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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 22 November 2016 43-14
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 22nd November, 2016
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
MATTER OF PRIVILEGE
MINISTERS’ PREPARATION FOR QUESTION TIME
HON. NDEBELE: I wish to seek your indulgence to rise on a matter of privilege in terms of Standing Order Number 63 – [HON. MEMBERS: 68(d).] - You may forgive me being a lawyer in training, I might be mixing it up with the National Constitution. It could easily be 68 (d) Hon. Speaker that reads, “...relating to a question of order or a matter of privilege”. This concerns a matter which occurred in this
House last week during Members’ Time. I am not challenging the determination that you came up with but I wish to seek your protection going forward because as backbenchers, before we come to this House, we do diligent work in preparation for Question Time. On the other hand, our Ministers for want of preparation, at times are very arrogant and I am sorry to use the word. It may rub some people wrongly but this is what happens in this House.
A specific case in point, I asked a question to the Minister responsible for War Veterans and I suppose their welfare as well, what
Government’s policy was relating to the uniform payment a flat US$73 to all veterans of our struggle regardless of the injuries they carried from the war. The Minister was adamant that this was not the case and I still stand by my word because I had done some work. The Minister despite being the person that presides over the welfare of veterans did not know the truth. It is under his purview but if you read last week’s Hansard, his response to me was very sad if not arrogant. I seek your protection and going forward, as we do our work, our Ministers must also do their work. It is the same thing that happens when a whole Minister runs away from answering questions in this House because he is going to board a plane to South Africa.
If our Ministers were that busy, our country would not be in such a messy. I would like you to make a determination on this, not just today because it has an impact on our democracy as practiced in this House. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What was the Chair’s ruling and
HON. NDEBELE: The Chair’s ruling was that, I should put the
question in writing. When I sat alone at home without challenging the
Chair’s ruling, I felt it will be remiss to do so because I was dead right on that point.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, your right and privilege
were not interfered with and you should stand by the guidance given by the Chair and allow the Minister to answer you in full when you put the question in writing.
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEKEAR: What is your point of order?
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: Hon. Speaker Sir, in terms of Section 68(d). The Minister of Finance and Economic Development has just announced today that tomorrow he is seeking suspension of procedure where a Bill has to go through the Legal Committee and probably the Bill has to go through public consultations. I seek your indulgence that this Bill is quite sensitive in the country. It has been subject to debate on social media and everywhere and to fast tract this Bill will be unjust to Zimbabweans as a community and would seek that this Bill goes through a proper process where citizens are allowed to express their views. There is a general feeling out there which is almost like a Referendum that people are not really in agreement with the introduction of the bond notes. We need to consult excessively and in a normal procedure without a rush. I do not see the urgency to do it in a fast tract manner.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Your point of order, I think is misdirected. What you need is to hear the Minister tomorrow. Once you have heard the Minister tomorrow, then you can raise issues accordingly. I thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I crave
the indulgence of the House to ask to move that Order of the Day, No. 1, be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 2, has been disposed off.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF A LOAN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE
GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE AND OPEC FUND FOR THE
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the
Ratification of the loan agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and OPEC Fund for International Development.
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, the
Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) signed a US$7.6 million loan agreement to support the Poverty Alleviation Project on 17 August, 2016.
- The loan was sourced at a concessional interest rate of 1.5% per annum, with tenure of 20 years, comprising of a 5 year grace period and 15 years bi-annual repayments. I hereby place on the Table of this august House a document detailing the key features of the facility.
Project Scope and Mechanisms
- Speaker Sir, the objective of the project is to improve
access of beneficiary households to enhanced socio-economic services and income generating opportunities, through support to the following programmes and sub-projects;
- Livestock Development (cattle rearing, construction of cattle fattening pens, drilling of community boreholes);
- Optimization of Local Endowments (value addition of locally available fruits, honey production and processing, fish farming, among others);
- Strengthening of Entrepreneurial Training Institutes (capacity building of personnel and upgrading of equipment for 3 identified Entrepreneurship Training Institutes); and
- On-lend to Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs).
- Speaker Sir, the beneficiaries to this facility will be identified as rural communities, households, entrepreneurs, training institutions and SACCOs in the following 3 provinces; capacity of personnel and upgrading of equipment for three identified entrepreneurship training institutes. Fourthly, we will seek to on-lend to savings and credit cooperative societies.
- Speaker Sir, the beneficiaries to this facility will be identified rural communities - households, entrepreneur training institutions and savings and credit cooperative societies in the provinces of Masvingo, Manicaland and Matabeleland North.
- Speaker Sir, the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development (SMEs) is the executing agent responsible for the implementation of the project. In order to ensure the smooth implementation of the project, a Project Management Unit (PMU) will be established under the Ministry, whose mandate will be to oversee the day to day activities of the project.
- The Project is earmarked to commence in January 2017 and will be implemented over a period of four years.
Project Financing and Repayment
- The financing of the project is US$8.3 million, with OFID contributing a loan facility of US$7.6 million (91.6%) whilst
Government will provide counter-funding of US$700 000 (8.4%).
- The loan will be serviced from funds deposited by beneficiaries into a Revolving Fund. The Fund will be administered by the MoSMECD to ensure that Government is able to honour its repayment obligations to OFID.
- The Poverty Alleviation Project is a direct translation of the country’s economic blue-print the ZIM ASSET which seeks to eradicate poverty through value addition of abundant local resources.
- The successful implementation of this project will help improve the livelihoods of the beneficiaries through:
- Alleviation of hunger;
- Improved food security and boost nutrition;
- Increased household and personal incomes; and
- Strengthening of Entrepreneurial Training and capacity building of beneficiaries to gainfully participate in community and national development projects.
I therefore, commend the OFID Agreement for the Poverty Alleviation Project in the sum of US$7.6 million for the approval of this august House.
Key Features of This Loan Are As Follows:
|Borrower||Government of Zimbabwe (Ministry of Finance and Economic Development).|
|Lender||OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).|
|Beneficiary Institution||Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development (MoSMECD).|
|Purpose||To eradicate poverty through value enhancement of local resources foster income diversification and increased food production to the beneficiary households.|
|Targeted Areas||Masvingo, Manicaland and Matabeleland|
|Maturity||Twenty (20) years (inclusive of grace period.|
|Grace Period||Five (5) years.|
|Interest Rate||One and half percent (1.5%) per annum on the principal amount of the loan withdrawn and outstanding payable semi- annually on (15 January and 15 July.|
|Principal Payments||Thirty (30) semi- annual installments.|
|Service Charge||One percent (1%)per annum on the principal amount of the loan withdrawn and outstanding.|
|Date of Effectiveness||Within 90 days after the date of the Agreement.|
|Closing date (for drawdowns)||31 December 2021|
HON. MANGAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I also want to add my voice to the approval of the monies that we as Government intend to direct the Ministry of SMEs. It is important that as Parliament we really appreciate the eradication of poverty through such funds. Having our economy mostly having Small and Medium Enterprises in the economy, these funds will go a long way in eradicating poverty. The provinces which have been chosen by the Ministry, I think they are very strategic…
HON. CHAMISA: On a point of order. Thank you Hon. Speaker, I am also apologising through you Hon. Speaker to Hon. Mangami because I have interrupted and disrupted her thought processes, but just to be sure that we are doing the correct thing Hon. Speaker. I wanted to check with the Minister because my information has not indicated the availability of this agreement having been gazetted in terms of the Constitution.
