which is affordable to small-scale lithium producers. Actually, at this stage we do have a number of small-scale lithium producers who are in the market through the provided approved plant licence. The second as I said earlier on, when I answered the first question to say that the Government will, in two months, come up with a mechanism of a Fund which will be run through NNCZ, which is intended at base mineral production. This includes Chrome, lithium and any other base minerals. This Fund will be there to try and support lithium and chrome producers with equipment and working capital to ensure that we have more interest in that space. Thank you.

          HON. NYELELE: My supplementary question to the Minister of Mines is, there are mines which are being held by big mining firms since we were born.  There is no activity until now. We are here in Parliament, still there is no activity. If we are talking of the formalisation for artisanal miners, meaning that in certain areas, there are big firms which hold these mining titles, yet it is of benefit for the artisanal miners. What is the Government policy on use it or lose, it in terms of the formalisation of the artisanal miners?

          HON. CHITANDO: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I wish to thank the Hon. Member for a very important question and a very pertinent point. Firstly, as alluded by the Hon. Member, Government has a policy of use it or lose it. For those who are not fully utilising their mining locations. However, at the same time as the Hon. Member has said, we do have a number of mining entities that should be giving tributes to small artisanal miners where applicable. I say where applicable in the sense that you find that some deposits which especially are quite deep and require a lot of mechanisation, are not as easy to distribute, but we would preferably want the main player to be doing that.

However, we do have a number of mining locations which have deposits that are amenable for extractions by artisanal small-scale miners and Government will be intensifying discussions and working with those holders of the mining locations to ensure that artisanal or small-scale miners play a role in the game. I thank you.

HON. NYELELE: Zimbabwe has more productive and reproductive youths than many other age groups. How does the Ministry of Industry and Commerce harness this demographic dividend to complement the Second Republic’s modernisation and indusrialisation   trajectory and ensure sustainability in the geographical industrial expansion at growth?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  If I may kindly ask the Hon. Member to go through the question again. My apologies.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Nyelele, kindly repeat the question please.

*HON. NYELELE: Thank you Mr. Speaker…

THE HON. SPEAKER:  You have started in English, now you are going into Shona. What is happening?

HON. NYELELE: We have more productive and reproductive youths than any other age group, how does the Ministry of Industry and Commerce harness this demographic dividend to complement the Second Republic’s modernisation and industrialisation trajectory and ensure sustainable inter-generational industrial expansion and growth? Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me thank my brother for that very important question. Indeed, I do concur that yes, when it comes to our youths in Zimbabwe, we can actually testify that we have got vibrant and robust youths. Once again, to the Second Republic Mr. Speaker Sir, recently and I am sure this week, you will see His Excellency relaunching the new vibrant robust youth service in Zimbabwe, to cater for the youths so that we equip them for posterity, in the event that they have programmes to administer, in particular our youths. You find that the Hon. Member has raised the point that - what is it that we will then do to augment and make sure that these vibrant youths are supported by the programmes, in tandem with the modernisation of our economy that you are witnessing?

I want to assure the Hon. Member that the programmes are there where we are saying, in terms of youth empowerment programmes, to make sure that whatever is being done now would also cater and take charge in terms of what the youths would be doing in future. I do really appreciate the question and to buttress the point that the demographic dividend being benefited by the youths that we have in the country, is also in sync with the programmes that are in line pertaining to the Second Republic. Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir.

Hon. Members stood up on supplementary questions.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you ask your eyes first to find out whether or not the original questioner has taken the floor so that you do not have to be competitive.

HON. NYELELE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary is, what mechanisms are there to ensure that the businesses which are reserved for the citizens of Zimbabwe are reserved for the citizens of Zimbabwe? Hence, those businesses which are not capital intensive like local businesses, for example bakeries so that they are for Zimbabweans and reserved for the citizens of Zimbabwe. Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: That is a new question Hon. Nyelele. I thought you were going to follow your train of thought that you were speaking about the youths’ dividends.

HON. MATEWU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary to the Hon. Minister in terms of youth empowerment is, while the Minister’s answer focused more on that the introduction - need we remind the Minister Mr. Speaker Sir that the youth service will only capacitate them in terms of skills which most are already getting through the various colleges and universities. However…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. You do not comment on the answer. If you have not understood the response of the Hon. Minister, then you bring in your supplementary question.

HON. MATEWU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question to the Hon. Minister is, what practical steps is the Ministry taking to ensure that the youths are capacitated in order to start industrialisation to be entrepreneurs so that the youth who are into drugs can go there and create industrialisation in the country? I thank you.

HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me also thank my brother, Hon. Caston Matewu for the important question. With the advent of the youth service programme Mr. Speaker Sir, I am sure this would now encompass the youth empowerment programmes that we talked about. It will also bring in the new skills that we are talking about. In terms of capacitation Mr. Speaker Sir, we are talking of funding being availed even to our youths to start their own programmes with the Youth Empowerment Bank. These are some of the initiatives again to make sure that when they are trained, when they are equipped with the skills, they can be in a position to also compete favourably, just like any other company.

You will find that in terms of the modalities, the architecture of how they are going to be funded is precisely what the Second Republic is driving. We know we have the advent, which is something that we cannot cherish as a country, the drug and substance abuse. We need to make sure that our youths are seized with the matters that they will augment in terms of their day to day lives and in terms of their upbringing. We are saying as a country, he has raised the point on what it is that they are going to be doing.

The point is, if they are capacitated, they can actually compete and also be entrepreneurs at the end of the day. I am sure that would address the question posed by the Hon. Member. Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. HAMAUSWA: Supplementary question.

THE HON. SPEAKER: You came late my friend.

HON. HAMAUSWA: My apology Mr. Speaker Sir. I had some issues to sort out.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, you are among those who came very late. You are lucky that the month of May is my birthday month. So I will be lenient a bit but from tomorrow, I shall forget that May is my month of birthday. Can you proceed?

HON. HAMAUSWA:  Noted Mr. Speaker Sir. Happy birthday to you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to wish you many more years.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.

HON. HAMAUSWA:  My question to the Hon. Minister is, what are the plans that Government is putting in place to ensure that the aforementioned youth service will not appear to be a partisan programme where other youths will not be attracted to it like what happened before so that it attracts all the Zimbabwean youths? Thank you.

        THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you, Hon. Speaker Sir. Let me also thank my Hon. brother, Hon. S. Hamauswa for the very important question that he has actually raised. Hon. Speaker Sir, I want to thank him in particular because he has raised a very important question that will allay the fears of the people of Zimbabwe. Once you actually called that former National Youth Service the ‘green bombers’, it is no more. We are talking of a vibrant robust rebranded Youth Service that we are saying the Second Republic is all inclusive; to say whatever we are doing, we are leaving no one and no place behind. That is the mantra of His Excellency that we are inclusive as a nation, we put politics aside. We do not grandstand politically, we want to nurture our youth so that at the end of the day, we have future leaders. This is a trajectory that the Youth Service will be taking. Thank you, Hon. Speaker Sir. 

        *HON. P. ZHOU: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Concerning the Youth Empowerment, what are the plans to target the school leavers so that they go to incubation centres and other initiatives that are in place? What are the plans or are they being targeted? It is a group that should be targeted, especially the school leavers whilst the other youths are still in school.

        HON. MHONA: I want to thank the Hon. Member for her pertinent question. This programme is being launched by the President, so I think the whole nation will have a chance to hear the launch. I was just referring to the plans that the Government has in order to reach out to the youth. After the launch of the programme by the President, we will have questions and the Minister who is in charge of the Ministry of Youth will explain and clarify on issues that would have been raised by Hon. Members. For now, the programme is targeting the drug addicts so that they are given room to go forward. I want to thank you Mr. Speaker.

        HON. NDEBELE: Thank you, Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service. What is the Government policy on USD pension pay-out relating to those teachers who left employment during the period 2006 and returned back in 2007 after an amnesty was declared and then retired in 2020? I thank you.

        THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker. I want to also thank Hon. Ndebele for that very important question. With your indulgence Hon. Speaker Ma’am, since it is a specific question, if she can actually put it in writing so that I also relay the same to the Minister. Thank you, Madam Speaker Ma’am.

        *HON. MAKOPE: Thank you, Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. During the 1960s and 1970s, there were workers coming from Zimbabwe and other countries going to work in mines in South Africa.  They were working in what was called Wenela, but when they came back, they did not get their packages. In 2019, there was a vetting that took place, so I wanted to know the position of those people so that they can get what is due to them as pension.

        *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA):  I want to thank the Hon. Member for a pertinent question.  There were workers who worked in South Africa in Wenela.  Most of them contracted diseases and now there is an engagement that they should get some compensation.  So, it is still in the pipeline but we are almost there.

        HON. BUTAU:  I wanted to ask the Minister whether these discussions that she references include the pensions and investments of those people that worked in the Wenela programme. 

        HON. DINHA:  The monies include the pensions and the compensation.  Thank you.

        HON. BAJILA:  My supplementary question to the Minister is,  given the long time it has taken to get Zimbabweans who worked under Wenela to get their benefits, does the Government of Zimbabwe also have plans to give benefits to nationals of other countries working in Zimbabwe now or who have worked in Zimbabwe when they go back to their countries? 

        HON. DINHA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Since the supplementary question needs a comprehensive answer, can you put it in writing so that I can bring the written answer?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is understood and your answer is clear.

HON. MUSWEWESHIRI:  My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government.  What is the Government’s position with regards to councils that are under performing, especially those in urban areas?  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. GARWE):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Allow me to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  In November 2023, His Excellency, President E. D Mnangagwa launched a court action which clearly defines how the local authorities are supposed to be performing in terms of service delivery.  It clearly states that there is no compromise to service delivery.  As we speak, the Ministry is now working on minimum standards in terms of service delivery from all local authorities in both urban and rural.  Those minimum standards will be accompanied by the measures that the Ministry will take, particularly for the authorities that are found wanting in terms of performance.  It is a question of time now and I think by the end of next month, those minimum set standards will be ready and will be distributed to all the 92 local authorities in terms of delivery.  I thank you. 

HON. MAKUMIRE:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  We have been electing councillors since time immemorial to run the affairs of local authorities, both in rural and urban but today, service delivery has not improved.  I have therefore come to the conclusion that the problem is not with councillors, whether in the rural or urban.  It is in light of this that I would like to ask the Hon. Minister about the position of Government concerning the managers who are very incompetent to run these local authorities.  I thank you.

