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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 22 September 2015 42-03
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(MR. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY MR. SPEAKER
DEATH OF HON. JOAN TSOGORANI
- SPEAKER: It is with profound sorrow that I have to inform the House of the death on Monday, 21st September, 2015, of the
Proportional Representation Member of Parliament for Mashonaland West Province, Hon. Joan Tsogorani. I invite hon. members to rise and observe a minute of silence in respect of the late hon. member. – [MR. D. P. Sibanda: Inaudible interjection] –
Mr. D. P. Sibanda, even in mourning you make such statements?
All hon. members stood and observed a minute of silence.
LEAVE TO MOVE RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON LEAVE
TO BRING IN A FINANCE BILL
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I seek
leave of the House, that the motion on leave to bring in a Finance Bill, (H. B. 5, 2015) which was superseded by the end of the Second Session of the Eighth Parliament be restored on the Order Paper in terms of
Standing Order Number 73 (1) and that it becomes Order of the Day
Number 2, with today’s Order of the Day Number 2 becoming Order of the Day Number 3.
Motion put and agreed to.
RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON LEAVE TO BRING IN A
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I move
that the motion on leave to bring in a Finance Bill, (H. B. 5, 2015) which was superseded by the end of the Second Session of the Eighth
Parliament be restored on the Order Paper in terms of Standing Order Number 73 (1) and that the Bill becomes Order of the Day, Number 2 on today’s Order Paper, the current Order of the Day, Number 2 becomes Order of the Day, Number 3.
Motion put and agreed to.
BANKING AMENDMENT BILL, (H.B. 6, 2015)
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA) presented the Banking Amendment Bill (H.B.6, 2015).
Bill read the first time.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
- MUTOMBA: I move the motion standing in my name:
That a respectful address be presented to the President of
Zimbabwe as follows:
May it please you, your Excellency, the President;
We, the Members of Parliament of Zimbabwe, desire to express our loyalty to Zimbabwe and beg leave to offer our respectful thanks for the speech, which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
- DZIVA: I second.
- MUTOMBA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I would want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to move this businessoriented legislative agenda that was presented to this august House.
- SPEAKER: Sorry. Hon. Mutomba, if you can take your seat. I received notification that some hon. members did not get a copy of the speech but these were put in the pigeon holes.
*MR. MURAI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. We never saw any speeches in our pigeon holes. The speech is nowhere to be found; it can be mysteriously found and then the next minute it is nowhere –
- SPEAKER: By show of hands, how many did not receive that speech? I request hon. members to listen very carefully. I will make sure that the speech is provided once again in the pigeon holes.
- MUTOMBA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I would want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to move this businessoriented legislative agenda that was presented to this august House by the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the ZDF on the 16th September, 2015. I would want to start by unreservedly saluting and thanking His Excellency, the State President of the Republic of
Zimbabwe and the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the current Chairman of the African Union for coming up with this legislative agenda that is expected to create to laws that we usher in irresistible and magnetic commercial laws that will ultimately open up floodgates for foreign direct investments. This legislative agenda has to be read in conjunction with President’s 10 point plan.
According to the two documents, it is evident enough of an absolute political will on the part of the Executive to address the current economic challenges that the country is facing. Therefore, the Third Session of this Parliament must be supportive of this national objective and must go in the annals of history as having transformed the ease of
Doing Business Environment in Zimbabwe. I say thank you very much Gushungo, the son of the soil and true visionary Pan African leader par- excellence.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in our First and Second sessions of the Eighth Parliament, a number of Bills were categorically stated to be presented to Parliament. However, on checking from these previous legislative agendas, this did not happen as planned, and only a few came to the House. In the First session of the Eighth Parliament, His Excellency explicitly wanted 24 Bills to be presented to Parliament, but regrettably only 12 Bills were tabled. In the Second session, the President required 19 Bills to be presented, but sadly only eight came to the House. Now the Third session, His Excellency has directed that 21 Bills will be tabled.
Analysing the First and Second sessions of the Eighth Parliament legislative agendas, I have discovered that there are two fundamental differences that I have observed. In the First session, there were 24 Bills that were to be tabled and amongst these Bills, only five Bills were investment oriented Bills and the rest were dealing with other various social disciplines. Worse still, none of the five Bills were tabled in the House. In the Second session, 19 Bills were expected to be tabled and only six of these were presented to Parliament. The second fundamental difference is that the First and Second Sessions, the few business Bills appeared to be too restrictive and repulsive in nature unlike the current Bills, most of them are aiming at creating a friendly business environment for investors.
Mr. Speaker Sir, considering the few Bills that were presented to Parliament in the First and Second sessions, it is obvious that history will repeat itself for those who do not want to learn. For how long should we continue to be discourteous and disrespectful to our President? Why this lack of concern and lack of compliance? Is it limited financial resources that is inhibiting performance? Is it the Executive failing to bring Bills to the House – and why? Whatever the answer is, this is a clear sign of discourteous, impervious attitude and lack of support of the Head of State’s priorities.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is my humble submission that for once, the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament must work in conformity with the President’s priorities. Whatever is the cause of non-compliance in the above Sessions, this is now water under the bridge, and it is past. We need to focus on what is before us. This national agenda is of paramount importance as espoused by the Head of State. I am therefore imploring all the three pillars of our legislative processes to brace up and play their active role in order to fulfill what the President is expecting this House to accomplish.
In his address, the President Cde. R. G. Mugabe highlighted 21 key Bills that are set to be tabled before the House for making or unmaking in to law. It must be excitingly motivating and particularly inspiring to realise that this time the President is behind the wheel in Ensuring Ease of Doing Business Environment is remarkably improved. He has taken the initiatives to bring to the fore 14 key Bills out of 21 Bills that are expected to be presented to the House with the sole aim of creating laws that are investor friendly. These 14 Bills are:-
- The Zimbabwe Investment Authority Amendment Bill which seeks to convert the authority into a true One-Stop-Shop Investment Centre. This will reduce time taken to complete required documents because they would be done under one roof.
- The State Procurement Amendment Bill which seeks to improve efficiency in the public procurement system. This Bill also seeks to decentralise the procurement functions to ministries and local authorities to expedite decision-making regarding investments and also to curb corruption that has been suspiciously associated with the current board.
- The Special Economic Zones Bill which is expected to promote exports and boost industrialisation.
- The Banking Amendment Bill which is expected to strengthen the banking regulatory system and provide anchorage to the efforts at turning around our economy.
- The Minerals Exploration and Marketing Corporation Bill. This
Bill is expected to provide for a competitive and investment focused legislative framework.
- The Bill for the Establishment of the Pan African Minerals
University of Science and Technology which will offer post-graduate training programmes in mineral value addition and beneficiation. To add value to our mineral exports thereby immensely boost generation of the much needed foreign currency.
- The Consumer Protection Bill that will promote consumer rights and fair business competition and marketing strategies.
- The National Incomes and Pricing Commission Act which is to be replaced by the establishment of the National Competitiveness Commission, which is expected to spearhead the improvement of the country’s business competitiveness.
- The E-Transaction Bill …
- GONESE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.
- SPEAKER: What is your point of order Mr. Gonese?
- GONESE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The hon. member is reading his speech word for word and I believe that it is not his first time to speak in this august House. In terms of the Standing Orders of this House, a member who has spoken before and is not making his/her maiden speech, is not supposed to read but to refer to his/her notes. I believe that the hon. member should be so directed that he can only refer to his notes and not go line by line, word by word through a prepared speech.
- SPEAKER: May the hon. member please refer to his notes.
- MUTOMBA: Hon. Speaker Sir, it will be very difficult to refer to my notes because these are Bills. It is difficult to come up and address them without referring to the notes.
- The E-Transaction Bill which is to govern and manage ecommerce across the country’s network and is aimed at facilitating efficient ICT-enabled operations within and across public sector entities.
- The Cooperative Societies Act Amendment Bill, which seeks to maintain the growth momentum within this sector.
- The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, which is expected to be flexible to allow Ministers to negotiate investment thresholds that are sector specific.
- The National Border Ports Authority Bill, which seeks to create friendly environment at the border posts.
- The Land Commission Bill, which will enable the Commission to carry out the land audit to ensure accountability, fairness and transparency in the administration of all agricultural land to ensure proper use of land and increase efficiency in the farming operations.
Mr. Speaker Sir, all in all, there are 14 Bills that are business oriented. The House must take this opportunity to thank the State President for these visionary initiatives, which will undoubtedly leapfrog the economic activities in the country. However, the other legislative pillars including this august House, must play their meaningful role to complement the Head of State’s efforts.
Mr. Speaker Sir, His Excellency started by bringing to the fore the most challenging issue, that is failure to attract Foreign Direct
Investment (FDI). The President stated that the Government is carrying out a raft of measures to improve the business environment in the country including the Company’s Act and other pieces of legislation that are negatively affecting the smooth flow of FDI. Many of these Bills are expected to be panel beaten to align them with the current aspirations of stimulating economic activities.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is unfortunate for us currently that the economy is in a bad state. People are desperate and we need to immediately change. His Excellency has set the pace for this big change. There must be an instant paradigm shift in the way we do business in this House. No more time to be on holiday, it should not be business as usual, no more blame game. We need to work together as one, one people, one society, one culture with one objective to turn around the country’s economic misfortunes.