I wanted that assurance. Then for us to start debating without following the Constitution might actually be problematic. I meant to check with those assistants who normally accompany the Minister, but it would appear that the Minister is alone today. Hopefully, he is not on his own. So, if we may actually be helped because as Parliament - we are supposed to, in terms of Section 300 (3) within 60 days of the agreement having been concluded, we are supposed to at least have evidence and sight of a copy defining the terms, contours and parameters of the particular agreement.
Of course I was also going to raise another point which is very essential, which is the Act of Parliament, done by the Parliament, setting the limit of loans that are supposed to contracted or enjoyed by Government on behalf of the citizens. So, I just wanted those issues to be clarified Hon. Speaker Sir, as a point of procedure and as a point of order. Once that is sorted, we can then delve into the marrow of matter; nuts and bolts of our discussion. If that is not dealt with, we may be yoking the ox from the tail.
THE HON. SPEAKER: If the tail is well cooked, it can be very delicious – [Laughter.] –
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVLOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I happen to have the answer
here. General Notice 402: 2016 in the Government Gazette of 11th November.
Hon. Gonese having stood up to raise a point order.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Another point order?
HON. GONESE: Yes, Hon. Speaker. It is different from Hon.
Chamisa’s but in the same context.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The major issue has been clarified, why should we have another point of order?
HON. GONESE: But I have got a different point which I also think needs clarification before we can delve into the merits of the matter.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can we hear the point of order.
HON. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. If I understood the
Minister correctly, he indicated that he was going to table the contents of the loan agreement, which he was in the process of doing. My worry is that, the Minister is seeking our approval and I believe that for us to give that approval, we must do so from an informed position. I also want clarification from the Minister as to whether he had availed copies of the agreement, because my understanding from the way in which he explained is that he was simply tabling the contents now and we are not familiar with contents thereof.
I believe that it would be remiss of us to actually support or not give support when we are not acquainted with the substance of the matter. This is the point I wanted to emphasise that if we are not in a position where we have familiarized ourselves with the document which he is referring to, because in the past we had these agreements circulated and distributed to us, which I am not too sure as to whether this was done in the instant case. The impression which I get from the Minister’s submissions is he has not done so and he was simply just informing us now and giving us the details of which Mr. Speaker, I believe that it is imperative for us to have a clearer understanding so that we know whether this agreement is beneficial to the people of Zimbabwe, so that we do not simply rubber stamp what is coming from the Executive without knowing exactly what we are doing. That is the point which I wanted to seek clarity on before we can proceed.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Chair also seeks clarification from the Hon. Member; did you check in your pigeon holes?
HON. GONESE: I have not come across that document. I normally collect my documents from my pigeon hole ….
THE HON. SPEAKER: Did you check?
HON. GONESE: Unless it came in the afternoon, because in the morning it was not there. If it has been put in now I am not sure but when I came in the morning and I checked my pigeon hole, I did not see the document in question. But if it was done later in the morning, that I cannot be certain since I have not checked my pigeon hole.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have asked Papers’ Office to give me the actual date when the information was circulated but we can vouch that the paper was circulated.
In the interest of time, I will give the actual dates when it was circulated. Meanwhile, the debate can proceed.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): For the benefit of the
Hon. Member, when I say I tabled the key features for the facility, it was at the back of my speech. I have already given it to the transcribers but I can read out once more the key features of this facility.
Hon. Chinamasa read the key features of the facility as previously presented.
HON. MANGAMI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir….
HON. KHUPE: On a point of order, the Minister has said this project is going to ensure that three provinces benefit and he said Masvingo, Manicaland and Matabeleland Provinces, whereas it is only one. There is Matabeleland North. There is no Matabeleland South.
HON. CHINAMASA: It is Matabeleland North.
HON. KHUPE: My problem is that Matabeleland South is one of the provinces ….
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, please can we follow the rules.
We address the Chair. Hon. Leader of the Opposition, can you proceed?
HON. KHUPE: Yes, Hon. Speaker Sir; as a concerned citizen and as somebody coming from Matabeleland, I know very much that both Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South are provinces which are hard hit by poverty levels and whereas there is only Matabeleland North and there is no Matabeleland South – I would want to ask the Minister why Matabeleland South was not included, whereas there are many people living in abject poverty. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Khupe, procedurally, you cannot raise that point of order. You will be given the liberty to debate the motion and that is when you can raise those issues and the Minister will be required to answer accordingly.
HON. MANGAMI: Thank you once more Mr. Speaker Sir. I was adding my voice to this loan agreement and had said it is important that as Parliament, we approve this because it will go a long way in alleviating poverty in the three provinces.
Apart from that, it is indicated that this is a revolving fund. I want to believe that those that are going to benefit will also be able to let others benefit. Enforcement of payment should be encouraged within the Ministry so that the revolving fund continues.
I also want to applaud the Ministry of Finance for availing the
US$700 000 which they are also putting in place for the SME needs. Mr. Speaker, it is also important that other provinces as well will benefit after the three have benefited.
Looking at the value addition that is being encouraged within the agreement, I think the rural communities have not been benefiting much through micro-finance institutions where they are charging bigger interests, so when this loan agreement is approved, it will go a long way in alleviating poverty.
Last, Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to say that it is important for the Ministry then to look at all the loopholes that have been having other monies that have come through the Ministry so that there is almost 100% if not - for the monies to be paid back for the revolving fund to continue. I thank you.
HON. M. KHUMALO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Minister for bring this loan to the House. We were just worried that the Minister of Finance was not here when this motion was presented by Minister Mzembi. It is there in the Hansard, the whole lot of the loan. I wondered why others were saying that they did not see it but it is there in the Hansard.
Secondly Mr. Speaker Sir, we want the Minister to clarify certain issues in the loan. Firstly, I think that last year we ratified another loan. I think it was a very cheap Arab loan for $3 million and we have not heard how that loan was implemented. I will agree with others that we will ratify these things when the previous loans have not been accounted for. Secondly Mr. Speaker, let me find out – there are three provinces that are going to take part. I am glad that these are the driest provinces in the country like Matabeleland North, Masvingo and parts of
Manicaland. These provinces have districts and if you look at $7.6 million, how is this money going to be distributed to all the districts like in Matabeleland North for example? There are seven administrative districts with almost 13 constituencies and if you look at $7.6 million divided by three provinces, what is the amount of the loan to each province? We want him to clarify the distribution of the loan.