HON. GARWE: Madam Speaker, let me thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question.  I take this as a statement of advice.  We are going to precisely deal with non-performing councils, going forward.  I thank you.

HON. HAMAUSWA:  My supplementary question to the Minister is that there are high expectations that Government is giving to councillors.  What plans are there to ensure that the same councillors are given power, especially of restoring the Executive Mayors?  I thank you.

HON. GARWE:  Madam Speaker, the Urban Council Act is very clear on the functions of councillors; what they are expected to do in terms of internal elections when they are selecting mayors and chairpersons of councils.  I need not to elaborate any further.  I refer the Member to go, read and understand the Urban Council and Rural Council Acts.  I thank you.

HON. MATEWU:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question to the Hon. Minister is, what is government doing in order to capacitate these councils?  He talked about service delivery in terms of water.  Many of our authorities do not have water because they can simply not afford to expand their water works.  What is the Government doing to capacitate councils in order for them to provide clean water to the residents?  I thank you.

HON. GARWE: Let me thank the Hon. Member for a very good question.  The councils that are failing to provide water are domiciled in urban areas and the reason why they are not providing water is not because they are not capacitated, but there are several reasons.  One of those reasons is corruption.   Let me repeat, the level of corruption in the local authorities, especially in the urban areas is astronomical.  Secondly, the level of incompetence by the councillors and the management of local authorities is astronomical.  Thirdly, some of the local authorities have even failed to produce budgets.  They have failed to give us budgets and as we speak, a clear example is Harare City Council. They have failed to prepare a budget.  This is the level of incompetence within these local authorities. 

However, through the devolution policy, Government has decentralised the functions of local authorities in provinces. Devolution funds are being channeled to provinces and then cascaded to both the RDC and Urban councils for purposes of service delivery.  However, we still experience the problems that I highlighted earlier on.  I thank you.

          HON. MATEWU: On a lighter note, through the devolution policy, Government has decentralised functions of local authorities in provinces and devolution funds are being channeled to provinces and cascaded to both RDCs and urban councils for purposes of service delivery, but we still experience the problems that I highlighted earlier on with devolution.

          When we come to this august House especially on a day like this, we expect the Executive to come here and tell us Government policies. We do not come here for…

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Matewu, please ask your supplementary question. You cannot comment on the Minister’s response. May you take your seat? You are out of order.

          *HON. MHETU: I once travelled to neighbouring countries like South Africa and Botswana and I came across people who were exchanging money on the streets, but their currency did not lose value. Why is it that our currency is losing value because of the black-market activities?

*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): In responding to your question, yes I also travelled to other countries and I have seen people supporting their local currency; they do not exchange their currency on the streets. This means that they are happy and they embrace their local currency. They support it.

*HON. MADZIVANYIKA: The Minister is requested to answer why the other currencies are strong even if there is black market in those countries yet here in Zimbabwe, we have arrested 400 people for trading on the parallel market.

*HON. MHONA: What we should know first is that in this country, there are ways in which we use our currency. If the Minister of Finance and RBZ agree on how the currency is going to be used, then if you go against the regulations, it is an offence. We now have the ZiG currency, which means that whenever you are using your money, no one is prohibited from taking US dollars and ZiG. What is being prohibited is trading with ZiG above the bank rate. You should use the official bank rate. If you use the US dollar, you are supposed to use the official exchange rate. If you come with your own rate, you are actually breaking the law. The official exchange rates of major currencies are known and why do you want to use the rate which is outside the official bank rate?

*HON. MHETU: My question is not that we want to promote black market, but I am saying - why is it that our ZiG is losing value yet other countries are not able to devalue it? What is it that should be done so that when people go back to the black market, it will not lose value?

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister has answered in full that the laws of this country say that the rate that should be used is the official bank rate. Those who are being prosecuted are those who are using their own rates which are above the official bank rate. Whatever is happening to our neighbouring countries should not apply here.

*HON MANANZVA: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands. We have resettled people who were settled during the fast track programme and those who were left with whites in the compounds who do not have offer letters. What is the Government plan so that these people get offer letters for them to live peacefully? Thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. GARWE): I want to thank the Hon. Member for such a pertinent question. Yes, for sure, there are people who are settled in our land but do not have offer letters, and there are those who were working for the whites before we took the land from them. The Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture, now has a database and they are working on it in the possible shortest time….

HON. MATEWU: On a point of order. The word mabhunu is unparliamentary. Can he withdraw?

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Your point of order is overruled, mabhunu is mabhunu.

HON. GARWE: The Bible says that our people perish because of lack of knowledge. Whites are whites, bhunu is bhunu, it does not change. In conclusion, let me say there are plans that our people who are resettled and do not have offer letters; it is now in the pipeline and some of the workers who used to work for the whites and remained on the farms, are now working for the resettled farmers. Those who want are getting rural land where they are being settled.  I thank you.

HON. CHIDUWA: I have noted that Cabinet recently adopted new guidelines, which guidelines entail monthly disbursements to local authorities and rolling over of outstanding budgetary disbursements to the following year.  I wanted to find out from the Hon. Minister of Finance or Minister of Local Government, are we going to wait for the amendment of the Public Finance Management Act since the law does not provide for the budget roll-overs?  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Hon. Speaker and let me thank Hon. Chiduwa for that very important question.  With your indulgence once again, if you can put the question in writing,  we will get a proper answer from the respective Ministry.  I thank you.

HON. KAPOIKILU: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question goes to the Minister of Health and Child Care.  What is Government policy on stocking of orthopedic implants in our Government institutions? 

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. KWIDINI): Sorry Madam Speaker, can the Hon. Member repeat his question.

HON. KAPOIKILU: My question is, what is Government policy on stocking of orthopedic implants in our Government hospitals, particularly Central Hospitals?  I thank you.

HON. KWIDINI: Thank you Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question concerning the stocking of orthopedic implants. It is true that it is Government mandate to stock those orthopedic implants but it is unfortunate because of challenges we have as a country through sanctions. We failed to import implants because the implants are not locally produced, so now the Government is working tirelessly to make sure the orthopedic implants are available in the country through importation from where they are produced.  I thank you.

HON. KAPOIKILU: My supplementary question Madam Speaker is, when I am talking about orthopedic implants, I am not talking about things that are complicated.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Ask your question.

HON. KAPOIKILU: I wanted to enlighten you on orthopedic implants, simple things like metals and screws.  They can be found in Zambia and only cost US$5 to US$10.  Why is it difficult to buy items that are worth US$5 to US$10 dollars for our hospitals?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Deputy Minister has already answered that question.

*HON. MALINGANISO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I have an understanding that the A1 farmers, one person is supposed to be given 20 hectares and that is the arrangement for the A1 farmers.  If there are 600 farms, it means they are 30 families settled there.  If you look at some of the compounds, there are 70 families.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Ask your question, do not go round and round.

HON. MALINGANISO: What are Government plans so that they revamp their model and that a lot of people can be settled on that small land?

*THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): I did not understand the question.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can you be specific and ask a question.

*HON. MALINGANISO: That is why I wanted to explain so that you understand the question.  I am saying that on one farm there are 20 people whereas in some farms, there are 70 people. We do have a lot of people who do not have places to settle. The 2030 Vision says that we must not leave anyone behind. What is Government policy so that we can share the little land we have to accommodate many people?

HON. MHONA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Member and ask him to put it in writing so that I will take it to the Minister and the question can be answered accordingly.

+HON. NKOMO: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice.  My question to the Minister of Health is, I would like to find out what is the Government policy regarding village health workers.  Any plans for the Government to assist village health workers on their welfare?

          +THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. KWIDINI): I will try to respond in the way it was asked.  We know we have health workers who are really putting their effort in assisting hospitals, especially in rural areas throughout the country.  Government is crafting a policy and we have partners who are willing to partner with us in assisting on the welfare of the village workers.

          +HON. BAJILA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I also want to ask on the answer that was given by the Hon. Deputy Minister.  I understand that they are working together with Government so that those health workers who work in hospitals or in rural areas also get better lives.  What I want to understand is as Government, what is it that they are giving them before looking at those who are coming to assist?  Is there any programme or any way that can assist those who are working in rural areas?

          + HON. KWIDINI: Thank Madam Speaker.  Yes, we get questions that are they going to be given anything or is there anything that the Government is planning to give them.  As for now, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance are trying to arrange that we get something that can be done so that they are also included in the establishment of the Ministry of Health workers.

          HON. SIHLABO: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care.  Cognisant of the shortage of doctors in the rural areas and small towns, despite the fact of the number of people seeking treatment in those hospitals, what is Government policy regards those doctors who are fully employed by the Ministry but running a private practice?

          HON. KWIDINI: It is true that our doctors are not enough to service our country.  With what we call compact, which was produced when there was a health market analysis, which discovered that through migration which happened a few years back when health workers migrated to some other countries looking for so called greener pastures, the Government has now come to a point that it wants to double its health workforce by 2030,  such that all these challenges which have been raised by the Hon. Member in terms of doctors who are not sufficient to cater for patients are increased.  Definitely, the Government is working tirelessly to make sure it will train more doctors. Also, other friendly countries are offering these trainings for our country so that we have enough or adequate health workers.

          Concerning the issue of practicing their private surgeries, it is not mandatory for doctors to say they have to practice, but what we have seen and also to promote them to be patriotic, they should do it after their working hours when they have completed their duties so that they also survive like any other member of this country.  Thank you.

          HON. SIHLABO: My supplementary goes to the core of my question.  The core of my question concerns a single doctor in a small town or rural area and spending half his or her time at his private practice, people waiting at the reception.  What is the policy of Government regarding a fully employed doctor running a private practice within the vicinity of where he or she is working?

          HON. KWIDINI: Those are individual characters who may not actually be defended in here.  The mandate of the Government – as you are all aware that there has been a policy which was crafted, before even some of us became Members of Parliament, which is supposed to be adhered to.  The policy is that doctors must be on duty wherever they are prescribed to work.  What are we saying now? Like I said earlier on,  there are some characters who  prefer to abandon their duty, which we cannot defend in here?  However, the policy is no doctors must go to their private surgeries whilst they are on duty. 