Let me quote the President on this issue, “As I conclude, I remind all hon. members of this august House of the need to always conduct business in a manner that does not erode the stock of trust reposed in us by the electorate. We indeed carry on our shoulders, the hopes and aspirations of our people. Let us channel our collective energies towards the development of our country, guided by our economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIM ASSET). This of course, demands all of us to always cherish the crown values of peace, hard work, and the unity of purpose.”
The spirit of oneness should start from this motion as alluded to by the State President. We should not be part of the problems but part of the solutions. The culture of heckling and bickering in this august House has reached unprecedented levels, a crescendo that is totally unacceptable. We are portraying this House in a very bad light. It is as if no hecklers, no meaningful debate. This is a very bad and unfortunate development. We are negating the electorate who have voted for us into office with trust and confidence that we will positively stand for them.
Their expectations and aspirations are flowing down the river. I am talking about both sides of the House…
Hon. Madondo having stood between the Chair and the hon. member speaking.
- SPEAKER: Order, the hon. member standing there, can you
get out of the House please.
Hon. Madondo walked out of the House.
- SPEAKER: Hon. member, you may continue.
- MUTOMBA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I am talking about both sides of the House - MDC and ZANU PF. There is no heckle that is better than the other as heckles disturb the flow or thought of the debater. In most cases, some hon. members make life very uncomfortable for the Speaker, who at times is found sweating to bring sanity in the House. Constructive engagement is what is needed now. The President has set the tone and platform for just that. It is imperative that we give him our unwavering and united support.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Mr. Aliko Dangote has come to Zimbabwe at the right time. I have a strong conviction that the way the Government has responded to his business interest must now stand out as the country’s standard policy document that must be applied in every situation to every potential investor, whether local or foreign. The country needs huge FDI in order to spur economic growth that would create massive job opportunities for the working class.
Investors are complaining about policy inconsistencies and policy ambiguity. At times, Ministers are found to be making different policy pronouncement on the same subject. This is forcing investors to look elsewhere where the investment climate is conducive. We are living in a global world, where cut throat competition is at play.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this Third Session of the Eighth Parliament must be alive to these noble developments unfolding in the country’s economic environment that have been initiated by none other than our State President. When these Bills are presented to this House, bickering and heckling should be limited to the barest minimum, if not eliminated altogether. This is the time to show and prove to the electorate that we are politically mature. Let us accept the existence of other political parties and their different political ideologies. However, these parties must not just contradict everything that comes to Parliament to prove their oppositional existence.
What we want now is constructive engagement, which proffers substantially productive solutions to current industrial challenges. What the President has laid upon us demands the spirit of oneness since we have a lot in common. We need each other more than ever before. We are all Zimbabweans to begin with and therefore, our agenda must be one, that is to stimulate the economic activities of the country that would eliminate the hardships being faced by the country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we have this huge pressing national assignment ahead of us, that is to ensure that what His Excellency has put on the legislative agenda for the House becomes a success, that is, to pass laws that are investor friendly in order to stimulate economic growth. There should be no time for hecklings, but the spirit of unity, of oneness, togetherness and unity of purpose as espoused by His Excellency, should engulf this august House. Let us confront the economic challenges as one. Let us not look backwards as yesterday is gone forever. We need to focus on the future.
God is on the throne for Zimbabwe, he has been at work for us all along. Look at the peace that is prevailing in the country, despite the challenges. He is still at work for us. We need not confuse him by dividing ourselves. He does not enjoy to see his children divided as divided we fall. We need to confront this national assignment with a combined and positive approach. The Executive must bring the Bills to the House and the House must pass these Bills with minimum delay. Let us not confuse the Almighty by continuously blaming each other about things that are in the past. The past cannot build the future of the country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this is the time for loyal and true sons and daughters, the right hon. members of this reputable House of Parliament of the Republic of Zimbabwe, to stand up and be reckoned and remembered for having positively contributed to this national objective. Senseless attempts to derail the smooth passage of the pending Bills that are to come to this august House must be viewed with the serious contempt that it deserves. This House’s main agenda is to transform the unbearable business environment obtaining in the country into a formidable force of economic growth. The Bills that are to come will seek making magnetic investment laws and unmaking some laws that are no longer relevant to the desired economic environment. This will help to create an investor friendly country, which will result in leapfrogging the economic growth that will ultimately create massive employment opportunities for our people.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me conclude by once again thanking the State President Cde R. G. Mugabe for having created this platform from which, hopefully we are going to improve the ease of doing business and reduce the cost of starting business in Zimbabwe. Thank you. Mr.
- CHINOTIMBA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.
- SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Chinotimba.
*MR CHINOTIMBA: Mr. Speaker Sir, we once made a request that when we lose a Member of Parliament, we should get a bus from Parliament to assist us to attend the funeral. Right now, we have just come from our rural areas and constituencies and we do not have any fuel. When we made that request you said that you would come back to us. Now, we have lost a Member of Parliament and we are unable to go and pay our condolences. I am requesting for a bus to go and mourn our beloved Member of Parliament. If the bus is available, we want to go and attend the funeral. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
- SPEAKER: Hon. Chinotimba, your point of order is taken and the matter will be addressed administratively. I thank you.
- DZIVA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me this opportunity to also add my voice on the Presidential Speech that was presented last week by His Excellency on the Official Opening of the Third Session of this Parliament.
Firstly, I would like to thank His Excellency for coming to Parliament to present this important agenda to the people of Zimbabwe through this august House. I would also want to take this opportunity to congratulate the ZANU PF party for winning in the by-elections of Epworth, Mbire and Marondera Constituencies. I also want to take this opportunity to send my condolences to the Tsogorani family for the loss of our Member of Parliament and also as a Member of the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus as well.
Let me begin by joining hands with His Excellency on issues to do with the alignment of our legislation with our Constitution. I would like to appeal that it is something that needs urgency and we need to make sure that as Parliament, we make ourselves available to make sure that this Constitution is aligned as fast as possible. I want to applaud our
Government for putting the Electoral Amendment Act and the National Prosecuting Authority Act into place. Now, it is operational and we are able to do our things. We have actually done our elections through the Electoral Amendment Act.
Let me talk about issues to do with education. This is an issue that touches my heart and let me applaud His Excellency for advocating for the provision of quality education in our national development agenda. It is something that is so critical in my constituency in Gweru. We need good facilities in primary and secondary education and to make sure that the curriculum is well established as to make sure that it caters for the future of our children.
I want appeal to Government on issues to do with provision of accommodation and food services to students. In my constituency, I have Midlands State University which is a very critical tertiary institution but they face challenges in infrastructural development of accommodation for the students. This is very critical because female students become vulnerable as they are the main victims of lack of accommodation and food.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me take this opportunity to talk about the issue of corruption. I want to join His Excellency in speaking against corruption. The scourge of corruption that is in the country is very high, we all agree. We are very happy that the Government is committed in addressing these issues. One of the strategies is that the Government is going to make sure that there is a Code of Conduct that is going to be put into place. This is to make sure that public office bearers will also declare their assets and all their properties before they take oath to Government. This is something that I also want to welcome and as well as we make sure that our Executive are also accountable in these issues as these corruption activities are happening in the high levels of our Government and our Parliament as well. As Members of Parliament we should also be accountable to our electorate. So, it is something that is very positive for all of us to declare our assets to Parliament so that we do not abuse taxpayers’ money and public funds. So, we welcome the National Code of Corporate Governance Bill that will be presented in this Parliament.
I would also want to talk about the issue of the Land Commission. The Land Commission is something that is very critical and we are looking into it as it will provide fairness and equal distribution of land to all Zimbabweans. The Land Commission will also look into the auditing of the land. We would love to also applaud His Excellency the President for making this activity available before Parliament and making sure that everyone will account for the issues to do with land and to make sure that there is the policy of one man one farm for every family in Zimbabwe. I would also want to complement him, in accordance with Section 246 of our Constitution, on the setting up of the Gender Commission. The Commission will provide for the monitoring and implementation of the gender constitutional provision that will make sure that there are affirmative action programmes that will achieve our gender equity as well as promote the representation of women in Government and all parastatals with a 50/50 representation in every organ. So, we also want to make sure that the Gender Commission does its work to make sure that there is gender balance, as well as to address issues of gender violation. As Parliament we will make sure that our issues as women are addressed because we are the most affected group in these issues. Inasmuch as we are equal to men, we lag behind and we need to make sure that women’s rights are represented.
Let me also take this opportunity to applaud the President for also prioritising young people in his speech – making sure that there will be protection of children’s rights in the Bill that will be presented before this Parliament. I would also want to take this opportuninty to applaud the Junior Parliamentarians for presenting their issues before His Excellency the President and he has considered to also make something out of it so that they can address issues that are affecting our children.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me also add my voice on the issues of War Veterans, Ex-political Prisoners, Detainees and War Collaborators Act into coming together with a Bill that will address all their issues as well as the initiative of constructing the Zimbabwe Liberation War Memorial Hospital in Harare that has been done by the Government. We also want to honour these war veterans because they are the ones that made us to be here as they sacrificed their lives, families and all they had for us in order for us to be independent. So, as Zimbabweans we continue to look upon them for the direction of our laws as a country.