The other issue Mr. Speaker is the decentralisation of these loans. When a loan has been given to a province, there is this tendency of managing the loan from Harare. We hope that this loan will be decentralised into the provinces so that it benefits those people who are in the outskirts, for example Binga – you do not expect a SACCOs from Binga to apply for a small loan which is managed in Harare. So, we want the management of these loans to be decentralised to the provinces.
Also Mr. Speaker, we want to thank the Minister for the objectives of the loan like cattle rearing and drilling of boreholes. A lot of provinces have benefitted in command agriculture which is for people who have a lot of rainfall. When money is put to those areas in Matabeleland where it is dry for cattle rearing and borehole drilling – we commend Government for doing so.
Lastly, Mr. Speaker Sir, we are worried about SEDCO and the Small to Medium Enterprises Ministry. There is a lot of money that is put into this Ministry in the name of SEDCO funds but these funds are hardly coming to the districts. So, we hope that this loan will be managed properly. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Thank you Hon. Khumalo
for reminding us that the information which was requested by Hon. Gonese in fact appears in the Hansard and also from Journals Office – that information was circulated on the 18th of October, 2016.
HON. MANDIPAKA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Hon. Speaker, I
will be very brief in my debate. I want to plead with other Hon. Members in this august House to support the approval of this loan agreement because it is coming for a very good and noble cause. Hon. Speaker, there is no better way of portraying a responsible Government than taking care of those people that live in rural communities because in the majority of cases, these are the people that are disadvantaged. So, I am quite happy and impressed by the fact that the loan agreement will cater for those communities in rural Manicaland, Masvingo and Matabeleland. Mr. Speaker Sir, the facility which is being provided for is to cater for cattle rearing, community boreholes, honey production and entrepreneurial training institutes.
I want to make a comment on community boreholes. Mr. Speaker
Sir, in our rural areas, more-so in Buhera West where I am the Hon. Member of Parliament; people are experiencing hardships because there is no water. Their wells are drying up and it would be very noble for this loan facility to go towards the installation of boreholes in these areas so that our communities can access water. It is a right for our communities to access water. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would also want to urge the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development to, at the end of the day after the loan has been executed, update Parliament on the use of these monies.
I also urge the Committee that is responsible for the Small to Medium Enterprises Ministry to make sure that when the loan is given out and people have started working on the projects, an assessment has been made to ensure that those funds are put to good use. We want transparency and accountability. So, I urge the Committee of Parliament as well as the Minister to be updating us on the progress; especially next year in 2017 – whether the money has been put to good use and the people are actually embarking on those projects. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Good
afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir, I wish you a merry Christmas Mr. Speaker
Mr. Speaker Sir, the loan agreement which the hon. Minister has put across; I believe it will be used in a very accountable, transparent and fair manner for the benefit of the citizens of this country. I hope that Hon. Minister, you are going to put mechanisms to manage this money across as it will be utilised because we have seen abuses of loan agreements in some other parastatals of this country and in some other big projects of this country whereby money is being abused. Tender procedures are not being followed; the board members are part of the systems at the end of the tunnel – which are benefitting from the projects and as well, we have seen Ministers getting into these things through chicanery means abusing these funds.
So, Hon. Minister, I believe that this money from this loan agreement when it is approved by Parliament, it would not be a campaign mechanism by the political party ZANU PF in building up to 2018 elections. I hope that this money will be given to those in need to improve the welfare of communities which are poverty stricken.
Provinces have been put across – Manicaland, Matabeleland and Masvingo.
In these provinces, they have regions – we have eastern parts and the lowveld parts; we have drier parts then we have more areas where we have a lot of rainfall. I am sure that will be looked at as well in terms of ration – be it the drilling of boreholes or allocation when the rearing
of cattle will be done. When the introduction of cattle hon. Minister is being done, there is need to look into the hybrids of these cattle to address the issue of the lowveld and the issue of the eastern region and regions one up to region five.
Hon. Minister, the other time you came here, you had a loan agreement …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, please address the Chair.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Sorry Mr. Speaker Sir. I will always address my Speaker. Pardon me Mr. Speaker Sir.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the other time, there was a loan agreement which came into this House – $21 million about building of schools. Everyone talked about it, we put our ideas through the Minister to the Speaker in this House and we even advised the Minister as to what we thought was supposed to be a process. There was a mutual agreement with this House and the Minister that he was going to do some quarterly briefings about these projects until results come out. However, ever since this agreement about these schools was approved, the Minister did not even dare to come back to tell us how much money was distributed across the country and how much was given to schools, districts and other areas.
Nothing has come to this day.
The picture was that the Hon. Minister was going to come back to the House. Hon. Speaker, with all due respect, I appeal to the Hon. Minister to stick to his words always. My appeal is that; when an allocation of this manner is done in the district, it will be in the best interest of transparency and for us as the honourable House which would have approved this loan agreement for the Hon. Minister to tell us how the money would have been distributed across the country so that we have confidence whenever we are approving these loan agreements.
With these few words, Hon. Speaker, I thank you very much. Through you Mr. Speaker, I hope that the Hon. Minister will do things well above board. We have so many examples where loans have been abused in this country. There is need for this to have a difference. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. CHIRISA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Minister for presenting this loan agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and OPEC Fund. I am one of those who said I did not see it but I am going to check again. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am so organised such that, I have every loan agreement and I keep every Order Paper. I looked for this OPEC Fund this morning because I wanted to debate but I did not find it. However, I will still go back and look for it. Having said that…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Member; are you saying the Chair misdirected you when he said the documents were distributed on the 18th October, 2016? Is that what you are suggesting?
HON. CHIRISA: No, Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Withdraw your statement.
HON. CHIRISA: I withdraw – [Laughter.] – THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you. Carry on.
HON. CHIRISA: Alright Mr. Speaker, I am sorry. I was saying, I think ZIM ASSET is now moving. I think this is part of the ZIM
ASSET and it is one of the clusters on poverty and hunger alleviation. My main worry is the criteria to be used to identify the beneficiaries of this OPEC Fund. As said by one of the Hon. Members, it might be done on political grounds and I fear some of the Zimbabweans who are really in need might not get this opportunity.
I also feel that before the fund is distributed, he mentioned that there are boreholes which are to be drilled, we want to know where these boreholes will be drilled because there might be a problem of boreholes being drilled in one district and the other districts and wards not benefitting because someone with influence comes from part of that area. So, we need to be very careful.
On the beneficiaries, I always talk about women, children and vulnerable groups. We also want the Minister to make sure that women are also beneficiaries although it is under the Small and Medium
Enterprises, I think there are a lot of women who are also involved. I would like to see women benefitting from this loan as well as some of the vulnerable groups in our societies. Mr. Speaker Sir, in the society, we have poor people but there are the poorest of them all, we want to see this group benefitting.