          HON. J. TSHUMA: My supplementary question is,  what is Government policy regarding doctors who end up actually opening private practice within the hospital itself or a Local Government Hospital?  They open pharmacies, maternity practice within their working areas.

          HON. KWIDINI: There is no policy which allows a doctor to operate in a Government premise.  That is a crime.  If there is such a scenario, it must be reported.  It must be also sent to our Ministry so that we can look into that.  There is no Government policy which warrants that. 

          HON. MUROMBEDZI: My question to the Minister is, what specific measure is the Ministry taking to adequately recruit, retain and support healthcare workers, particularly in rural and underserved areas?

          HON. KWIDINI: I think it is partly a new question though I can answer it.  The Government measure, as I said earlier on, we are in a situation to retain the health workers.  As I said, most of the health workers migrated in the past years, so by 2030, we are expecting to double the health workers we have now.  We need to be able to fill the posts in those areas.  In terms of retention, the Government has also introduced several schemes such that it can attract our health workers so that they will in turn practice in our country.  Thank you.

          *HON. NATISO: My question is directed to the Minister of Education.  What plans does Government have when it comes to ECD centres, children are walking long distances going to school whilst they are very young.

*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Madam Speaker and the Hon. Member for raising such a pertinent question. The Government says that children should not walk for 5km, that is why they are busy building new schools so that our children do not walk long distances. The Government policy is that schools should be close to people so that children should not walk long distances.

*HON. NATISO: I have heard the Minister referring to 5km. For ECD learners, I think it is a long distance even if it is 3km because they are starting school as early as three years. Thank you.

*HON. MHONA: Thank you Madam Speaker and Hon. Natiso. I think the question is now talking of a specific place and we would be grateful if he can point to those places. At times, there are what we call satellite schools. Probably, that is what the Hon. Member is referring to. We are in the process of building schools nearby. Thank you.

HON. CHIDUWA: Point of order Madam Speaker. I stand guided since the Hon. Minister of Finance is around, can you indulge me and allow him to respond to my question?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Okay Hon. Chiduwa. I will give you the chance to ask your question. Please, may you proceed.

HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Cabinet recently adopted the new devolution guidelines, which guidelines entail monthly disbursements to local authorities and the rolling over of outstanding budgetary allocations to the following year. My question is, are we going to wait for the amendment of the Public Finance Management Act since the law does not provide for budget rollovers? Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Madam Speaker. I thank Hon. Chiduwa for that question. Yes, we will have to amend the Public Finance Management Act. As you know, it is one of those Bills that we need to dispense with in Parliament this year. Then we will start with the rollover provisions in the first quarter of this year. I thank you.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 68.

HON. SHAMU: Madam Speaker, may I propose that we allow Hon. Chiduwa’s question to be answered.

HON. KASHAMBE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

HON. CHIDUWA: Madam Speaker, I wanted to find out what policy measures have been put in place to make sure that devolution allocations are equal to devolution disbursements.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Thank you Madam Speaker. I thank Hon. Chiduwa for the supplementary question. This question pertains to the disparity between the approved budget and then the disbursements in the form of cash disbursement. He is asking for that disparity to basically close. I can assure you that we are working hard to make sure that the disparity is closed. We will run quasi cash budget system where we live within our means. You may find that from time to time, the cash disbursements lag behind budget releases as well as the budget itself. I can assure you that going forward, we can endeavour to close that gap. In fact, the system that we have introduced going forward, is where we first of all have a better coordination between Accountant General’s Office who really basically runs the cash disbursements with the Expenditure Department which determines the budget releases, making sure that we get to know about the cash cycle in the first place.

As I speak, I now have to deal with one-week to two-weeks cash cycles which will then trigger the budget releases which will then be met by those cash releases when they come through. We have managed to close the gap there. Thank you.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

MEASURES TO EQUIP COMMUNITY LIBRARIES WITH NECESSARY RESOURCES

  1. HON. HAMAUSWA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House the measures being taken by the Ministry to ensure that community libraries including those run by councils are well equipped with necessary resources including free or affordable internet connectivity.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. GARWE): Thank you Madam Speaker. In light of the call to action made by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, local authorities have been instructed to modernise their operations and issues of internet connectivity are critical, specifically to the City of Harare which has 15 libraries. The council has done the following:

  1. To date 13 out of 15 libraries have been installed with Wi-Fi cables and other ICT infrastructure. Council is working on installing Wi-Fi infrastructure at the remaining two libraries.
  2. Internet connectivity has been completed at five libraries, namely Kuwadzana, Highlands, Greendale, Waterfalls and Mabvuku. Currently, ICT division is working on the generation of tokens to be used by patrons who access the libraries.
  3. The city continues to engage various stakeholders to stock the libraries with reading materials.
  4. Council is in the process of procuring a library management system software to allow for management of libraries.

After installation of the library management system, the city will then go ahead and resource these libraries with e-books. Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.

          *HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you, Madam Speaker Ma’am.  When I asked this question, I gave an example of a Library, which is within my Constituency in Mufakose, close to OK Shop.  As I was walking around my Constituency, I was actually trying to figure out what is it to be done by my Constituency. I discovered that the library is quite deserted.  I asked people close by and they said there is no internet at the library. There is nothing which is quite visible.   I was expecting that, only if the Minister had invested in upgrading that library, I was going to have something to report back to the community.

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MACHINGURA): But in your question, there is nothing indicating that you asked concerning the Mufakose Library when you wrote it in the Order Paper. I do not know if the Minister was aware of that question.

          *HON. HAMAUSWA:  Thank you, Hon. Speaker.  I was actually asking for the Minister to indicate or to tell us whether that library is also included on the upgrading process.  I thank you.

          HON. GARWE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Just like I said when I initially responded, I said in Harare, we have about 15 libraries. From those 15 libraries, we have that library which he is talking about.  It is also party of the 15 libraries. Thirteen of the 15 libraries have been upgraded; we are remaining with two.  I think that is where that library is and is yet to be upgraded. I thank you.

COVERAGE OF GUKURAHUNDI HEARINGS BY THE

MEDIA

  1. HON. BAJILA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House why the media has not been allowed to cover Gukurahundi hearings being conducted by traditional chiefs.

          THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. GARWE): Let me clarify that it is not true that the media has not been allowed to cover Gukurahundi hearings.  In fact, a Committee was instituted to look into how journalists will participate in the community engagements outreach hearings which are yet to start.  Thank you.

          HON. BAJILA:  I want to thank the Hon. Minister for his response.  Maybe if he could indulge the House in terms of the recommendations of the Committee on the participating of the media in these crucial hearings.  In his response, the Hon. Minister indicated that there was a Committee that was established around, dealing with the issues of participation of the media in these hearings.  If the Minister could indulge us with recommendations of that Committee.  Did the Committee recommend the participation of the media or not?

          HON. GARWE:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. I came here with an answer to a specific question.  The supplementary question is referring to specific issues.  I did not bring any responses to that effect, given the fact that I am only 23 days in the Ministry.  If the Hon. Member could allow me to go and get information relating to that, then next week, I would provide an answer. 

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Bajila, maybe you need to put the question in writing so that the Minister will come with a comprehensive answer. 

NORTON WATER TREATMENT PLANT

  1. HON. TSVANGIRAI asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House what the Ministry’s plans are regarding Norton’s own water treatment plant.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. GARWE): Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Urban Development Corporation and Norton Town Council engaged each other on the construction of a water treatment plant to service Norton on the Knockmalloch and the surrounding developments.  A technical team was set up comprising of team members from the Urban Development Corporation, Norton Town Council, the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities and the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works. 

The Urban Development Corporation and Norton Town Council have agreed that there will be need to set up a special purpose vehicle to source and house the funds for the projects.  It was agreed that the SPV was very critical as it will remove liabilities from both parties.  The SPV will work as a security of funds as local and international investors required their funds to be ring-fenced which will be approved by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.  The Norton Town Council and Urban Development Corporation agreed to carry out a feasibility study to establish a water treatment plant in Norton.  Thank you.

HON. TSVANGIRAI:  The people of Norton have been buying water from City of Harare at an expensive rate.  This has contributed to the failure to pay rates, thereby affecting service delivery.  What measures can be put in place to make sure that water becomes cheaper for the people of Norton whilst we are waiting for the water treatment plant to be put in place.  Thank you very much.

HON. GARWE:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Let me thank the Hon. Member for a very good question.  We obviously need to interrogate why City of Harare is overcharging, if they are overcharging Norton Town Council on Water.  We need the local authority to write an appeal to us, the parent Ministry. We will then  be able to call for a roundtable meeting, where we invite officials from City of Harare and those of Norton Town Council so that we interrogate and discuss the issue and come up with a solution.  Thank you. 

MAINTANANCE OF BUILDINGS IN CITIES

  1. HON. MGUNI asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House what measures have been put in place regarding the maintenance of buildings in cities like in Bulawayo where most buildings are dilapidated due to lack of painting and sprucing up.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. GARWE): Thank you Madam Speaker.  The Ministry is currently addressing this problem through the “Call to Action Blueprint” launched by His Excellency in November 2023.  The Blueprint directed as follows;

-All local authorities are to prepare and or update master plans in their respective areas, which among other things, includes the identification of measures to enhance urban renewal, general management and development control.

-Local Authorities are to formulate by-laws that outline in detail, the obligations of each property owner and penalties for non-compliance. 

-The Ministry will soon be issuing a Public Statement on the state of built environment followed by a Special Development Order.  This, Madam Speaker Ma’am, therefore aims to provide the necessary back up to the by-laws and also enforce local authorities to play their part and also enforce property owners in the respective local authorities to comply with the new by-laws.  I thank you. 

PROGRESS ON THE INCORPORATION OF CONCESSION AREAS INTO THE HWANGE LOCAL BOARD

  1. HON MOLOKELA-TSIYE asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to update the House on the progress made by the Special Committee appointed to inquire into the process of incorporation of concession areas into the Hwange Local Board.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. GARWE): Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to that the Hon. Member for asking the above question and I wish to advise that no such Special Committee was appointed to specifically inquire into the process of incorporation of concession areas into the Hwange Local Board. I thank you.

COLLECTION OF USER FEES BY TOUTS AT DESIGNATED AND UNDESIGNATED TERMINI

  1. HON. MADZIVANYIKA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House the Ministry’s policy regarding touts who collect user fees from transport operators at both designated and undesignated bus termini.

       THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. GARWE): Mr. Speaker, Local authorities have increasingly been directed to enforce their by-laws which relate to bus termini and the provisions that regulate access to termini and bus operators, including the need to outlaw all forms of touting within termini.

ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE CENTRE

OR LOCAL BOARD FOR CHECHECHE GROWTH POINT

  1. HON. HLATYWAYO asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House on plans being put in place by the Ministry to establish an administrative center for Checheche growth point or a local board, in light of its economic activities and population size.

          THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. GARWE):  Mr. Speaker Sir, Checheche Growth point is under the jurisdiction of Chipinge Rural District Council in Manicaland Province and was established in terms of the Rural District Councils Act Chapter 29:13.

Critical to note is that Chipinge Rural District Council is a local planning authority and a third tier of Government in terms of Section 5 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  In this regard, all issues concerning the planning and development of that district are vested in the Local Authority.  It is incumbent upon the Local Authority to submit a request to the Ministry pertaining to the upgrading of the Growth Point to a Town Board or a Local Board.  Once the Ministry receives that request, a team is constituted with the objective of assessing the potential of the Growth Point to be upgraded to a higher status.  Once the assessment is conducted, a report is produced with recommendations to the Minister for approval of changing the status.

          As of now, Chipinge Rural District Council has not yet submitted any request regarding the upgrading of Checheche Growth Point to a Town Board or Local Board.

          TELEPHONE NETWORK FOR AREAS ALONG

MOZAMBIQUE BORDER

  1. HON. HLATYWAYO asked the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to inform the House on the Ministry’s plans to ensure that areas along the Mozambique border in Chipinge South have access to both local radio/television and phone network coverage, particularly in areas such as Mabee, Chinyamukwakwa, Garahwa, Mashubi and Maparadze which rely on the network from Mozambique.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. PHUTI): Mobile Network coverage (Netone and Econet).

Maparadze is covered by existing base stations Mutandahwe – 2G/3G and Makose 2G/3G/4G.

          Mabee and Garahwa, site surveys have been completed at Rusongo Beacon, awaiting development, planned for 2025.

          Chinyamukwakwa is covered by existing base station Greenfuels 2G/3G/4G.  Additional coverage is to be provided by a planned new base station, Rusongo Beacon.

          Mashubi is partly covered by existing base stations Greenfuels, 2G/3G/4G, Mutandahwe 2G/3G and Makose 2G/3G/4G.

          Fixed Network Coverage Operators like TelOne, currently provide internet and data services to over 250 clients in Chipangayi, Checheche and Chibuwe which are located within parts of Chipinge South.  Also, services such as VSAT connectivity cover the entire Chipinge South area with service availability on demand from operators such as TelOne.  Presently, 17 VSAT terminals within the district are facilitating internet access for various institutions including Mabee Clinic, Chinyamukwakwa Clinic, Maparadze Clinic, Rimai School, and Chisuma School among others.  Furthermore, plans were completed for the Musikavanhu, Chibuwe and Tongogara areas in 2018.  However, the implementation of connectivity in these underserved areas has been delayed due to funding constraints.  Despite these challenges, the Ministry remains committed to expanding services and bridging the digital divide in these communities.

           In conclusion, it is important to note that operators have plans to connect some of the underserved areas nationwide.  However, the implementation of these plans has been constrained by funding limitations.  The operators request the Hon. Members of Parliament to advocate for funding for these areas to be covered.  I thank you.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE NORTON VOCATIONAL CENTRE

  1. HON. TSVANGIRAYI asked the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training to apprise the House on the progress made regarding the construction of the Norton Vocational Training Centre.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF YOUTH EMPOWERMENT, DEVELOPMENT AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING (HON. MUPAMHANGA): Thank you for that important question. In response to this question, I would like to first respond by highlighting that as a Ministry, our strategy is to expand the vocational training initiative through the setting up of new Vocational Training Centres across all districts within Zimbabwe and ensure that young people and communities have access to skills and training initiatives. Currently, the Ministry operates a total of 45 VTCs on full establishment and 10 satellite centres have been set up to support these existing centres due to the demand for VTCs within communities across the country.

On the part of Norton Vocational Training Centre, it is quite unfortunate that for the 2024 programming year, no funds were allocated from Treasury under the Public Sector Investment Projects (PSIP) and engagements have been prioritised between my Ministry and Treasury to ensure that such projects will be prioritised as part of the 2025 budget period. The Ministry managed to secure support for five VTCs under the 2024 budget period, namely Sivomo, Umguza, Kadoma, Insukamini and Mt. Hampden.

In a bid to ensure that the minimum structures currently available are not put to waste, a total of 51 motor mechanics students have been transferred to the site and are already engaged in training activities. The training is progressing well at the site and once resources are availed and construction is done, full expansion of the training will be carried out at Norton VTC.

Whilst funding challenges have been realised, it is prudent that within respective provinces and districts, VTCs such as Norton among others be considered for support under other programmes such as devolution funds, constituency development funds as well as engaging other stakeholders within the public and private sectors, including development partners as this support is critical for national development.

A vocational training transformation roadmap has also been developed and is being implemented as from 2023 to 2027. This exercise will oversee the modernisation of VTCs, ensure infrastructural development as well as quality assurance and standardisation of the VTC operations, and Norton VTC will benefit as part of the VTC system.

The vocational training transformation roadmap was born out of a Strategic Planning Meeting held in April this year, whose objective was to revitilise VTCs by encouraging partnerships with the private sector in light of the resource constraints conditions we operate in.

In addition, my Ministry has also engaged the Public Service Commission to ensure that the existing VTCs are adequately staffed as some of the challenges realised over the years were related to inadequate staffing. Commitments have already been made in line with this new development and the House will be updated once the final position is agreed upon. I thank you.

HON. TSVANGIRAI: Mr. Speaker Sir, the VTCs will go a long way in terms of addressing the issue of drug and substance abuse. Whilst we are waiting for the 2025 budget which then is going to establish the construction of a VTC in Norton, what measures is the Ministry putting in place to make sure that we mitigate the issue of drug and substance abuse at ministerial level? I thank you.

HON. MUPAMHANGA: Thank you Hon. Tsvangirai for that question. The issue of drug and substance abuse as you know Hon. Speaker Sir, requires a whole of Government approach. The Ministry of Youth is on the demand-reduction pillar and as a Ministry, we have various awareness campaigns that we have launched countrywide to educate youths about the negative effects of engaging in drugs and substance abuse. Moreover, even in areas where we have not established VTCs, we have community outreach programmes where our instructors and trainers from VTCs are going to the communities and conduct awareness campaigns as well as skills training programmes to make sure that we keep young people busy, motivated and educated in skills so that they can enter the job market and contribute meaningfully to the economy. Thank you.

HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Taking into account that at primary and secondary education levels, the Government allows private sectors to also make a major role in providing education and it is also provided for in the Constitution that the private sector can or is allowed to run educational institutions, what are the plans being put in place by the Government to promote the participation of the private sector in setting up and running VTC for the youth considering that we have a big number of youths facing unemployment in this country?

HON. MUPAMHANGA: I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the important question. As a Ministry, we are already engaged with private players in order to help us increase the outreach we can do with VTC. We have already existing agreements with developmental partners such as the ILO, UNDP as well as private sector such as Dendairy in Umguza where we have a dairy project going. We have encouraged the private sector to come and partner with Government. We are in negotiations with a number of motor mechanic companies which I cannot mention now in order to partner with certain VTCs that we have around the country to improve the quality of education and to modernise what we can provide young people with. I thank you.

PAYMENT OF THE SHONHIWA DRIVE CONTRACTOR IN

NORTON

  1. HON. TSVANGIRAI asked the Minister of transport and Infrastructural Development to inform when the contractor for Shonhiwa Drive in Norton will be paid out for the work done.

      THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMNET (HON. SACCO):  Allow me to respond to the question raised by Hon. Tsvangirai about when the contractor for Shonhiwa Drive in Norton will be paid for the work done. Mr. Speaker Sir, Government through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, engaged two contactors to carry out rehabilitation of various roads in Norton Town Council under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme II. Government does not owe any payments to these contractors on Shonhiwa Road in Norton. The initial contractor engaged for the rehabilitation of Shonhiwa and Caution Drive had his contract terminated in May 2023 due to non-performance after the contractor had taken a long time to execute the works. The contractor had only ripped about 900 metres of the existing road,  dumped and spread the gravel without compaction and surfacing the road as per contract. The Department of Roads has since engaged a new contractor, Instant Tar limited to complete the outstanding rehabilitation works of two km on Shonhiwa Drive and 3.6 km resealing of Caution Drive and Norton Road. The contractor has already signed the contract and is expected to commence works soon.

 On the issue of payment of legacy debt on the other contractor working on Norton Town Council Roads; namely Galloway, Shockron and Norton Roads, my Department of Roads was owing the contractor, Leengate Civil Engineering on completed works on Galloway Road. To date, the contractor has been paid 81% of the outstanding interim payment certificate IPC and the balance is to be completed in the next months as per agreed payment plan given by Treasury for extinguishing the legacy debt out of various contractors under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programmed II. I so submit Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. TSVANGIRAI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. The Hon. Minister mentioned that we are going to see changes soon, but I would like to know how soon. Can he give us a timeframe for that? Thank you.

HON. SACCO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you Hon. Tsvangirai for your follow up question. Since the contractor has already signed his contract, we expect within the next two weeks to the next month that they should be on the ground starting work. I so submit.

COMPLETION OF THE FILABUSI-SILALATSHANE AVOCA

AND WEST-NICHOLSON-MBERENGWA ROADS

  1. HON. S. SITHOLE asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House when the Ministry will complete the Filabusi-Silalatshane – Avoca and West Nicholson- Mberengwa Roads in Insiza South Constituency.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMNET (HON. SACCO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to respond to the question raised by Hon. Sithole about when the Ministry will complete the Filabusi, Avoca and West-Nicholson Mberengwa Roads in Insiza South Constituency. Our Ministry has already showed dedication to work on the said roads with 5km being done to completion in 2023 under ERRP 2. Along the West-Nicholson - Mberengwa stretch which is where we decided to start the works, we had another contractor approaching from the Mberengwa site as well as in the Midlands Province and I would like to advise the Hon. Member Sithole that due to His Excellency Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa’s wisdom, he has extended ERRP 2 to the end of December 2026 and once funds have been availed, we assure you that those outstanding projects will be completed in line with the new dispensation’s mantra “no place and no-one shall be left behind”.  I so submit Sir.