I will also take this opportunity to talk about the issue that was presented by His Excellency on the National Security Council Amendment with the Zimbabwe National Defence University Bill that will also be presented before this Parliament to make sure that there is policy and strategy formulation for the military and civilian leaders that will be conducted by the National Security Council. So, it is something that we applaud because as Zimbabwe, we are one of the countries which have a strong peace background which is very much united in terms of issues of decency of our people. So, we want to applaud the continued peace that is in our country and also to give our security agents more confidence in the work that they are doing – the police, the army and all security sectors of the country. They are there for us and they protect us as civilians.
Let me also take this opportunity to assure this House Mr. Speaker
Sir, that, we will make sure that this presentation that was made to this
Parliament will work hand in hand with our economic Bluerint, the ZIM ASSET to make sure that we achieve the results that are needed by our people. It will also address issues to do with health. Mr. Speaker Sir, health is a very critical cornerstone for our country. People need to have good health and there is also need to address the issue of noncommunicable diseases. Issues of maternity health care should also be addressed in these provisions that are coming in.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it also touches my heart when we talk about issues to do with medical aid societies that are failing to address the concerns of their customers, for example the Premier Service Medical Aid Society. Sometimes patients cannot consult doctors of their choice because they are not able to pay them on time or they are not able to pay them at all and they cannot as well access medications at pharmacies. So, we would also want to appeal that the Government does something to make sure that the members also get their required services when they need them.
The mining sector is very critical to our economy because mining remains very critical as it also provides for a lot of resources for our country. Issues of exploration should also be looked into. Our country should invest in the mining sector and I am very happy that our Pan African Leader, our visionary and principled President, His Excellency the President and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces, Cde. R.
- Mugabe is also coming up with the establishment of the Pan African
Mineral University of Science and Technology.
- SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Wadyajena, take your seat please. You can continue.
- DZIVA: It is something that is very interesting given the fact that the President is the Chairman of the African Union and he is also bringing in into the House a provision of Pan African thinking of the Minerals University of Science and Technology. It will also offer opportunities for our young people to get training and also to make sure that they also provide some training in value addition and beneficiation which will also bring jobs to our people. So, it is something that is very critical and let us join our President and also applaud him for such a very positive initiative.
Lastly, I will talk about the issue of investment. As a country we are waiting and looking forward for strong local and foreign direct investment inflows into the country. It is something that is very critical right now and I am very happy that the President in his speech presented that they are going to open strategies and also put legislation that will encourage the environment for investment as well as again issues of corruption. They are also very dangerous and criminating issues to do with investment and investors may lack confidence if there is a lot of corruption. So, it is something that will also be addressed to ensure that investment in the country is high and there is creation of job opportunities. On the same issue of corruption, I also want to appeal to Government to look into the matter of setting up the Anti-Corruption
Commission, which will enable us to work hand in hand with the new Constitution and will give the Anti-Corruption Commission authority to address issues.
Let me conclude by saying that I am very grateful to Government for their common law position that was addressed by the amendment of Labour Act in this Parliament. We do look forward to more amendments of the Labour Act but I would like to continue to applaud the good work that was done. Although we were not really prepared, we are looking at making this session of Parliament very efficient and effective so as to enable us to debate our Bills timeously, as well as address all issues that need attention in our legislation.
May I also say that Parliament business is very critical and we need to continue united across all political parties, especially on issues that address the needs of our people such as service provision, food, health, education and technology. People are looking upon this Parliament to do the oversight role and protect their Constitutional rights.
May I end by wishing you Mr. Speaker Sir, to continue with the good work that you have exhibited in the last session and continue to make sure that this House is united towards the national agenda to develop and achieve our ZIM ASSET. I want to thank you.
- SPEAKER: I received a notification that there will be a ZANU-PF caucus meeting tomorrow, Wednesday 23rd September, 2015, at 9:00am at the ZANU-PF Headquarters.
- KHUPE: Thank you for affording me this opportunity to be part of this debate. Before I start Mr. Speaker Sir, on behalf of MDC-T which is led by President Tsvangirayi, we would like to pass our condolences to Hon. Tsogorani’s family on the passing on of the hon. member.
As Members of Parliament, I think we must always be alive to the
fact that our role is to legislate, scrutinize policies and activities of the Executive and to hold the Executive to account for its actions. As we do this, we are supposed to do it in view of the hopes, expectations and aspirations of the people who elected us into this august House. As Members of Parliament, we are also supposed to shape development strategies that reflect the concerns of the people and I will try and do exactly that. Currently, Zimbabwe is facing a number of economic problems. For many Zimbabweans, life these days has become a struggle. People are failing to make ends meet as money is hard to come by. People are living in abject poverty and therefore I expected the
President’s speech to speak to the following issues:
-Hunger and Poverty – people are living in abject poverty and they are hungry yet there is not even a single person who was born poor because every person was born with their own potential. People are poor because of institutions that are built by Government, systems that are created by Government and policies that are formulated by
Government. I expected the President’s speech to speak to the issue of building good institutions, creating good systems and formulating good policies so that every person in Zimbabwe is able to explore their potential and get out of poverty.
Foreign Direct Investment is the second issue that I thought the
President’s speech would touch on. Zimbabwe is desperate for new money as we speak right now. New money can only come by if we develop investor friendly policies. Right now, the President spoke about the indigenization policy and how it is supposed to be simplified and rationalized. Just simplifying and rationalizing the indigenization policy does not mean anything to me. When talking about FDI, we are talking billions. I do not think we would have any sane person coming here with his billions and then the next day, somebody comes in and say they want 51% of the billions. No one will come and invest because people want to invest where they know their investment is safe. Investors want to see a policy such that when they read it they feel like wanting to come and invest in Zimbabwe. My point is, just simplifying and rationalizing, in my view will not help. If we go that way you will find that very few people will benefit from indigenization. Those who have been promised empowerment – the grass roots will not realise it. It will remain a dream.
We want people to come and invest their money and create employment. When people are employed and they have disposable incomes then those people will be able to buy shares in those companies. Indigenisation should not be an event but it must be a process that benefits everybody. Once people have money they will start buying shares bit by bit and over the years, they will own those companies. Meanwhile they will learn how the companies operate, where to source the raw materials and where the markets for their products are located. This is what I call indigenization, but my point is, we need new money and new money can only be realised when we develop investor friendly policies.
Employment is the third issue that I thought the President would deal with. The Executive promised 2.2 million jobs through ZIM ASSET but at the present moment if there is anything, more jobs have been lost. They have actually created 2.2 million vendors. Also looking at the speech I cannot see where the President is explicit on how employment is going to be created. Now that we have vendors, I am not seeing where the President is clear on the provision of amenities to vendors so that they are able to sustain a living, now that they are there I am not seeing that Mr. Speaker.
Historically Mr. Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe has been driven by performance of three major sectors and these sectors are agriculture, mining and manufacturing. In 1984, agriculture accounted for 41% of our export earnings. Zimbabwe used to be the bread basket of Africa but look at what is happening right now. Insofar as the World Food Programme report is concerned, they are saying 1,5 million people are facing extreme food shortages between now and March 2016. They are facing extreme food shortages and yet, we have got enough water bodies which can irrigate land and produce 2,5 million tonnes of maize. This is enough to feed Zimbabwe.
In the speech Mr. Speaker Sir, I am not seeing where the President is talking about agricultural technologies like drip irrigation. They are sustainable and the yield is very high. If we want to restore our status as the bread basket of Africa Mr. Speaker Sir, this is the way to go. If we want to move away from being a food deficit country to a food surplus country, that is the way to go. I am not seeing where the President is speaking about how we are going to restore our status of being the bread basket of Africa.
The President spoke about a Land Commission which is supposed to do an audit, but we have had land commissions before; the Utete Commission, the Flora Buka Commission and the Commission by the ministry itself. Where are the results or findings from those commissions? What makes the Executive think that this particular commission is going to come out with different results which those other three commissions did not? So we have Mr. Speaker Sir, commissions already that were put in place that did their investigations. Findings are there and all that is needed is to implement what those three commissions recommended.
The other sector is mining. Mining accounted for 27% of our export earnings. We had 1 000 mines which were producing 35 commodities and the President right now is talking about repositioning the mining sector so that it restores its former glory. The President is talking about value addition and beneficiation. The President is talking about an Exploration Bill Mr. Speaker Sir. Thirty five years down the line, as Zimbabwe, we still are not clear on how much we have underground. We do not know how much methane gas, gold, diamond, coal reserves and so on, we have. This is not right.
The President was supposed to be explicit on how the mining sector is going to be revived so that we have those 1 000 mines producing 35 commodities. Once that happens, Mr. Speaker Sir, employment is going to be created. Those 35 commodities are the ones which are going to be value added and beneficiated. What are we going to beneficiate or value add right now when mines are not operating effectively?