The issue of capacity building to the project management team; yes, it is a welcome move but I also feel that the beneficiaries of the fund should be trained on how to manage the fund and the project. This is for the reason that, the project management team is coming from the Ministry and might not always be in that community. So, I would like to see the beneficiaries also being trained on how to manage because the money might be put down the drain.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to know how much will be given to each category and is it per family or individual? What will happen to defaulters at the end of the project cycle? I thank you.
HON. CHAKONA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I would
like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this loan agreement and debate. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to applaud the Minister who negotiated for this loan agreement on favourable terms associated with the agreement. I also want to thank the Minister for identifying the need to finance projects that are aimed at poverty alleviation and also for choosing our province, Masvingo and the other two.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to start by highlighting that in Masvingo Province, we have been perpetually hit by droughts for the past ten years. As we speak right now, 12 000 boreholes have dried up and most if not all the rivers are no longer flowing. So we do not have underground as well as surface water. Most of the dams in Masvingo Province are less than 20% full, which makes it very difficult for people to earn a living out of anything that is dependent on water.
In that regard Mr. Speaker, the need to identify projects that alleviate poverty in Masvingo, is very critical. Mr. Speaker, the issue of financing projects related to livestock production are critical, given that Masvingo Province is one of the provinces that contribute towards the beef industry in this country. Most of the major big abattoirs are in Masvingo Province. I would also want to mention that even the Cold
Storage Commission (CSC)’s biggest abattoir is in Masvingo, which is at this stage dysfunctional. I therefore hope and trust that this loan agreement, will be part of the solution for the revival of the Masvingo CSC abattoir, which is the largest and most mechanised abattoir in the country.
Mr. Speaker, I would also want to emphasise that there is so much scope for value addition and beneficiation in Masvingo Province. We have a lot of natural resources like fruits, which include mangoes, guavas, mazhanje or mashuku in our province, which need value addition and beneficiation. The identification of projects on value addition to these and other products will go a long way in alleviating poverty in our province.
Mr. Speaker, strengthening entrepreneurship is key to the creation of jobs in our province. I would like to say that, close to 90% of our youths in Masvingo Province are unemployed. Therefore, creating entrepreneurs in our province is key to ensure that those youths have something to do in their motherland. Mr. Speaker, it has been emphasised that training is part of empowerment. Untrained people would obviously put to waste, whatever resource you give them. I therefore emphasise that whoever is going to access this loan account or this loan amount would be trained adequately for:
- The management and bookkeeping of those funds; and
- To ensure that there is efficiency in terms of production and output.
At the end of the day, Mr. Speaker, it is critical to train people in terms of marketing whatever they produce. One of our biggest nightmares in this country is creating a market for whatever produce.
Mr. Speaker, you need to visit Mbare Musika and other markets around the country, including Masvingo, where we call kuChitima. Mr. Speaker, so much produce is being thrown away because people will have failed to market their produce or whatever they bring to the market for sale. It is unfortunate that at the markets, perishables are part of those that are sold and fail to get market and there is no value addition to whatever is excess on the market.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to emphasise that in Masvingo Province, 25 percent of students who attend both primary and secondary school, manage to pay school fees. It is because 75 percent of the parents are hard hit by this drought and poverty. I am therefore, confident that the disbursement of this loan to the marginalised and poverty stricken areas would go a long way in making parents afford to pay school fees for their children.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, what we have noticed is that loan agreements are brought to this House and we ratify them or we pass them but at the end of the day, nobody comes back to say the money is now in the bank account and ready for disbursement. I hope and trust that the Minister of SMEs will come to this august House and tell us that the money is now ready for access, especially to the deserving.
HON. DR. MUKANDURI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for
giving me this opportunity to contribute to this motion. This is a very good motion because it concerns a loan agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and OPEC. I just wanted to say to one of our colleagues who has spoken before that the agreement is not between a political Party and the donor. It is an agreement between the
Government of the day and the donor. The loan will be between Government or the nation of Zimbabwe and the donor, whichever party comes into power will take the responsibility to repay the loan.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to say a few points. We want to say to the Minister that we want to have prudence and probity in the operations of these funds because we have had some experience. We had the Youth Fund which was, of cause an internal loan, but 84 percent of the beneficiaries were not able to pay back. It ended up not being a revolving fund because there was no money to revolve. This loan agreement, we are told in principle that it should be a revolving fund and we want to get assurance from the Hon. Minister that this will be operationalised.
There should be mechanisms put in place and we hope that the Portfolio Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises will, from time to time, scrutinise and monitor the use of these funds. At the end of the day, it is the ordinary poor Zimbabwean who will pay back the loan because by-and-large and in some instances, the big people will take the money. I once lived in West Africa and they say, a big man takes but a small man thieves. Meaning to say, big people will get away with murder. This money is intended to alleviate poverty, the reverse will be operationalise. We do not want corruption in our country and it has been a cancer in our society. We approve something that is going to kill the poor people because they will not benefit from this money – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – So, Hon. Minister, I support this motion with these few words but the money should be put to good use and for good reasons. Thank you.
HON. KHUPE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to add my voice to what other Hon. Members have already said. It is the duty of Government to make sure that they get people out of poverty. In the process of getting people out of poverty, it is important for Government to do a survey so that they know exactly where the money that they are looking for is supposed to be spent. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Minister said the money was going to be spent in three provinces, that is Matabeleland North, Manicaland and Masvingo. I would like to propose Mr. Speaker Sir, that Matabeleland South be added on to the three provinces...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, your attention is being drawn to the debate. Hon. Khupe is making a suggestion which ....
HON. CHINAMASA: I got that and I listen – [Laughter.]
HON. KHUPE: I was proposing that Matabeleland South be added because it is a dry province and it is one area which has always been hard hit by poverty. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Minister said they were going to use the money to dig boreholes. I would like to also make a proposal so that that money is used to the maximum, so that at the end of the day, we will be able to say, yes this money benefited so many people. I would also like to propose that in addition to digging of boreholes, the Minister must consider buying drip irrigation equipment because it is very effective in places which do not have a lot of water.
Areas which are dry like Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Masvingo and Manicaland.
Mr. Speaker Sir, with drip irrigation, you use a small piece of land, little water but the yield is very high. I would also want the Minister to specify how much each province is going to get, so that at the end of the day, let us say if Matabeleland South is given $2 million, we are able to say, this $2 million was used for a, b, c, d and this is what the community has benefited. With drip irrigation, Mr. Speaker Sir, you will be able to get results because you can do more than three crops per year. Once you harvest maize, you can do tomatoes, you can do cabbages, you can do butternut and nutrition issues will also be dealt with. At the end of it Mr. Speaker Sir, you will know that the communities are going to benefit in terms of food, in terms of money because they will be able to generate more money and expand because we do not want projects which do not have a long life or which cannot be expanded. We want a situation where when a project has been done; money is generated so that you are able to expand that project. Once the project has been expanded, many people will benefit at the end of the day. In the majority of cases, we have realised that if people are given US$2 million, only a few individuals benefit.