HON. S. SITHOLE: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I thank the Minister for his response. Do you realise how many years Insiza - Filabusi-Silalatshane to Avoca has taken to refurbish the road. How many years? It is now 16 years and they only tarred 10km.  In some other districts, those 10km that were allocated have already been finished. I will put through to you Hon. Minister that even now when I talk to the people in Insiza South Constituency that the Minister will tar this road, they say the same that this region is being marginalised because there are two roads which are left in Insiza South for so many years. I tried last Parliament to talk to the Minister for to visit those roads but until today he has not come to the constituency. With your indulgence Hon. Speaker Sir, when is the Minister coming to my constituency, we can go together and show him the state of those roads. I thank you.

HON. SACCO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I do take on board Hon. Sithole’s contribution and definitely, I will advise him in the near future of when I can come and visit the area because I have been tasked to carry out nationwide tours looking at sensitive roads across the country. So far, we have done Chipinge, Mt. Selinda, we have been to Mukumbura and next I think we have done Victoria Falls-Bulawayo and I think Matabeleland South is coming soon on my diary.  I will communicate with you when I can come and will look at the roads together but definitely, I think we all agree that a lot of work is happening currently in the country around road construction and we just ask you to bear with us but will definitely come and fix theses roads. I repeat the mantra of the President, His Excellency Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa “leaving no-one and no place behind”. Therefore, I think it is up to us to make sure that we remove the feeling that certain areas are being discriminated against and that is part of our job to make sure that all corners of Zimbabwe are covered. I so submit.

          HON. J. TSHUMA (Spk..) what are your timelines in carrying out these roles?  I am speaking specifically for the Victoria Falls- Bulawayo to Beitbridge Road.  I am speaking about the Nkayi Road, the Kezi Road and Tsholotsho Road, roads that we know have been under construction since 1980, and this is 43 years later now.  What are your timelines of coming to be physically on the ground of those roads and be seen doing something so that we dispel that notion that we are speaking of being marginalised?  We want people to know that Government is not marginalising them.  I thank you.

          HON. SACCO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank Hon. Tshuma for this follow up question. On the Victoria Falls to Bulawayo Road, I think we have a contractor on site who has been working on periodic maintenance to fill potholes and make the road trafficable, but we have invited investors to partner the Ministry under Private-Public Partnership.  We are looking at working on the road from Beitbridge to Bulawayo, from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls.  This is work in progress and it is at an advanced stage. 

          On the other roads, I think they are more specific and I would like to ask the Hon. Member to put it in writing so that I can give accurate answers. 

          *HON. MUNEMO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My supplementary question is, I heard him talking of places that he visited, which included the area within my constituency, Mt Darwin-Mukumbura.  May he kindly shed more light and can he, in the meamtime, do something while he waits for more funds to have the road tarred; to work on the graveled roads so that vehicles can pass through easily. Those roads are too bad.  You can even come across more than 10 vehicles with tyre punctures caused by these bad roads.

          *HON. SACCO: Hon. Munemo’s question is very pertinent.  We once visited his constituency on our way to Mukumbura Border Post.  My response is we have a programme which we are working hand-in-glove with ZINARA so that we can get diesel which we will allocate to rural district councils at national level.  The aim is to say Hon. Members can source equipment which can then be fueled so that we can do periodic maintenance for those roads to be accessible.  With time, as Ministry of Transport, we have a programme whereby we want to do the mechanisation of Rural District Councils (RDCs) so that they can have equipment which will help us repair the roads.  We also want to buy equipment for the maintenance and services.

          As Ministry of Transport, we need to have equipment which include dozers, tippers and everything so that we can do other jobs for ourselves as the Ministry to we avoid outsourcing.  In future, we will see ZINARA distributing fuel in those councils so that we will be working with those RDCs in repairing roads. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Minister Sir.  You discovered that I had to stop Members from asking, but they want to continue asking more questions.  My advice for you is try and work in time to repair those roads.

REHABILITATION OF MAGAMBA ROAD IN MUTARE

35   HON KARENYI asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House what plans the Ministry has put in place to rehabilitate the Magamba road in Mutare.      THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVLOPMENT (HON. SACCO): I would like to expand on question number 35 raised by Hon. Karenyi as follows, wanting to establish when the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, what plans have been put in place to rehabilitate the Magamba Road in Mutare?  Works which have been planned on Magamba Road were not completed in the period leading up to the ending of ERRP 2, which lapsed in December, 2023.  This is a very important road being one of the main arteries in Mutare.  We are committed as a Ministry that these works should be completed by the Department of Roads or the local authority.  Therefore, plans are in place and works will commence shortly as soon as funds are availed.  This road is one of our priority roads, but we are waiting for funding from Treasury.

          HON. KARENYI: Thank you Hon. Minister for the response.  If he can maybe help me as to when they are expecting the funds to rehabilitate the road?

CONSTRUCTION OF A ROAD FROM SANGO BORDER

POST TO RUTENGA AND CHIREDZI

  1. HON. MAKUMIRE asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House what the Ministry’s plans are regarding the construction of a 149,9km stretch of road from the Sango border post to Rutenga and Chiredzi.

      THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVLOPMENT (HON. SACCO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to divert a little bit to the last question where Hon. Karenyi asked for timeline.  I would not like to commit myself to specific timelines, but rest assured that this road is of great priority to us.  We will keep on pushing, once funds have been released by Treasury, you will see works commencing on Magamba Road.

        THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: To answer question number 35, that is why I had skipped it, I know it does not come under your control.  So, you decided to answer it and say the same thing that you had said before that you are waiting on the mercy of Treasury.  Please proceed.

         HON. SACCO: Thank you for your indulgence Mr. Speaker Sir.  Allow me to respond to the question raised by Hon. Makumire. To ask the Minster of Transport on the plans being put in place regarding the construction for the 149.9 km stretch of road from Sango Border Post to Rutenga to Chiredzi.  Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development acknowledges that this road is part of the Maputo Corridor and as such requires immediate attention. 

        In this regard, the Ministry is seized with negotiations with an investor but had secured funding from DBSI, which is a development bank for Southern Africa to fund the cost of works within the scope, including the upgrading and modernisation of the Sango Border Post.  The same investor has also been awarded the Chikwalakwala Border Post and the road on the Mozambican side to ensure that there is no dead end.  The direct access to the Maputo Port, which is one of the busiest ports in the region.  We intend to implement the project through public-private partnership with more earth works earmarked to commence this year, 2024.  The investor shall self-finance the initial cost of the road and get repaid through ringfencing trophies accruing at Toll Plazas to be constructed along the road as part of this work. I thank you.

MEASURES TO CURB ROAD ACCIDENTS ALONG BULAWAYO-NORTON ROAD

  1. HON. TSVANGIRAI asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House measures the Ministry has put in place to curb the high rate of road accidents happening along the Bulawayo- Norton Road?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. SACCO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank Hon. Tsvangirai once again for his important question for the Minister of Transport to inform the House what measures the Ministry is putting in place to curb the high rate of road accidents that happen along the Bulawayo Norton Road.

Mr. Speaker Sir, my Ministry is aware of the high rate of accidents occurring on the Harare-Bulawayo Road. The road is well maintained and accidents are mainly due to human error, speeding, drinking and driving amongst other factors. The black spots are well documented and have been identified. Traffic calming measures have been put in place with several traffic lights being put along the roads. More measures continue to be put in place with my Department of Roads working closely with the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe to identify causes and possible solutions to the high accident zones resulting in these high rates. The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe also carries out drivers’ sensitisation and education to curb accidents due to human error. The long-term plan Mr. Speaker Sir, is to construct by-passes in areas with human settlements like Norton, as was done on Harare-Beitbridge project. I so submit Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Minister. Last supplementary.

HON. TSVANGIRAI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The Minister mentioned the plan to put traffic lights, can he elaborate when he can actually put these traffic lights. Timeframe, thank you.

HON. SACCO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you, Hon. Tsvangirai for your follow-up question. I believe I would need to consult on that so that I can give you factual response, but it is definitely planned that those traffic lights should be put in place as well as the bypass so that traffic can travel through Norton itself to reduce the accidents, but allow me to consult and revert to you. I so submit.

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

SEWER AND WATER RETICULATION CHALLENGES

IN MAKONDO SUBURB OF CHIREDZI

  1. HON MAKUMIRE asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House the plans being put in place to address sewer and water reticulation challenges in the Makondo suburb in Chiredzi.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. GARWE):  Mr. Speaker Sir, the Government through the Second republic is committed to improving infrastructure and service delivery in all local authorities, including Chiredzi Town Council.  To fully service the Makondo suburb which consists of 3500 properties with functional water and sewer reticulation system, the Chiredzi town council has been advised to apply for borrowing powers from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.  The Government will act as a guarantor to enable the council to acquire a loan facility of US$800,000 from a local financier.

However, it is important to note that Chiredzi Town Council must be compliant with their audited accounts as outlined in the Service Delivery Blue print launched by His Excellence, the President E.D Mnagagwa.  Once Chiredzi Town Council is compliant, the Ministry will support the loan facility to complete the water and sewer infrastructure development in Makondo suburb.

Currently, Chiredzi Town Council is utilising its own resources to service the water reticulation of 400 infill stands known as lowlands, created within the Makondo suburb.  It is worth mentioning that Chiredzi Town Council has already engaged Brian Colquhoun, Hugh O’Donnel Consulting Engineer (BCHOD) to design the Chiredzi Water Treatment Plant.  Their medium-term plan is to augment the current capacity from 10ml t 15ml per day.  Additionally, the Ministry has encouraged Chiredzi Town Council to have a long term plan to construct a completely new treatment plant along the Chiredzi river.  The scope of this project should be included in the current master plan document being crafted by the council under the Service Delivery Blue print.

I would like to reiterate that the Government is committed to addressing the water and sewer reticulation challenges in all local authorities including Makondo suburb in Chiredzi Town Council.