Mr. Speaker Sir, the other issue is manufacturing. Manufacturing accounted for 32% of our export earnings with 1 260 firms which were producing more than 7 000 different products. The President spoke about operationalising the Special Economic Zones. If that happens, I think we are going to restore the manufacturing sector but the problem that I have is that it will end on these papers. We are very good at talking about issues but when it comes to action, we do not act. I expect that the Executive is going to act on this matter and operationalise the Special Economic Zones so that we restore our manufacturing sector. Once we do that, employment is going to be created and we will have more foreign currency in-flows into this country.
The other issue that I would like to talk about is corruption. The
President spoke about corruption in the speech. Corruption Mr. Speaker Sir, is a cancer which has ravished our economy. Corruption is a major impediment to economic, political and social development. Corruption has destroyed good values, denied quality of life to many Zimbabweans and impoverished the entire nation. Mr. Speaker Sir, the absence of accountability and transparency has accelerated the prevalence of corruption and because of that, it is important that there be a paradigm shift and change of culture that entails serious commitment to eradicate corruption. This must start from the highest office in the land and cascade down to other lower echelons of the society. This is what we need Mr. Speaker Sir.
Perpetrators of grand corruption must be brought to justice for sustainable development. Right now, we are seeing small fish being arrested. You arrested Air Zimbabwe and so on. They were in for six months and now they are out on bail. The big fish must be arrested if we are serious about dealing with this cancer called corruption. Just talking about corruption and not acting will not help us. Yes, we have been talking about corruption. If you look at all the speeches, they talk about corruption but what has happened? We need serious commitment from the highest office in the land to deal with corruption. We want to see heads roll and those found wanting in corrupt activities must be taken to book. Justice must prevail over those people.
The President spoke about declaration of assets. It is a very good thing to declare assets but declaration of assets alone without the commitment to deal with this cancer will not help us. Yes, let us declare our assets but at the same time, those who are corrupt must be brought to book. Justice must prevail if we are serious about dealing with corruption.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to conclude by saying, for me, the Executive must move away from doing the same thing and expecting different results. If you look at all the speeches since time immemorial, they have been speaking about the same issues and yet there is no movement. We are sitting here talking about people who are living in abject poverty, unemployment and all those sectors which are not functioning. It is important that we start acting and stop talking.
It is therefore my humble submission that the President’s speech during the Third Session of Parliament, in my own opinion Mr. Speaker Sir, failed to guide the legislative arm towards sustainable development.
The President’s speech for me, failed to deal with issues that reflect the concerns of the people. The President’s speech failed to raise issues in view of hopes, expectations and aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe.
For me Mr. Speaker Sir, the President’s speech failed to deliver real change to the people of Zimbabwe. I thank you.
MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Mr. Speaker, I want to
join the other colleagues in also debating the Presidential Speech but before I do so, let me join others in also giving our condolences to our colleague who just passed away and to thank Hon. Chinotimba for making that point of order. I hope that we can follow it through together as Members of Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, I am going to try and do two things in this debate. I am going to focus on two main principles that are there in the Constitution because as the President started his debate, he started by saying there is need to align the laws to the Constitution. I think what I want to do is to begin to speak to those issues that are in the Constitution and those issues that were raised in the Presidential Speech.
Mr. Speaker, when the President comes to this House, I think what we found missing and which we need to address, is that he is not coming in his capacity as the President of ZANU PF. He is coming in his capacity as the President of Zimbabwe. I think as we begin to do a critique of the presentation, let it be understood that this is a space to which we are dealing with the President as the President of Zimbabwe and therefore, doing a critique of whether the foundation and steps that he has set for this particular Session are the steps that speak to the issues that we think are priority issues.
Mr. Speaker, like I said, I am going to deal with two issues. I am going to deal with issues around fair regional representation as one. The second issue I am going to deal with is the issues around gender, in particular women rights. I think my colleagues have done a good job of raising other issues around those. In my opinion, I think issues of fair regional representation and issues of gender or women’s rights are the cornerstone of any development in any country. I believe that we need to deal with them with the seriousness that we see.
I will briefly touch on one thing that does not relate to those two because I think it is critical and important. I had put it in my motion last time and because we are getting into the other Session, it is not there. So, I used the opportunity of this Presidential Speech to speak a little bit to it because it is raised.
Mr. Speaker, the President speaks on the issues of war veterans, however, I think in this Parliament, one of the issues that I have raised is that when we look at issues of war veterans and issues around women who participated in the struggle, there has always been a problem in terms of whether there is declaration of them as heroes/heroines or whether they are being taken seriously in issues of governance.
Mr. Speaker, I must say I am impressed that at this particular point in time, those that are sitting in this House that we have known as war veterans who are females have at least found space in the area of governance. I think we want to praise that because it speaks. I am just disappointed that whilst we have done well for the other war veterans, there is just one war veteran that I still find, who has been there for a long time and I wonder what it is about her that has not gotten her to get into that space and it is my sister, Hon. Zindi.
I am hoping that as we begin to move forward, we may have an entire coverage so that we are clear. So, let me congratulate the female war veterans who have been appointed and hope that they will take the aspirations, the things that they fought for, the issues around women that they stood for into the spaces of governance and that they will not conform to the maleness that we have seen, even from people that have been war veterans who are male.
Mr. Speaker, let me go to the issue around fair regional representation which is Section 18. I have spoken about this section many times in my motions but today, I think I want to go a bit deeper into it because I think we tend to lose focus when we speak to the issues around ethnicity. We become tribal and angry and we think that people are beginning to score points around issues of ethnicity. Like I said, I am proud that I can stand up here as a person who is mukaradhi like I said. So, I cannot be said I am standing for a particular tribe. I cannot stand for a Shona or Ndebele because I am a hybrid and probably, this is why I am so good. I bring both sides of the tribes and you know that hybrids usually bring that to you.
As I begin to speak, I hope I can be understood that I cannot be necessarily targeting a particular tribe. We cannot run away from the fact that the issues of marginalization are an issue in this country and until we deal with them, we will not have full development.
Mr. Speaker, as long as you have a part of a country and a State that believes that they are not part of the country, that they are being marginalized, whether that marginalization is real or unreal, we need to deal with it. We had a group that left this Parliament, they were doing a Committee – I am sorry I cannot remember what Committee. When they went to Bulawayo, they were thrown out, people refused to have that conversation. Instead of understanding that this is a cry for help, it was something that was saying you are not listening to us. We tend to ignore it and say all people of Matabeleland are cry babies, all people of Matebeleland should stand up. It is something that is historical that has come from years and years ago.
Let me explain, even as I sit here why that is an issue. Mr. Speaker, we were called here very quickly to come and debate the issue around the Labour Bill because we were saying there were thousands of workers that had lost jobs. I did not say this because I knew that the emotions were too high but I wanted to stand up and raise this particular issue. If there is a place in which things have gone terribly wrong day-in day-out, it is the area around people who are coming from the southern region. The way the factories have closed, we are even talking here about some Bill that we are saying, we will give you two, three or one month. Those industries that have closed in Matabeleland, people have not even been given the opportunity for those small two or three months issues. They merely woke up, went to a company only to find it closed.
There is no retrenchment package, there is absolutely nothing.
Mr. Speaker, when they watch us sitting in here and speaking so emotionally about a Labour Bill because all of a sudden, it has now affected, not only the southern region but also the northern region as well, they begin to say okay, things only get bad when things are happening in the northern region, then people wake up. When it is happening to the southern region, it is okay and we can get away with it. So, if we are going to be fair Mr. Speaker, it does not matter where things are happening; it does not matter whether people are in conflict in the northern region or they are in conflict in the southern region. The amount of time and conversations that we give to both those regions should indicate that we are equally worried about a region in the north and a region in the south. Until we begin to operate that way, it will raise suspicion. Look at the kind of debate, whether it was on social media or in the papers, you can see the difference even between the debate that we are having here. While there was passionate, emotional debate in the northern region around the Labour Bill, you could not find as much in the southern region because they know that the majority of people who are in the National Railways of Zimbabwe are between Bulawayo and Midlands. So they will be sitting there and saying, it is really bad that some people do not have jobs, what about us who have spent 2 to 3 years without getting a salary? Mr. Speaker Sir, I think it is important that we begin to look at those things.
Following up from what Hon Khupe has said, if we are going to kick on the corner stones and the fundamental issues that we are worried about around economic revival, it will not happen unless we create a situation in which the other people in this country feel as passionate and as emotional as being part of that area. What has even become more problematic is the closure of companies. Some of them have just not closed because there is nothing, but have moved from the southern region to the northern region. What does that say, to somebody who is in the southern region? It basically says the economy is in the northern region, so who am I? You then have in the Presidential Speech something that speaks to the issues around young people and how we need to encourage the youth. Hon. Chinamasa will probably remember this, as part of the issues when we were negotiating, he used to have problems around an argument that we would bring to the table, when we would talk about marginalization. We would say, the young people in Matabeleland are not necessarily in the upper echelons of the economic development. He would say most of them do not really want to go beyond Form 4 and 6. So, we used to say to him - ask yourself why? Why do we have the majority of the people in the southern region being the ones that die as they try to cross Limpopo? It is because the environment itself does not allow for these children to do the kind of work.