Those projects collapse and everybody loses. We want to run away from that situation. Other Hon. Members alluded to the fact that we want transparency and accountability when this money is distributed so that we will know that Manicaland was given US$2 million and this is what the money was used for and this is what the communities have benefited.
Like I said earlier on, I would like to say the Minister must add Matabeleland South. The Minister must also consider drip irrigation because I know that drip irrigation works. Once you do drip irrigation, you will be able to get many people out of poverty. I thank you.
HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Firstly, my
contribution is to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing this agreement to Parliament for us to ratify. Poverty in Zimbabwe is not in urban areas.
Poverty in Zimbabwe is in communal lands. In communal lands, that is where poverty is and 80% of Zimbabweans live in the rural areas. It is important that we transform the quality of life of the people in the communal lands.
The issue for it to succeed is that there must be the element of science into the whole production. If you are going to produce cattle in the communal lands, we must make sure that we introduce artificial insemination because the size of cattle in the communal lands does not represent what you call cattle. Those flying in helicopters will look at them and think they are goats. The size have gone down small, smaller and smallest. We need to look at a way we can develop our communal lands.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I had an experience. My daughter got married two weeks ago and I charged ten cattle. When I went to visit them, I said sorry, you can have them because if we were to slaughter them, they all would be the size of one Brahman bull. So, the poverty in the communal lands is not the actual poverty. It is also in the poverty of the size of the cattle. This must be viewed and we must develop the size of the cattle in the communal lands. We must also include the production of goats because they are drought resistant. With the sort of climate change we are facing, these will do very well.
It is important that we create employment at home so that there is not much migration of youth from rural areas to urban areas. We need to have staff development for Government officers. Our Government officers must be trained to assist the villagers because when you see community workers who are in the rural areas, they are like pensioners. They do not even submit monthly reports and they do not help the people in the communal lands. We need to assist our people to be into small businesses that give them a small amount of money.
We must also look at one critical area. The Minister has indicated to us the interest rates they are borrowing. What rates are they going to be charging the people in the communal lands? SEDCO, what rates are they going to be charged because this interest is what have destroyed agriculture in Zimbabwe. This is American dollar and in America maximum interest rate is 5%. In Zimbabwe, you hear the interest rate going for 25% and when the debt collectors come, they just take everything. So, we must make sure that we do not allow institutions like banks to steal from people by charging interest rates that are way out of this world. We need to assist our people. We need to make sure that our people are also protected.
Mr. Speaker Sir, if you go to the communal lands and give somebody a loan of US$500.00, those people are responsible. They will use this money to the benefit of the family, district and to the benefit of the country. It is also important that we make sure that that money is not followed by big sharks like what has been mentioned, who come from Harare to get the loan and come back to Harare. They take money and do not use it for the benefit of the developments of our communal lands. The communal lands in Zimbabwe do not have banks. There are some people who are travelling over 200 km to go to the nearest bank. This situation must be addressed. We have got Government banks that must deal with this situation.
The NSSA bank which was opened must also reach out there because most of the people who are out there are NSSA pensioners who have experience of working and have knowledge of management of finance. So, those people who are complaining that it must go to this province, you do not make somebody rich by taking away. If I have a jacket, you do not take away this jacket and give it to somebody who has no jacket. I urge the Government to organise money for other provinces and not to say my province.
We are national leaders and we speak for the whole country of Zimbabwe. I support the provinces that have been selected. Let us also later on look at other provinces because we are national leaders and this is the National Assembly of Zimbabwe. Yes, we have got constituencies. I want to thank the Hon. Minister for a job well-done. The mission of destroying poverty in the rural areas has been accomplished. Thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for allowing me to add
my voice. I want to congratulate the Minister for bringing this loan agreement to Parliament. What I need to touch on is exactly who we are getting this loan from so that it becomes very clear that we have all weather friends. We can only do well by extending both our hands and grasping this loan with both hands for the good governance and order of the people of Zimbabwe, in terms of eradication of poverty. Mr. Speaker Sir, OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) in acronym Mr. Speaker Sir and they are countries that are in this grouping who have extended this loan to Zimbabwe amongst other 43 developing countries in Africa in particular. Other countries in the global community include
Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.
If you scrutinise this grouping, you will see that in this grouping are all weather friends – people who have stood with us in times of need all the time. They in themselves have greater needs than ours, just yesterday, a Libyan leader was decapitated and just this yesterday we had wars in Iran. As we speak, bombs are falling in Iraq and also as we speak, there are issues in Nigeria, Kuwait and other countries but they have seen it fit, against all adversity, to extend a loan to us. They should be applauded for that gesture.
Mr. Speaker Sir, who is this loan touching on? Besides the 43 developing countries, it also has been extended to us. It is only prudent that we utilise this loan for the good and benefit of our citizenry. I want to touch on the provinces that this loan is going to. In Matabeleland North there are a lot of cattle that are produced there. My predecessor the former speaker here, Hon. Mudarikwa, who I should hasten to say, was identified ahead of me even if he was behind me; meaning he is humongous and gigantic. – [Laughter.] - I will make sure that going forward, I will try and take in less than I take out.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Matabeleland North is endowed with a lot of cattle. This loan is also touching on Masvingo which can beneficiate or value add cattle. I want to suggest that if we utilise this loan in that manner, we are doing ourselves a lot of service. We are using that loan as a springboard for economic emancipation. The issue that has been touched on of eradicating poverty utilising this loan is both prudent and good and can occur if this loan is used in that manner.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of Manicaland, we can take advantage of the climate in Manicaland and utilise this loan for the benefit of our poverty stricken masses in those constituencies.
I want to touch on exactly how and where such loans can be employed according to the Charter and focus areas that this grouping of countries, OFID, who have given us this loan, really want areas to be focused on. They touch on agriculture, education, energy, financial sector, health and industry. So we will not be digressing if we employed this loan in terms of health and industry. They also touch on a multisectoral approach which includes the undertakings that cut across more than one sector and often support the activities of social investments. They also touch on ICT in telecommunication, on transportation I will stop there.
Transportation Mr. Speaker Sir, it says here, ‘The funding of this sector was extended under OFIDs private sector facility with financing going to mobile network operations and furthermore support consistently skewed towards the sector of transport which ranges from construction and rehabilitation of roads, seaports, airports, railways, inland waters and urban mass transit or urban mass transportation services.