PROGRESS ON THE FIBRE OPTIC PROJECT

  1. HON. C. MOYO asked the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to update the House on the following;
  2. The progress made on the Fibre Optic Project and its future; and
  3. The benefits of the project to the citizens of Zimbabwe.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. PHUTI): The purpose of this paper is to provide a progress update on the deployment of the National Fibre Optic Project. The National Fibre Optic Project (TelOne) is targeting to deploy 100 000 homes passed capacity by 2025 across the country. The deployment is subject to funding availability to the tune of US$50m. The project also seeks to address the digital divide and bring digital inclusivity, particularly to undeserved and unconnected communities countrywide. To date, the fibre optic project has delivered a total of over 70 000 homes capacity in urban arears throughout the country and is focusing on delivering an additional 10 000 capacities by 2025.

          In addition to the over 8000km covered by TelOne, we recently witnessed the commissioning of over 1500km of fibre backbone by H.E. President E. D. Mnangagwa in Somabula, a project under a private DFA and BCS Africa, partnering with a local operator Dandemutande.

          Liquid Telecom has laid over 10 000km of fibre in Zimbabwe alone. Over and above these, in total, operators (TelOne, Liquid, Dandemutande, etc) in Zimbabwe have a backbone fibre network that exceeds over 40 000km across Zimbabwe and is connected to the undersea cables through South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and recently DRC.

Projects benefits

  • The deployment of 100 000 fibre to the home capacity is expected to cover identified rural communities, residential and industrial areas in major cities and towns nationwide. The projects realise the following benefits:
  • Fibre backbone plays a crucial role in supporting digital transformation, enabling services like broadband internet, cloud connectivity and ICT applications.
  • To bring high-speed last-mile connectivity to the citizens of the Republic of Zimbabwe, allowing the greater population to be able to access basic information communication services.
  • The project will bring the following additional services; E-government, E-health, E-commerce, Education 5.0, irrespective of where they are and smart city solutions.
  • The project will be able to distribute the landed international upstream internet services to the citizens, thereby promoting the growth of the digital economy.
  • Facilitates the introduction of new telecommunications services and products such as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of things.
  • Upgrade high-speed access network facilitates the offering of converged services over a single platform.

In conclusion, it is hoped that the objective of this project will be met to realise the National Vision 2030.

COMPLETION OF GWANDA-MAPHISA ROAD

  1. 31. HON. NKALA asked Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House, about Ministry’s plans to complete the Gwanda-Maphisa road which stalled in 2021.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Following his Excellency the President of Zimbabwe, Cde. Dr E. D Mnangagwa’s pronouncement to extend the Emergency Road Rehabilitation programmee 2 (ERRP2) up to 31 December 2026, my Ministry committed to completing all outstanding projects and implement two high impact projects in all provinces. Gwanda- Maphisa road has been included for completion in Matebeleland South province, hence the implementation of this project will be resuscitated as soon as funding is availed.

REHABILITATION OF THE BULAWAYO-BEITBRIDGE ROAD

  1. 32. HON. NKALA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House on Ministry’s plans to rehabilitate the Bulawayo-Beitbridge road which is in a bad state as is the case with other major roads which are receiving face-lifts.

        THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON.  MHONA):  the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road is a key national and regional road that contributes immensely to the economy through tourism, agriculture, and mining. It is in this regard the Ministry has received numerous expressions of interest from investors indicating the openness for business that exists in Zimbabwe and the market readiness to work with the government and augment the efforts being exhibited by the Treasury as evidenced by the implementation of major ongoing national projects across the country.

The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development is therefore reviewing the proposals from the investors to upgrade, rehabilitate, and widen the road project through a public private partnership with works earmarked to commence this year, 2024. The investor shall self-finance the initial cost of the road and recover the cost through ringfenced toll fees accruing at the Toll Plazas to be constructed along the road as part of the scope of work.

This will be in addition to the 60km section in Hwange and Makadho currently being implemented by a local contractor who has been engaged to carry out periodic and routine maintenance works from Beitbridge to Victoria Falls. This scope of work constitutes pothole patching, resealing, vegetation clearing within the road servitude and reconstruction of the heavily damaged section. The contractor is prioritising the construction of the extremely damaged section and 2 units have been established, one on the northern side and another on the southern side. We are confident that an investor will be engaged soon on the rehabilitation of the entire route from Beitbridge to Victoria Falls will be carried out in the shortest possible time.  

REHABILITATION OF THE OLD GWANDA- BULAWAYO ROAD

  1. HON. NKALA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to explain to the House, government plans to rehabilitate the Old Gwanda – Bulawayo road in Matebeleland South.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON.  MHONA):  The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development is at advanced stage with an investor to upgrade the Old Gwanda Road project through a Public Private Partnership with works earmarked to commence this year, 2024. The investor shall self-finance the cost of the road and get repaid through ring-fenced toll fees accruing at the toll Plazas to be constructed along the road as part of the scope of work.

The BOT feasibility study and relevant project proposal documents have been submitted to ZIDA for onward presentation to the PPP Committee, that will then send its recommendations to cabinet for final approval.

REHABILITATION OF BINGWA-MATETSI-JAMBEZI ROAD

  1. HON. BONDA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House when the Bingwa-Matetsi-Jambezi Road will be rehabilitated.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURALDEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Mr. Speaker Sir, Bethseda-Mgaja road connects the Bulawayo0- Victoria Falls Road and the Victoria Falls -Deka Road and it passes through Jambezi. This road has been earmarked for maintenance grading. We are also going to be doing maintenance grading and bush clearing on the Victoria Falls -Deka Road.

UPDATE ON THE VICTORIA FALLS-BULAWAYO- AND DEKA-HWANGE ROAD

  1. HON. BONDA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to give an update to the house on the Victoria Falls- Bulawayo Road and Deka- Hwange Road after his fact-finding visits on the said roads.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Mr. Speaker Sir. On the Bulawayo – Victoria Falls Road in terms of Rehabilitation the Contractor Bitumen World has done 10. 5km up to date (Hwange section). The department of Roads has also moved in terms of routine maintenance of the road to do pothole patching of the whole road. The Ministry will soon be calling for expression of interest for PPPs for the upgrade of the Victoria Falls-Bulawayo Road whilst routine maintenance works continue under the existing contract to maintain the road trafficable.

The Hwange-Deka Road is under the purview of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme following the declaration by His Excellency, the President of the state of disaster on the national road infrastructure. The road is about 89. 5km. The first section of 0–41km peg is a narrow mat and pothole patching will be done continue continuously. On the gravel section from 41-89. 5km peg, the department of roads has earmarked to do maintenance grading and spot regravelling on some damaged sections.

REHABILITATION OF THE BINGWA GRAVEL ROAD TO JAMBEZI BUSINESS CENTRE

  1. HON. BONDA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House the plans being put in place regarding Bingwa Gravel Road to Jembezi Business Centre.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Mr. Speaker Sir, currently my Ministry, Department of Roads intends to carryout maintenance grading of the road up to Jambezi Business Centrre for the purposes of improving accessibility for the Members of the Community in that area. I thank you.

Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order 68.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. KAMBUZUMA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 10 be stood over until Orders of the Day, Numbers 11 and 12 have been disposed of.

HON. SAGANDIRA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

APPROVAL FOR RATIFICATION OF THE AGREEMENT FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE AFRICAN FINANCE CORPORATION

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. Speaker Sir. I move the motion standing in my name:

THAT WHEREAS Subsection (2) of Section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any Convention, Treaty or Agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament; 

WHEREAS the African Member States adopted the Agreement for the Establishment of the Africa Finance Corporation on the 20th May 2007 and opened the Establishment Agreement. On the 8th May 2018, the Government of Zimbabwe formally accepted the invitation to join the Africa Finance Corporation;

AND WHEREAS the terms of the Agreement for the Establishment of the Africa Finance Corporation dated 28 May 2007 requires that all new member countries ratify the Africa Finance Corporation Charter as amended in 2022;

NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of subsection (2) of the section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid agreement be and is hereby approved for ratification.

Mr. Speaker Sir, in terms of Section 110 (4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the President has the power, subject to the provisions of the Constitution, to enter into international conventions, treaties and agreements. Section 110 (6) of the Constitution, the President is required to act on the advice of the Cabinet in the exercise of this function.

The Agreement for the Establishment for the Africa Finance Corporation was established in 2007 and amended in 2012. Zimbabwe became a member of the African Finance Corporation on the 9th May 2018. However, formal acceptance of the invitation alone does not bind Zimbabwe, but requires approval by Parliament in line with Section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, Article 19 (3) of Agreement for the Establishment of the AFC provided for the ratification procedures by the members of the Charter.

The Agreement for the Establishment of the African Finance Corporation as, in accordance with its Article 3, defines a member State as any African state that signs the Agreement or executes an instrument of accession or ratification in respect thereof.

 The overall objective of the Corporation is to foster economic growth and industrial development of African countries, collectively and individually, and more specifically to:

  1. support and promote infrastructure development in Africa through the provision of investment funds;
  2. facilitate African trade generally and export- oriented trade by African countries;
  3. contribute to the development of the energy and extractive industries in Africa;  
  4. provide on-lending and refinancing facilities to African financial institutions; and
  5. e) generally engage in any kind of banking and financial business intended to promote investments in Africa.

It is therefore, desirable Mr. Speaker Sir, that the Republic of Zimbabwe ratify the aforesaid Agreement. I thank you.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank the Minister for the motion on the issue to do with request for ratification of the Africa Finance Corporation Treaty. First of all, Mr. Speaker Sir, the AFC is a multilateral development finance institution which was formed in 2007 in Nigeria. That is where it is headquartered. The intention of this institution is basically to support economic growth of most African countries as well as to promote the industrial expansion drive of African countries. This institution extends loans to Sovereign States as well as other institutions for a return which they will give to their shareholders.

Their major areas of priority as AFC are in line to do with issues of power generation, issues to do with the strategic national resources such as oil, minerals and gas. To add more to its weight, it supports infrastructure, particularly the transport infrastructure as well as the telecommunications infrastructure and lastly, the heavy industry sector. As of 31st December 2023, the AFC has disbursed an amount equivalent to USD12.7 billion from its inception, which was disbursed to benefit many African countries.