When you do an analysis around the schools, you will find that the majority of the schools that are in good standing, that can develop and bring together young people who can be engineers, doctors’ etcetera, cannot do so because those schools in the southern region do not have the laboratories that are there. So, if I look at this area and the President is speaking about creating an educational Bill, what is that Bill going to do? It should not necessarily be a Bill that is changing how education is going to be but it is a Bill that is going to be looking at the past and say, regions have different needs and how do we deal with them.
Last time, I brought to this House the issue around a quarter in some of these higher institutions. I am glad Mr. Speaker Sir, that sometimes you think if a place is being held by somebody who does not necessarily come from it, they may not necessarily worry about it. I am glad that we now have Hon. Jonathan Moyo in that particular space - Higher Education and Tertiary institutions. One is hoping that we will see a difference, both in terms of the children that are going into these tertiary institutions as children that reflect the complexion of Zimbabwe and not necessarily those who reflect the complexion of a particular region and a particular side.
Mr. Speaker, if you look at Section 264 in the Constitution, it talks about the issue of devolution. There is one disappointment on our mistaken speech, whatever we want to call it, for the first time, it actually had the word devolution. I literally wanted to jump up and down here, because it is the first time I have heard the President of this country speak about devolution but guess what happened! We now had the new speech on page 2, the same paragraph that the President spoke to in his mistaken speech, where he had included devolution has now been changed to decentralization. That is a political statement against issues of devolution. Why would somebody who earlier on felt that the issue is about devolution around procurement, now think it is about decentralization. It means you are making a political statement in two things saying as the Executive, we are not going to deal with issues around devolution, but with decentralization. We know what decentralization means, it means that the power remains at the centre and somebody decides what power they are going to give you. So, your power does not reside and it is not coming from the Constitution, but it is coming from a particular centre that then decides what power they are going to give you.
Mr. Speaker Sir, like I have said, it follows the issue around what we are doing with different regions. We know that the people who suffer for getting birth certificates, passports, licences are the ones coming from the southern region. If you are moving from Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, you are much nearer to Harare, therefore the centre in which those things are being done can be easily done. If you are coming from the southern region, you are not able to come there. I am going into details Mr. Speaker, because I want to show you that when we talk about issues of marginalization, it is not merely something that people are having a joke over, it is actually to do with something that is serious and that is fundamental to the governance of this country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me talk to the issues around the rights of the elderly and again, I will put it in the same vein. When Government decided that it was going to do a head count of those that should be receiving money so that they would decide on who the ghost workers are and who are not. I am not sure how they were doing it in Harare but I did not see old people standing in a queue to be counted as pensioners. In Bulawayo at Milton High, you would find old people that are diabetic and not well standing in the queue. One begins to question whether we are dealing with these things differently. Have we now come to the northern region and said our pensioners will be dealt with in offices and in the southern region, they will be dealt with in a different way.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue that I also found problematic, I do not know whether the conversation that is taking place, that is drowning my voice between Hon. Chinamasa and Hon. Jonathan Moyo speaks to the very fact that I should not be speaking or I am speaking nonsense. It is a bit disturbing because they were not doing that earlier on – [Laughter]- They can talk but they are literally drowning me and the other one is from the southern region.
Mr. Speaker, when we speak about the issues around the children’s rights, for example I am a bit disappointed that one of the red flags and one of the things that have been very passionate, particularly coming from women has been that whole issue of age of consent. Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that we could have a speech such as this does not speak to that issue of age of consent. It is easy Mr. Speaker, if you would call us quickly to deal with labour issues, why is it so difficult to come in one day and immediately reveal that law, move it from 16 to 18 years. I
think the world has spoken, people have spoken that this is wrong, we do not want it and yet it is not there in it. Do you necessarily want the women to march, to lie on our tummies, to undress? What is it that you want us to do for you to understand that we do not want this law you cannot tell me that my sixteen year old girl can consent to sexual intercourse with any man. I do not care whether that man is 20, 30 or 75 years old.
Mr. Speaker, in line with that particular issue, one of the issues that we have been worried about has been the issue around the fact that we have a mandatory sentence for stock theft. If you steal a cow right now, we have a minimum mandatory sentence of nine years yet people can afford to give the community service to the perpetrator when a child is
Again, women have spoken clearly and loudly on these things and in my opinion, if we are going to have something that is tangible, to quote the statement by Hon. Khupe that speaks to the aspirations of the people of this country; let us immediately have a law that speaks to that issue where we review the 16 years old and put it to 18 years old which is the legal age of majority.
Secondly, something that speaks to a mandatory sentence because if you love cattle so much, I do not know why you do not care about women and children who are being raped every day. – [AN HON.MEMBER: Inaudible interjection] – I have gone overtime?
- SPEAKER: Order, order. No, you still have five minutes.
Please carry on.
MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Then there is the issue
around the right to health. Again Mr. Speaker, I will link it up to the issues that I have been talking about on Section 18. Again if we look at the hospitals and clinics, the difference between the clinics and hospitals that are in the southern region and those in the northern region just does not make sense.
So that right to health yes, is important as indicated in the Constitution but it should also speak to ensuring that it is fair. I am speaking from a personal interest. I have come out openly about my issue on issues around mental health illness so I know what I am talking about.
The majority of people who suffer from mental health in this country are unfortunately women particularly women of an older age. You must know that even as I speak, it is defined as a chronic illness but if you go to a hospital right now - even medical aid only pays for five days. Let us assume you are taken in because you are severely depressed, suffering from mental depression or whatever and have completely lost it. You will not be covered by medical aid beyond five days because at the end of the day they have defined mental health as if it is not a chronic illness. I think that is problematic, especially knowing the kind of pressures that women are dealing with on a day to day basis.
Mr. Speaker, lastly it is issues around veterans of the war. Again the Constitution is very clear when we are now talking about the veterans of the liberation war that it has nothing to do with just war veterans or political detainees. It is clear that it is about everybody who participated in the liberation struggle. Those women who were carrying sadza to pungwes and even those who provided whatever safety you want to define it but whoever …
- SPEAKER: Order, order to hon. ministers please lower your voices so that the hon. member is heard in silence.
MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Mr.
Speaker, I really had tried. I think even as we begin to look at it, let us look at the real definition that is there. That is not to say, we do not want the war veterans and detainees to get particular benefits that should be accorded to people who contributed to the struggle.
It is critical because we do not want privatisation of the liberation struggle. I have a problem with it. I do not want to ever be in a situation where when people are talking about the liberation struggle, I feel like I cannot be part of the discussion because I know I am part of that discussion. I know that I am totally and completely believe in the liberation struggle perhaps even better than those who want to speak as war veterans.
So as far as I am concerned, that part should broadly look at how it is going to bring everybody else who participated in the war but also be specific to what we are going to do and accord the kind of respect that is due. It is sad that even when we have the Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees, things have not changed for the war veterans. The school fees have still not been paid, they are still struggling and the widows in particular are getting $100.00 as pension. We do that entire hullabaloo at the Heroes Acre and the widows are displayed as if they are part of silverware yet when she leaves there, she cannot even go to hospital to get herself treated. Let us be truthful to the issues, let us not speak and not act in the manner that we are saying we are going to act. They are important, critical and they have a history.
Lastly Mr. Speaker, Hon. Chamisa said something about the President coming to this House. One thing that I would have loved to say to the President is that I hope you are writing because part of what we do not have is written work on what happened historically. Let us get those things written so that we can read it and begin to sit down and talk about it.
Otherwise like Hon. Chinamasa always used to say to me, history is always written from a victor’s point of view. He knows where I am coming from and the conversation that we were having then. I am sure he knows when he told me that particular story.
Let us have those people write so that we can critique it and see where we are going right now. I hope you remember Dinyani Hon.
- SHAMU: Thank you Mr. Speaker sir. Through you, I would like to thank Hon. Mutomba and Hon. Dziva for having moved this very important motion. In saying so and indeed on behalf of the people of Chegutu East Constituency, I wish to convey through you our sincere condolences on the passing on of Hon. Tsogorani.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to add my voice to the current debate which is guided by His Excellency’s address to this august House on the occasion of the Official Opening of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe. Maybe I should, through you once again, express our sincere appreciation to the First Lady, Dr. Grace Mugabe who graced this occasion and added dignity to the proceedings.
Mr. Speaker sir, His Excellency’s address has brought in I think, a different line of thought that I have seen prevailing from the mover of the motion, the seconder and also listening to Hon. MisihairabwiMushonga. It is a fact that when His Excellency comes to address Parliament, indeed he is coming to address us all not as ZANU PF
Members of Parliament, MDC T representatives nor MDC, but he is looking at us constituted as one entity, representatives of the people of Zimbabwe. I feel that is a positive development within this House and that was crowned by your very own words of appreciation Mr. Speaker, that there was discipline throughout His Excellency’s address.