After we have utilised this loan, it is also prudent to go back to OFID and request that we be financed in some of these sectors that are crying for the help of nations that are benevolent at heart. It also touches on water and sanitation. So really, we are not out of line if we utilise this loan and the future loans from OFID for such operation or modus operanda.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to also hasten to say on the 15th December last year, there was a Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that was held in South Africa. Arising from that was extended to Africa US$60 billion for countries that are focal countries under a FOCAC loan agreement which is funding of China-Africa cooperation. It will also be prudent for the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to say exactly what it is that we have benefited in that interaction because we are one of those focal countries that China is focusing on and the other loans that come in from China, we as Zimbabwe, are and are supposed to be the first beneficiaries.
So, as we talk about this $7.6 Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) development financing. We also need to couple it with FOCAC and need to know exactly what it is that we have benefited. If there is no benefit as yet, we need to expedite and move with speed because that FOCAC $60 billion has got a shelf life. If we do not access it and take it under our ambit, it is going to expire and we will rue the missed opportunities.
Mr. Speaker Sir, FOCAC, OPEC and OFID have not only confined themselves to giving us this US$7.6 million. They go on, in their benevolence, to finance such organisations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF). So if some of these monetary institutions are trying to grow big heads as though they want to take a big brother mentality, we should stand up in this National Assembly with one voice and tell them exactly where some of that financing is coming from, from our big brothers. We are not alone in the fight to eradicate poverty. We are moving with such institutions as OFID and such institutions as IMF should take a cue from their financiers who are this grouping of countries in that they should hasten to also embrace us as one of the developing countries who are also catching the eye of OPEC.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as I conclude, we should utilise this money in the SMEs sector to formalize the informal sector. How do we do it? By optimally, efficiently employing this loan for economic emancipation. We should also utilise it efficiently by repealing some of our archaic, moribund, historic and very antiquated laws. I say this because like Hon. Mudarikwa said, there has been an urban to rural migration after the Agrarian Reform Programme.
However, the laws have not followed where the people have. The Land Act is still subservient to the Mines and Minerals Act such that our youths, women and fathers are tilling the land. They are still subject to an albatross Mr. Speaker Sir, that is the Mines and Minerals Act that is still subjecting them to non-development of their economy, to noneradication of their poverty - in that as they till their land, if they find gold in the back yard or on their land, they are arrested and incarcerated for prospecting without a license according to Section 368 of the Mines and Minerals Act.
So, we need to harmonise our laws to include the artisanal miners as they benefit from this loan agreement so that we formalise the informal sector efficiently and harmonise the whole community without any segregation or nepotism.
Finally, we can utilise this loan to remove and to change CCN which in present day in Zimbabwe is standing for collusion, corruption and nepotism toskew it towards the CCN which is Collaboration, Cooperation and Networking.
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this
opportunity to speak on the debate. Firstly, I want to support that we should approve this loan because it will assist us in a lot of issues but the issue of challenge would be collateral security. Most of the money that is coming through needs collateral security and the monies end up in the banks because no one will be borrowing. So, when money is being loaned, the loans end up useless because no one takes the loans.
We are happy that boreholes will be drilled but the issue is that areas in Masvingo and Matabeleland are too dry. So, Minister I was of the opinion that the money should be used to build dams to ensure that we harness water and increase the water levels. Our boreholes are as deep as 80 metres, even if we go down to 100 metres - people will end up not having water to drink. The boreholes that are being drilled should not be only for drinking water but also for irrigation. There should also be a plan to ensure that solar powered irrigation equipment is procured to ensure that irrigation farming takes place.
Most provinces that were mentioned are dry areas. I was thinking that when boreholes are drilled, there should be the issue of ensuring that we have seed of the small grains so that they are grown and harvested in two months. If the boreholes are available, it will assist in terms of food security. I think the money should be used for value addition and beneficiation. In areas like Hwange, there are a lot of mangoes as well as guavas. The Ministry of medium to small Enterprises has an agreement with India, Indo-Zimbabwe that they would be acquiring small machines at a low cost for them to extract juice from mangoes or even to tin mangoes or produce jam from the fruit.
So, I think the loan should be approved to ensure that they are able to add value to their produce. On the issue of boreholes, it is a very important issue but the issue of dams should also be taken into consideration. The issue of fish production that was discussed is a big issue. In other areas such as Brazil, it is a project that has enabled these countries to gain a lot of income, especially those in rural areas because they are now able to sell the fish. However, in other cases you can also tin the fish and export, so I think this money should be considered for the purchase of some of these value addition machines to ensure that we are able to export our produce.
So, I think the plan for us to get that money is very important.
Again, in those areas we are supposed to have fruit plantation. If we talk of the production of maize crops, with the climate change that is there, it is difficult. So, we need to have those fruits in order to produce fruits or drinks for the children and that will enable people to pay back the loan.
On the issue of live stock production, it is important, I think there should be machines to bale the grass because in Matabeleland, there is a lot of grass for the livestock but the baling machine is good to keep the grass for the cattle in seasons where it is dry. So those baling machines should also be considered when this loan comes through. There is also supposed to be an opportunity for us to add value to our hides and produce leather, we can make bags from leather. If we get certain cattle, some of the hides can actually be exported to South Africa.
On the issue of table banking or the mukando system, countries like Ghana have promoted table banking which has enabled those in the rural areas who are lagging behind to engage in table banking in order to purchase certain goods in a short period of time because they have an opportunity to loan money with minimum interest rates and it has improved their livelihoods. Others can actually enjoy in table banking
in the form of groceries and others have set up tuck shops to sell these groceries and that is sustainable. So, if this money is to come to Zimbabwe it will assist those in the rural areas because they are the most disadvantaged. I think what should happen now to the small to medium enterprise is that the money should be monitored when it gets to SEDCO because almost 50% will end up going towards workshops, so there is need to monitor that. We need people who understand that the money should be benefiting the beneficiaries and not workshops. So, I am urging the Minister of Small to Medium Enterprises that the need to bring machines and mobile machines should be an issue that you should take up to ensure that people are able to earn a living.
There is US$120 million that came through for small miners and artisanal miners. That money is still in the banks because the conditions for acquiring the loans are very difficult. So, I was thinking that if such loans are procured, there should be proper plans to ensure that the local and ordinary people are able to get the loans. I thank you for the opportunity you have given me.
HON. CHAMISA: May you allow me, Hon. Speaker, to add my voice to this very important discussion. I would want to premise my contribution by indicating that Zimbabwe is a very rich country and I would want the Hon. Minister to listen to this because it is going to help him.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May you address the Chair,
HON. CHAMISA: I am requesting you, Hon. Chair, to solicit the indulgence of the Minister for purposes of hearing what I am about to share.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I am sure he is hearing you. Hon. Minister, the Hon. Member is worried that you are talking whilst he is addressing the House.
HON. CHAMISA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. I was indicating that when I looked at this very important loan because it seeks to deal with issues of impoverishment, the only challenge I have is that it is going to three provinces which are in themselves very rich. When you look at Matabeleland North, Hon. Speaker Sir, Matabeleland North is very rich to the extent that if we were to exploit the methane gas we have, we would be able to deal with all the problems we have in the country and not just in Matabeleland North. Not only that, we have the teak, we have the fisheries in Binga, we have the human resources that is very useful and that we should capitalise on in Matabeleland North. I do not even mention coal in Hwange.