What is important Mr. Speaker Sir, is to see how this institution has performed before. You will realise that there are many success stories that have been registered by this financial institution. I will just give three or four so as to put the subject into perspective. In 2023, there is 44-megawatt hydroelectric project which was established and financed, called Singrobo in the country of Ivory Coast, which was done at the Bandama River which benefited a lot. When that hydroelectric

power generation project succeeds or is completed.  It has a capacity of employing about 500 employees.  Secondly, that project will help alleviate the power challenges in their country.  The AFC also supported projects in countries such as Angola, the Cabinda Oil Refinery project, which if completed, has got an estimate capacity of producing 60 000 barrels of crude oil.  The 60 000 barrels of crude oil produced per day will help to produce petrol, diesel and aviation gas which will support close to 40% of their domestic requirements in terms of fuel, which is actually a very important intervention by such a financial institution.  

          Madam Speaker, it also goes a long way to create opportunities, direct and indirect opportunities.  One of the success stories again is the Aliko Dangote Oil Refinery Project which is a $5.6-billion-dollar project.  This project has a capacity of producing 650 000 barrels of crude oil per day which will cover close to 60% of Nigeria’s oil requirements.  That will help a long way.  These success stories are an indication of how much we can benefit if we actually engage or ratify this treaty.  You also know that the Government of Tanzania in 2018 also benefitted to the tune of US$85 million to support its budgetary and fiscal requirements for that year.  It also helps for stability in that country. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, imagine if we had ratified this treaty well before 2024, we could have benefitted a lot.  My issue therefore is, where was Government through the Ministry of Finance all along when all these countries were benefitting from this very important funding?  I would like to encourage the Government to expedite these kinds of things in future.  This will enable this country not to remain behind in terms of benefitting from these multilateral financial institutions which give loan facilities that are reasonable and also Pan-Africanist. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, imagine if we could have got that kind of assistance on our ZISCO to resuscitate it.  Imagine if we had got that assistance well on time to resuscitate or to start the Batoka Energy Project, we could have been somewhere as a country.  My issue is that we are supporting this treaty to assist the country.  It was actually late to do it.  Particularly, if you look at the Charter, a Charter who is coming in to give a direction as to how the corporate governance systems of this institution are controlled.  Mr. Speaker Sir, particularly to say that what is the role of the Board of Directors, what is the role of the sovereign countries, what is the role of shareholders, what is the role of Executive Management?  It is very important to ratify this Mr. Speaker Sir.  I thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MACHINGURA):  Hon. Ndebele, when you came into the Chamber, you decided not to bow to the Chair, I am asking you to leave the House. 

          HON. CHIDUWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Thank you for giving me this opportunity to also add my voice on the ratification of the AFC Charter.   The AFC was created by African States to provide solutions to Africa’s infrastructure’s deficit problems.  The AFC was formed specifically to deal with infrastructure deficits in power, rail, road, aviation, water and heavy industries.  These are the areas that we are having problems with as a country.  If you look at our rail system, it is now antiquated.  We have serious deficits in rolling stock.  I think this is an area where the Government can tap into, especially on funding that does not come with unnecessary preconditions.  We also look at power generation.  We are having power deficits and we have done the rehabilitation of Hwange Power Stations 7 and 8.  We are looking into the rehabilitation of Hwange 1 up to Hwange 6.  These are areas where we can also look at the funding models and the AFC would come in handy since it supports agriculture projects. 

          Hon. Speaker, the AFC is a Pan-African institution which promotes regional cooperation and it also shows that as Africans, we can do it.  On the fostering of economic integration, we are looking at the regional economic communities like SADC, ECOWAS,  SACU, COMESA and East African Communities.  One way or the other, as we converge to have a common agenda under AFC, it promotes regional integration.  It is from where we can also see the pollination of ideas on how we can develop our continent.  The ratification of the Charter will accelerate a development agenda of Zimbabwe.  If we check the priority areas under National Development Strategy NDS 1, it speaks to the realisation of Vision 2030.  Under the priority area, there is a priority area on infrastructure development.  With the provision of funding, given the constraints that are coming from illegal sanctions, I think AFC would have come in handy in promoting the furtherance and development of pillars under NDS 1. 

          Hon. Speaker, the ratification will also create and foster conditions that are conducive to the greater inflow of investment funds.  What normally works in economics is signaling.  The moment there are signals that this country is not able to access lines of credit, this country is under sanctions, it sends those signals to other investors not to invest in Zimbabwe.  Once we know that we have other alternative sources of funding, this will give a positive signal for us to get better inflows of investments.  Ratification will improve access to capital and also to unlock the key sectors that are critical for the realisation of Vision 2030. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, as I conclude, what I would also want to find out from the Hon. Minister is, as you heard from the previous Speaker, the AFC was formed in Nigeria and there is some ownership that is there.  I would want to find out from the Hon. Minister, if the ratification would mean that we are going to pay subscriptions to be a Member of AFC.  Are we going to be a member or we are going to be a shareholder?  If we are going to pay subscriptions, are we ready to pay subscriptions but all in all, it is because of the criticality of the AFC to our development agenda of Zimbabwe. I therefore support the motion to ratify the AFC Charter.    

HON. HAMAUSWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I also want to add my voice, bringing in some insights into the advantages of ratifying this protocol.  I am also equally worried and happy at the same time that we have reached possibly what I would call the ‘Haggai moment’, whereby we were crying and we quickly realised that we have investment opportunities for Zimbabwe.  I support the fact that this is a Pan-African institution and Zimbabwe, from the time of the former late President R. G Mugabe was believed to be a supporter of Pan-Africanism.  It is worrisome when Zimbabwe takes more than a decade to ratify protocols which are of a Pan-African nature.  It gives doubt to the commitment of our country to the ideals of Pan-Africanism and I hope this House will take note of the delays and how the delays can be politically damaging to our country.  Ratifying this Pan-African Protocol then shows the commitment of this country to the ideals and values of Pan-Africanism, values which will see Africa as one.  This was going to allow other African countries to be on the side of Zimbabwe when it is facing challenges.  However, when Zimbabwe is facing challenges and it is not prepared to ratify such important protocols, it will be difficult for Zimbabwe.  We do not know what the reason was and maybe the Minister of Finance may also furnish this House with the reasons.  Maybe there are valid reasons but we think that diplomatically, Zimbabwe will be at a good standing by ratifying such important protocols which also allow for the shareholding participation by sovereign countries like Zimbabwe.  It also allows for the shareholders by individuals within the participating countries.  Therefore, by not signing, the Zimbabwean Government was actually denying the private sector within our country and those in the diaspora to also buy shares within this institution.  Therefore ratification, I hope and believe will open opportunities for investment.  These opportunities are important because if they invest their money, their profits will be reinvested in our country. 

In addition, when there is economic integration, it will reduce conflicts among the African States and Zimbabwe tends to benefit because there are going to be transboundary projects that will then dissuade African countries from fighting each other.  Therefore, it will be important for us to take such important financial institutions not just for economic reasons, but also for political and security reasons.  It is for the security reasons that Zimbabwe ratifies this protocol. 

Zimbabwe is endowed with both natural and human resources.  We have human resources failing to get employment in this country but if Zimbabwe participates in these important institutions, it is easier for Zimbabwean graduates to also be employed in such institutions because Zimbabwe will be a part of this institution.  I do not see any light for a prospective employee from Zimbabwe to apply to such an institution and get employed when Zimbabwe is not participating.  Now that Zimbabwe has decided to ratify, it creates opportunities for our graduates to also be employed in such institutions. 

As I said, we are endowed with natural resources, but exploration to the benefit of the Zimbabweans has been a challenge.  We now have lithium and other countries are manufacturing lithium batteries while Zimbabwe has been talking of manufacturing lithium batteries, yet there is an institution which could have funded as is happening in other countries as alluded to by the previous speakers.   Zimbabwe could have benefited and can continue to benefit in the manufacturing sector.  Zimbabwe is also endowed with the best fertile soils in the world.  Our agricultural sector is struggling and we also need funding.   Here is the opportunity to get funding to promote our farmers and food production.  The funding is there and therefore I support the ratification of this protocol.  It can also enhance the development of our ICTs and Artificial Intelligence which can also then stimulate development.  Therefore, Mr. Speaker Sir, I conclude by thanking the Minister of Finance for bringing this protocol to this House.  I also encourage him to also look and dig deeper into other protocols that Zimbabwe has not yet signed, which will also bring benefits to this country.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. NCUBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank the Hon. Members for their contributions.  Hon. Madzivanyika highlighted the fact that this is a Pan-African multinational institution formed in Nigeria in 2007.  This is correct and Nigeria was one of the prime movers behind this institution.  They had excess reserves from the central bank which they made use of in capacitating this institution to create yet another option for countries to borrow from or to seek investment from to expand their economies.  He is correct that this institution has invested over US$10 billion right across Africa since inception in the projects that he highlighted, especially the ones that I knew quite well; the Ivory Coast projects and other roads projects, the Angola Oil Facility and the Dangote Oil Refinery Facility.  He is correct that by ratifying this, we will realise all the other benefits that we have been missing that other countries have been benefitting from and have since enjoyed.  He is very supportive and I am pleased with that support that he is lending to this project. 

          I now turn to the contribution by Hon. Chiduwa who basically highlighted that this institution will fill the infrastructure gap that we are experiencing as a country in various aspects of infrastructure, be it power, roads and other pieces of infrastructures. The advantage of this institution is that there are no tough or onerous pre-conditions for access and therefore, it is advantageous that we should become members. This will also create economic integration and cross-fertilisation of ideas which are so needed and will give us more capital as a country.

          He asked the question about whether the membership and ratification entails payment of fees. The answer is no, we do not have to pay any fees. It is free membership, but unlocks all this opportunity. Private sector can benefit from accessing funding from this AFC.

          I now turn to Hon. Hamauswa whose contribution I appreciate and he is very supportive of ratification. In the end, he says if there are any other ones that have not been ratified, let us dig them up and make sure we bring them before this House. I agree with him. I can assure you that the fact that we brought it here, shows that we are serious about exploiting every opportunity where we can source capital outside to support development of this country. It would really unlock resources for the private sector right across the board in the areas that he articulated so well. I thank you for the support. I therefore move that the ratification be done by this august House.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

APPROVAL FOR ACCESSION OF THE AGREEMENT ON ESTABLISHMENT OF THE AFRICAN RISK CAPACITY (ARC) AGENCY

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON PROF. NCUBE): I move the motion standing in my name;

THAT WHEREAS Subsection (2) of Section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;

WHEREAS the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government adopted the Agreement on the Establishment of the African Risk Capacity (ARC) Agency (“the Treaty”) and opened the Treaty for signature.  And on the 23rd of November 2012, the Government of Zimbabwe signed the Treaty: 

AND WHEREAS the terms of the Agreement on the Establishment of the African Risk Capacity (ARC) Agency (“the Treaty”) adopted by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in November 2012 requires that Members States desirous to join the ARC Agency after it has entered into force shall accede to the Treaty:

NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Agreement be and is hereby approved for accession.