Mr. Speaker Sir, at this point, I want to be guided by the theory of Havruta and a spirit of Havruta. I want to debate demonstrating an ethic of caring for each other, an element of appreciating each other, a philosophy that proffers the idea of wanting to learn from each other, listen to each other and seek solutions to the economic challenges that face our country. I want to thank Hon. Chinotimba because every now and then, he comes in with an element of humour that defuses discomfort, that nullifies tensions, that at the end of the day engenders a culture of humility to a certain extent but at the same time, sending the message that we are but one.
I really want to thank His Excellency, the President for having driven that point home through a process that has seen him sometime face challenges that came from some amongst us who do not appreciate our oneness. However, let that culture of humility Mr. Speaker, continue abiding by the hermeneutic rules of interpretation and the maintenance of or dedication to the larger community and that larger community are the people of Zimbabwe from the Zambezi to the Limpopo. I say so because in his closing remarks, His Excellency said a very important statement. He said, “I remind all hon. members of this august House on the need to always conduct business in a manner that does not erode the stock of trust reposed in us by the electorate. We indeed carry on our shoulders the hopes and aspirations of our people. Let us channel our collective energies towards the development of our country guided by our economic Blue Print, the ZIM ASSET. It demands us to always cherish the crown values of peace, hard work and unity of purpose”.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I must say the three speakers that I have mentioned in my earlier statements, have indeed underscored His
Excellency’s loaded statement, but that loaded statement has an element which I think we need to note. It is that old saying that we must always be able to listen to the children of the poor for they know what hardships are all about. I am saying so to correct an earlier statement made by Hon. Khupe, that His Excellency did not address the issue of hunger and poverty. On the contrary, His Excellency’s address does, if you go through His Excellency’s presentation, he touched on very important points that he delivered we can be able to put meat around the bone. It is now our role to go to the people and deliver on the basis of that message. He gave us the rails on which to advance the potential of being able to resolve the issues that challenge our nation today.
Mr. Speaker Sir, His Excellency spoke about the Zimbabwe National Defence University Bill which Hon. Dziva touched on. He said he would like it to provide for the transformation of the National Defence College into the National Defence University. That is a very important development. Why say so? He then says that university will provide us with a national think-tank. It will provide a platform for leaders to go and be educated and trained in national policy and strategy formulation, both military and civilian that is us in here. Those outside and everybody will be given that opportunity as long as they are in a leadership position. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am beginning to see a trajectory whereby we are now moving towards the creation of a new man, a new woman, a Zimbabwean who will shun the exploitation of man by man. We want to see the creation of a society which continues to advance the aspirations of our people as espoused by the pioneers of our liberation struggle that was wedged in order for us to be free as we are today.
When all is said and done, especially when we take into account the legislative agenda that His Excellency put before us, I have no doubt Mr. Speaker Sir that our economy is on the road to recovery. When the chips are done for an economy, they cannot be forever down. Even those who are fundis in economics, will agree with me. Examples are there for us to learn from. Take the U.S.A., its economy was able in the 1950s to emerge out of the great depression of the 1929s which was exacerbated by the Second World War. I therefore, contend that Zimbabwe’s economy has great potential for revival. Why do I say so? Because we have Mr. Speaker Sir mineral wealth. Significant levels of direct investments have been committed to the mining sector over the past five years. Mr. Speaker Sir, that is a good sign that we are indeed on the road to economic recovery.
The second aspect is that we have introduced the indigenisation policy. That in itself is a sure sign that we will come out of the economic doldrums that we are in today. The fact is that swathes of the domestic economy are now in the hands of our people. Yes, we might not have control of all the banks and factories, but when you look at what has happened so far, we have taken control of the land, which is a very important resource. If you go into various sectors of our economy, you see Zimbabweans being the leaders in those areas. It is either indigenous Zimbabweans or citizens who are permanent residents in this country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, according to a celebrated Scottish economist,
Adam Smith, he says, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest.” Mr. Speaker Sir, this emphasises the point that people are generally driven by self-motivation, a desire to amass wealth.
The answer for everybody lies in working hard and crafting immediate, medium and long term solutions to our programmes of economic recovery. To me, that is embedded in the speech that was delivered by His Excellency, the President. There is no doubt that Zimbabwe is indeed on the road to recovery.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the third point is that we have built very strong relationships with countries that have huge populations. We have relations with populous countries in the East, the Asian economies, India, Malaysia, Russia and China. That is a basis for us to have confidence in the fact that our economy is going to recover.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in conclusion, let me emphasise what I feel are very important points raised by Hon. Mutomba in his opening remarks. We must jealously guard the peace that we enjoy in this country. We must continue to focus on the road to economic recovery. We must continue to buttress the unity of purpose that was enunciated by His Excellency because we only have one Zimbabwe, one nation and a common destiny. We must be masters of our own destiny. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
- MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this honour and the opportunity of adding my voice to debate on this very important speech that was delivered by His Excellency the President, to mark the official opening of this session. Mr. Speaker Sir, I also want to pass my sincere condolences to the family of the late Hon. Tsogorani who is no longer in our midst.
I want to approach my debate on this speech from four perspectives, if you will allow me Mr. Speaker Sir. Firstly, I noticed that His Excellency did dwell on very important, urgent and pressing business of the need for Zimbabwe to urgently implement the
Constitution and align all our laws and practices to the Constitution. However, Mr. Speaker Sir, I must express my disappointment that in my respectful view, the agenda that is outlined for this particular Session does not go far in order to demonstrate the urgency and necessity of this particular exercise.
I will also dwell a bit on the procedures of our august House in relation with the same Constitution that we must implement. In my view, the process of alignment of legislation and passing of the Bills that His Excellency, the President proposed - it is very well for us to write a long list of Bills that we want to pass. However, if this august House is not sufficiently respected by the Executive and does not take itself seriously in its deliberations to try and improve Bills, we will indeed continue to be thudding a discordant rubber stamp on Bills without adding any value. It is my hope that, that will be addressed in this Third Session.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to begin by referring to the first page of the address by His Excellency, the President where he noted that there are certain Bills which have already been brought to the august House for alignment to the Constitution. He cited three of them which have already been passed by the august House, that is the Electoral
Amendment Act, The National Prosecuting Act and the Gender Commission Bill. I want to begin by adding that it is unfortunate that although Parliament has passed these Bills into Acts, the passage of the Bills have not complied, either fully or at all with the Constitution. Therefore, I think it is unfortunate that, that particular reference to these Bills is there.
I want to begin with the Electoral Amendment Act, in five respects. It falls short of what is in the Constitution. This august House sadly passed an Act which, while it purported to align the law to the
Constitution, it did not provide for the following five things required by the Constitution. The first is that of providing universal adult suffrage of all Zimbabweans because Section 155(1) (c) of the Constitution entitles each and every Zimbabwean, wherever they may be, to vote.
I do appreciate that there is an argument advanced to the effect that because the Voters’ Roll is ward-based, it is therefore impossible for Zimbabweans resident in the diaspora to vote. Mr. Speaker Sir, I wish to vehemently quarrel with that proposition because each and every
Zimbabwean in the diaspora has roots in Zimbabwe in a particular ward. No Zimbabwean in the diaspora just emanated from there. I want to ask this august House not to take that excuse and not shirk from its responsibility by showing that it ensures that our electoral law aligns with the Constitution because it is possible that each and every Zimbabwean outside the diaspora can actually be registered to vote and their vote is ascribed to a particular ward unless, we doubt the accuracy and veracity of our own voters’ roll. If indeed a person who votes in Zimbabwe is guaranteed to vote only once and if there are mechanisms to ensure that there is no double voting, I cannot imagine why we would be afraid to ensure that even people in the diaspora choose whatever ward they choose, once they choose it, it should mean they cannot vote in another ward.
Mr. Speaker Sir, secondly, the Electoral Act that we passed does not at all outlaw voter registration slips which is in my respectful view quite a sad development because it deprives us as Zimbabweans from according the highest levels of excellence and administrative efficiency that we can come to. A voting slip Mr. Speaker Sir is a sign of failure to register voters. It is a sign of the failure to administer efficiently a voters’ roll that results in certain intending voters having failed to find their names on the voters’ roll. We must not be a country that celebrates, accords and accepts mediocrity to the extent of legislating it and allowing failures like that. There is no reason absolutely why voters cannot be registered, there should be no voting slips. I say this Mr. Speaker Sir because Section 156, Sub Section 6 of the Constitution requires that the voting method to be used must be simple, accurate, verifiable, secure and transparent. Using voter registration slips Mr. Speaker Sir, is a far cry on a different planet from this.
Thirdly, the Electoral Act that is celebrated as having accorded itself to the Constitution also is materially defective in that it fails to fulfill and put in place mechanisms to ensure that all contesting players in an election are accorded adequate and equal access to both the electronic and print media both private and public as required by Section 155; (1d). Mr. Speaker Sir, if anyone tunes into ZBC, I am sure they will know exactly what I am talking about.
Fourthly Mr. Speaker Sir, the Electoral Act that we also passed still need to be worked on because it will still require - it willfully fails to pay attention to the clear requirement in Section 183of our Constitution. The Section provides that no judge shall be appointed to more than one court except as provided by the Constitution. This Constitution allows only judges of the superior courts to also be appointed as judges to the Constitutional Court; it does not now allow any other judges of whatever court to be appointed such as the electoral court.