Then we go to Masvingo. If you look at Masvingo, it is again a very rich province. When you look at lithium, in the world, Zimbabwe is now number two and we need lithium for our cellphones. We are not capitalising on proper decision points as a people, as a country and as a Government to make sure that we migrate from the zone of borrowing to the zone of lending. This is not a good thing that we come here to debate begging bowls. We should not be coming here to debate issues of going out there to be reputable as a country for borrowing, to be certified beggars, authenticated beggars. That is not a good thing at all.
I would want to say to the Minister – I say this advisably, you are aware Hon. Speaker, we have debated in this Parliament the support that was given to the Defence College; I think about US$100 million from China. We also debated the money that has been given to support the bond notes, I think about US$200 million. We have debated the support to Net One, I think close to about US$240 million from China-Exim Bank. We have debated in this Parliament US$33 million that was given to the British for the Police, the land rovers, perhaps sometime back and we have had a history of debt.
In 1980, we inherited about US$700 million debt from the Rhodesian regime and what we have done is to perpetuate the borrowing mentality of Ian Douglas Smith. What we have done is to perpetuate the Rhodesian template of governance of living beyond your means. Mind you, they were borrowing because they wanted to destroy our brothers and sisters who were fighting for a legitimate liberation struggle. But when you look at it, it is that same mindset that we have just adopted as a country. We should not be doing this.
Look at Manicaland which is also a beneficiary, we have diamonds. We have US$15 billion we cannot account for and yet we want to go and get a loan of US$7 million. For me, it does not make sense. It does not simply wash that a government loses US$15 billion to kleptocracy, thieves and people who simply plunder resources of the nation, yet we want to go and borrow a few millions. It is not in the national interest for us to operate in a manner that flies in the face of our decisions.
This does not help ZIM ASSET, where you are not accounting for billions that are being stolen and yet you want to go and borrow a few millions again without the necessary safeguards to say, you will not have those millions being stolen because if stealing is a national preoccupation, there is no guarantee that this theft is not going to be extended to the millions that we are going to be bringing into this country.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order. Address the
HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I am saying this in the context of the fact that the Minister is enjoined by the Constitution that every year, twice a year, the Minister is supposed to come to this House to explain to us, giving us details in terms of Section 300 (4), details of the performance of these loans in terms of our servicing of those debts, in terms of the distress that we are deriving out of that. I attend Parliament religiously and that information has not been availed. We do not know which loan is performing, which loan is not performing, what do we need to do to help the Minister, what do we need to do to make the necessary interventions on behalf of the nation as a country. So, it does raise fundamental issues when the Minister then comes to us, as Parliament, to say we want yet more resources.
Right now, if you look at our ratio of debt to GDP, I think it is about 77% which is unsustainable for any kind of a country and this is a big problem. I am not even going to the issue to say, how did we arrive at those beneficiaries because you then divide your nation. Let us have a scientific report from ZimVAC to see the vulnerabilities that we have in our country so that we do not just do things, eclectically divide our people.
I do not understand, like what has been said by Hon. Khupe, why
Mashonaland South is not included because if you go according to the ZimVAC reports, it is one of the provinces that merits that kind of support. Now, when you look at the kind of approach that we are seeing, I saw the interest rates of about 1.5% then the service charge, 1%. Yes, they may look lucrative, but we are not investing into our country. If you look at all the investments that we have been putting, it has been recurrent expenditure. We have not gone to the element of thinking in the long term.
I do not admire Smith; but Smith had done a whole programme on the dams, I think about 15 000 or so dams that were going to make Zimbabwe a green country. We can do it as Zimbabweans. We need to start thinking about investing into issues so that we deal with this problem in the long term rather than to be borrowing money to be feeding people, borrowing money to do subsistence things. Let us think in a big way. Let us invest in our dams, let us invest in our infrastructure. Let us make sure that whatever we have, we have our dams functioning in all our provinces so that we are able – it is not called dhams. It is Shona. It is dams in English. Sorry my in-law, I do not want to provoke. I am sorry Hon. Speaker Sir, otherwise I will have problems having the wife being taken away. I am emphasising the point that we need to think long term. We need to think about investing in issues that are going to embolden our national pride. How do we do so? Let us stop this strategy of just living from hand to mouth kind of approach. Let us invest in infrastructure. Seek ye first the kingdom of infrastructure and all the other things will follow. We do not seem to be seeking that kingdom of infrastructure where we are investing. Right now, if you look at all the loans that we have discussed this year, we hardly are focusing on infrastructure except for one that was the upgrading of the Kariba South Extension Project. Those are the issues we must be dealing with so that we are able then to have our debt servicing capacity dealing with issues that are in the medium to long term.
What do I suggest? I would like to suggest that we abandon reckless borrowing. We abandon borrowing that is not supporting our long term strategy in terms of investing in future generations. We begin to invest in Zimbabwe’s infrastructure. We begin to invest in making sure that we tap the resources that are untapped in Manicaland,
Masvingo Matabeleland, Mashonaland and across the whole country. We can do it. We can be lending. In fact, I foresee a situation not in so distant a future where we will be lending money to China. They will be coming to borrow from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe but that requires good planning. That requires the Minister to be liberated from the current mindset of subsistence governance and start investing in long term infrastructure. Start investing in things that are going to help our country. This is my wish. This is my plea and I hope that as we debate this, I am one person who does not believe in just being legendary and encyclopedic in borrowing.
Let us govern our appetite to borrow. Let us govern our appetite to just look wherever there is money being offered and start thinking about the projects that are going to help our country going forward. I wish to rest my case on that score.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I had not anticipated that a
loan agreement of this size of capital would generate so much debate for the whole afternoon. I think it reflects the interest on the bigger issues. The bigger issues are basically poverty eradication, the need to focus our resources towards agriculture in particular irrigation development, whether it be large scale or drip irrigation for small scale farmers, the need for upgrading our entrepreneurship and also provoking creativity amongst our people. I understand it and I think that is the only justification there is for the interest that has been generated in this debate.
Let me thank all the Hon. Members who have contributed. They are all in support. They only took opportunity to add this advice or that advice. Much of the advice is taken on board and it is appreciated. Let me comment more specifically to some of the contributions which were made. I want us to understand, like I have said this loan is very small. If I may put it, it is to develop a relationship with OPEC. This fund is a development arm of oil producing and exporting countries. We owe OPEC something and we have agreed that we should build a relationship and they said yes we can start by giving you this loan so that we see whether you can build a track record. This is going to be a revolving fund. If we build a track record, it continues to revolve and we will be able to do much more than in fact is set out in this loan agreement. I wanted to make that very clear.