Background

The Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion, signed the Treaty Agreement to become a member of the African Risk (ARC) Agency on 23 November 2012.

ARC is a specialised agency of the African Union established to help member States improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters, most notably drought.

The provisional application of the treaty applies to 35 African Union member States who signed the treaty to take advantage of the benefits available to the parties of the treaty, including participation in the ARC Ltd Insurance Pool and capacity building programmes, among others.

The treaty has gone through the required processes, that is Attorney-General’s Office, the Public Agreement Advisory Committee and Cabinet.

Participation in the ARC Drought Insurance Pool

Zimbabwe started participation in the ARC Drought Insurance Pool in 2019/20 agriculture season. A payout amount of $1.4 million was made to the Government whilst World Food Programme received US$290 000 supporting over 180 000 households in the highly vulnerable districts.

The US$1.4 million supported 77 767 most vulnerable households in four districts, namely Mbire, Mudzi, Mutare and Zaka.

The Government purchased a sovereign drought insurance policy of US$3 million for the 2023/24 agriculture season. A combined payout of US$32 million for the Government and Replica Partners (Start Network and WFP) is anticipated for the 2023/24 agriculture.

The payment amount for the Government is envisaged to support 349 170 vulnerable households in 18 districts most impacted by El Nino induced drought. These include: Binga, Chimanimani, Kariba, Mudzi, Umguza, Tsholotsho, Mbire, Nkayi, Bulilima, Umzingwane, Hwange, Lupane, Zvishavane, Gokwe North, Mt. Drawin, Rushinga, Chiredzi and Mutare.

Whilst the treaty was signed in 2012, ratification of the same is still outstanding. Ten countries including Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Madagascar, Mauritania, Niger, Mali, Senegal and Togo have to date ratified their ARC treaties. The ratification of the treaty will signal the Government’s commitment towards ARC membership and ensure prompt availability of financial resources in the aftermath of disasters such as drought and floods.

Furthermore, countries that have ratified are allowed to take out insurance from ARC Ltd. by paying a premium which will not be a financial obligation under the treaty.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for the opportunity.  The Africa Risk Capacity Agency is a very vital institution in terms of assisting African countries on risks that are associated with the issues of climate as well as very extreme conditions such as cyclones tornadoes, hurricanes, as well as epidemics such as COVID-19 and Ebola in Africa.  The African Risk Capacity is a very important institution in the fact that it assists African countries to plan, prepare as well as to respond effectively to the incidence of natural disasters as well as to give a more reliable source of capital to fund challenges associated with national disasters.

 Mr. Speaker, this organisation has got a system of detecting risks through what is called the Africa Risk View, it is a satellite surveillance system; the Africa Risk Review, a certain surveillance system that is used to detect the possibility of cyclones, for example, to detect the possibilities of any other unfavourable weather conditions that might befall a particular country. 

You do not benefit from such systems if you are not part of that treaty.  If you look again at this African Risk Agency, it also goes a long way to support vital departments of Government such as the Meteorological Department, the Disaster Management Department, the National Statistics Agency and in this case, ZIMSTATS for Zimbabwe.  It also goes a long way to support the agricultural research services, and probably the Ministry of Agriculture in general.  So, if you look at this, the general gist of this organisation is to help a country to protect itself from the incidence of unplanned risk as a result of bad weather conditions and other epidemic diseases.

I think in light of this Mr. Speaker, there is nothing wrong as a country to support this kind of treaty which allows this country to be protected from the possibility of future damaging risks.

HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to also add my voice on the proposed ratification of the Africa Risk Capacity Charter.  Hon. Speaker, the Africa Risk Capacity enables participating African governments to ensure themselves against natural disasters. This is especially with specific reference to cases when citizens are not able to assist themselves.  Over the years Hon. Speaker, especially with reference to Zimbabwe, we have experienced cyclones.  I remember cyclone Eline, Cyclone Idai and of late, we are under an El Nino weather conditions and there is focus that in the 2024/5 agriculture calendar, we are going to experience El Nino.  All these affect agricultural yields. The disasters affect economic activity, they destroy lives and infrastructure.  The ratification of the ARC will assist us as a country to understand risk better.  We will also benefit from risk capacity building and we will also benefit from pulling our resources together with other countries which can then be used in the form of trading because of the pulling.

We will also benefit when we insure ourselves against drought and I remember Hon. Minister saying here that we had insured ourselves against drought and this will assist us as a country.  Given climate change, it is important that we insure ourselves against natural disasters and this will assist us when it comes to climate vulnerability and climate change.

 Hon. Speaker, looking at the provisions of the ARC Charter, I would also want to urge the Minister to look at other forms of insurance so that we can do a cost benefit analysis.  I know this is not the only agency that offers such solutions.  We would want to make sure that we get value for money.  In terms of the ratification Hon. Speaker, I would want to lend my support for the ratification of the ARC Charter. I thank you.

*HON. P. ZHOU: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I would like to add a few words on this motion.  I would want to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing such a Charter for ratification.  All of us in Zimbabwe are aware of the climate change, so we are delighted with the ratification of this particular Charter to cover our country against disasters such as Cyclone Idai.  The weather patterns have changed and we now have heavy rains, volcanoes, tornadoes and such things.   If we are to suffer from that, it is wise for us to subscribe to Africa Risk Charter.  It enables us to learn from others.  One man cannot embrace a baobab tree alone.  I thank the Hon.  Minister for introducing a good thing. We have this mantra that leave no place and no one behind and so, we should not be left behind.   We should move in sync with others. 

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. NCUBE): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I thank the Hon. Members for their contributions and support.  Let me begin with the input from Hon. Madzivanyika.  He correctly highlighted that the ARC provides insurance for extreme weather conditions and other shocks, pandemics and other such things such as extreme exogenous shocks which will really be dealt with through this kind of insurance provided by ARC. He is correct that they use a very sophisticated method for using satellite technology to determine which areas are affected by drought. In fact, for Zimbabwe specifically, what they did is that we have got five regions in terms of quality of rainfall patterns. 

So they grouped regions 1 and 2 as one area and the 3,4,5 as additional regions, four buckets in all and then within each region, they were able to zoom in into every district and see which ones are most affected.  First of all, which of these zones are most affected? One and two within each which district are most affected and that is how they came up with the 18 districts that I mentioned and that is the methodology that they used.  Hon. Madzivanyika highlighted that it is very effective as a technology and we hope that our own Zimbabwean side could in future be capable of making a contribution in this kind of methodology.

Largely, he is very supportive and he would like us to make sure that we get maximum benefit from this insurance.  Going forward, I think he is actually urging us to continue because when we took the insurance, we did not know that we will have a drought this season. We just got insurance, we never knew and here we are; we did the right thing and we expect this payment of US$32 which we will distribute once we have it. 

I take note also of the contributions by Hon. Chiduwa who highlighted that really the participating governments under this ARC that the participating governments under this ARC programme or institution will take advantage of the opportunities for sharing risk, experiences and so forth and getting insurance against these natural disasters.

Also, that Zimbabwe has experienced extreme weather is correct as I said. This year we have had the El Nino and next year there are murmurings, rightly to put it, of having a Lanina and we have had cyclones. So, we have different types of shocks that this kind of insurance will protect us against. I think in a sense he is saying if we have Lanina next year, which also poses other challenges, then we better buy insurance again this year to ensure that we can be protected.

He highlighted that buying or rather ratifying this treaty and then participating in the programme by purchasing insurance will also be helping ourselves to understand these risks better and therefore can plan better going forward to support our citizens. I agree with him that we should look out for other sources of insurance out there to see what else is available. We are aware that we have certain organisations which have been busy in countries such as Kenya and providing micro-insurance at the specific farmer level where a farmer buys insurance which is subsidised by Government. We will be looking into that.

Can you imagine that if we were to buy or sell subsidised insurance to our Pfumvudza/Intwasa farmers, that will go a long way in protecting them in addition to receiving free inputs and agricultural extension services. We will look far and wide for other support institutions as far as insurances is concerned.

Hon. Zhou is supportive. She believes and I agree with her that the insurance will go a long way in protecting our citizenry against these natural disasters. It will enable us to understand our risk, pool our risks and share with other countries. There is a lot for us to learn from being part of this ARC family through the ratification of this treaty and I agree with Hon. Zhou.

To this end, I move that; 

WHEREAS subsection (2) of section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;

WHEREAS the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government adopted the Agreement on the Establishment of the African Risk Capacity (ARC) Agency (“the Treaty”) and opened the Treaty for signature. And on the 23rd of November 2012 the Government of Zimbabwe signed the Treaty:

AND WHEREAS the terms of the Agreement on the Establishment of the African Risk Capacity (ARC) Agency (“the Treaty”) adopted by the Conference pf Plenipotentiaries in November 2012 requires that Members States desirous to join the ARC Agency after it has entered into force shall accede to the Treaty:

NOW THEREFORE, in terms of section 327(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Agreement be and is hereby approved for accession. I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

TABLING OF REPORTS

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. NCUBE): Mr. Speaker, when the House debate the approval of the loan from IFAD last week of US$37, 15 million, one of the request during that debate was that I come back to this House and table a report on previous IFAD loans, how those loans have performed. I am happy to say I am ready and I hereby table the annual report for the Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme which was marketed in 2021. This annual report basically covers the months of January to December, 2023.

I also table the report to a subsidiary programme again that was put in place the same year, together with the earlier one called the Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project. Again, I table the annual report.

During the same debate, they also need to refresh Parliament on the Public Debt Reports because the feeling was that perhaps, we were taking on extra unnecessary debt and that we were not reporting enough.  I have before me here, a report which I thought I had already tabled, dated November 2023 on the Public Debt situation. I also table a second report for the earlier year, 2022 financial year and again it is a Public Debt Report just in case those reports are missing in Parliament. I also table a supplementary report entitled the Annual Public Debt Bulletin for the year 2022 financial year. I thank you.

Reports were duly laid on the Table.

On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. SAGANDIRA, the House adjourned at Thirteen Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.

 

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