Fifthly Mr. Speaker Sir, the Electoral Act although it is celebrated here in the speech as a law aligned to the Constitution, it did not do for the fifth reason that it did not provide at all for a procedure and a mechanism as required by Section 157, Sub Section 4 for ensuring that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is consulted before any amendments to the Electoral Act are made. That is not there at all.
The National Prosecuting Authority Act that indeed is also celebrated in this speech as having aligned itself to the Constitution, unfortunately also Mr. Speaker did not also fully comply with the requirements in the Constitution. I am hoping that it can also be brought back that the Executive must also bring it back to this august House so that it fully complies with the Constitution as it is intended to be celebrated. I say that because Section 259; Sub Section 10 of the
Constitution requires that that the Act must provide for the conduct and discipline of members of the National Prosecution Authority as well as conditions of service as well as that they must be independent.
Mr. Speaker, that National Prosecuting Authority Act did not do so at all. That attempt was not done in a Statutory Instrument that was passed about three months ago, which Mr. Speaker, with respect is not an Act of Parliament. A Statutory Instrument is not an Act of Parliament by stature of imagination and the Constitution provides that the National Prosecuting Authority Act must provide for those.
Mr. Speaker Sir, if you will allow me, I will also just divert your attention to the procedure. On important issue of implementing the Constitution, the drafters of this Constitution were very determined that this Zimbabwe observes the principle of the separation of powers as detailed in the national objectives, and in the values and principles in Section 2. It requires that Parliament is taken in theory and in fact as robust, strong and equally powerful arm of Government. That is why it provided a procedure in Section 141, particularly to ensure that
Parliament itself provides for its own sittings and recesses. I am saying that because I believe it is time that we as Parliament played our role. We must not shirk from our responsibility no matter how radically different it might be from the past. This Constitution does not at all provide that His Excellency the President must open or can open a Session of Parliament. It provides that His Excellency the President must determine the first sitting of Parliament after a general election. It does not provide for general procedures.
The previous Constitution indeed did this but instead this new Constitution found another way to ensure that His Excellency has opportunity to address Parliament. That is in Section 140, where he must issue an annual State of the Nation Address which he has done and also that he may summon Parliament from time to time to address special business but it does not provide that he must necessarily open Parliament. That is given as the role of Parliament itself.
To illustrate this Mr. Speaker, I am hoping that our Standing Rules and Orders and indeed hon. members pay attention because if Parliament itself does not fulfill the Constitution when it is required to do so then who will? It would be absurd if the head of the Executive will for example cross over to that other bewigged arm of the State that is the
Judiciary and issue and opening address for the sessions of the judiciary.
It would be a travesty, how is it that for the legislature it is possible because the legislature, the judiciary and the Executive are each equal arms of Government, indeed they must be enjoyed. It is bad enough that the Executive is the one that bring Bills to Parliament but to a symbolically State that something else.
Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to also express my disappointment that I do not see in His Excellency’s address attention or even mention of what I will call six critical urgent Bills that must be brought to the House.
The first one itself is that I do not see any provision or intention to bring the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill that is one outstanding Commission in terms of this Constitution. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Executive must explain what the difficulty is in ensuring that Zimbabwe does have a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission. The need for that is evident Mr. Speaker Sir. Unfortunately nowadays, the need is actually now extending even into the intra party realm. Each and every Zimbabwean would be served by the enactment of this Bill so that we can have a national peace and reconciliation so that we can move forward as a nation.
Secondly, Mr. Speaker Sir, there is also no mention to amend the Broadcasting Services Act which is causing untold suffering, loss of investment and also loss of job opportunities and depriving
Zimbabweans of their livelihood. We are one of the few countries that are in the Stone Age as far as having one electronic broadcast and a television station. Surely the Executive must make sure that we move with the times. That also reflects on the stature of the country in terms of attractiveness of investment.
Mr. Speaker probably, there is also no move to also try, amend or repeal the provisions of the Access to Information, Protection of Privacy
Act. Also, there is no mention at all of the Constituency Development Fund Bill which is really odd because in the last Budget the Hon.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development who happens who happens to be sitting across me did promise that he had made an allocation for Constituency Development Funds for hon. members of Parliament to go and utilise in their constituencies. However, I am starting to wonder Mr. Speaker Sir, whether the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development was trying to pull a fast one on the legislature so that we can be happy and approve the Budget because there is no plan anywhere to bring the Constituency Development Fund
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to also say that I am glad that His
Excellency, the President made reference to the need to pass a State Procurement Amendment Bill so that they decentralise procurement to local authorities. In that vein, I was going to be encouraged but then, I was disappointed that the mention of the Local Authorities Bill that is in here is seeking to prioritise consolidating the Urban Councils Act and the Rural District Councils Act and not necessarily prioritising the
Intention and the Devolution Provision in the Constitution.
I do note that His Excellency, the President said that the Bill will establish a tribunal to deal with issues of the dismissal or discipline of councillors, mayors and chairpersons. That is encouraging but in the meantime, it is hoped that the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs prevails upon their colleague Ministers, particularly the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to remind him that indeed there is no provision at the moment. There is a great lacuna at law because there is no provision to discipline errant mayors and councillors.
As such, the Minister does not have any power at all to dismiss or purportedly to fire councillors. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is my fervent hope that hon. Ministers and members of the Executive do respect this Constitution. Even as we are passing the law, they should obey the law that is there.
I am also disappointed that the only reference to legislating in the area of health on the Public Health Bill seeks only to talk about medical aid societies. It is important, but I am concerned that there is no mention whatsoever of ensuring that the provisions in Section 29 (2) of the Constitution, that is the right to health that provides that the State shall put in place mechanisms to ensure that no one is turned away from any health institution when they require emergency medical services.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Executive cannot go on ignoring such important things. Zimbabweans are dying every day. A person gets involved in an accident. They are taken by an ambulance, for example to Parirenyatwa Hospital, a government hospital or even at the Avenues Clinic, but they cannot be treated there and they will die because she has not been paid for. But, the Constitution does require the State to put in place the necessary mechanisms’ to ensure that that is done. It is my hope that they move with urgency and do that.
Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to also express my appreciation that the Executive is now attending to reviewing existing laws in order to ensure that perpetrators of sexual offences are given appropriate stiff sentences.
I am encouraged that the motion that I moved in the two previous sessions seem to be heeded, which unfortunately lapsed because the hon.
Ministers of Health and Child Care, of Finance and Economic
Development and of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development have still not responded to my motion. I have been compelled to move motions twice in order to reinstate that motion so that the hon. Ministers of Finance and Economic Development,
Health and Child Care and Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development finally favour this august House and honour us with a response to their attitude on that motion.
I will indeed be moving another motion to reinstate that motion for the third time so that finally, hopefully and prayerfully, the hon. Ministers will respond to my motion. But, I must express my disappointment at what His Excellency, the President expressed at his dismay on the rape of six-month toddlers. The more we continue to isolate rape victims and survivors and categorise them according to age or marital status or religion, we continue to lose the plot. If we keep on raising alarm only at certain categories of victims such as six-month toddlers, we continue to tolerate rape and say that maybe a ten-month old, a fifteen year old or a thirty year old can be raped. Mr. Speaker Sir, it would have been my hope that His Excellency, the President would have demonstrated absolute zero tolerance to any form of rape. The reason why a six-month toddler is raped is because we allow rape in the first place. That is the reason why an 81 year old would be raped. It does not matter the age but let us simply show zero tolerance to all forms of rape and sexual gender based violence.
While His Excellency indicated that they are examining the laws on sentences, the issue that was raised by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga is a matter that this august House should consider – the issue of the age of consent.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, you are left with five
- MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. It is my hope that this matter of age of consent receives very considered and very exhaustive attention because of the debate that came about and the different issues around reproductive health as well as protection of girls. It is my hope that in the re-examining of these laws to find out what the minimum age of consent should be, this matter must make us as Zimbabweans move away from the paradigm where we are so locked in toxic and also posts and politics where we want to vie for positions. We should actually move away from there and start addressing the issues that trouble the people that we lead. But this, I am proposing that the issue of the age of consent is one issue that should be subjected to a referendum. Referendums have only been known to be about political issues that are high. The issue of what age is it that our girls and boys should be able to indulge in sexual intercourse is a matter of grave concern that is even more important than all these other political issues that we talk about.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to propose that we move away from the beaten track and actually conduct a referendum on the age of consent so that we can arrive at a destination where we protect our girls from abuse by setting the correct age but also protecting them and the boys also from maybe the diseases and issues like that. I want to conclude by saying that, it is my hope that when the legislative programme that is proposed by His Excellency comes to the House in the Third Session, we would do things differently so that the Portfolio Committees such as the one that I have the privilege to lead, Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs. We have conducted public hearings over Bills. We have done it for a second time and other Portfolio Committees like the one on Budget, Finance and Economic Development and also the one on the Gender Commission Bill have conducted public hearings and heard from Zimbabweans their views about what they want to be in a Bill. Even in the Labour Amendment Bill, only the members made representations but all those representations, views from the public and from the hon. Members of Parliament simply fell on deaf ears. Members of the Executive just closed their ears, came here, rail-roaded and they passed the Bills in exactly the same way that they were.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it will continue to be a waste of taxpayers’ money if hon. Ministers, the members of the Cabinet continue ignoring the suggestions that are made in good faith by the people of Zimbabwe through their elected representatives to effect amendments for the improvement of certain Bills. This legislative agenda will amount to naught if that is not done. It is my hope that we now proceed in earnest.