We are hoping for 100% recovery but if we do say 90%, they will be more than happy and we will be able to access more funds from them. As a result of this relationship, I want to say that with OPEC, we are going soon to be signing a US$20m loan fund towards irrigation to support rehabilitation and expansion of irrigation schemes. Every step we take is very important and we must build on the success of whatever we undertake to do.
I want to thank Mr. Speaker Sir, for clarifying to Hon. Chamisa that the document was circulated. You are not as efficient as you made out to be that you always clear your pigeon holes, you always make sure that you read every document which is in your pigeon holes. Apparently you did not do it certainly for some time and it is becoming very clear.
Hon. Khumalo, you raised the issue about Badea. Yes, we borrowed some US$3m and up to now it has not been disbursed, not because of our problem but because Badea is situated in Khartoum, Sudan which is under sanctions. So, getting any money from there is quite problematic in the same way as getting money to Badea is also problematic. So, there has been that stalemate and that loan has not yet been accessed up to now although we fulfilled all the conditions precedent or necessary to be able to access it. There is nothing that I could have come to the House to report about because the loan has not yet been disbursed.
With respect to why the three provinces, this money is too little.
You cannot spread it and make meaningful use of it. So, the team which came with our people just went around and tried to identify where we can have sort of like pilot projects more or less; not anything that we can do to satisfy the needs of the country.
I want to highlight a point Mr. Speaker Sir, that currently the water situation is very bad throughout the country whether in wet areas or originally semi arid areas. All the rivers dried up. Generally, my constituency is a wet constituency but the rivers have dried up. The boreholes have dried up and I remember a funeral that I attended some two months ago, they had to go about 15km with a truck to fetch water. That is the situation countrywide and I think we should appreciate it as a problem of climate change. Obviously, we need to respond to that problem by building more storage dams as well by basically trying to conserve water and also try to respect environmental considerations. Some of the rivers which have dried up are because they are heavily silted. Once they are silted, they do not keep water. All the water runs away. These are issues that as we go forward, we should try to address.
Hon. Mandipaka, thank you for the support and I want to say that the issue you mentioned in Buhera about wells drying up is everywhere. From time to time, we have been mobilising resources to try to address this problem when it occurs.
Hon. Mutseyami, the disbursement of this loan will be done in an accountable and fair manner. As I mentioned in my speech, the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise Development is the executing agent. I also want to highlight Mr. Speaker Sir, he made reference of a loan that was approved here to build schools. We have not yet met the conditions precedent in order to access this loan. The condition precedent was that we should employ a consultant who is acceptable to the lender and that is what the process is at that stage basically to identify people who can be able to monitor and or so.
Hon. Chirisa is worried about the criteria for identifying the beneficiaries. I can tell the Hon. Member that there are no problems. You need to know that we do not have enough resources to be able to sort out all the problems that we face throughout the country.
Masvingo Province, just like the other provinces, it is also hit by drought but this year, I do not think that there is any province that has been spared from the ravages of the drought. It is for us, basically to see that we adopt measures that will try to adopt this problem. Entrepreneurship is very important; the major problem that we are facing is lack of entrepreneurship. People just hold hands in the air, complaining, yet those people who are resourceful will almost create something out of nothing. That is the virtue of entrepreneurship. They create assets without assets themselves. They will be just using creativity and entrepreneurship.
Hon. Mudarikwa raised the issue about artificial insemination, it is something that we are pursuing with the Ministry of Agriculture,
Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, especially the Deputy Minister, who is very keen and very aggressive in trying to promote artificial insemination. I want to thank Hon. Nduna and Hon. Dr.
Mukanduri for supporting the loan agreement. I also want to thank Hon.
Mapiki for supporting the loan agreement. The Hon. Member raised an issue about hay making. I want to say I do not think you can expect Government to do much at that level to make hay and deliver it to farmers. I think it is expecting too much, yes, it can be done, but I do not think it can be done to that level, it is better if it is done by private people. Of course they will have to sell the hay, which they would have harvested sometimes free alongside of the road but to expect that nationally Government can assist, we can assist here and there but I do not think we can have that much impact by doing it from the Government point of view.
Hon. Chamisa raised the point that Matebeleland North and Masvingo are rich and we should not target these provinces. Yes, they are rich and I make this point again and again. Yes, we are rich, we have a diversified resource base for example minerals and land but it needs capital to get it out of the ground. It needs capital to produce goods and services. That is where we are engaged to see whether we can secure that capital. To secure that capital, generally, especially machinery and so on, we have to import it. The topic in our pre-Budget Seminar was Mobilisation of Domestic Resource. I was disappointed of course that I did not get anymore insights into what we can do to leverage our resources. I expected more contribution on that subject on what we can do to leverage our resources. I think that is where the focus should be. What can we do to leverage our resources?
Mr. Speaker Sir, even then, we are leveraging our resources whilst relating to foreign investors. We need those foreign investors and foreign direct investment and we are able to say we have got this asset and can we have this kind of money. The Hon. Member also raised the issue about loan performance that we should borrow for infrastructure. That is precisely what we are doing. On Kariba South infrastructure, we borrowed money. At the moment, we are nursing and nurturing four major projects for energy infrastructure which are near financial closure. These are Lisulu, Hwange Seven and Eight, Gwayi and Makomo resources. These are all in Matebeleland North, reflecting of course that Matebeleland North is rich in terms of that regard but you need money.
For instance, Hwange Seven and Eight, we are talking about nearly a billion dollars to be able to borrow in order to create a power plant that will produce 600 megawatts. Together with these others which are going to produce power, approximately, we are looking at three billion dollars. This has to be outside money because we do not generate US dollars to buy the equipment for example generators and so on. We need US dollars in order to be able to buy these from outside.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I need also to point out that we are completing the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam this year, from own resources. That will be the largest inland dam besides Lake Kariba. It will have the potential to open up to 26 000 hectares of land. Right now, we are at the drawing stage to do a master plan irrigation scheme in that area in the same way that we are also doing a master plan irrigation scheme for Osborne Dam. All those things, the direction is correct, we are supporting irrigation, agriculture in order that we eradicate poverty amongst our people.
Mr. Speaker Sir, with these remarks, I ask that this august House approves the loan agreement.
THAT WHEREAS Section 327(3) of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe provides that an agreement which is not an international treaty but which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority with one or more foreign organisations or entities and imposes fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe does not bind
Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;
AND WHEREAS, a loan Agreement between Government of Zimbabwe and the OPEC Fund for the International Development relating to a US$7.6 million Line of Credit to support the Poverty
Alleviation Project in three (3) provinces, namely Masvingo,
Manicaland and Matabeleland North which will be implemented by the
Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development was signed on 17 August 2016.
NOW THEREFORE, in terms of section 327(3) of the
Constitution, this House resolves that the aforesaid Agreement be and is hereby approved, put and agreed to.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, the House adjourned at Twenty Four
Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.