I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE,
LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR.
MNANGAGWA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 23rd September, 2015.
2015 MID-TERM FISCAL POLICY REVIEW STATEMENT
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion that leave be granted to bring in a Finance Bill.
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to
take this opportunity to thank hon. members who have contributed to the debate on proposals in the 2015 Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement. I would like to respond to the issues raised.
Hon. Chapfika, in presenting the report of the Committee on Finance and Economic Development enquired if Government has put in place measures to ensure the speeding up of beneficiation of minerals such as gold, platinum and chrome, among others. Mr. Speaker Sir, Government has taken a position to licence only Fidelity Printers as the sole buyer and exporter of gold after its exportation. On the other hand, jewellery manufacturers are also being provided with some refined gold for further processing into jewellery.
With regards to chrome, notwithstanding the lifting of the ban on the export of chrome ore, Government has ring-fenced some ore requirements for local chrome ore smelters. In 2015 alone, out of projected output of about 500 000 metric tonnes (mt), about 300 000 metric tonnes of chrome ore will be set aside for smelting, leaving only about 150 000 to 200 000 metric tonnes for export in raw form.
In 2013 and 2014, the country produced chrome ore of 355 142 and 408 422 metric tonnes respectively. Based on the above trend, together with new measures put in place during the second quarter of the year on supporting chrome ore producers through lifting the ban on export of chrome ore together with the reduction in ZESA tariffs as well as capacitation of the NRZ (currently refurbishing its fleet), this provides a conducive environment for increased production to about 500 000 metric tonnes in 2015, as indicated by the producers. The key incentive here is the lifting of the ban on the export of raw chrome.
With regards to manufacturing sector, the Committee noted that the 2015 Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement is devoid of bold strategies to retool the manufacturing industry. This issue was also raised by Hon. Dr. Kereke and Hon. Maridadi. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Government has taken a number of steps towards recapitalisation of local manufacturing industry and these include:
- Facilitating a number of lines of credit, for example, from the PTA, Afreximbank and many other institutions.
- Improving the investment environment by clarifying and resolving issues around indigenisation, BIPPAs, Doing Business Reforms, among others.
- Issuance of guidelines on setting lending interest rates as recently announced by the RBZ in the Monetary Policy Statement.
- Resolving the external debt overhang through various engagements with both bilateral and multilateral institutions and creditors including IMF, World Bank and AFDB. The ultimate objective is to improve relations with our creditors in order to unlock new financing in the form of lines of credit, FDI and portfolio investments, et cetera for the benefit of our industries.
The committee also recommended that duty on raw materials be scrapped and the strict penalties be imposed on finished imported products.
My response Mr. Speaker Sir is that with respect to duty on raw materials, Government has already availed a number of manufacturers’ rebates of duty which provides for customs and tax free importation of key raw materials and inputs. These include among others, the electrical manufacturers, the bus assemblers, the motor vehicle assemblers and the clothing manufacturers rebate.
Furthermore, in the 2015 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review, the manufacturers’ rebate of duty was extended to the Printing and
Publishing Industry as well as the furniture and textile industries.
The advantage of a manufacturers’ rebate is that the benefits are availed to targeted beneficiaries.
The Committee on Finance and Economic Development
commended the measures to protect local fertilizer companies. However, the Committee is concerned that the customs duty of 25% will make fertilizer very expensive, thereby negatively impacting the agricultural sector and also having a ripple effect on the economy. Hon.
Chinotimba and other members also raised concerns on this issue.
Mr. Speaker Sir, my response is that measures in support of local fertilizer production are expected to boost local production capacity from 30% to 44% by year end, thereby enabling the fertilizer companies to recover their costs over a higher production base. As a matter of fact, the Association of Fertilizer Manufacturers have already made an announcement to this effect.
This is expected to result in a reduction in prices. I already have a commitment from the fertilizer manufacturers that current prices are expected to decline by 20% due to increased volumes of production.
Let me add that recently I have received a communication today from ZFC that it is now already on 100% production capacity and this is encouraged by the measures that we have so far taken.
On revenue collection, the Committee recommended that a simplified tax formula be adopted and that all revenue collected be channeled to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
My response Mr. Speaker Sir is that this proposal could be considered in the context of the 2016 National Budget. This also addresses concerns raised by other honourable members.
Hon. P. Sibanda suggested that instead of increasing taxes on imports, the opposite should have been done in order to stimulate consumption thus import duty should have been revised when our industry has capacity to produce and compete efficiently with imports. He also emphasized the dangers of increasing poverty levels.
My response Mr. Speaker is that from the outset, let me point out that we should endeavour to increase consumption of locally manufactures goods. The liquidity challenge we are currently experiencing is a result of the huge import bill which has undermined the economy.
In this respect, in my Mid-Term Policy I proposed extension of manufacturers rebate of duty on selected sectors in order to allow importation of raw materials and inputs duty free, thus encouraging local production.
I further proposed to increase duty on finished goods only under circumstances where the local industry has capacity to produce.
Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga advised that the ban on second clothing should have been restricted to second hand undergarments. A reasonable number of honourable members also raised concern over the ban of second hand clothing given the low incomes of most citizens and also the prevailing high unemployment levels where citizens have been surviving on selling second hand clothing.
My response Mr. Speaker is that the proposed measure is supportive to both the textile and clothing manufacturers. I need to say that in my last stay in Bulawayo, I visited some of the companies which are now reviving and resuscitating their operations and in one or two of the companies, I was advised that in fact they are buying machinery from collapsed textile industries in South Africa which have collapsed largely because of importation of second hand clothing. We do not want to go through that route, we should stem that tide. So, in the medium to long term this will boost local production, employment and revenue to the fiscus. The public is also protected from disease due to contamination of the clothing.
Admittedly, the ban on importation of second hand clothing has been one of the most painful decisions to make. The stark choice confronting the nation is to watch the unchecked deindustrialization and total collapse of the clothing and textile sectors as a result of continuing importation of second hand clothing. We cannot talk honestly about the revival of the clothing and textile industries in Bulawayo and other cities and towns while at the same time allowing importation of second hand clothes – the very act that undermines that effort. We cannot have our cake and eat it at the same time.
The local manufacturers should, however, ensure that the pricing of clothing remains affordable to the general public since Government has already extended rebate of duty on raw material, used in the manufacture of clothing.
Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga also advised that the local tanneries have no capacity to produce leather products; hence export tax should not be levied on raw hides.
My response Mr. Speaker, is as already highlighted in the 2015 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review Statement, the local tanneries are facing shortage of raw hides and skin to further process into wet blue and leather thus undermining the value chain linkages and employment prospects within the industry. The measure was instituted with a view to ensure availability of raw hides and skins to local tanneries. I must say that yesterday I had a meeting with one of the local tannery company which actually said the measures introduced are already beginning to bear fruit; where they were running short of raw hides and skin, they are now almost back to 100% capacity. That is how things should be.
Hon. Zindi is concerned that the removal of groceries from the travelers’ rebate will expose families to hunger.
My response Mr. Speaker is that the measure is meant to promote local industry as well conserve the much needed foreign currency.
Continued importation of groceries is not necessary since these are already readily available.
Furthermore, there is need to dispel the perception of some consumers who view imported groceries as superior to locally manufactured goods.
Hon. Cross proposed that the land rentals should have been differentiated in terms of ecological region.
Mr. Speaker Sir, my response is that whilst the proposal has been noted, the administration of differentiated land rentals would however, pose challenges.
Hon. Mudarikwa had something to say on duty on fruits and vegetables. The hon. member bemoaned the situation where readily available fruits and vegetables are imported such as sweet potatoes, madhorofiya, that is prickly pears and magogoya, that is yams. Mr. Speaker Sir, my response is that Government has levied high duty on vegetables and fruits ranging from 25% plus surtax for fruits and vegetables imported from the region and 40% plus surtax on imports from the rest of the world.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development also controls importation of fruits and vegetables through licenses and permits. So, if there is any continuing flood on our market of vegetables and fruits from the region and from elsewhere, which is still competing with locally produced products, I can only say that these goods are not coming lawfully into the country. The major challenge that has affected the local horticulture industry and farmers is the rampant smuggling that needs to be addressed and that should be addressed as a separate matter.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to once again thank all those hon. members who made their contribution to the Mid-Term Review Statement. I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
FINANCE (NO. 2) BILL (H.B. 5, 2015)
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA) presented the Finance (No.
2) Bill (H.B. 5, 2015).
Bill read the first time.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE,
LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR.
MNANGAGWA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 23rd September, 2015.
On the motion of THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER
OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR.
MNANGAGWA), the House adjourned at Five Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.